I frequently watch “Adult Swim” on Cartoon Network while I do work; recently while studying well into the night, I watched “Adult Swim” switch back to Cartoon Network and Looney Tunes was coming on. Having not seen it since I was a child, I decided to take a break and watch. One of the first shorts was about Pepe Le Pew, and I was horrified by what I saw (and what I didn’t see as a child). Pepe Le Pew is attracted to a cat he thinks is a skunk, but she makes it quite clear she wants nothing to do with him. Instead of letting her be, he chases after her wildly, attempts to become physical with her, and he makes excuses about why she’s in the wrong and why he’s clearly right to keep pursuing her until she “realizes” she loves him. Then, on top of all that, he made a comment along the lines of “the poor thing is just stressed, we will fix that by making love”. This is terribly, blatantly trivializing and even attempting to make humorous physical and emotional assault to extent of rape. I looked up a list of episodes and at times the cat even tries to commit suicide to escape Pepe’s advances. I found this article: http://www.feministlawprofessors.com/2008/02/crazy-little-thing-called-rape/
In which the author, sickened by Pepe’s behavior as well, went to the Looney Tunes website. They describe Pepe as “a great lover”, “romantic”, “he showers his women with gifts”, and of course, “he doesn’t take no for an answer”. Looney Tunes makes Pepe’s rapist behavior seem as if it’s romantic! After all, he’s giving women gifts, apparently according to Looney Tunes that means that should immediately love him and open themselves up to his sexual advances/abuse.
There is so much wrong with these cartoons, and it especially makes me sad and angry that I watched these as a child and children are still watching these and getting these distorted views that this kind of behavior is “romantic” or “funny”. Furthermore, Pepe is described and depicted as “stereotypically French”, and the rest of the episode was loaded with racial stereotypes and plenty of violence. Cartoon Network needs to realize that these shows are inappropriate and reflect out-dated and offensive ideologies that I personally don’t believe should be on television and influencing young children anymore.