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YMMV / Pepé Le Pew

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  • Base-Breaking Character: In this day and age, Pepe is hated by Moral Guardians and some fans due to Values Dissonance and his shorts being formulaic. Those who don't hate Pepe see him as an Ensemble Dark Horse because the values dissonance of his cartoons presumably represent how free and audacious Golden Age cartoons were.
  • Broken Base: Disregarding the obvious, there are still arguments to this day if all the cats in his shorts are supposed to be Penelope under a case of Depending on the Artist or if the ones not consistent with her 'modern' design are completely separate cats/characters in their own right.
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  • Bizarro Episode: "Odor Of The Day" is completely detached from the standard formula, with Pepe (a mostly Silent Protagonist here) instead in a feud with a dog over shelter in the snow. The animation and visuals are also far different from Chuck Jones' usual style, due to being created by Arthur Davis' unit.
  • Death of the Author: In his autobiography, Chuck Jones said that a major rule of Pepe was that he couldn't even find out that he smelled bad because it'd crush him. This despite the fact that his very first "official" appearance, as well as one other short, has him find this out with little to no angst (save the fake suicide attempt).
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Depending on if you view him as a "villain" at least. Generally, most of his fans either portray him as a lonely woobie who just wants love because most living beings are terrified of skunks or a clueless nitwit who doesn't realize he's committing sexual harassment. Or both.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: For never having a speaking role outside of a few odd specials and generally just setting up for gags, Penelope has a surprisingly large fanbase herself, to the point some wish that the writers would let her step out of being Pepe's co-star and become a Looney Tune in her own right.
  • Fair for Its Day: Like most of Looney Tunes' parodies, Pepe's status as a comical rapist is the result of Pop Culture Osmosis, as his aggressive flirting was meant to be a parodynote  of equally chauvinistic Handsome Lech male protagonists in romantic comedies from the early 20th century. The fact that the women of Pepe's affection always react accordingly to his behavior arguably makes his cartoons even less offensive than what they're derivative of. Divorced from this, however, it's easy to just read him as a creep.
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  • Memetic Molester: If you look like a skunk, Pepe will repeatedly kiss you, come hell or high water.
  • MST3K Mantra: "It's a cartoon about a talking French skunk. Calm down." is a common fan response to people who accuse the cartoons for glorifying sexual assault, something Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese most likely weren't considering when the originally produced the cartoons. Other fans are quick to point out how the Tiny Toon Adventures gender-flipped version not only doesn't get nearly as much complaints, but is still one of the most popular characters. Another thing that gets brought up is that technically none of the cats Pepe becomes smitten with actually have a problem with his affections but rather his odor. A few shorts have even shown that Penelope can quickly become attracted to Pepe when the smell isn't a factor.
  • Values Dissonance: Not only do these cartoons perpetuate the (now long-dead) stereotype that French men are womanizers who never bathe, but Pepe himself is hardly seen as charmingly naïve in the 21st century and more of a stalker-cum-rapist, and there have been a number of fanart in which Pepe is slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit for the exact same kind of "romance" he attempted in the 1940s. There are fans who like him more as an adult once they realize how politically incorrect the concept is, however.
  • "Weird Al" Effect:
    • Not that many people know this, but Pepe Le Pew was based on Charles Boyer's character Pepe Le Moko from the movie Algiers (which was actually referenced in a background gag on "The Cats' Bah").
    • The beginning of "The Cats Bah" is a parody of the original 1950s TV version of The Continental (way before Christopher Walken would make a recurring sketch out of it on Saturday Night Live).
  • The Woobie: Penelope, and any other cat character who has had the misfortune of being painted in skunk colors and left to be harrassed by Pepe. In cases such as "Odor-able Kitty" and "Scent-imental Over You" the victims actually had it pretty bad before they even met him.


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