Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I am Curious (George)

Let's take a moment to talk about monkeys.

Cartoon Monkeys, obviously.

*For starters, and because I am physiologically incapable of not showing off by throwing this sort of thing out there - the title reference is to a Swedish film from 1967 called 'I am Curious (Yellow)' which sadly does not at any point feature a man in a Big Yellow Hat, but WAS once described by Roger Ebert as 'If you life movies about flaccid phallus's, this is the movie for you.'

Now it is a little known and rarely noted fact that I actually work at public television, but do not have any children.  The combination of these two facts means that I'm aware of all the kids shows out there, but rarely if ever actually watch any of them.  This means that until very recently my sum total of thoughts about our cartoon block was boiled down into two facts

1:  The Kratt brothers are terrifying.

2:  The people that animate Caillou piss me off because they don't draw in the background all the way to the edge of the screen, which is just irritating.  Isn't the fact that the kid clearly has cancer enough for him to deal with without his world just stopping all around him?

In any case...

I attended an event recently dressed as the aforementioned Man in the Big Yellow Hat for reasons that aren't terribly relevant here and who are you to judge me anyway.  Watching the Curious George video at this event, and reflecting back on the Curious George books that I remember from when I was young, I was struck by one though.

Holy Crap, The Man in the Big Yellow Hat totally abducted Curious George.

The book (the first one before anybody knew it was going to be a series) mentions the aforementioned Man (itBYH) going on a safari and finding George, then deciding to bring him home with him where George could be (as titled) 'curious' about things and get into wacky misadventures.

At no point does the book mention or depict George's parents, frantically swinging from vine to vine putting up 'Have you seen me' flyers, nor does it go into details of how he convinced George to get into his windowless panel van.

And so years go by, George lives with the Man having adventures and all that, clearly having a fatherly affection for the guy (This is called Stockholm Syndrome*, people).  And here's a point worth noting - along with his actual name (it's 'Ted', for those interested in the Curious George Arcana) another thing that never gets mentioned is 'Ted's personal life.  Because he apparently doesn't have one.  At no point is there even an inkling of 'Mrs Ted' (or, as seems more likely once you start looking at it, 'Ted's boyfriend.)

*Amusingly, there is a whole swathe of people out there who refer to the phenomenon (developing feelings of loyalty or attraction to your kidnapper as a way of minimizing your sense of dis empowerment) as 'Helsinki Syndrome' solely because it was referred to (completely incorrectly) by that name in the movie 'Die Hard'.  Which is, if nothing else, an object lesson in checking your sources.

The most insightful moment as regards 'Ted' actually comes in the occasional glimpses into his closet (insert cheap joke here).  In an attempt to make an amusing inside joke about the way his iconic yellow outfit has changed in minor ways over the years, the cartoonists regularly show him to have a closet full of the exact same yellow suits and hats, all with minor variances to depict the slightly different ways he's been drawn over the years.

I think you'll agree that based on the evidence the answer is clear.

1:  Monkey theft

2: repeated wearing of the identical outfit with only minor variances.

3:  little to no apparent human inter-relationship and a tendency toward behavior repetition.

The Man in the Big Yellow Hat clearly is a high functioning Aspergers patient.

This does not, however, excuse kidnapping.

 Don't change my routine.

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