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Western Animation / Symphony In Slang

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"What's cooking? How's tricks?" My what a strange language you bring from the earth.
Saint Peter
"He drew a gun on me!"

Symphony In Slang is a 1951 animated short by Tex Avery.

A recently deceased hipster arrives in heaven, but because he speaks in broad euphemisms, St. Peter has some trouble recording his life story. The result is seven straight minutes of literal metaphors, and visual puns.

Tropes present in this short:

  • Black Comedy: After leaving his girlfriend, the Hipster goes to the local malt shop, where a bunch of guys are "hanging around". One of whom by his neck.
  • Brick Joke: In the middle of his story, the Hipster uses the term "Cat got your tongue". After his story, Noah Webster is unable to say anything in response, causing the Hipster ask if the cat had his tongue.
  • Burning with Anger: After seeing his ex-girlfriend going out with an old flame, The Hipster burst into flames for a second for a "That burnt me up" visual pun.
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  • Die Laughing: Upon returning home, the Hipster is shocked to discover that his old girlfriend and the old flame she left him for now have too many children to care for and, as a result, are fat and miserable, and keels over laughing as two undertakers carry him away.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Hipster is held at gunpoint and sent to jail for skimping on a restaurant bill, though the latter might be more justified as he ran from the law.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: This is the story's wrap around, complete with Saint Peter.
  • Gold Digger: Mary is implied to be this. From what we see of her, she stays with the Hipster while he's able to spend money on her, but won't say a word to him once he goes broke and goes to jail. She winds up with a wealthy old flame.
  • Having a Gay Old Time: The main character is credited as "The Hipster", but doesn't resemble the modern definition of the term as someone who is deliberately unfashionable and arrogant. Instead, he's just a white guy who's into jazz and its lingo.
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  • Hipster: As mentioned above, this one is the traditional "white guy who likes jazz" version, not the more contemporary "white guy who likes things ironically" version.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In the end, Mary and the old flame are married, but end up with a bunch of children to take care of, leaving them both fat and miserable.
  • Limited Animation: This was around the time MGM began slashing budgets for their animated shorts, forcing Avery to rely on strong, stylized poses with few in-betweens.
  • Literal-Minded: 50% of the gags are St. Peter and Noah Webster listening to the Hipster's euphemisms and taking them at face value, starting with him being born with a silver spoon in his mouth and growing up overnight.
  • No Name Given: The protagonist is not named in the short. When credited, he's simply called "The Hipster".
  • The One That Got Away: The Hipster is hung up about his girlfriend Mary, who doesn't wait for him when he's in jail and ends up getting married to an old flame.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: One of the visual puns for when the Hipster is on trial.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: Played straight and subverted. The Hipster tells his life story through 1950s slang, but otherwise doesn't say anything funny. It's Noah Webster's literal mindedness that turns every single sentence into a punchline.
  • Totally Radical: The entire short is based on how the protagonist can only speak in 1940s/50s jazz lingo, making it difficult for St. Peter to record his life's story. Unlike most examples, this works in the short's favor, as modern viewers are likely to be just as confused by some of the more dated terms as St. Peter and Noah Webster are.
  • Visual Pun: The other 50% of the gags, the most extreme extremes being when The Hipster is "up against it" (backed up against a giant "IT") and "carrying on" (carrying a large "ON" on his back).

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