Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Top Ten Favorite Cartoon Characters

This list is the product of a conservative Baby Boomer upbringing.  I have not had much experience with the post modernist “adult” cartoons and anime’ genre’.  Just not interested.  I pay homage to one modern animated series that seems to me articulate and funny (especially if you grew up in East Texas), but I draw the line on, potty mouthed delinquents, floating french fries and shape-shifting wads of meat.

#10  Elmer Fudd has to be included because he was part of the greatest cartoon trilogy of all time – The Rabbit Season Trilogy by Chuck Jones.  “I’m hunting wabbits!  Hu, hu, hu, hu…..”

#9  Boris Badenof and Natasha Fatale.  I just loved these two evil nitwits.  Rocky and Bullwinkle were better than they were thanks to the quality of their adversaries.  Natasha’s “Borees, dahlink,” in that husky Lauren Bacall voice was classic.

#8  Hank Hill.  Hank, the slow talking patriarch of the Hill Clan in “King of the Hill” never quite understands the world around him.  Hank wants to live quietly and nobody will let him do it. I tend to be more like one of the characters that disturb his calm, but I can certainly sympathize with the poor schmuck that has to put up with people like us.  That’s Hank. The stream of life isn't really passing him by. He just doesn’t like having to take off his shirt to go swimming in it.

#7  Donald Duck.  I have known Donald Ducks in my life.  Donald taught me how to ignore those “Donalds” when they went all berserk and unintelligible. Donald teaches us that uncontrolled anger makes you stupid and doesn’t really solve anything.

#6  Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown may be the “Charlie Browniest”, but I run a close second.  I’ve earned that nickname several times in my life and so my sympathies definitely lie with Charlie – the true believe and last original innocent.

#5  Snoopy.  I like Snoopy.  He doesn’t say a word but he has such a rich fantasy life, you have to admire him  Charles Schulz has to have known a beagle personally.  He wonderfully captured their strange “secret life” away from their human companions.  My beagle Suzy used to sit on the upstairs deck and do the “vulture” thing and I never have figured out what she did all day sniffing around in the woods.  I can imagine her as the WWI flying ace sneaking back to the pub for a root beer after being shot down by the Red Baron.  Schulz nailed it!

#4  Bugs Bunny.  Bugs irritates me with his cocky attitude, but as a rabbit just trying to get to the end of the picture without getting shot, you have to root for him.  Besides, he’s had some of the best lines in the history of cartoons.
       “Of course you realize this means war!” - Bugs Bunny

#3  Daffy Duck. I know this is heretical, but I actually like Daffy better than Bugs. Daffy, like Wiley Coyote is a victim of his own hubris.  Constantly snared in traps set by his own ego, whether destroying himself all on his own as Duck Dodgers or as Bugs Bunny’s perfect foil in the perfect cartoon, Rabbit Seasonings, Daffy is fall on the floor funny.

“Poor old Bugs. But, anyway you look at it, it's better HE should suffer. After all, it was me or him, and obviously it couldn't be me. It's a simple matter of logic. I'm not like other people, I can't stand pain, it hurts me.”  - Daffy Duck

#2  Mickey Mouse, uncle Walt’s wistful alter ego, revolutionized the animation industry and set cartoons on the path to greatness.  Besides, Mickey’s outings were genuinely funny for all that he was a pioneer.

#1  Wiley Coyote – Genius.  Poor Wiley is the most inept evil genius ever to grace a movie or television screen.  Chuck Jones’ poignant masterpiece reached the apex of comedic timing in his epic battles with the simple, yet speedy Road Runner.

*Author's note:  I realize I've left out the modern giants like Homer and Bart Simpson, Eric Cartman and Stewie Griffin, but I can't watch those guys. When the language and themes of an animated series get to be too ugly for me to watch, it kind of puts them out of the running for all their postmodern witticism.

© 2009 by Tom King

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