Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Because sexism is fine as long as it's animated...

Dreamworks, what the hell?!?  Let me admit it first that I am not a fan of the Shrek series.  I don't think they're that witty, I can't stand Mike Myers, and potty humor really doesn't do much for me.

But, now, I really, really dislike the Shrek franchise.  Really

It seems that racism and sexism is completely acceptable as long as it's wrapped up in a "cute" animated film?!?  Before you click on "comment" and retort:  "But, it's just a cartoon.  You're being too sensitive.  You just need to enjoy the film."  Let me present my evidence:
  1. Eddie "Paycheck" Murphy and Craig Robinson--the only two cast members of color in the film--provide the voice for the two of the most loud and obnoxious characters.  Donkey and Cookie (the gay ogre, too) sing, dance, have no sense of "personal space" or boundaries. 
  2. The [French] Gingerbread Man is actually referred to as "Cracker."  As in, Shrek says, "Hey, look, Cracker."  I turned to Marc with my mouth agape as the audience roared.  Referring to another character as "Cracker" is funny?!?  So, can we refer to a fish in the film as a "wetback," too?!?  Would that not be equally offensive? 
  3. The children of Donkey and Dragon (the supposed "interracial" couple in the film) are referred to as "mutants."  What cute little biracial Donkey-Dragon mutant babies!?!
  4. Puss in Boots is just one long extended fat joke.  Oooh, look, he can't touch his toes.  Ooooh, look, he's lazy and likes to lay around.  Whatever.
  5. But, Fiona's character.  Fiona's character is the single most offensive character in the complete film or franchise that I've seen in a while--well, Michael King managed to f*ck up Sex and the City 2 pretty good, too.  But, that's a different blog posting....
---------Out of consideration, let me issue a SPOILER ALERT right now.  SPOILER ALERT.  ----------

So, when we begin the film, Fiona--Shrek's wife--is a stay-at-home mom to 3 young ogres.  She's been rescued by Shrek--her knight in shining armor--and is happy and content raising raise her babies, changing diapers, and cleaning her tree house. 

But, Shrek throws it all away after a midlife "I want to be single, again" moment.  In this alternative universe that Shrek has found himself, Fiona is the warrior princess leading the rebellion to save Far, Far Away from the maniacal dictator, Rumpelstiltskin.  She has "rescued herself" from the dragon, raised an army, and protects ogres from--literal--witch hunts.  For Fiona, in this alternative universe, she is a take-charge, aggressive, commanding presence who is respected by her "troops" and doesn't need anyone to protect or take care of her.  She actually seems pretty happy as an independent woman.

However, Shrek's life will return back to normal if he can get Fiona to fall back in love with him (in 24 hours, mind you--because we women-folk are just THAT stupid) and kiss him.  And, it works!   Shrek manages to restore order to the universe and "right" these wrongs by kissing Fiona.  Fiona's consensual sex (albeit, in the form of a PG kiss) restores the universe back to how it should be:  Fiona is, yet again, a stay-at-home mom to three babies and has been rescued, yet again, by her prince charming, Shrek.  Life returns for Shrek to how it "ought to be" it "should be":  Shrek is the master of his domain and Fiona reduced back to her role as caregiving, nurturing subordinate. 

So, Dreamworks:  Shame on you.  Because somehow, sexism and racism is perfectly fine when it's in animated form.  The film ought to be called:  Shrek:  The Final Chapter, Thank God.