By Amy Ryan
Updated May 09, 2007 at 07:30 PM EDT

When you think of Shrek — America’s favorite slobby, paunchy, smelly ogre — you’re probably not thinking physical fitness and good dietary habits. But the folks at McDonald’s, of all people, think they can give the green grouch an image makeover. Instead of the usual Happy Meal tie-in for this month’s Shrek the Third, they’ll be using him to sell meals of salad, chicken nuggets, low-fat milk, and apple dipping slices.

Now, I can understand why this would please parents and nutritionists. (Assuming, of course, that deep-fried chicken, oily salad dressing and sugary fruit-dipping sauce are actually better for you than deep-fried potatoes, a fried burger, and a sugary soda.) But if I were a kid, I think I’d feel cheated. What’s so happy about that meal? Does everything meant for kids have to have some medicinal or pedagogical value too, or can’t it just be fun?

So, PopWatchers, do you think fictional characters with kid appeal are obliged to serve as positive role models? Will Shrek be able to persuade kids to eat healthier? Or are McDonald’s and DreamWorks risking a Shrek-lash?

addCredit(“Shrek: DreamWorks”)