Monday, July 09, 2018

Pepe Le Pew

Pepe Le Pew is a cartoon character. Depending on your age you might never have heard of him. He was introduced by Warner Brothers in 1945 and has made numerous appearances in Looney Tunes.

You’re probably not going to be seeing much of him these days. He’s become very non-PC.

Pepe is an amorous skunk who is always on the make. He fancies himself a great suave French lover (accent and everything) and is hopelessly in love with a black female cat he mistakes for a skunk. He is completely lovesick to where he’s always stalking her, trying to sweep her into his arms, and the joke of course is that he’s a skunk and she’s repulsed. In short, he’s the poster skunk for sexual harassment.

But that’s today. In 1949 a Pepe Le Pew cartoon won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. Today he’s a predator, back then he was a “ladies man.”

Several years ago, in my first play, A OR B? I made a Pepe Le Pew reference and it consistently got a big laugh. Bigger than I would have expected. So for fun I slipped a Pepe Le Pew joke into my next play. Same thing. Loud laugh. At that point I became curious. Was the name just funny? Was it such an absurd putdown to compare someone to him?  Why were people laughing at the mere mention of Pepe Le Pew? 

In any event, it’s now become kind of a running joke. I put a Pepe Le Pew reference into every full-length play (except one) and he appears in a number of my one-acts as well.  The one play he doesn’t appear in is OUR TIME but only because I couldn’t find an appropriate place for it and I will never just shoehorn in a joke.

But I wondered if the Pepe Le Pew jokes would work as well today in this new #MeToo era. A couple of weeks ago I had a one-act play in a festival in Brooklyn that did have a Pepe Le Pew joke. Now bear in mind I’m more than willing to remove them if they’re now deemed inappropriate. They’re just silly jokes. But guess what, both performances I saw, Pepe still got laughs.

Sometimes things work in comedy that are hard to explain. When I’m running a writers room and someone pitches a joke and the whole room breaks into laughter I tell the writers assistant to put it in just like that. Upon reflection maybe the syntax is wrong or something about it seems off, but my feeling is however it was pitched got a laugh so go with that and don’t bother analyzing why it worked when it shouldn’t have.

Pepe Le Pew is now an obscure reference and no longer acceptable in society. And yet, as I was watching the Grand Rapids production of OUR TIME I was thinking to myself – there’s gotta be a place for a Pepe Le Pew joke in here somewhere.

56 comments :

Gary Campbell said...

Le puff, le pant!

Peter said...

What may save Pepe from the PC police, what keeps the humor from being creepy, is that he is so over-the-top delusionally inept. We laugh at latter-day Daffy because he's obviously not as cool as he thinks he is; so it is with Pepe.

Anonymous said...

Of course as with so many WB characters, Pepe was a take-off on a popular actor of the day, Charles Boyer.
For those who are too young, Boyer was the prototypical French lover, and the fact that Pepe was a skunk and inept, while all the time fancying himself irresistible, was part of the joke.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

The delusional and creepy behavior of Howard Wolowitz in the first few seasons of THE BIG BANG THEORY is still funny. What I think really wasn't that funny at the time and is aging badly soon afterwards is Barney in the later seasons of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. Joey in FRIENDS slept with women and didn't call them later, but he was at least shown to be good-hearted, if cowardly. Barney was both predatory and deceptive, giving false identities and literally tricking women into sleeping with him.

wg

James Van Hise said...

Jon Stewart once commented on the fact that Niktoons wouldn't show Speedy Ganzales cartoons because they were offensive stereotypes but the network had no problem with what Jon called "The Pepe Le Pew No Means Yes Hour."

Elden Rhoads said...

Pepe Le Pew’s creators may have been visionaries. Through comedy, they demonstrate how obnoxious men can be when they pursue women. It’s pretty obvious Pepe doesn’t have the moves down. And everyone (other than incels) sympathize with Penelope Pussycat as she tries to escape his clutches. These days, Pepe Le Pew cartoons could be used as sexual harassment training videos. And the message has more impact, because it’s delivered through comedy. Today’s generation can still relate to a male with a heightened sense of his own appeal ignoring a woman’s not-so-subtle message to leave her alone. The theme may be viewed through a fresh lens, but it still reflects a real world view. Plus, it’s common knowledge Penelope was paid a fraction of what Pepe received.

Coram_Loci said...

As a child you see only the cartoon’s humorous depiction of unwanted and inept romantic encounters – and so you laugh.
As an adult you see the cartoon and life’s ugly reality, but you allow yourself to laugh because you can make the distinction between a cartoon skunk and real-life predator.
As a PC warrior, you see the politics, and you can’t or won’t make meaningful distinctions or acknowledge degrees.

Don’t let censorious scolds keep you from laughing.

Viva Le Pew.

Kosmo13 said...

I remember Pepe LePew also being funny when referenced on Cheers.

Janet Ybarra said...

Also, what's the demographic of the plays in question? Baby Boomers are more likely to remember the cartoon perhaps and laugh rather than say, Millennials, who are more likely to be social media conscious of #MeToo.

And also, as been mentioned, perhaps he's a predator...but an inept predator.

It's actually a bit of a parallel to HOGAN'S HEROES. The idea of making a comedy about Nazis did not initally sit well. You have to remember that in the '60s WWII was still a raw thing with an entire population of death camp survivors.

The only way HOGAN'S HEROES got the green light was a) the Germans were actually played by actors of Jewish extraction and b) the Nazis had to be played as totally bumbling and inept.

Michael said...

Chuck Jones, who created him with writer Michael Maltese, said that Pepe considered himself irresistible to women. There is ONE Pepe cartoon in which he realizes that he isn't--and Jones didn't direct it. Yes, Pepe isn't PC, and shouldn't have been then. But can't we laugh at male stupidity when it's animated?

Mike Barer said...

Same with the dirty old man in Laugh In.

Steve Bailey said...

I think most of the best stuff in Looney Tunes wouldn't pass muster with the PC police today. Speedy Gonzales is supposedly a Mexican stereotype, except that he always outsmarts the cats who are in pursuit of him. And how can we laugh at Daffy Duck continually getting shot by Elmer Fudd?

Glenn said...

Dave Chapelle had the best joke about when he tried to introduce his nephew to Pepe Le Pew because he always found him funny. After a few minutes, all he could think was 'what kind of rapist is this guy?"

Jeff said...

Some jokes seem to be like that. Sometime last year I saw a show that worked in a "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" joke and it got a big laugh. Lord only know how old that reference is. It has to be long past its expiration date. But apparently still works.

(For the uninitiated: that's when you have three people sitting in a row and one covers their eyes, the next covers their ears, and the last covers their mouth. Maybe it's just funny-looking on its own, but audiences still laugh like they know what it means.)

E. Yarber said...

When the character was introduced, audiences recognized him as a parody of Charles Boyer's overwrought romantic style, the name a specific reference to the Pepe le Moko character Boyer had played in ALGIERS. ("Come wiz me to ze Casbah.")

The studio got more mileage out of a similarly derivative character, Foghorn Leghorn (based, though they denied it, on the popular Senator Claghorn from THE FRED ALLEN SHOW), because there was really only one story to le Pew. As such, the skunk only turned up (noses) in a short once a year or so. He was never really pushed as a major player, and collecting his appearances in one chunk results in a very repetitious experience.

Given that some of the racist imagery of the cartoons has been cited for decades now, I somehow doubt Pepe going to be a flashpoint for outrage at this time. There are much more pressing issues in the present day. He's more likely to be a straw man for "Look out intolerant those crazy liberals are" arguments.

And you should give yourself more credit. There's plenty of room for a le Pew cameo in OUR TIME, between Doug's frantic attraction to a co-worker (with toxic extremes) to Bobby's fear that there's something repulsive about himself to women that he hasn't noticed. Just follow the scent.

Covarr said...

The only reason Pepe Le Pew ever worked, and the reason he kind of still does, is because he's not the hero of his own cartoons. He's like Wile E. Coyote: He's the bad guy, and we delight in seeing him get his comeuppance. I would think the obvious message of these cartoons is "This doesn't work; try respecting women instead." It's hard to get offended by that.

Baylink said...

Do you actually have evidence, Ken, for "Pepe Le Pew is no longer acceptable in American society"? Or are you merely speculating there? I concur with Peters view on it, actually.

Tudor Queen said...

I remember Pepe quite fondly. I always felt sorry for the female cat, not because she was being harassed but because when she invariably made some sort of accommodation to deal with his scent - running through a Limburger cheese factory so she'd smell bad, too - he'd just done something to remove or neutralize his own scent and didn't want her anymore. In one cartoon she had been so lonely that she was about to throw herself into the Seine in despair and the cartoon ended with her back on the bridge.

Yes, I took my cartoons very seriously back then. Hated Tweety bird for his attempts to get Sylvester thrown out of good homes, even when Sylvester was trying to reform.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

"You’re probably not going to be seeing much of him these days. He’s become very non-PC.


My cousin actually brought this up in conversation at Thanksgiving dinner years ago, saying he unearthed an old VHS tape from his childhood with Looney Tunes on it, and after looking through it, he said, "You know, you really don't think about these things as a kid, but Pepe LePew was a bit of a rapist, wasn't he?"

Andrew said...

I know a few Hispanic-Americans who loved Speedy Gonzales growing up. They did not consider him a negative stereotype at all. They also loved Slowpoke Rodriguez.

It does trouble me when white people are offended on behalf of people from another race or culture, without realizing that their presumptions are a form of bigotry. The Chinese prom dress incident is a recent example. Actual Chinese people here and abroad loved that the teen wore it, and rejected the backlash against it. They wrote her letters of appreciation. Those who were offended by it tended to be white people, from what I could tell.

Dhruv said...

I found pepe-le-pew cartoons to be repetitive so generally skipped them. Even the voice of Mel Blanc was just not so funny or distinctive. His other voices, barring Coyote, I loved for the way he made them funny.

The movies made by WB grouping together many cartoons and having some peripheral story line to string together all those original cartoons, would have Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Tweety, Porky as major characters but pepe-le-pew would be missing or even if included, it would be just one cartoon.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Another reason that Pepe Le Pew isn't P.C. is because so many FRENCH people find him insulting. They don't have a problem with his womanizing.
However, more than a few believe that the fact that he's a skunk is a derrogotory reference to French hygiene. That is, the stereotype that the French rarely bathe and therefore stink. I once met a French guy on a set. I forgot how the subject came up. But, he was convinced that Pepe was a deliberate slur. He said, "...Le Pew! We know what that means." I won't get into the validity of it, but unless one of your plays is going to open in France (or maybe Quebec) I think your safe. By the way, I don't remember hearing a Pepe Le Pew reference in any of your plays. Was it in connection with a horney guy or a smelly foreigner?
M.B.

Janet Ybarra said...

Actually, compared to some other TV fare, Pepe was kinda tame. You want to talk rapist? Remember the the whole Luke and Laura thing from GENERAL HOSPITAL?

We'll, Luke actually did rape Laura.... that's how they met. And 35-odd years ago it was ok to go from rape to falling in love, to the biggest TV wedding of its day.

See if *that* would fly today? Uh, don't think so.

Anonymous said...

I'm 26 and I know of Pepe Le Pew. Not sure if he's still around. I think the problem for him is that there were far superior characters. Whenever he was on screen, attention would inevitably wander until Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck etc etc came back.

As for people finding it funny, I think the whole 'society is filled with hypersensitive snowflakes' narrative is massively overblown. The vast majority of regular people are still willing to make (or at the very least, laugh at) jokes that cross many lines.

E. Yarber said...

For what it's worth, John Cleese went on another abusive rant about the Belgians via Twitter, playing with his previous "attacks" on the country to congratulate their win during the World Cup.

While knocking off a commenter who accused him of racism, he also took time to respond to someone playing the "Snowflakes" argument.

Yes I've heard this word. I think sociopaths use it in an attempt to discredit the notion of empathy https://twitter.com/steven_nokes/status/1015881819567415296 …

Tom said...

Picking up on the Hogan's Heroes reference above, one might think a WWII American airman who was shot down, captured and spent a year in a Nazi POW camp might not find the show funny ... but my father's uncle, the airman mentioned above, thought it was hilarious. So who knows.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the opinion expressed above: you're getting laughs because most people with a sense of humor have not bought into the scold culture.


Sean

Dhruv said...

Since today's blog is about cartoons, thought I would ask the question I wanted to ask for a long time.

Why do many people in Hollywood hate Disney?

Family guy makes a whole lot of parody about them and none of them paints them good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4ORtYcVaPQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EFA5p4WwXQ

Oscar hosts like Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg too made fun of them in their monologues. Billy about Walt and Whoopi about Euro Disney, I think.

Is it because, as many say in YouTube comments, that the animators hate them for improper pay /outsourcing their jobs and working for them is a painful experience?

I did see the other reasons why the public hates them on other sites, just wanted to know from a Hollywood insider perspective.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Long before there was Hogan's Heroes there was Stalag 17.
It's not a comedy, but it has a number of comedic elements that HH adopts.
I think Billy Wilder knew what he was doing.

Mibbitmaker said...

Similar to Pepe LePew, Bluto from the Popeye cartoons can also be seen as a controversial figure. In that case, though, he's a villain, ultimately defeated by Popeye, so that dynamic cuts the cartoons some slack (if they necessarily need any).

Speaking of Looney Tunes cartoons with questionable taste, I saw the last hour of the Today show this morning, with Kathie Lee's return from making a movie with Craig Ferguson (way underrated as a late night talk show host!) in Scotland. I therefore learned something I didn't know before: "fudd" is a Scottish slang for vagina! There was no mention of the obvious connection on the show, oddly enough.


Seeing ol' Elmer in a different light nowadays!

Dr Loser said...

I may have skimmed through the comments above -- I admit it.

But, seriously Pepe le Pew getting the hammer for being non-PC? I beg leave to doubt that. I think you're stretching here, Ken.

There are definite cases of Warner cartoons being "banned" or rather "too awful to show, my dear," and for some reason a lot of them involve Bugs Bunny. Last time I looked, there were twelve shorts featuring our favorite smart-arse rabbit that are no longer let out of the stables of whomever holds the rights. (Strangely, the brilliant Wagner parody seems to get a pass.)

But Pepe? If it happens at all, it's purely because Americans hate the French. And I'd still like to see evidence, rather than paranoia.

Brian said...

Hi Ken - off-topic question for you: have you seen the HD remasters of MASH running on Hulu, and do you have thoughts on the show being reframed to 16x9?

Colin Stratton said...

My initial reaction was, "Oh, give me a fucking break and lighten up!" But after further reflection, I can see how he would be considered offensive. Besides,I never cared much for Pepe anyway. Now if you go after Bugs, then them are fighten' words!

Liggie said...

Another reason for viewing Pepe as a klutz instead of a Romeo: He almost never realizes Penelope isn't a skunk, but a cat. She has entirely black fur, but unwittingly ends up getting a skunk-like white streak on her back (e.g. walking under a white park bench without noticing the "Le Wet Paint" sign). Pepe then enters the scene, sees her with that white streak, and then commences the wooing.

I think only once did Pepe notice she wasn't a skunk. I remember a cartoon where she fell into a swimming pool escaping him, the paint washed off, and Pepe wondering what happened to her streak.

@Mike Barer, Arte Johnson's "Laugh-In" dirty old man -- the wonderfully named Tyrone Horneigh -- always fell victim to several purse-beatings from Ruth Buzzi's Gladys Ormphby. Was there ever a sketch that didn't feature him falling to the ground slo-mo in pain?

sanford said...

I wonder if at times we are becoming a little bit too PC. Pepe was funny. Nice Charles Boyer reference I forgot about that. Perhaps your audience laughs because they are older and get it. I wish I would have read this before talking to my 34 year old son. I wonder if he ever saw the Loony Toons cartoons.

Janet Ybarra said...

Wendy, to me Howard character occasionally went so far on the creepiness meter that it rendered him basically unlikeable and nearly unwatchable.

I'm glad Chuck Lorre, et Al. toned him down.

E. Yarber said...

Here's a series examining genuinely offensive cartoons that have been withdrawn from circulation. Pep is nowhere at this level.

http://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/category/christopher-p-lehman/

I suspect the cadre of killjoys being knee-jerk censorious about "PC" are more of an imaginary image some people use to project sour-faced prudes that make them look like jolly free-spirits. Of course, when a public figure tweets material from Nazi websites, it's not so jolly.

There was that case a while back where you got a lot of nonsense about being racist for making jokes about black presenters at an awards show, but I didn't see that as legitimate politics as much as online trolls playing manipulative games. Things like that get played from any angle the users can find to needle the target. I remember a guy who used to do the same routine in real life, going after me for my politics and another co-worker for being Catholic. He'd wind up contradicting himself between the two of us, but he wasn't trying to be logical, just show us he was above everyone.

Jeff Boice said...

The Pepe cartoon which won the Oscar (For Scent-imental Reasons) does turn the premise upside-down: by the end, its Penelope who is pursuing a panicked Pepe. The really crazy one is where Pepe pursues an escaped wildcat. She repeatedly mauls him-and he likes it!

I remember watching Pepe cartoons on French TV in the mid 80's. I wondered how well they worked, since skunks aren't native to Europe, and half the fun is all that phony French double-talk. Still Pepe on French TV wasn't as weird as seeing Hogan's Heroes on German TV.

Andy Rose said...

Ironically, the first appearance of Pepe Le Pew is completely different from all the others. A male cat deliberately disguises himself as a skunk to avoid hostile dogs, and Pepe romantically pursues *him*. (I assume the idea is that Pepe mistakenly believes the “skunk” is female, although I don’t think he ever says that.) Then the surprise ending is that “Pepe” is actually a married American skunk named Henry who was just putting on the Boyer act to go catting around (no pun intended). The Pepe character turned out to be more popular than Jones expected, so they retconned him to be an actual French skunk so he could become a recurring character.

Darryl said...

Ken,

I see no evidence that Pepe LePew has been censored anywhere. The cartoons still play on Boomerang's twice-daily airings of Looney Tunes, which I watch with my son sometimes. Granted, they don't turn up nearly as often as, say, Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck, but then there aren't that many Pepe cartoons. Though the character had been around since the mid-'40s, the series proper didn't really get rolling until the late '40s, and they rarely made more than one a year into the early 1960s, as the formulaic nature of the cartoons didn't lend itself to heavy repetition. Over a dozen of the Pepe cartoons are readily available to subscribers of Boomerang's streaming app, and trust me, Boomerang's streaming app is VERY child/family-oriented. Warner also released every one of the Pepe's on DVD two or three years ago.

Warner can and does withdraw cartoons, generally those featuring African American and Native American characters, but there's not one bit of evidence to support the notion that Pepe has been censored. People are always talking about Speedy Gonzales being censored, though his cartoons are still very much in evidence on the Boomerang Looney Tunes broadcasts, so I'm not sure what people base that statement on. A number of the Speedy cartoons have been released on DVD, too.

With all due respect, I think you're buying into paranoia about political correctness run rampant.

Even my wife, who's not much of an animation person, is amused by some of Pepe's overripe amorous dialogue. ("You may call me Streetcar, because of my desire for you.")

Dana said...

Some changes to old cartoons don't bother me. For example, a few years ago they redubbed the black maid, known to fans as Mammy Two-Shoes, who appears in many of the old Tom and Jerry cartoons to eliminate her stereotyped negro dialect. For example, the line, "Thomas, if you is a mouse catcher, I is Lana Turner--which I ain't," became, "Thomas, if you're a mouse catcher, I'm Lana Turner--which I'm not." Those redubbed versions are the ones you see on broadcast TV, but the originals are the ones available on DVD. As long as the originals remain available, I don't see any harm in making changes like that.

It's hard to justify plopping children down to watch old cartoons that display some truly racist traits. Like the Mr. Magoo cartoons that were made for TV in the early 1960s. Magoo has a Chinese houseboy named Charlie (he calls himself "Chollie"), who comes complete with buck teeth and pig tail and speaks in a thick comic Chinese dialect that leaves him unable to pronounce the letter "R" ("Watch out, Missa Magloo, you get in tlouble!").

Janet Ybarra said...

Some of it may be PC but humor also is reflective of the culture, which certainly does change.

For instance, I think, in general, jibes based on ethnicity has largely fallen out of favor, and I think rightfully so.

Same much more recently with sexual/gender orientation. For instance, Michael Richards went on that unfortunate racist rant and he immediately found himself radioactive for some time.

That's like today I don't think you could remake MASH with a direct analog to Klinger since society's views on transgender Americans have evolved. Indeed, gay and transgender Americans have served in the military.

Kristen Beck is a perfect example. She was a decorated SEAL before coming out as transgender. And I wouldn't mess with her as I'm sure she can kill you with your own tongue.

That doesn't diminish comedy...it just means finding it perhaps in more life-affirming ways.

For example, Ben Bailey, the host of the game show CASH CAB, says he was initially encouraged to heckle and denigrate contestants who got wrong answers.

He said no way he would do that and is funny in his own way.

Donald Benson said...

Sexual politics in old cartoons: A male desperately trying to impress a female; a male just too enthusiastic about a female (Even Mickey could be downright adolescent, putting Minnie on giggling defense); two males in competition for a female (either as comic rivals or hero versus villain); a married male versus his henpecking or merely unimpressed mate; or a world were females barely figure (except as mothers, housekeepers, annoying little girls, etc.).

Betty Boop was sometimes an exception. Koko and/or Bimbo often had to rescue her, usually ending in a clinch with Bimbo but occasionally Koko -- How many cartoon heroines played the field? (in time Koko and Bimbo were replaced by Fearless Fred, a parody melodrama hero) She'd also stand apart from all that as a performer / emcee, or a straight woman to other characters. Like Mickey Mouse, she was ultimately reduced to supporting her pet dog. In one late entry she introduced Sally Swing, an obvious jitterbug replacement for the Boop-a-Doop flapper. Sally never got a second appearance; Betty herself was retired not long after.

The various cuties in the Tex Avery wolf toons were song-and-dance acts for the wolf to react to. If there was plot beyond that, it would mostly focus on other characters (a few shorts had the wolf abandoning his pursuit of the babe to escape a gleefully man-crazy old lady). Disney did a Chip and Dale short, "Two Chips and a Miss", clearly modeled on the Avery toons: The chipmunks separately slip out to a chipmunk night club, where they get worked up over the chipmunk chanteuse and join her for a number. It wasn't Avery-level lechery. It wasn't even Donald Duck-level ...

... What was my point?

Donald Benson said...

JY: If you kept MASH in the Korean War, Klinger would still work: He's a straight draftee playing "crazy" to get sent home (when MASH was on, he couldn't pretend to be gay or feminine. He always played against his wardrobe). Today, in the all-volunteer force, you lose the fact of him being there unwillingly (although I understand they sometimes make it hard to get out). I don't think society's views would kill the character -- Klinger was a mockery of military rules, and a nod to Catch-22 (anybody who wants out isn't crazy). A lot of MASH's satiric energy was directed at how war and Army bureaucracy were often the opposite of what reasonable people accepted.

A modern-day Klinger, somehow committed to a long hitch, might well capitalize on current attempts to bar gays and transgenders. There could be comedy in surrounding him with gays and transgenders fighting to stay in, and fighting his discharge in the belief they're helping him.

Tom Galloway said...

I recall a WSJ article of some years ago about how Hogan's Heroes had turned out to be very popular in Germany, with one reason given that they'd rewritten the German's parts in translation such that they were even more incompetent and stupid than in the American version.

Donald Benson said...

Some years back there'd be a different answer to that question. Disney product symbolized a certain vision of middle-class America: secure, affluent, and very clean. Coming out of a depression and a war, people embraced it, no questions asked. Later, as little mousekateers grew up, they rebelled against a corrupt establishment. And Disney was a handy symbol of same. A dirty drawing of Mickey was as political as a satire of Nixon.

Today: Being scrappy and tough is admired when you're the underdog. When you're the biggest kid on the block -- and Disney is rapidly becoming just that -- being scrappy and tough to a world of little guys is the opposite of admirable. Walt Disney went from hard-working visionary to micromanaging tyrant in many eyes, even though the one real difference was scale. Micheal Eisner was hailed as the second coming of Walt when he took over the nearly-destroyed Disney company; he suffered the same fall from grace when he turned it into a genuine empire.

One could argue that Disney's corporate sins are no worse that the rest of Hollywood. The difference is, Disney has a face and an identity that no other surviving major studio has. For all the old classics that have come out of MGM. articles about their sins don't open with "Louis B. Mayer, who gave us 'Wizard of Oz', would be appalled ..." When Disney sins, there's inevitably a reference to Mickey Mouse, still a potent symbol of happy kiddie times despite the relentless exploitation. Even in Hollywood, there are still people with a residual nostalgia for Disney and the boomer comfort food he provided. A bad meeting at MGM is exactly that. A bad meeting at Disney is a betrayal of beloved Uncle Walt and all you wanted him to stand for.

Dhruv said...

@ Donald Benson

Thanks for the reply :)

Barry Traylor said...

I like to think that I am liberal but the PC police give me a pain in my funny bone.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Tom Galloway: In the 1990s into the early 2000s I had a satellite dish that got German TV channels. I saw a few of those HOGAN'S HEROES episodes. *So* weird to hear them *dubbed into German*!

wg

Janet Ybarra said...

Donald, Not sure you could remake MASH today in the Korean War... it's now nearly 70 years old. At the time of the original, only 20-30...still within living memory. Not so much anymore.

You might as well set it in Vietnam....if not one of the more recent conflicts. Korea, today, is kinda the forgotten war (except for MASH, which was not exactly historically accurate at all times. For example, although the series says it begins in 1950, in real life draftee doctors didn't begin arriving in-country, I believe, until '51.)

McAlvie said...

IRL a guy stalking a woman is creepy, always. There really aren't any exceptions, although Hollywood sometimes arranges things to make it seem romantic. Well, that's fiction and generally people do know the difference. Generally. Angsty young men don't always get it, but that has more to do with youthful idealism. You do grow out of Romeo and Juliet notions eventually.

Pepe was a clueless cartoon skunk. He was laughable in the same way an Acme anvil dropped on Wiley E. Coyote was funny; because we do recognize the difference between fiction and reality, and in cartoons is always so over the top that it invites laughter. But I'll point out that the cat was forever running away. So maybe there was a lesson there that a lot of people weren't getting.

Donald Benson said...

Both the movie and TV version of MASH freely used Korea as a means of discussing Vietnam. A modern MASH would probably involve some post-Vietnam conflict where the doctors were -- initially, at least -- there because they chose to be there. Things have loosened up to the point where you conceivably get away with setting MASH on a current battlefield.

Donald Benson said...

Just to put a cherry atop this thread:

https://local.theonion.com/romantic-comedy-behavior-gets-real-life-man-arrested-1819565117

Janet Ybarra said...

It's certainly true that after a time Korea was used as an allegory of sorts for Vietnam, although in real life the conflicts were entirely dissimilar. Korea, as was noted many times on MASH, had the support of most of the planet via the UN. In Vietnam, we went largely alone. In Korea, it was aclear case of North/South aggression. In Vietnam, not so much as you had VC working across the south. Vietnam was more acase of fighting for inependence against Western powers.

Woodrow Wilson could have (should have) avoided that entire war, believe it or not. Ho Chi Minh went to Versailles after World War I to seek a meeting with Wilson to enable nable Vietnam Independence from France. Wilson, however, refused to meet so as not to insult his French hosts.

With US turning it's back on him, Ho Chi Minh then went to the only other superpower he knew of to secure backing for Independence: the Soviet Union.

MikeN said...

What were the jokes? Just mention of Pepe Le Pew, or acting out a similar scenario?
I can see how the name can get a laugh without context.

Kaleberg said...

Pepe LePew was never a rapist. He was a stock comedy type, the self absorbed ladies' man, a variation on the miles gloriosus. He even shows up in old Roman plays and skits.