Blog #9 – who am I supposed to root for again?
So I got to Warner Brothers in the book, and all of my classic hero vs villain theories and ideas came to a screeching halt.
Roadrunner. Coyote. Pepe Le Pew. Sylvester. Tweety. Bugs. Elmer. Tom. Jerry. (I know they’re not Warner, but they fall into this category.) Who’s the hero? Who’s the villain? Who am I supposed to be cheering for? I can’t decide!
The visuals give me no clues. None of them are scary looking, like the catrobot in 9, or the wicked witch in Snow White. The music doesn’t help, either. No dark, dramatic audio cues to give me a hint. They barely even talk, so no evil cackles or discussions of dastardly deeds being plotted.
Should I root for the smaller character, on the basis that he’s technically thought to be weaker? Should I root for the one who runs away first? Should I prefer my favorite animal? I mean, really, outside of animation, which would you rather have curl up on your lap, a cat or a mouse? Should I consider the pursuit of love a worthier catch than trying to get away from a smelly animal who doesn’t know/can’t help it? Should I sympathize with the silly rabbit who really just wants a bowl of cereal? What’s wrong with sharing ONE BOWL OF CEREAL, KIDS???
I watched a lot of these cartoons growing up. I rooted for Jerry and Roadrunner, because they were the ones being chased by their natural predators. Looking back, though, Wile. E. Coyote was a genius with an unlimited budget who was just testing various methods of roadrunner catching, trying to find a method that worked. He rarely tried the same thing twice. AND he was frequently taunted by his prey, which is a bit unsportsmanlike. Jerry gave as good as he got from Tom, the two were equally matched in wits. Bugs Bunny was the prey, but Elmer was no match for him at all! These are not battles of good and evil, they’re just sporting events, and we have to pick a team. We don’t have to worry about death or destruction when we see these characters, as we know they’ll pop right back up unharmed at the end.
I didn’t know what to make of Pepe. I felt sorry for him, certainly. He was dense, but lovable, and just a bit smelly. He couldn’t help it. He wanted snugglies, not a snack.
I also remember the first time I realized just how old these cartoons were. I was shocked! I admit I’m rather oblivious to what’s going on around me, but they’ve stood the test of time pretty well. Although I did pick up a bit of the vocabulary, and STILL tell people, “Don’t go in there! It’s DARK!”