Thursday, January 31, 2013

Intended Innuendo

Children's cartoons are by defualt a comedy genre. There is a history of intended innuendo, or adult humor that is hidden along side the humor targeting kids. Here are a few examples showing double coded punchlines (this is a just a small handful of the types of jokes that are in kids shows):

Cartoon Network Bumper - Powerpuff Girls (Justice League Spoof)

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This is an ongoing timeline, showing an overview of the events I discuss in the Cartoon Closet series. It is in progress, and I will continue adding more dates and links to it. If you notice something important I'm missing, please comment, so I can add it in : )

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cartoon Closet Part 3

Part 3: Archetype of the Male Duo
The Male Duo in Live Action
The Male Duo Archetype* in animation has its roots in Vaudeville acts. Originally bawdy stage shows based heavily on their verbal humor, the transition to film led slapstick comedy to being the focus during the silent era. With talkies the male duo comedy acts incorporated both slapstick and verbal humor (wiki).
Gay Subtext?

Homoeroticism has been a part of the genre from the very beginning. Part of this has to do with relationship comedy, where the male characters would deconstruct male/female and husband/wife relationships playing the role of one or the other as part of the comedy act.

For instance in Their First Mistake (1932) where Laurel and Hardy adopt a child. In a conversation that takes place in bed, Laurel convinces Hardy he should adopt a baby, in order to keep his wife's mind occupied. That way they could continue going out at night together and it wouldn't bother her so much. But when they get home with the baby, they discover that Hardy's wife is filing for divorce for alienation of affections blaiming Laurel as the other woman (73). This is used to create a mock husband/wife relationship between them, first with Hardy playing the angry wife whose husband is shirking his responsibilities, then with Laurel playing the wife in a sequence that jokes about breast-feeding.

Their First Mistake is unmistakably homoerotic, but whether this was intended, or soley a result of parodying heterosexual relationships it's hard to know. But looking at an earlier Laurel and Hardy, Liberty (1929) we can see, as Russo puts it, homosexuality as a part of farcical misunderstandings (72).

In this movie a running gag involves the two having put on the others pants. They spend the first half of the short trying to find a place to privately switch clothing. The joke hinges on the reaction of those who catch them, and clearly think something naughty is going on. In one case, they are trying to change in the back of a taxi. Caught half-way through by a man and woman, Laurel and Hardy quickly leave, but before the couple enters the taxi the man makes sure no one else is in the back. Who is this third person he's looking for? (a woman perhaps?).