Are Any Screwy Squirrels Popular?:

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I've noticed a lot of these characters have a rather polarizing treatment around here, forums and Youtube, so thought it may make for interesting debate; what do you think of Screwy Squirrel characters? Are there any examples you find likeable or dislikeable?

Examples: Trope Namer, early Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker, Chip N Dale (Depending on the Writer), The Warner Brothers.

edited 11th Aug '12 7:13:14 PM by Psi001

Daffy's polarizing mostly because of Characterization Marches On, and less because he's a screwy squirrel. Others on that list are so because they're more assholes than anything, and often pick on Butt Monkeys rather than have characters that even out sympathy with them (Chip and Dale comes to mind).

But other screwy squirrels, like Droopy, are often commonly well received. The Trope Namer isn't really hated that much, as far as I know, but that's often because of the entirely tongue in cheek nature of his shorts - him unfairly picking on people is part of the point and the ridiculousness of it all is part of the joke.

edited 11th Aug '12 8:14:28 PM by KnownUnknown

"The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense."
- Tom Clancy, paraphrasing Mark Twain.
[up]It's odd because both examples you mentioned are actually two of the more enjoyable examples I've seen.

Daffy Duck is one of the better balanced Screwy Squirrels. His pranks are more harmless than others and he comes off more as a playful Attention Whore than a lot of other more vindictive examples. He also had more pathos than others, even before his renowned character change, and was protected from karma a lot less. While most other Screwy Squirrels got away scot free, Daffy often got caught out when his pranks got too mean spirited (e.g. he won in Daffy Doodles, but largely because his chaos was so minimal and was being persecuted to disproportionate lengths by Porky (wild police chase for drawing mustaches on posters). Woody Woodpecker is somewhat similar, likely because he was based somewhat on Daffy.

Chip N Dale similarly work better because there is more to their character than being jerks (in some cases they are more naive inquisitive animals than ill intentioned), and while they were often the winner in the final outlook they often were bumbling idiots who took as many blows as they dished out. They were a bit insufferable in that they always were the winners in every short, no matter who started the war, but at least they were usually pitted against Donald, who was dickish and formidable enough to dish it back (admitedly against Pluto, who was more pathetic, they came off more as bullies).

A lot of other examples I've seen came off as a bit too sadistic and unsympathetic in their methods, coming off more as bullies who got away with it. A lot of Chuck Jones' works were evident in this (eg. Hubie and Bertie) likely because he wasn't that big on the concept and prefered karmic scenarios. Screwy himself was okay, even if his over the top zaniness got kind of obnoxious at times.

edited 11th Aug '12 8:39:18 PM by Psi001

The problem with Chip 'n Dale is that their schtick was Disproportionate Retribution, and that combined with Donald becoming more and more of a jerkish but still very sympathetic Chew Toy as time went on led to them being portrayed more as assholes than slighted critters looking for retribution. Not that it's not funny, but still.

Daffy as a Screwy Squirrel is still not only one of his better characterizations (imo) but one of the best examples of a Screwy Squirrel done right out there, so no complaints there.
"The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense."
- Tom Clancy, paraphrasing Mark Twain.
I liked Woody Woodpecker as a Screwball, not only because his early cartoons had great comedic timing, but because often he ended up losing quite badly when he stepped past a certain point.
Chip N Dale I think may have worked better if they were allowed to lose the actual short every once in a while. That or they divulged more into their own series that appeared later on rather than placing Donald into the same tired formula over and over.

Jerry is particularly polarizing due to the former problem. People demonize him to extremes for the odd times he picks on Tom and gets away with it. But then again they love the episodes he does but pays for it because it means Tom is allowed to win.

I think one of the bigger critisms with the characters seems to be less their actions, but more they still have all the infallible qualities of a normal karmic hero, hense why Daffy and Woody are more liked.

edited 11th Aug '12 8:48:15 PM by Psi001

Tom was one of the more "truly evil" of all the Screwball's traditional opponents, although still behind guys like Buzz Buzzard or Yosemite Sam. He was perfectly happy with bullying and abusing anyone who was smaller, often with little to no provocation, so I tend to be okay with Jerry humbling him, other than a few cartoons where Jerry really overdoes it (moved by reasons like extreme gluttony or simple girlfriend envy).
...starring Adam Sandler?!
In average, I've found that modern audiences are less tolerant towards "Jerkish" characters. To me, it's kind of missing the point since one thing I truly found funny as hell is see this kind of characters doing horrible stuff that wouldn't fly in Real Life and getting away with it [lol]

A generational gap I guess sad
Likely because Screwy Squirrel characters were more revolutionary at the point they were made, keeping in mind animation was still kind of young so seeing an 'out there' cartoon character pulling all these pranks was likely solid entertainment. After animation aged and characterization became more important, I suppose people realised the karmic undertones and had it toned down. People are used to wacky animation these days so a jerk character is nothing new.

As for Tom and Jerry, I think the point to many was that Tom was a jerk, but he was the villain and the Butt-Monkey, so he rarely if ever got away with it. Jerry was almost always designated as the underdog hero, so on occasion got a free pass for acting as provokative and immoral as he wanted (though again this toned down in later shorts, where they liked to show reprecussions when he took his war with Tom too far).

edited 11th Aug '12 8:57:06 PM by Psi001

Well Screwy Squirrels(like other character types) can get repetitive. I guess I could only watch relentless abuse for so long.
I treat all living things equally. That is to say, I eat all living things
11 0dd112th Aug 2012 09:31:21 AM from Nowhere Land
Just awesome like that
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On the subject of Chip N Dale, the last cartoon in their short-lived series pits them against Pete. Now that I'd have liked to see more of. Pete's bound to inspire much less sympathy than Donald, plus he's a hilarious character they were barely using around that time.

For that matter, Donald Duck himself is in 100% Screwy Squirrel mode in The Vanishing Private. You guys watch that and tell me it isn't the closest our Don got to Daffy.

edited 12th Aug '12 1:46:39 PM by Richie

You know, it'd have been hilarious seeing a Chip and Dale vs. Goofy cartoon where Goofy's clumsiness kept screwing them over without him even realizing they were there.
Perhaps one of the oddest Chip N Dale examples was a House of Mouse short where they were pitted against Mickey, largely because the latter was rarely seen in the "stalked by mischevious animals" scenario the others fell victim and they actually seemed to make him a bit more abrasive and jerkish than usual for the dynamic work.

[up]That would have been an interesting dynamic. There did seem times Donald did a better job screwing them over completely by accident.

I think many sympathised with Donald due to the fact he was never allowed to win over his enemy, even when he deserved it. While even Tom or Elmer Fudd were allowed to get the odd Bone Thrown at them at times, Donald always had to be the Chew Toy and lose, or at the very most come to a truce where neither side was worse off, as such it may be easy to see why many thought his enemies were insufferable since they were always designated to make hell for Donald and get away with it. Bellboy Donald is of the few glorious exceptions.

edited 12th Aug '12 1:59:09 PM by Psi001

[up][up]That's an idea I support with all my might, the concept's pretty fun. Maybe as an ongoing series of pairings it'd get tired, but as a one-shot it'd be amazing. Goofy has yet to interact with Chip N Dale in a short, even in a modern one. Donald's nephews were Screwy Squirrels in some shorts too. The Band Concert presents a very screwy, early version of their uncle.
By my account, there are about 30 cartoons where Donald emerges victorious, is happy by the short's end or he simply doesn't lose. If you look at Donald's filmography, he has at least one such short per year. It's simply a shame he never had an outright victory against Chip N Dale, where it would have been the most satisfying and cathartic.

edited 12th Aug '12 2:06:45 PM by Richie

Surprised by that. Have to look more into his filmography.

Chip N Dale seemed to have a pretty clean winning streak, even in non Donald cartoons. The only exceptions being where both sides came out the same and are nonplussed about it. Granted they took a lot more lumps themselves than regular Screwy Squirrel characters.

edited 12th Aug '12 2:13:51 PM by Psi001


Yeah, those flute antics were pretty funny

I treat all living things equally. That is to say, I eat all living things
Interesting bit about early Bugs Bunny: Tex Avery once pointed out that they had done a cartoon with, I think, a fox protagonist that was released about a month before Bugs's debut. The fox did the same sort of stuff to a hunter that Bugs did in his short, same sort of gags, timing, etc, but the fox is forgotten and Bugs became a star. Go figure, right?
I guess it's because it was a fox as apposed to something else. Part of the appeal of the genre is role reversal, after all.

Then again if it was Fox vs Hunter it would still be role reversal, so... I dunno.

edited 12th Aug '12 10:59:29 PM by KnownUnknown

"The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense."
- Tom Clancy, paraphrasing Mark Twain.
21 0dd112th Aug 2012 11:57:08 PM from Nowhere Land
Just awesome like that
Well, think of it this way: Foxes are usually stereotyped as sly and cunning, while bunnies are seen as innocuous and adorable. One does not expect a bunny to do anything but sit there and look cute or run away if possible, so Bugs does even more of a role reversal than a fox would (especially since foxes are hunting animals).
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[up]I think it was stated that the appeal to the audience at the time was that it was a cute fluffy rabbit going up to a hunter and casually snarking "Eeehhh, what's up doc?".

edited 13th Aug '12 3:27:03 AM by Psi001

23 0dd113th Aug 2012 02:30:34 PM from Nowhere Land
Just awesome like that
There is that, too.
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^^ That's part of the role reversal - something similar to that was explicitly part of the appeal of early Daffy as well.
"The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense."
- Tom Clancy, paraphrasing Mark Twain.
[up][up] Yeah, I've read that too. It's hard to imagine that before Bugs, animal characters pretty much didn't walk up to human characters and start talking to them. We just take it for granted now.

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