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    You WIll Need To Reset Your Password!!!

    We just moved hosts on this system, and this has caused a few updates. One is the way we encode and store the encoded passwords.

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    Dave Koch
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The Girlfriend Complex

Discussion in 'Other / Multiple Studios' started by Dave Koch, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

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    Before I start this rant off, I would like to come with a disclaimer: no, I am not a misogynist and I have absolutely nothing against female cartoon characters per se. I would really like to say I am completely neutral, but that would be a blatant lie as there's probably something subconscious making me prefer male characters as main characters. Anyway, this is something that's been on my mind since I saw Space Jam a couple years ago (yeah I think I've seen it before that as well, but that must have been so many years ago I cannot remember it, and back then my sense of what's good entertainment was likely not very refined), and even though I know many have sentimental feelings towards it I can not refrain for saying what I feel, even though that particular movie is not the main subject in my post.

    What I want to say is that the studios should stop adding nigh pointless female characters to act as girlfriends for famous cartoon characters. An example of that is Lola Bunny. No, I am not just disliking the current incarnation of her; I think the character should have never been created in the first place.

    In Space Jam, she basically acts like an easily angered feminist, to exaggerate a little. No, it is not too much to ask that Bugs and the others should not use terms as "doll" when referring to her. But I don't like the way she reacts before they have even been acquainted for a little while. If she reacted that harshly about every potentially sexist comment from strangers I shudder to think what her blood pressure levels must be. And later, without too many events in-between warranting such a change of heart, she suddenly falls for him and they kiss. D'aaaw. No. It's more like d'oh. Saw that coming a mile away, and my suspicions of a flimsy and pretty stupid character were confirmed. Basically, the movie makers wanted to portray her (somewhat cliché in my opinion trying to create a "perfect" female) as a strong, intelligent and independent female, but ended up creating an athletically strong, but emotionally weak irrational airhead. If anything, the new Lola in TLTS is at least loony, but even there they botched what made her funny in the first place with the way she stalked Bugs, and made her his girlfriend, even though he reluctantly agreed to the arrangement. After that it seemed to me like they were just making her stupid, silly (and not in a fun way) and annoyingly happy about herself.

    They continue the trend in The Looney Tunes Show with Tina Russo. Okay, she is definitely more likable than Lola, but even she seems to have been tacked on to Daffy just to complain about him and make him look stupid. Not good.

    Now, I appreciate the fact that many other infamous cartoon characters have their respective girlfriends. Mickey has Minnie, Donald has Daisy, Porky has Petunia, but even those iconic female characters seems to be there mostly to create some sort of simplistic plot, not to be enjoyed on their own as truly independent characters. Minnie were first and foremost created as a damsel in distress, and has sometimes been used to shout at Mickey, often when there are circumstances where Mickey is not at fault. The latter is actually pretty clever since it shows that a story can have two sides and being angry at someone before you have heard their version is not commendable. Daisy were first and foremost created to shout at Donald, often deservedly so, but she seems to be even harder to please and creates a certain disdain for her as a person. Ah well, Daisy picks on Donald and Donald picks on his nephews, so I guess it's only fair that Donald gets a difficult girlfriend. Secondary she's also been used as a damsel in distress, albeit maybe less so than Minnie. Petunia... well, to be honest, I have not seen that many of the early Porky Pig cartoons, but my impression is that she's generally been used as a damsel in distress.

    Those classic characters were mainly created as damsels in distress, and that's all fine and well considering the time they were created. But why tack girlfriends now onto characters that didn't have any initially? Why create Lola when she's either an airhead with attitude or an airhead with air scooped on air, with a sprinkle of air as toppings? Why create Tina, when Daffy can be made fun of perfectly simple without her? It seems like they were created just to even out the amount of males vs. females, or as a way to create a girlfriend complex for Porky, when the sad irony is that he was the only one with a somewhat regularly used mate (regular enough to warrant a name, at least).

    Now, on a more positive note: Babs Bunny. She is, to me, the best female cartoon character I've ever seen while still being the de facto girlfriend of another great character. She is more character than girlfriend, while I can still enjoy seeing the relationship between them, especially since Buster takes it pretty lightly while Babs is driven to even higher amounts of craziness by him not responding as she wants. He doesn't treat her badly either; he just takes it cool. And while she has legitimate reasons to be mad at him at times, the reverse is also true since she "just can't help" herself. In other words, a balanced yet insane character which in a cartoon context makes perfect sense. She is more of a character than Lola will ever be, and in my opinion more of a character than what most of the classic females have been. Granted, I have not seen everything Disney have done with them since that would require a lifetime study. Anyway, Tiny Toons would have been more dull if Babs were not there than if Buster weren't there. But that doesn't make Buster deadweight either. With Tiny Toon Adventures, the writers have shown that you don't need an either-or situation with one character taking the entire backseat and another one grab all the attention and interesting character traits.

    Another good female character I've seen very recently is Rebecca Cunningham from TaleSpin. She isn't Baloo's girlfriend, and tends to complain a lot, but at least she has genuine reasons to since she is his boss. In other words, a character that you need a bit of time to like since she can seem a bit annoying to begin with, but she actually has some faults of her own and depths to be explored character-wise. And not much of the damsel in distress thing going on there.

    To sum it up: don't create girlfriends for cartoon characters that's been going strong for 50 years without any steady ones, and at the very least try to make them interesting and not just as cheap plot fillers and finger-pointers at the male characters. With TLTS they did try with Lola, and they should be applauded for the effort. But they still missed the main point: a character should be interesting enough on its own before pairing it with another character, at least if it's a revered and iconic one and they're not creating a clear side-character. If they actually want to give their iconic characters girlfriends as proper side-characters don't spend a lot of time on them and do as WB did with Petunia back in the day: fill one role and use them sparingly.

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