Archive for the ‘famous furries’ category

Does Pepe Le Pew Stink?

March 10, 2021

(Warning:  some adult themes in the following post, albeit about a cartoon character…)

Striped skunk Pepe Le Pew has been kicking around as a Warner Bros. character since 1945, but to some this skunk is a male chauvinist pig and sexual predator.  With some saying that the amorous skunk normalizes rape culture, Pepe has been dropped from the sequel to Space Jam, and won’t be appearing in further Warner Bros. productions for the foreseeable future – – Sacre bleu!

Now this skunk was a one-trick pony, so to speak,  portrayed as a french character complete with accent who fancies himself highly desirable, whereas his skunk scent and unwanted advances made him in reality abhorrent to the object of his affections, usually one Penelope Pussycat, who was originally nameless.  In his classic routines, Pepe would be easily deceived into thinking that the black and white feline was another skunk once she wound up with a streak of white paint down her back.  Penelope would vigorously resist the skunk’s unwanted advances and attempt to flee from him, but Pepe could easily keep pace with her with a kind of bouncing hop classic to himself; he was truly “high on a feeling.” There were variations to this formula, but Pepe seldom abandoned his arguably predatory pursuit.

 

Herein lies the rub, and Pepe’s conflict with contemporary societal norms.  To the skunk, no never meant no, but resistance was all part of the game, and represented normal behavior.  It was alright for Pepe in his own mindset to persist in his unwanted aggressive physical advances, because the female was simply playing “hard to get,”  and her resistance was adorable, appealingly cute, and even amusing.  Hence, the accusations that Pepe was normalizing rape culture.  He simply grabbed poor Penelope, and tried to foist himself on her.  Fortunately, we never saw any skunk/kitty domination porn out of it, although in some dark corners of the internet you could probably find it.  Trust me on this; I’m a furry…

There was a bit more to the character as well, playing upon the stereotype that all Frenchmen were great lovers, whether they actually were or not.  Pepe certainly thought that he was, and his narcissism lent a bit of comic irony, which was part of the running shtick of the character.  He was also a skunk, and they don’t smell like roses!  Whether blinded by love or lust, Pepe in most of his cartoon outings failed to recognize that Penelope was of a different species entirely, so you had that comic misidentification  going on, a “love is blind” kinda thing.  Pepe was at core sexually frustrated in spite of his personal perspective that he was at least potentially some kind of love god, a hot item “on the make.”  He never prevailed, but he was certainly persistent, to a flaw. This is no longer considered a virtue as it once perhaps was, but now is rather a red flag of inappropriate behavior.  Pepe might today face charges for his conduct were Penelope of a litigious mind; watch out for a kitten who isn’t smitten!  Perhaps Foghorn Leghorn could defend Pepe in court…“The boy, I say, the boy was just doin’ what comes naturally, and after all, he’s French…”  

This unwanted persistence of male suitors played well generations ago at the general time of his origin, and Pepe Le Pew was certainly not the only character guilty of it.  For example, Dean Martin’s seasonal song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has also been largely dropped from favored Xmas song playlists for just the same reason as kind of an anthem of date rape. There’s a fine line between seductively sexy and creepy these days, and what was once constituted as “boys being boys” doesn’t fly well any more; just ask any number of disgraced pervy politicians, although charges stick much better to some than others, ahem! 

I’m kind of glad that Warner Bros. is dropping Pepe Le Pew rather than trying to reform him; it just wouldn’t be the same, and our skunk is after all incorrigible, a self-deceived romantic rogue whose essence would be destroyed by being sanitized.  While Pepe was a product of his time and that time is now past, I’m going to miss the lovestruck rascal even if he is politically incorrect by today’s standards…this skunk was such a dog, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor, a slick if clueless anachronism and stereotype, the “locksmith of love” in love with love and himself.  The path of true love, so they say, seldom runs smooth, although hope springs eternal even while the “game of love” may for some have a baffling rule book.  As Pepe might say, “You know, it is possible to be too attractive.”  He may have been delusional, but he didn’t suffer from self-concept problems…

 


“Godzilla vs. Kong” Arriving…

March 4, 2021


In these times of a deadly global pandemic and an insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol, you probably figured that a Godzilla vs. Kong movie was inevitable.  We may even be jaded to it, kind of like “Yeah, it figures, whatever!”  But after years in the planning and multiple delays in 2020, Godzilla vs. Kong is at last set to open in late March.  

Described as a “massive monster brawl,” this latest installment in the MonsterVerse unites in mortal combat the iconic franchise figures of King Kong, who has appeared in a dozen films, and Godzilla, the veteran of three dozen flicks.  Both franchises began cinematic renewal and revitalization programs beginning in 2014, with Godzilla establishing himself as “King of the Titans,” and mankind in this universe being in fearful coexistence with them.  King Kong, for his part, has done well in his domain on Skull Island, and has demonstrated his ability to dominate in battle large reptilian creatures, including three T-Rexes at once.  This makes him a serious contender in any monster match, even if he is essentially a giant ape…

 

Now in the current crossover matchup, Godzilla has become seriously ticked off, and is rampaging around the planet, prompting mankind to recruit King Kong as a defensive agent.  Kong has the advantage of superior intelligence and agility, whereas Godzilla is elemental and practically indestructible, plus he has that radioactive breath thing going on.  You have to choose sides in this combat, and I confess to being a Godzilla loyalist.  He is just magnificent emerging from the sea, an unfathomable, breathtaking, and unstoppable force of nature!  Kong may be King, but Godzilla is…well, a god.  The Internet is having a field day over the upcoming battle royal, and we are at least promised by the producer that one of the combatants will win.  There’s nothing we monster movie fans hate more than ambiguous endings, which are all too common and very unsatisfying.  If I wanted a “write your own ending” conclusion, I wouldn’t be bankrolling someone else to write the script.

Regardless of who emerges victorious in the epic fray, we are promised more MonsterVerse films to come…and there is the revelation that some thing manifested as seismic activity within the hollow Earth may be instigating the fracas to begin with, like a cosmic conspiracy theorist. Perhaps there is a common, real enemy. All is probably not as it appears, with plenty of hooks to hang future movies on.  Producers do, after all, want your interest piqued, and your movie dollars supporting their efforts…Rawrr!  

 

 

Godzilla vs. Kong!

June 12, 2018


Deep inside me, there abides a ten-year-old fox-boy who never grew up.  For that reason, I can still get excited about a Godzilla vs. King Kong remake, even though it will have been 58 years since a movie bore that title.  Hopefully the special effects will have improved significantly in that time interval.  Just don’t get your popcorn out yet or try to buy movie passes; Godzilla vs. Kong isn’t slated to arrive until May of 2020…

For what is sure to be an epic addition to the MonsterVerse, the film director promises a dark film in which there will be a clear winner!  That’s right, no ambiguous ending for once.  Kong, last seen in Skull Island set in the 1970’s, will have weathered the intervening decades by becoming older, battle-scarred, and bigger. His size will accordingly be more of a match for the redoubtable Godzilla, my personal fave.  I’m sure that there will be an abundance of fires, explosions, and destruction of real estate…look, they’re lowering property values!  Perhaps the battling behemoths can level Trump Tower…

 

Original “Godzilla” Actor Dies…

August 8, 2017


He waded out of the Pacific Ocean in 1954, and into cinematic history.  He was one of the great ones, in every sense of the word.  And now it is with regret that I report that the original actor to play Godzilla has died of pneumonia at the age of 88…

Haruo Nakajima played Godzilla in twelve films, his last outing in 1972’s Godzilla vs. Gigan.  To prepare for the original role, Nakajima went to the Tokyo zoo to study the movements of elephants and bears, believing that Godzilla had to move convincingly to avoid being a farce.  The suit that he wore weighed up to 220 lbs. as it was crafted in part of ready-mixed concrete.  Stomping among miniaturized sets, Nakajima suffered for his art as wearing the suit caused him to sweat terribly.

Nakajima began his movie career in samurai and war movies before becoming a monster movie icon.  Not limited to one role, Nakajima also played Rodan, Mothra (my personal favorite), and King Kong! – – Thank you, Haruo, for bringing the King of the Monsters to life!  

Kong:  Skull Island

March 15, 2017

Magnificent, isn’t he? – – And that’s as it should be, because it’s hard to imagine an imaginary creature with the history and pedigree of King Kong.  This is not a “monster,” but rather royalty…and from his cinematic origins in the 1930’s original, Kong has spawned a variety of movies, such as the 1976 and 2005 versions.  Nothing breeds imitation like success…

While we aren’t going back to the world of 1933 in this version, it’s set in the era of 1973, and is part King Kong reboot and part homage to such Vietnam era movies as Apocalypse Now and Platoon, complete with period cultural references.  The movie runs almost two hours, and we’re introduced to the big guy after about half an hour. Most of the human characters are two dimensional stereotypes and are basically monster chow, although such notables as John Goodman appear as a “tinfoil hat” crazy theorist. There’s lots of good mayhem, with Kong not only taking on humans but also a giant octopus and Huey gunships, one of which he spikes like a volleyball.  We visit also a gigantic water buffalo and enormous ants; Kong isn’t even the baddest creature to inhabit this lost world.

Kong:  Skull Island is also a launching pad for a “MonsterVerse” of additional but related movies which will include the re-emergence of Godzilla, and of course the inevitable battle royal between these two cinematic icons.  It should be a fun ride, and it’s playing now in theaters…

 

Traumatizing, But Hilarious…

June 25, 2016

Barney, a human-sized purple dinosaur who looks like an iguana with dentures and is the syrupy-sweet regular on a kiddie show, became the temporary captor of a 15-year-old Alabama girl who tried on the character’s head to scare her friends at church.  It seems that the church’s pastor had acquired the dino’s suit a few years back but lost the body component, leaving the head lying around;  religion is full of mysteries.

Well, when the teen tried the oversized Barney head on, it slipped down past her shoulders, giving her hilarious short little T-Rex arms. Unfortunately, neither the girl nor her friends could remove the Barney head when the fun was over.  Seeking to spare the girl further embarrassment, she was driven to a fire department where forty-five minutes and a lot of Vaseline later, the head was finally removed.  The event, of course, was properly commemorated and immortalized on social media.

Barney’s no raptor and this was hardly a Jurassic World sequel, but we now have another reason to dislike the big purple dinosaur, who still loves everyone…


Godzilla Resurrection!

April 28, 2014

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I have a confession to make; I’ve always loved Godzilla, ever since the days that he appeared in badly-dubbed Japanese movies and was obviously played by someone in a rubber suit!  Godzilla fans have endured a variety of outrages over the years, including a series of increasingly lame and outrageous adversaries (e.g., the “Smog Monster”), bad storylines, and even alteration of the character’s gender. The last major studio film treatment in 1998 portrayed Godzilla as an iguana-like creature, focused on a human love story, and was almost universally hated by fans.  It appeared that Godzilla might have fallen to bad treatment rather than an oxygen destroyer, but we who believe have maintained our faith.

The upcoming reboot of the Godzilla franchise by Gareth Edwards promises to take Godzilla back to his 1954 roots.  Co-produced by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. under license from Toho, the new movie will be live action while Godzilla will be computer-generated.  Unlike the 1998 film, Godzilla will again fight several monsters rather than just the military.  The opponent monsters, referred to as “mutos,” will fly and be multi-limbed.  Godzilla himself will stand 350′ tall, the biggest incarnation ever.

The plot should delight conspiracy theorists.  It seems that Godzilla’s existence has been covered up by the U.S. government (like aliens, ‘ya know), and nuclear tests of the 1950’s were actually attempts to kill the creature.  Godzilla’s face is supposedly modeled on elements of features of bears, dogs, and eagles.  The big guy’s fighting style is based on that of bears and komodo dragons.  His roar is the original one pioneered by Toho, with improvements and enhancements.

Godzilla is conceived as “a terrifying force of nature,” and his kung fu should be the best.  He’ll be stomping his way into theaters this May, hopefully a monster for our times…

 

 

Mr.Peabody & Sherman…

February 8, 2014

Peabody– – I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that a movie is being made of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, since movies and sequels have been made of The Smurfs and The Chipmunks.  If there’s a chance that parents are familiar with the original subject, a movie treatment serves to introduce children to the character, and film makers hope that a profitable franchise is born.  

Now The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was a gem in the 1960’s, and has already been subjected to a movie treatment.  Besides introducing us to Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle Moose, the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show had other unrelated ‘toon features that included Dudley Do-Right and Peabody’s Improbable History segments.  Mr. Peabody was a talking, bespectacled, intellectual white dog who in a role reversal had an adopted boy, Sherman.  Through use of a time machine, Peabody and Sherman would travel back in time in episodes to encounter memorable historical figures, teaching Sherman of their significance and at times benevolently influencing the turn of events.  

Based on these memorable offbeat characters, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an American 3D computer-animated adventure-comedy produced by DreamWorks Animation, and involves Sherman’s misuse of the WABAC time machine with subsequent efforts by Peabody and Sherman to put things back on track before the space-time continuum is destroyed, a problem common in science fiction.  As with the original shorts, the film is described as sweet-natured and amusing, with enough witty touches to keep adults entertained as well.  In theaters March 7th…

Love Stinks!

August 24, 2013

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 – – Skunks often get the short end of the stick because of their stink, but Pepe Le Pew is one of the few cartoon characters fighting for skunk liberation, to say nothing of the male libido…

…a second tier yet memorable Warner Bros. character, Pepe was a stereotypic Frenchman in the same manner that Speedy Gonzalez was a stereotypic Mexican. Pepe would perpetually stroll about Paris in the spring, foisting his totally unwelcome romantic attentions upon an unfortunate black feline, Penelope Pussycat, whom Pepe would always mistake to be a female skunk. Penelope’s resemblance to a skunk was often generated by some plot device such as the cat crawling under a freshly painted white fence, and emerging with a white stripe down her back; Pepe was readily deceived, perhaps because of his own eagerness. Much of the ensuing cartoon antics would then center about Pepe’s persistent pursuit of the misperceived female, and her frantic efforts to escape his amorous intentions.

Little would deter or dissuade the amorous French skunk, even acts of physical violence against himself by the cat, which Pepe interpreted as playing “hard to get.”  Pepe’s self-assurance and rock-solid sexual confidence always propelled him forward, with reality seldom intruding on his belief systems; he was a soft-core sexual predator unaware of his own repugnancy for whom the pursuit was everything. The Pepe Le Pew cartoons traded in absurdity, and perhaps resonated within any person who had ever experienced an irrational and hopeless love attraction or been the recipient of unwanted romantic advances…

Maxwell “Bestiality” Backlash…

July 6, 2013

20130706-080812.jpg – – Although I never cease to be amazed at the things which offend some people and cause them to go on the warpath, cute, cuddly Geico spokesman Maxwell the pig seems an unlikely target. He’s sweet, innocent, resourceful, and just trying to make his way in the world like the rest of us.

Nonetheless, this unlikely target has at least in some of his commercials drawn the ire of certain far right groups, including the conservative group One Million Moms, which reports having received numerous complaints over such ads as the one depicting Maxwell parked in a car on a date with a girl. The female in question appears, shall we say, to wish to advance their relationship to the next level. Maxwell, the hip but at times clueless innocent, occupies himself instead with a phone app game of “Fruit Ninja.” Not amused, the One Million Moms group sees the commercial as promoting bestiality, termed it repulsive and unnecessary, and wished to see it pulled from airing immediately.

Puh-leeze! While there’s some innuendo going on in the commercial, it’s light-hearted, and so ridiculous as to be more absurd than shocking.  Humor when devoid of any satirical content fast becomes bland and meaningless.  One might also argue that Maxwell in unintentionally or otherwise blocking his date’s advances has substituted a more “wholesome” activity, yet we do not see conservative watchdog groups marketing Maxwell chastity rings. The group in question also objected on similar grounds to a Skittles commercial featuring a girl and a walrus.

To paraphrase an old popular song, all we are saying…is give pigs a chance! And some people need to find better things to occupy their time as well…