As of 2018, The Higgs Weldon has been up and running for 5 years. To celebrate, we are re-publishing some of our favorite pieces from over the years for the entire month of January. This article was originally published on January 26, 2015.
1) EDDIE VALIANT IS A BAD ASS MF’ER
You really don’t want to fuck with Eddie Valiant. He will stick an egg in your mouth if you try and mess with him. He’s got a dead brother and an alcohol problem and he doesn’t want to hear your shit.
2) ROGER RABBIT IS SO F’ING RANDOM
That is actually a really misleading subheading. While many of his actions are wacky and hysterical, Roger is not so much random as a carefully crafted combination of the greatest cartoon creations of the 20th Century. He is also a creature of great warmth and passion as evidenced by his numerous humanistic speeches and his ardent love for his wife Jessica.
3) PATTY CAKE PATTY CAKE BAE-B
That rabbit pretty much flips his lid when he sees his wife playing patty cake with that aged pervert Marvin Acme. I imagine that in their world guys like Acme are called “doodle dicks.” Regardless, look at how Roger shuffles through the photographs so quickly that the sex scene begins to animate before his eyes. It’s like a cartoon within a cartoon and a wonderful, self-referential gag.
4) JESSICA RABBIT IS SEXY AF
Of course, one shouldn’t gloss over how incredibly alluring is Jessica Rabbit. It seems clear that the filmmakers wanted to sexually arouse the audience and induce some pointed level of discomfort as we lust after, envy or merely ogle the cartoon woman. One imagines the filmmaker’s intention was to get heterosexual men to go home and shamefully masturbate while they figured out how to even imagine having intercourse with a cartoon. Also, you know Jessica’s kinky as hell because she fucks a rabbit.
Jessica’s interior life, meanwhile, is as thorny a set of ontological problems as they come. She is a woman unto herself created by male cartoonists as a manifestation of their own vision of female sexuality. Her most telling line in the film, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way,” speaks to the forceful effect she has on everyone around her and how powerless she is to turn that effect off.
Jessica has her own life, love and private agenda which she must navigate around the various male interests who actively try to derail and divert her intentions in order to satisfy their own desires. Whether it be Marvin Acme drawing her into a sordid affair, RK Maroon using her for leverage, or even Eddie who often struggles to see her for what she is through the haze of his own erotic infatuation, her beauty and charms serve as a wild and unpredictable asset which she is unable to discard.
Other characters in the film are similarly afflicted. Baby Herman laments, “The problem is I got a fifty year-old lust and a three year-old dinky.” Many of the Toons wish to expand themselves and grow beyond the original intentions of their creators but their metaphysical situation is such that they are faced with immense difficulty when trying to do so. Such is often the struggle for many of us as we are faced with the colliding forces of what we are, how others see us, and what we wish to be.
5) IT’S CARTOONS AND REAL LIFE PUT TOGETHER PPL
The achievement of the actors and animators who worked in coordination to blend these two wildly different aesthetics cannot be overstated. It is a live action noir caper festooned with a wild, wacky animated farce. It’s a complex struggle containing greed, sex, murder and a number of charming musical numbers. In short, it’s a masterpiece in a genre unto itself.
But perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the human/toon binary is not that they are merged within the medium, but segregated within the universe of the film itself. Toon Town is a ghetto whose population has no self determination and is on the verge of being wiped off the face of the planet. Even before the large scale threat presents itself, Judge Doom and his henchmen terrorize and murder the citizens of Toon Town with complete impunity.
6) THE SCENE WITH THE SHOE IS LITERALLY INSANE
This subheading should be read without irony as what Judge Doom does to that shoe is truly an act of horrific madness. In a rather extreme instance of state sponsored brutality, Doom submerges an innocent and apparently sentient creature into a vat of corrosive fluid, the so-called “dip.” As a child I was taken screaming from the theater upon witnessing the event.
The look of abject terror upon the face of the shoe and the senselessness of its death are enough to give you nightmares. It has committed no crime and had no reason to believe it would be thus executed. However, it still would not surprise me if certain media pundits found a way to blame the shoe, claiming that by nuzzling Judge Doom’s boot it had essentially “assaulted an officer.”
7) JUDGE DOOM IS THE MASTER CREEP
Christopher Lloyd’s portrayal of Doom provides one of the most iconic depictions of villainy in cinematic history. His cold, unblinking countenance is a rather perfect metaphor for the imposing tyranny of institutional power. He stands like a black skyscraper, covering the room in the shadow of his authority.
Beneath Doom’s semblance of tight control there is utter insanity and a lunatic’s drive to dominate the external world, wreaking havoc in the name of order. Doom is, of course, a Toon of some kind but one incapable of bringing any joy to the world and so that desire is supplanted by some much darker purpose. Namely the purpose to build a freeway.
Doom expresses his vision for the world with a stern passion that is as chilling as it is descriptive of what became of LA’s public transit, “I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food. Tire salons, automobile dealerships and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. My God, it’ll be beautiful.” The whole of this serves as a colorful reminder of the historically incompetent and corrupt Los Angeles government. To this day, LA is one of the richest and most dysfunctional cities in the world with blighted public transit, the worst air quality in America and a poor standard of living for all but its wealthiest citizens.
8) EVIL IS DEFEATED WITH LOLS
The weasels, Judge Doom’s gang of gun toting thugs, are defeated when Eddie Valiant drops his tough guy exterior and gives into goofiness, delivering a balls-to-the-wall slapstick performance which literally knocks the villains dead. In our day-to-day lives, laughing at one’s boss as we call him or her “a coward with a lobotomy” behind his or her back is often times the only reassurance that the world we live in is not actually the absurd nightmare delineated by those in power.
It is a strange coincidence that as this article was being drafted, two machine gun wielding militants broke into the offices of a satirical, French magazine and gunned down several of the cartoonists therein. It reaffirms that there is an inherent conflict between humor which aims to free us from our bonds and the mentality of tyrants and would be tyrants who insist on dictating the terms of thought and conversation.
9) A LOVE LETTER? A WILL? THIS PLOT IS TWISTED!
The final twist in the plot ultimately untangles the central bind. Toon Town’s ghettoized political status and lack of sovereignty, is resolved when Roger’s love letter to his wife is revealed to simultaneously be Marvin Acme’s Will, leaving the property of Toon Town to the Toons themselves. It seems fitting that the restoration of justice and recognition of personhood should share the same paper as an expression of love from one individual to another.
10) ROGER AND EDDIE SITTING IN A TREE HAHA
It’s worth noting that one final moment of tension, wherein it seems as though Eddie might violently lash out at Roger, is broken when Eddie grabs Roger and engages in a sweet, silly act of homoerotic affection much to the complete relief of the toons who cheer and applaud Eddie’s evolution from “sour puss” to more fully realized human being. Only in Toon Town, am I right?
11) THE E-E-E-END
The Higgs Weldon is an online humor magazine with funny articles, cartoons, and one liners. It was founded in the Los Angeles stand-up comedy community, but takes submissions from everybody. Please read and enjoy our jokes!