Arbitrarily Anthropomorphized Animated Animal Aversion (AAAAA)

Posted by Phantom Mongoose Tue, 19 Feb 2008 22:22:00 GMT

I suffer from Arbitrarily Anthropomorphized Animated Animal Aversion (AAAAA). It freaks me out when you watch a cartoon and you have: one animal acting as its species is wont to do; one animal acting human. Either anthropomorphize all the animals or none of them!

One grievous offender is Disney. Goofy is an anthropomorphic dog, Pluto is a regular dog. How does that make sense? Why can Goofy walk bipedal and talk whereas Pluto must bark and sniff? The kids in that Stand By Me movie were wise beyond their years.

I don’t mind if you make up the rules for your fantasy word, as long as they are self-consistent. Otherwise my suspension of disbelief is severely strained.

Take for instance Word World. Insidiously this show is considered educational and comes to us care of PBS meaning I helped fund this lunacy. In this quaint world, the animal protagonists are all made of the letters which spell them. For instance frog is made of the letters F R O G concatenated into an amphibian form. All of the animals are imbued with varying degrees of intelligence and exhibit all of these traits:

  1. Speaking the English language
  2. Understanding the English language
  3. Reading the English language
  4. Writing the English language
  5. Bipedal movement

From ducks to cats to bears to sheep, hell even the ants and bugs all exhibit 1-5. Except the dog. The dog barks like a dog. It sniffs, it pants, it walks on all fours. Okay so the dog is a regular dog and the rest are anthropomorphic. No—it gets worse. Dog shows trait numbers two through four!

Maddeningly dog is neither fully anthropomorphic nor fully “normal”. Dog is neither regular nor decaf! Incidentally Dog is neither male or female when you think about it: like all kid’s cartoon animals dog is not anatomically correct and has gender only by virtue of inference based on pronoun usage. Here you have a creature which is at once lovingly similar but creepily different from its real life counterpart.

An aside: I deem this the state of ersatz verisimilitude. An oxymoron if ever I did lay hands on one.

So I am begging you, ye writers of animated fare. Please be sensitive to sufferers of AAAAA and ensure the rules of your universe are consistent. Stop the madness!


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