15 Cartoon Characters That Always Get the Shaft
All successful cartoons, be it an animated series or a comic strip, have their scapegoats. While these characters, whether feeble-minded, misunderstood, or just dealt a bad hand, may go unappreciated amongst their fellow animated comrades they are certainly appreciated and treasured by their audiences. Here are 15 of cartoons most hapless characters who get the shaft.
Elmer Fudd was introduced to the animated cartoon series Looney Tunes in 1940 thanks to animators and cartoonists Tex Avery and Chuck Jones as well as fictional cartoon character “Egghead”, who is believed to have been the prototype for Elmer Fudd. With his distinctive and overly exaggerated rhotacistic speech, Elmer Fudd seems to have gotten the short end of the stick in the Looney Tunes realm usually being typecast as the ill-fated hunter doomed to fall patsy to the sly and quick-witted Bugs Bunny. Most of the series’ episodes involving Bugs getting his rocks off at this poor alopecian’s expense.
Created by animators Tex Avery and Bob Clampett the wacky screwball Daffy Duck made his first appearance in the Looney Tunes series on April 17, 1937. Daffy seems to have a tendency to fall on the “loser” side of the winner/loser hierarchy of Looney Tunes. He has been cursed with an exaggerated heavy, slobbery lisp, lives bitterly in the shadow of the famed Bugs Bunny, and is engaged in a constant struggle to regain the spotlight. To make matters worse, nothing seems to go as planned for the duck – his schemes uncannily backfire, only to the pleasure of his sadistic rabbit contemporary. Even the name Daffy Duck summons mental images of singed tail feathers and blown off duckbills.
Sylvester The Cat
Speech impediments seem to be a running theme for the stooges of Looney Tunes and Sylvester The Cat is not spared this affliction. Sylvester routinely plays the role of the hapless failure of a mice/bird catcher. Sylvester’s appearances are commonly accompanied by fellow Looney Tunes character “Tweety Bird” who typically makes a fool of the bird-hungry cat. Interesting factoid: Sylvester has undergone the most “deaths” of any of the Looney Tunes characters.
Wile E. Coyote
Wile E. Coyote was created in 1948 by Chuck Jones for the Looney Tunes “Roadrunner” series. In his fruitless attempts to catch the Roadrunner Wiley E. Coyote is always met by disaster. From falling off cliffs to crashing into rocks and walls and being shot from cannons the Coyote has taken his fair share of abuse while the Roadrunner walks away scot-free. Even with the help of the complex gadgets and devices from the fictitious company “Acme Corporation” the Coyote’s chase still results in catastrophe leaving him burnt to a crisp, flattened or lifeless at the bottom of a canyon.
Charlie Brown fails in almost everything he does, which can be seen as the definitive distinction between him and his creator Charles Monroe Schulz. Charlie Brown, the lovable loser, has a serious and seemingly permanent case of bad luck. Brown started his career as the clay pigeon of the Peanuts universe at the very conception of the comic strip, being the butt of the first joke in the strip. He often succumbs to the negative remarks of his fellow peers thus giving rise to his “sad-sack” and bemoaning personality. But for some reason, he remains endearing.
Odie is depicted as a marginally dim-witted, yellow-furred and brown-eared dog in Jim Davis’ comic strip “Garfield”. Odie often falls victim to Garfield’s pranks and practical jokes and more often than not, finds himself kicked off the table. Garfield seems to find a frivolous pleasure in tormenting Odie habitually making him his scapegoat and taking advantage of his slow wit and good nature.
Stimpson “Stimpy” J. Cat
Stimpson J. Cat or “Stimpy” is the good-natured yet slightly brain damaged cat on the animated series The Ren & Stimpy Show. Stimpy who is often bossed by his superior Ren HÃ¶ek, a psychotic “asthma-hound” Chihuahua, tends to be the sitting duck of the mismatched duo. Stimpy is commonly the source of Ren’s hostility and has been the fueling agent for more than a few of Ren’s popular catchphrases such as “You eediot!” and “You sick little monkey!”
Van Partible’s character Johnny Bravo is his own worst enemy in the animated series “Johnny Bravo”. Although he possesses the good looks of James Dean and the voice of Elvis Presley, Johnny Bravo falls victim to his narcissistic, chauvinistic and dim-witted personality making him the butt of the joke in episode after episode.
A running gag in Seth MacFarlane’s animated series Family Guy is the rejection of, and disdain for character Meg Griffin from the entire character cast. Meg is the oldest and seemingly most unfavored child (they intended to abort her, but got lost on the way to the clinic) of characters Peter and Lois Griffin. She is a self-conscious and socially awkward teen who is the butt of many jokes (smell, appearance, needing to douche, having unusually large nipples) by her father Peter and is also considered a laughing stock to other characters in the series such as the cool crowd at school.
Kenny McCormick is the most unfortunate character on Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s series South Park. Each episode Kenny is met with doom & gloom and faces his demise, only to return unharmed and intact to endure the same fate all over again. Not only is Kenny burdened with his recurring decease but he is also the poorest kid in town who lives in a dilapidated home with his alcoholic and unemployed parents, who eat nothing but waffles.
In Matt Groening’s animated series Futurama, Dr. Zoidberg is a poor, lonely, and attention-starved alien with a reminiscent lobster-like form. The entire character cast appears to hold him in contempt and often express their antipathy. There is also a running joke in the series about Dr. Zoidbergs incompetence as a doctor.
Susie Derkins is a recurring character in Bill Watterson’s comic strip Calvin & Hobbes. In contrast to the main character Calvin, Susie is well-mannered and is a diligent student with a mellow imagination thus making her the target for Calvin’s malice. Many of Watterson’s comic strips make Susie the brunt of the joke, from Calvin’s water-balloon and snowball assaults to his gross-out gags Susie usually winds up the dupe.
Carl Brutananadilewski is the overweight, balding, hairy sarcastic neighbor on Matt Maiellaro’s and Dave Willis’ series “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”. Carl for the most part disfavors his neighbors, the Aqua Teensâ€”Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad, and acknowledges them as freaks. He is often met with misfortune and rotten luck, usually brought about by the Aqua Teens. He is repeatedly left with an abolished car and/or home, a disfigured or mutilated body and sometimes even death.
Milhouse Van Houten
Milhouse Van Houten is a nearsighted nerd with poor social skills in Matt Groening’s series, The Simpsons. He is the constant victim of the town’s bullies and despite being portrayed as best friends Bart Simpson, often attempts to inflict harm and/or lure Milhouse into trouble due to his gullibility and naÃ¯ve personality. Homer Simpson can commonly be heard referring to Milhouse as “that little wiener”.
Klaus Heissler is an East German Olympic ski-jumper turned goldfish by the CIA to prevent his winning of the gold medal and is the main character Stan Smith’s family pet in Seth MacFarlane’s, Mike Barker’s and Matt Weitzman’s animated series American Dad! Klaus harbors and expresses strong feelings of bitterness and resentment on the behalf of his imprisonment to a fishbowl and his loss of all human capabilities, especially his loss of sexual function.