Thursday, December 11, 2008
I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!
I AM A HUMAN BE - oh, shit!
As kids we watch a LOT of crap cartoons. We're little idiots who have yet to develop any sense of taste at all, nor have we lived long enough to recognize cheap gags and shoddy plotting when we see it. All of Hanna-Barbera was based on this principle. Only in hindsight do we realize how horrible those cartoons were, and then we start counting how many brain went unstimulated and cry. I used to love the Alvin and the Chipmunks moving, for cripe's sake!
But there is some stuff that you KNOW is wrong even then. The shining example of a cartoon so fucked up that even my ignorant fool of a child self knew has moved far beyond the crazy shit border was the Pound Puppies movie. Why, yes, it *was* a Hanna-Barbera production! The premise of the movie was that the Pound Puppies could be turned back into normal dogs by some magic or something. Hold on, I'm on the internet! I can find out more...
Research on Wikipedia tells me it's a magic artifact that gives them the "puppy power" to communicate with humans and, presumably, rip off Scrappy Doo. Another device de-anthropomorphized them into regular dogs who were evil. The climax happens as the sass-mouthed Pound Puppies go up against their own friends in generic canine form.
That's fucked up.
Listen, cartoon people, you can't have dogs running around on their hind legs, talking with people, singing songs, wearing clothes and acting as cartoon characters generally act... and then made them DOGS that run around on all fours barking like the mindless wastes that are real-live dogs. It is unnatural and wrong! Nose Marie should not be prancing along like a southern belle one minute and shitting on the rug the next!
When working with cartoon animals, one can only use so many species jokes before things go into the realm of the creepy. When Woodstock happily chowed down on turkey during the Peanuts Thanksgiving special, I was creeped out. The reason I kept my comic to doggies and kitties is because sentience can be a minefield. If every animal is capable of humanity, then characters casually eating hamburgers becomes some sick cannibalism. D.C. Simpson got around his love for tapping Noah's Ark in character design by making all his characters vegetarian, but still crossed the line over and over in Ozy and Millie. When Timulty, dressed as a knight and riding Millie like a horse, misspoke and threatened to "spay" Ozy instead of slay him, that made Millie's constant desire for a pony look downright well-adjusted by comparison.
When writing the first day of school story for Precocious, there is a strip where Suzette chases after Bud to deliver a heaping bowl of violence. Originally Bud shouted, "Down, girl!" The extension of that is, of course, "bad dog!" I decided not to go to that well in strip #3 and the final line has him screaming, "Ow! Ow! Ow! Bad touch!" That's *also* got some creepy connotations, but it's in the general dark humor section and not at the Animal-Human Confusion Ranch.
Everyone has their own tolerance level for such things. For instance, I think having Tiffany bat around a ball of yarn is just goofy enough to work. Roddy crossing one's path does tend to bring misfortune, but the black cat crossing one's path line would never occur in the Precocious world. Similarly, joking about Autumn in a hen house is rather confusing if you think about it. What would it be in Precocious; leaving a fox unattended in a KFC? Now it's incredibly racist!
But tonight I was watching Lost on DVD and that ugly lab Vincent was getting screen time. Vincent was walking around with his ugly tongue hanging out of his mouth and the usual dog expression, so I drew a canine mouth with its tongue hanging out. Soon, it turned into Autumn acting like a domesticated dog - which is even MORE inappropriate because foxes are not domesticated animals! She's doing the sit/shake/beg routine and I find it highly disturbing.
Man, I rambled for far too long about this. I intended to just mock Pound Puppies and run, but my sleeping pill has been slow to kick in. Oh well, at least I stopped myself before I went into the COMPATIBLE SPECIES essay again.