Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stock Disney Characters - The Gay Arabic Villain

Animated features are way behind the best cartoon shorts and Television sitcoms when it comes to character. Features have formula plots and a handful of antiquated stock characters that plug into the contrived story lines. The instant you see a feature character, you know which stock personality he or she is- the bland lead character, the sassy smartmouth girl, the short obnoxious sidekick...who am I forgetting?

These kinds of simplistic stereotypes can't exist in other mediums, not even comedy anymore. They are just too outdated. Super expensive animated features keep them alive long after their relevance to human life.

Here is the stock animated feature villain and how he came to be:

Disney animators have shrewdly deduced that the average Joe thinks homosexuals and people of middle-eastern descent are the most evil people in the world. So when an animated feature needs a villain, they automatically create a stereotype combination of a hooked nose man with fruity gestures. For some reason, these characters are always lanky, so tall skinny people I assume must also be evil.

Ancestry of the Disney Villain:

1) Melodrama from a century and a half ago This kind of stock stereotype probably started in the 1800s. Simon Legree is typical (although in the book, he is more shaded than in his theatrical and silent movie performances).

This character was used so often in melodramas that he eventually became stale and "cartoonish". Soon entertainers only used it for comedy, because no one could take a character like this seriously anymore. It can't scare you when it's such a cardboard stereotyped representation.

2) Dracula - Gothic Horror Villain

Here's another genre with characters you couldn't take seriously except in the context of the horror film and even then you really have to suspend your disbelief to enjoy the drama.
Cartoonists quickly jumped on the inherent silliness of living dead people and the stereotype became stock comedy cartoon material.
3) Homosexual Caricature
There are many funny homosexuals in entertainment, as long as they live up to their stereotype.

4) Goth Merges With Gay

The wacky gay stereotype approaches the walking dead eager to conceive the next Disney Villain.

They eventually mated a goth character with a zany homosexual and came up with this:

A transvestite goth villain.

And eventually gay, goth, Arab and Simon Legree all together.

Animated feature characters need more than an obvious design to define their character. In the best features, each main character usually has a certain gesture or expression assigned to him, that the other characters don't have. We instantly recognize this symbolic key to the character because we have grown up seeing it so many times.

INSTANT EVIL: The sniffing of the turd

I'm not sure if Disney invented it, but animators know that the quickest way to turn the audience against someone is to have them sniff the ceremonial turd. Decent people instinctively know you shouldn't be poking your nose around that area and won't root for the turd sniffer.
This fellow is all the villain stereotypes in one. The most turd sniffingest of all.
Hey, he's copyrighted! I guess no one else can ever use this character again.

I'm confused as to why we need villains in every animated story in the first place. Merely "evil" ones. And the same version of evil.

Will features ever surpass Terrytoons in characterization? (Let alone catch up in fun)
I bet the animators would love to try characters with more meat on 'em if they were allowed.