Pepe Le Pew...innocent cartoon, or stalker/rapist?

Remember those cartoons?
The way he tries to force himself on the poor hapless black kitty (who unfortunately has a mishap with the white paint) that he thinks is a skunk.

Isnt that a metaphor for the over amourous date who thinks the girl 'wants it" because of how she is dressed?

She never gets away, no matter what she does, and I never really found that funny…it was a little disturbing.

Is that what the animators were trying to convey?

Your thoughts?

Interesting thought. I tend to take cartoon messages seriously, since they do subtly influence a lot of our thinking. Especially about sexual relations. Olive is always being harassed by Bluto (and whatever else he was called). It takes a vegetarian sailor to save her.

There is a crazy Betty Boop cartoon in which she is physically pursued by a ton of dirty old men. She just wants to do the boopity-boop; they want something else. Eventually she prevails, with the help of her loyal pooch Bimbo; I think they drop some 16-ton weights on some heads. The message to men: proposition women rudely, and at first you’ll just make them nervous; eventually you’ll get a weight dropped on your head. The message to women: keep a loyal dog around.

In the Pepe the skunk/masher case, I’m not as clear on the message. It could be: if you harass females, you are a skunk. It could be: if somebody thinks you’re their type (a skunk), it’s best just to speak up and say “I’m a cat you Gallic stink bomb!” It could be: chasing cats is fun and necessary, since all men are naturally skunks, and women are shy and mute. The latter is the only message that really irks me.

Interesting note: cats are almost always evil and predatory in cartoons, but not in this one. Hmm. Don’t know what to make of that.

Anyway, I don’t remember the cartoon very well. I thought the cat did eventually get away somehow, maybe by the paint washing off? In any case, as a kid I definitely rooted for the cat, since Pepe was such a goof (I didn’t realize the testosterone factor till much later). Plus I like cats better than skunks.

I just thought the cartoon was a knock against the french- they think that they’re “zee greatest luv-airs, non?” even when being rebuffed. And they stink to boot.

I always figured it tied into the elemental American urge to laugh at French people.


Yeah, like Mojo said.

I suppose we’d know if Pepe ever made it to the casbaugh. :wink: Wherever THAT is.

I think a casbah is like a kremlin.

How about the fact that Betty Boop is dating her own dog, Bimbo? Doesn’t anyone find that just a bit, umm, odd?

And how about that chickenhawk, “who’s gonna get me some chicken!”

And is Donald married to Daisy? Does anyone NOT think those three “nephews” are their bastard spawn?

If Bugs Bunny dressed up as a black cat in drag and by some misfortune obtained a black stripe woul pepe le’pew stalk him?

What if Sylvester was really that little cat’s boyfriend?

And yes, there are far too many “nephews” running around in cartoons! Even Popeye had 'em for crissakes!

I remember the cartoons and I’m embarrassed to admit that I never gave it a thought until now, Kelli. I just thought Pepe was a jerk. But I see your point. Now.

This also got me thinking about Popeye and Olive. Once in a while, she’d give Bluto the come-on. It seems to me she liked them fighting over her. Were the animators implying that women are fickle?

Gee, Kelli, now you’ve got me thinking about all the other cartoons.

Nice going. I was going to watch the football game.

It’s a great OP. I’m going to bounce this off my wife right now.

If you’re an optimist, you haven’t been paying attention.

Look, there’s no attempt in these cartoons to send any message. Nobody watches Pepe LaPew and thinks he’s behaving himself appropriately, and he is never shown to win. It’s just a premise on which to connect a series of gags.

Honestly, these cartoons were never meant to be taken seriously, and they were created by people and at a time when no one would have ever imagined that people would take them this seriously. Yes, this kind of behavior is beyond what we would be comfortable presenting in a modern cartoon, but let’s not be too judgemental.

WallyM7 wrote:

What do you mean “once in a while”? She flirted with Bluto every single friggin’ episode! She practically begged Popeye and Bluto to fight over her!

And then when Bluto would win the fight (through devious means, usually), and be able to respond unopposed to Olive’s flirting unopposed by “that runt sailor man”, Olive would suddenly turn all frigid. Only then would Bluto start to commit Stage 1 Sexual Assault, requiring a downed Popeye to come to the rescue.

Face it. Olive was turned on by Bluto’s aggression and imposing stature. She’s like the heroine in a Rosemary Rogers novel.

I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.


I wasn’t sure about it (it was so long ago)so I tried to play it safe and got caught.

I do believe you’re right, Tracer.

If you’re an optimist, you haven’t been paying attention.

“This also got me thinking about Popeye and Olive. Once in a while, she’d give Bluto the come-on. It seems to me she liked them fighting over her. Were the animators implying that women are fickle?”

They didn’t just imply it, Wally. Don’t you remember that Popeye cartoon where he and Olive were supposed to get married the next day and she had a nightmare about what life would be like as mother to his kids (played by the nephews in her dream); then when Popeye comes to pick her up the next morning she throws a dresser out the upstairs window onto his head? Popeye laughed and said, “Women… they’re fickle!” (or maybe it was ‘women… they’s fickle’)

The more I think about it, the more I think kellibelli has a good point. That skunk was scary, and I don’t think the cat got away in the end. Mostly I remember the sheer terror in her eyes. It seems benign if you haven’t been tormented by a maniacal stalker/ rapist.

Sicko! Everyone knows that his nephews are the children of his sister Dumbella. Geez…

Yeah, and Roadrunner cartoons are amusing until you have been through the horror of ingesting Earthquake Pills.

And a friend of mine who was nearly killed after trying out this Rocket-Powered Rollerskates still can’t sit through a full episode without crying.

Thank you, Alphagene…


And The Smurfs are an allegory to a Biblical tale, what with Azriel the cat after them and all. And Mighty Mouse was sniffing opium in those flowers.


Yer pal,

Does anyone else remember the WB cartoon where one mouse (a smart city mouse, I think) explains to another mouse (dumb country mouse) the workings of the capitalist economic system? That was the whole cartoon, from beginning to end. Now what the hell was THAT all about?!
– Oh, that’s right, it was just a fucking cartoon. Duh.

Please keep in mind the origins of these cartoons, warner bros. created them for adults in the beginning, it was only after they found the childrens market that they geared them to the kiddies. Even then, they kept the hig level of adult content that sailed over the young heads, and made the parents chuckle.

I am not implying that they are somehow sanctioning assault, but almost all of the warner cartoons have an adult theme. What was the theme of these?

The writers were geniuses, Mel Blanc was one of the greatest men who ever lived (IMHO), and the animators/writers always made the cartoons a metaphor for life.

The coyote for example, his endless struggle to get the bird, even though he always just misses - painfully. A metaphor for the pursuit of happiness?

There is a wealth of material to analyze here, far more interesting that classic literature, and just as rich in its content.

I am not a popeye fan, so I cant comment on that one.

You are knocking American cartoons for it’s sexual overtones? For crying out loud people, look at the imported stuff!

My prime example is Sailor Moon which airs on cartoon network. The main characters are school girls who wear skirts so short that their underwear is visible. And this is a cartoon that is marketed towards kids in Japan.

From what I’ve heard from friends who’ve been overseas (in the military and such), the United States is practically the cleanest contury in the world when it comes to cartoon content.

Don’t knock good old fashioned yankee cartoons until you’ve seen some from the old world.