Friday, July 15, 2005


"Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" opens today in theaters.

Roald Dahl used heavy-handed symbolism for presenting the other children as avatars of various bad habits. Mike Teavee is a stand-in for the argument that watching Television leads to violent behavior. That's bogus! Why, I'd beat the shit out of Dahl for that... if he wasn't already dead.


Anyway, there's no real connection to the TV Universe, except that the character of Willy Wonka was the inspiration for at least two characters in prime-time cartoons.

First off, there was the Slurm worm Glurmo (originally named Slurmy Slonka) who led the guided tour of the Slurm factory on 'Futurama'. And then there was Pawtucket Pat who ran the secret brewery near Quahog, Rhode Island.

[As I write this, I think I remember an actual Willy Wonka in Toobworld. Wasn't there a series of animated TV commercials back in the 70s for Wonka candy? I can't find any mention of them via Google. But if so, I guess we would find him in the Tooniverse along with Glurmo the Slurm and Pawtucket Pat.]

Anyhoo, it looks like this new version of the story does promote a theory I've long maintained for Toobworld: squirrels are intelligent.

I don't know what the reason may be for the sentient squirrels working in the Wonka factory in the movie, but we can trace their high IQ in TV Land back to an episode of 'My Favorite Martian'.

Red the Squirrel was accidentally transformed into a human by one of Uncle Martin's contraptions, thanks to Tim O'Hara. All was eventually set right, as you would expect in a 30 minute sitcom, but I believe Red was able to retain his human mind once he reverted back to being a squirrel. Further, I think he even passed his newfound sentience down through his descendants.

And the way that they multiply, you know all of the squirrels in North America (at least!) are now capable of intelligent thought.

This would explain the presence of those smart-ass squirrels in such commercials as:
Post-It Notes

Clusters Cereals
Leaf-Guard system

There's also a blipvert for an underarm deodorant which takes place on a golf course. And the squirrel's actions in that ad make it evident that he understands the importance of good protection for the underarms.

So when it comes to the hierarchy of intelligence in Toobworld, we'd have a list like this:
White Mice

Humans (According to 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy', your species come in third)
Horses (At least those from the Isle of the Houyhnhnms as seen in the mini-series 'Gulliver's Travels' and 'Mr. Ed')
Pigs (But perhaps only the lineage descended from Hercules, like Arnold Ziffel of 'Green Acres')

Dogs and cats would have to be considered on an individual basis. For the most part, intelligent dogs are the result of reincarnation, and as for cats? Either they are sorcerers magically transformed as a form of punishment, or they are aliens from outer space and therefore disqualified from consideration in the list of intelligent Earth species.

Any other race of intelligent animals would most likely be found only in the Tooniverse. I would imagine some sort of 'Doctor Who'-like vegetation might be next on the list, but it could be disqualified if it's proven that it wasn't of Earth origin.

I knew I shouldn't have eaten so much candy before writing this!

Maybe I should go lie down.......



WordsSayNothing said...

I don't know about 70s animated Wonka candy commercials, but I know there were definitely more recent animated Wonka candy commercials with Willy Wonka, mostly advertising for Nerds candy (you know, those little purple and pink and maybe orange things), I think.

Toby said...

Great! If I am right about the 70s animated Wonka Candy ads, then Willy Wonka would fit right in with never-aging Tooniverse citizens like 'The Simpsons'.

I wonder if Bart and Lisa ever visited a Wonka-like factory during their so many years on the air? I'll have to look into that; it seems like a natural!

WordsSayNothing said...

Well, maybe if Wonka secretly makes Butterfingers...