Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Medical Conditions in Toon Town

Animated toons have always been at the forefront of progressive ideas. So it was that years before TV producers decided to include people with numerous medical conditions in their soaps and dramas, animators had already been pretty inclusive for a couple of decades. This inclusivity had nothing to do with cheap laughs – shame on you for thinking that. So, here we present just a few of the conditions that those guys before their times included to show positive example by way of toons dealing with ailments in their everyday lives. Bless.

Porky Pig has a severe stutter and that leads to him replacing the word he intended with another at the last minute. What's going on?" might become "What's guh-guh-guh-guh—...what's happening?" One of the signature traits of Parkinson’s disease is that it affects speech. Porky was obviously in the early stages of this progressive condition.

Daffy Duck is a prime example of someone struggling duckfully with their condition – in this case it is ADHD. ADHD is defined as a “persistent pattern of inattention or hyperactivity—impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and more severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development.” – And if that ain’t Daffy, who is it?

Sexual Addiction
The Michael Douglas of the toon world, Pepé Le Pew was always after the ladies – often with dismal results but that never, ever stopped him trying. Of course, sexual addiction comes in many forms and with Pepé it is the fact that he tries consistently but with little or no result. The fact that his natural odor keeps them away (even lady skunks) not to mention his passion-aggressive approach does not deter him.

Something of a flapper, Olive Oyl’s numerous encounters with brutes (before she met Popeye of course) led her to blame herself and stop eating. Yes, OK the cartoons do not state that explicitly, but any junior high school psychologist can work this one out. She was feisty, but boy, she sure was skinny. If only the sailor man would have shared his spinach.

One of the symptoms of delirium is confused and exaggerated movement and Yosemite Sam exhibits these symptoms. Delirium is often associated with over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system and it can lead to attacks on those perceived to have slighted the sufferer. In other words he runs around a lot and shouts a great deal – and sometimes tries to kill people.

Eeyore always seems to fall asleep – no matter where he goes or what is going on. True enough, the condition is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in which a person (or toon) experiences extreme fatigue and possibly falls asleep at inappropriate times. That's our Eeyore, then.

Napoleon Complex
Marvin the Martian certainly has what it takes to be diagnosed with this condition. Wikipedia defines it as “an alleged type of inferiority complex which is said to affect some people, especially men, who are short in stature. The term is also used more generally to describe people who are driven by a perceived handicap to overcompensate in other aspects of their lives.” Marvin consistently tries to invade or destroy the Earth. Et voila.

Violent Mood Swings
Say No More. Nuff said.

Severe Lisp

Poor old Sylvester – the lisp he acquired as a kitten leads him to the murderous pursuit of a poor, innocent canary. Who also had a speech impediment. Is there a medical condition for those who pursue others with similar a prognosis? Who can say, but this was a daring attempt by the animators of the time to shed light and awareness on something which makes many unhappy.

Amphetamine Addiction
The physical effects of amphetamine addiction can include increased or distorted sensations, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, constant restlessness and general hyperactivity. So, Speedy Gonzales, your secret is out.


I mean, look at those fore-arms. Come on!

Your Turn

Why not make a suggestion below? Which of your favorite toons also displays all the symptoms of a medical condition? Keep it clean (not)!

Webphemera would like to point out – as if you didn’t already know – that this article is in no means an attempt to ridicule the conditions which are described. Any slight or insult felt by the reader was unintentional.


Dr. Lauren said...

That's so funny.

Glynis said...

I know 7 with dwarfism if that helps ;0
Great fun post thanks!

Son of Bill's Dad said...

Very funny, but you left out Elmer Fudd, who clearly suffers from the speech disorder Rhotacism, consisting of the imperfect pronunciation of the "R" sound. In one of my articles about what I called "Linguistic Ponderables", I point out how cruel is was for the person who came up with the name, Rhotacism, for this condition. For they gave it a name that starts with the letter "R", thus making it impossible for anyone with that condition to ever be able to properly pronounce the name of their own disorder.

Chris Stonecipher said...

This is too funny. I have always thought Peppie La Pew was the perfect ladies man who could never catch a break.

Anonymous said...

Speedy Gonzálezis is my favorite and with tequila.

Anonymous said...

Uh, you forgot Bugs! He's a crossdresser!

LOL, we were going to catalog ALL the cartoons where he dresses as a lady, and realized the list would be shorter if we named the ones where he DIDN'T!

Haven't found one yet!

Jester of the Apocalypse said...

How about Droopy Dog's manic depression?

Or Woody Woodpecker's acute gidddiness due to constant severe head trauma?

Crazy People I've Worked With said...

This was too funny - good job!