Sunday, October 30, 2016

MY TOP 100 ANIMATED CHARACTERS BALLOT: (50-1) for GEEKCAST RADIO NETWORK'S POLL!

On my previous blog, which you can find here:

http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2016/10/my-top-100-animated-characters-ballot_24.html

I began counting down MY BALLOT, for Geekcast Radio Network's Poll of the TOP 100 ANIMATED CHARACTERS! I was asked to participate by those at Geekcast Radio Network and I'm anxiously awaiting for them to reveal the final results of the poll on their Podcasts. I'll be posting on both my Facebooks and Twitter pages the links to their podcasts when they're post their podcasts, but in the meantime, you can keep up with them on their Facebook and Twitter pages:

https://www.facebook.com/GeekCastRadioNetwork/
https://twitter.com/GeekCastRadio

And check out their website for posts and past podcasts here:

http://www.geekcastradio.com/

They have lots of content, more than I could ever entirely sort through, I guarantee there's something there that will intrigue and fascinate you.

Alright, back to My Ballot, and again, I am revealing MY BALLOT, and MY BALLOT ONLY, that I submitted for their Countdown, and this is the conclusion of that. If there's any character in particular that you think I missed or didn't place on the list that deserved to be or thought someone should've been higher/lower, please feel free to comment. And remember, I did post my Honorable Mentions blogpost earlier, you can find that at the link below for explanations on some of the characters I might've missed:

http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2016/10/my-top-100-animated-characters-ballot.html

Still though, this is a fun discussion, it was mostly a fun list to create and I hope it sparks some debate, both my ballot, and the complete list when that's revealed.

Alright, before the final reveal, let's recap what was on the list before:

TOP 100 ANIMATED CHARACTERS (MY BALLOT)
100. Woody Woodpecker
99. Stan Marsh
98. Speedy Gonzales
97. The Beast
96. Elmyra Duff
95. Robert "Bob" Parr/Mr. Incredible
94. Wreck-It Ralph
93. Cinderella
92. James P. "Sully" Sullivan & Mike Wazowski
91. Darkwing Duck
90. Tommy Pickles
89. Boris Badenov & Natasha Fatale
88. Pinky & the Brain
87. Cruella De Vil
86. Kyle Broflovski
85. Sgt. Bill Dauterive
84. Scrooge McDuck
83. Jay Sherman
82. Michigan J. Frog
81. Mr. Peabody & Sherman
80. Judy Jetson
79. Marge Simpson
78. Ren & Stimpy
77. Betty Boop
76. Lady & Tramp
75. Peppermint Patty
74. Shrek
73. Waylon Smithers
72. Barney Rubble
71. Lisa Hesselman
70. Foghorn Leghorn
69. Harley Quinn
68. Stan Smith
67. Droopy
66. Roger Rabbit
65. Princess Nausicaa
64. Madeline Fogg
63. Pluto
62. Marvin the Martian
61. Marjane Satrapi
60. Woodstock
59. Charles "Montgomery" Burns
58. Linus Van Pelt
57. Remy
56. Glenn Quagmire
55. Eeyore
54. Mallory Archer
53. Tina Belcher
52. Anjelica Pickles
51. Genie

And now, the rest of my ballot from #50-#1.

50. Kiki 



Well, I needed a witch on here at some point. I don't know why most of Hayao Miyazaki's characters are young girls or young women, but they usually are, and that's something that actually is really needed in animation and frankly in media in general. The great thing about "Kiki's Delivery Service", is that, it's really just this wonderful, small story. She's a witch, but that's literally the only really magical thing about the movie. She's a young witch, who's got to go find a job and work for a while, and that's it. With a story like that, either you have to care about the character or nothing will work. And you know, we like Kiki, so we care what happens to her and more than that, she's just a cool person to hang around and tag-along with on her day. Flying from one delivery to the next, meeting interesting people. That's such a difficult kind of movie to do well, and it's all about the character at the center.


49. Herbert Garrison



I know "South Park" will take on anything, absolutely anything, yet, it's kinda amazing just how much of that anything, they throw on Mr. Garrison, 'cause they throw a lot on him and at him. There are soap opera characters that have not had as many bizarre, surreal quirks, characters and personality changes as he's had. I forgot that the first thing about him was Mr. Hat, that was so long ago, it's not relevant anymore in the world of "South Park". He's one of those character, who I suspect, either thinks he's searching for something deeper than himself, and basically the only revelation he comes out with is that, he's a pretty lousy, barely functioning human being. That's what makes him such a perfect Donald Trump surrogate on these latest seasons, just another thing he's up to.


48. Lisa Simpson



I think say that somebody is a Lisa Simpson, and everybody who completely understand that. She was always my favorite Simpsons character. She's smarter than her age, but not really able to communicate that and why it is to the outside world. She's the quintessential character, who, not only was born in the wrong family, but probably the wrong time period. If anything, we're probably catching up to her. She's an old soul, she cares about helping and changing the world, she's acutely aware of the hypocrisy of the world and the many ways it basically goes against her, and yet she's too small to really do anything about it, but she doesn't trying though. She knows, instinctively that there's others like her, and that's something in a character like that. That's why I always find her inspiring, we know that she's eventually gonna win out in the end, but she's still got a lot of shit to sort through, but when she does....


47. Simba



Well, he's Disney's version of Hamlet, if that kind of character isn't good enough to get on this list, then Disney better stop. Um, I was never entirely sold on "The Lion King" being the great classic that people claim it to be, but it was for Disney a truly original story, especially at that time. Yes, it's a combination of a bunch of things, but it's still a unique tale as told by them. Simba, is arguably the most self-conflicted character in the Disney canon. It's an internal struggle for him, most every other character, they may have an internal struggle, but it's usually an external one that they have to overcome, not in this case, first he must, overcome his problem, then he must battle to earn his place in the world. Usually they come at the same time, or are reversed at least in Disney, and that struggle is the best part of "The Lion King". It why it does indeed work as well as it does.


46. Randy Marsh



Randy is so, so gullable. He can be talked into anything. He thinks he knows everything, and then, he's so easily moved and inspired that, just on a switch, he can become almost anything; it's really a fascinating process to see. When something inspires him, he whole-heartedly goes for it. It makes him, maybe next to Cartman the most cartoonish character on the show, but on the other, he's a perfect foil for everything, and he's not always wrong. He's willing to give things a chance until they prove futile, I can't hate on him for that. He could be a better parent, I guess, but that doesn't make him alone in this world.


45. Buster & Babs Bunny  



No relation. You know, the conceit of "Tiny Toon Adventures" is smart, it's not just, younger versions of the classic Warner Brothers characters, it's the next generation. So, they didn't make, just miniature versions of the classic characters, and with Buster and Babs Bunny, particularly in Babs, you really see, two very distinct characters that both, definitely have some Bugs Bunny influence, but aren't exactly clones of their mentors.Especially with these two, especially Babs, you have a very distinctive friendship of two characters. It's debatable exactly what they are, I always thought they were kinda all the aspects of a male-female friendship, especially when you're young, and that includes the flirtation of romance, but you know, still the same kinda of antagonism between them that you can easily see them as brother and sister. You don't see that, too much in animation.


44. Lucy Van Pelt



If there is an antagonist in "Peanuts" it's clearly Lucy. I've heard some call her the most evil character in the history of comics and make a pretty good argument for it. There's so much about her, it's not just that she's a bully, it's how she bully. She can, either just be her regular abrasive self, sometimes she can seem nice and trying to be friends, and then kick a football out from Charlie Brown, she can be self-determined to get what or who she wants whether or not that person's remotely interested, there's a lot of intriguing aspects to Lucy. She's a big sister, that's a big aspect, with two little brothers, although she tends to be nicer to Re-Run than Linus, she's vain, she's a complainer, that's the big one, she's a complaining fussbudget. It's not like how Peppermint Patty is somewhat blind to the world around her, to the point where she doesn't even realize that Snoopy is a dog, I think Lucy's basically aware of the world and she's really just interested in twisting and straining it around until it's better for her. She's not the problem, everyone else needs therapy, so I'm providing therapy. Schroeder will fall in love with me, if I insist upon it enough, that's the mentality, and it's a fun mentality, and I think that's why nobody gets nearly as upset at her as they should in "Peanuts", or else somebody would've choked her to death by now!


43. Porky Pig



Porky Pig, it's debatable but was probably the first real Looney Tunes breakout character, he predates a lot of the main roster of characters, and was the one that really put the studio on the map. The interesting thing, is that prior to him, most of the characters, once they fell out of favor, would just stop being produced like Bosco or Buddy at that time, but Porky was adapted from a main character to essentially a straight man to somebody else in the Looney Tunes repertoire, and that's arguably how he's most remembered and beloved, which in of itself is pretty cool. It makes sense too cause he was one of those characters who at his core was essentially a serious character, but everything around him would be comical so it entirely made sense that Porky would evolve into a straight man; he essentially already was the best on in Hollywood.

42. Po



There's truly no reason why any of the "Kung Fu Panda" movies should've ever have been as good as they were, much less, keep seemingly getting better every time. That said, it's incredibly smart and clever how they tell these stories. The movies themselves are, essentially about identity. Po's constant search, in the process of trying to be this ordained leader of all the great warriors of martial arts, in this animal kingdom, is really a search for him, to find out exactly who he is. It's that, more than everything else, is what truly makes him, a great character, one that we're willing to go through this journey with him on. This literal journey into finding himself. Finding out who he is and why he is who he is. It's actually a great base, for a martial arts, 'cause there's a lot of parallels in these two combined ideas, and they didn't half-ass this. He's a singular huge, clunky panda bear, in a world where there aren't any, and then he gets recognized for it, then he's honored and then he finds out he's not the only one; this is a deep inner journey, inner story the movie goes to, and yeah, Jack Black would've been the last person I would've thought for that too, but once you've committed to Kung Fun Panda, why the hell not Jack Black.


41. Hank Hill



Hank Hill, another character that at first glance, you could easily dismiss and debate whether there's more interesting characters around him, 'cause the show is basically about him and he reacts to everything else the changes in the society at-large and the ones that come his way naturally. That said, there's still a lot to the guy, because of his capacity to adapt, while still being him. That's the-, in terms of writing, that's the ultimate really, for a series, make a character change over time, but not enough that people will notice, but not enough that he's no longer him; when you're writing drama or comedy, the way you're taught is that change happens and then the character changes, and you're so inclined to really go all the way, and really make characters as much as possible; it's actually something you can really stand back in awe of "King of the Hill" at, at how they pulled that line off for, what was it, fifteen seasons, something like that? They didn't make him, they didn't make him a cliche or a joke, The Economist once said he was the wisest man on television, and I completely get where they were coming from. He is wise, he sees when something's amiss, and he knows when he doesn't like something, but he's not contempt enough to fight against the trends. He's seen it, he's tried that, let's keep at it, and it'll either sink in or go away. He's the anti-Randy Marsh, and that's a good thing.


40. Seita & Setsuko Yokohama



Um, no, there's no easy transition to discussing these two. Um, "Grave of the Fireflies" simply put is the saddest animated movie ever made, and it's in no small part because of the fate of the main character, Seita & Setsuko, a brother and sister who's mother is killed during the firebombing of Kobe, and they're struggles to survive afterwards, and-eh, they don't, spoilers, but we see that in the beginning of the movie; we know it's gonna end tragically. When I wrote my Canon of Film entry, I wrote that war movies, ironically are almost always about survival, 'cause without that, there's no way to tell the story of the war, somebody has to overstand and survive, but "Grave..." is the one war movie where you can legitimately say it's not about the survivors, and in a way, it's probably more realistic in many circumstances. It's based on a real story and a real memoir, but Seita & Setsuko, could've lived during any wartime period where your lives are in danger and peril and you don't know exactly how to survive, even though one might be at the age that one thinks they could.


39. Minerva "Minnie" Mouse



I do like a lot, how in recent years, especially Minnie Mouse has really kinda established a personality of her own, outside of Mickey, somewhat, which is actually, how I prefer to see her. She was, a little too often the damsel in distress or the conversely the-eh person Mickey's trying to impress, and there's a lot of that, although it's nice to see when she's trying to impress Mickey instead, or is out on her adventures. There's a lot of thing Minnie can do, that Mickey can't, and the more that's explored the more interesting she gets.


38. Louise Belcher



I-, I still don't know what to make of Louise Belcher. I mean, she's-, there's definitely something that's messed up beyond belief about her, but if I had to actually pinpoint it...- I mean, she has to really, not give a fuck about anything or anybody to, at nine-years-old, continue to wear that pink bunny ears hat. That's-, twisted. And she's twisted. She's got a very dark sense of humor, and is very controlling, I feel like she's probably gonna start some cult, maybe not even when she grow up. She's probably the character on television right now, with the most potential to continually evolve and interestingly evolve, or devolve, and will find new and strange things to get into and out of.

37. Bart Simpson




Bart was, of course, the breakout star character of "The Simpsons", in hindsight that actually kinda seems strange. I guess, it was because he was the one kinda bad kid it was okay to like, back when, that was actually a somewhat cool thing. The early nineties were weird. Nowadays, I don't really know how well that translates, but to be sure, Bart's always interested in something, and as long as it's involving getting away with something and being a smartass about it, it's safe to say he's always gonna be around and getting into things. There's definitely some good in him, to be sure. He always wants to be better than he is, and that's something I appreciate. He's definitely evolved over time and correctly, they've made sure the focus isn't primarily on him, and that's a good thing; he's better as a supporting character.


36. Sylvester the Cat & Tweety



Bad ole Puddy Tat! Um, I've always loved Sylvester & Tweety; they're probably my all-time favorite Looney Tunes, and there cartoons they continue to hold up really well. They're not as violent, outwardly as say Tom & Jerry, although there's quite a bit of violence to them as well, but there isn't so much a chase aspect to these two, as there is an outsmarting aspect. Sylvester, is usually the one, trying to get to Tweety, and it's usually his failure to do so, that's funny, not necessarily the fact that Tweety is able to fly or get away. Tweety's also a bit of a smartass too, able to pick the spots perfectly when to go after Sylvester, but you understand it from him. Interesting, they did appear occasionally, separate from each other in other cartoons, and they were usually quite good in those as well, but they're usually better together; but they are two great characters.


35. Ariel



There were teenage girls, even teenage princesses, and I guess I should write "Princess Ariel" instead of just Ariel as her name, before in Disneydom, but this is the first time they really got one right, and thankfully they made it a good one. Always getting into trouble, trying to explore, finding her own interests, she's not your typical Disney Princess. She's rebelling against her father, she's willing to run away, she's trying to not only grow up too fast, grow up fast enough to leave and live her own life, which is already a little Becky Connor without the fact that she's leaving being a mermaid in the Ocean for a Human world, that's extreme, but it's not unrealistic. There's a lot that continues to hold up about "The Little Mermaid", but the main thing that works is that Ariel's a great, compelling character, and she's, not exactly a Snow White, who things happen to. She betrays her father, she looks for trouble, she makes the deal with Ursula, she's active. She'd be an intriguing character even outside of "The Little Mermaid".


34. Winnie-the-Pooh



Who doesn't love Winnie-the-Pooh? Pooh Bear, is a bit unusual for Disney in that, he was the first major non-original Disney character that they kinda acquired. The books from A.A. Milne, were the original inspiration, but credit to Disney, they really kept the real base of those characters and the world they inhabit, in tact for the most. It would've been tempting to sorta bring them into the Disney world, have Pooh and Mickey in something, but no, the 100-Acre Woods is where he should be. There's a timelessness to these characters and their stories. Winnie is always gonna be stuck in the window and trying to get that hunnytree, Rabbit's always catering to his garden, Piglet's always cleaning, etc. There's a folkness to them, today, probably in a similar way that-eh, say Bre'er Rabbit and those tales had to Walt Disney in their time, and Winnie-the-Pooh, I think is a far more innocent and interesting folk hero in that vain, one that's survived and remained crucial and they're still making more of him today.


33. Pinocchio  



Pinocchio isn't just one of the great animated characters; he's one of the great character of classic children's literature. Especially in Italy, and me being Italian, there is power to Pinocchio that other might not fully realize in America. That said, he's still one of the most classic character and tales, and one of Disney very best early films, maybe the film they did pre-Disney Renaissance, I think you can argue that. And he's, you know metaphorically it's a great story, you're unknown to this world and you go out and experience and you're not, but literally, you literally come to life one day and suddenly you get caught up in this impossible unknowing world and you fall easily into all these dangers; um, I didn't fall into too many dangers, but I certainly wish I had a blue fairy to help out the few times I did. It's the journey about what it means to become human, and everything that entails, and Pinocchio, is a perfect surrogate for that.


32. Sterling Archer



Oh, I love Sterling Archer, he's a Maxwell Smart that thinks he's a James Bond. It's so awesomely hilarious. Sterling Archer, another character who's continuously evolving, and learning about himself, and probably not finding anything he likes, but he overcomes all that to, right now, as I'm watching he's become a father, but he's so selfish and conceded and narcissistic that even the simplest human emotions tasks, he's barely capable of, but if you're ever about to be shot and blown up by a bunch rebel nationalists he's your guy. He's a great, new kind of anti-hero for animation and animation comedy. "Archer" finally won the Animated Series Emmy this past year, and they've long deserved it, in no small part because Sterling Archer is a centerpiece character in a show that, has no boundaries and no telling where it'll go, and he's able to be, if a sensible balance, a balance of some kind for the series.


31. Carl Fredericksen



Carl Frederickson, again, not a movie I thought was as great as everyone else, but still, one of the great characters in modern animated cinema. I know everybody's gonna point out the first ten minutes of "Up" and that great opening, where we go through him and his late wife's entire life, um, yeah, that alone, could've easily ranked him on this list. That said though, it's not that he had that incredible emotional tragic life that we're all-too aware of, it's what he does now that takes it over the top. It's reality meeting fantasies, and it's a literal journey of doing whatever you can to make your dreams come true. There's literally almost no more Disney-esque character than Carl Fredericksen.


30. Fred Flintstone



I'm guilty of doing it myself, I think a lot of people are, of simply saying that "The Flintstones" were just a remake of "The Honeymooners", that's definitely true, and you could easily that Fred was just Jackie Gleason in animated form, but it's really not that fair. He's a bit of schemer, he's a bit selfish, he's a gambler, he's a good heart. He's a family man, he's blue-collar, he's trying to do good. It's sometimes his attempts are just a little bit out of his reach. I'd say he's definitely the most interesting character from the show. He's the one that instigates most everything, or he's the one that the actions is focused around, if he doesn't start. Honestly, some of the episodes I like the best are when Wilma & Betty follow him, trying to catch him at something and it turns out he's not doing something, or not something as bad as they thought, and that's basically what he is. A good guy, who occasionally does a bad thing, but he does them for good reasons.


29. Popeye  



Popeye is the best character in the Fleischer canon, and the only one, that really continues to survive in some form. and has probably over more mediums than any other character longer than most. He originated in a comic book, which I think still continues in some form there, and Fleischer shorts started shortly after he got popular, and he became the character in movies and TV. I suspect the reason that he survived, while say Betty Boop aged really quickly, is that Popeye isn't necessarily a product of any time period, but also, it's the most simplistic direct story. Most of Fleischer's characters were basically excuses to try out other strange things in animation, they weren't really story-driven, Popeye is, in any context. Either he's fighting Bluto over Olive Oyl, or he's in a war with Bluto, or he's defending an honor, it's pretty basic, but that's all you need. Leonard Maltin, Popeye's a defender, not a fighter, and I think that makes difference too. He wants to go on his own, do what he feels like, which isn't much, but something gets in his way, he has to battle it. His spinach is essentially, Superman's glasses and cape.


28. Brian Griffin



I guess to some "Family Guy" kinda fell into the "South Park" trap in recent years Brian, ever since they kinda determined that he wasn't always the calming voice of reason, they've made him a bit more despicable then they probably needed to or should've. It's not that, that wasn't a fair place to go, but they used to be able to double-back on him, being a smart yuppie-ish, kind of millenial liberal and I don't like how they've backed off from that. He's a talking, intellectually astute dog in a world where nobody else is like that, it's a great contradiction. It's a very Gary Larson side of MacFarlane's humor that comes out with Brian and that's the great struggle. He's given a gift of being intelligent for his species, but he's not quite intelligent enough to do much with it, compared to humanity. It's this wonderful contrasts that not necessarily justifies, but some of his more outlandish, should-probably-know-better behavior. If Aaron Sorkin's taught us anything can do stupid things all the time, and smart dogs can do that just that just as well.


27. Ashitaka



"Princess Mononoke" might be the greatest animated feature of all-time, not just because of Miyazaki, but because of just how elaborate and complex the story is and how methodologically bit it is, along with the animation. It's a story that can only be told through animation, but on top of that, it doesn't take an easy way out. It's a convoluted, complicated story where there is no bad guy necessarily, there's only two conflicting sides, and here is this, "Hero", Ashitaka, who comes in and discovers all of this, and he himself, refuses to take sides. Which, is also, strange. And he's got every reason to take a side, his village was attacked by a god that was killed by somebody in this village who went mad, and it cursed him, physically. He's the one who's life, is in most immediate jeopardy throughout the whole film and he takes a bold stance in a situation where that probably is the most fool's errand thing to do, but it doesn't stop him; it enlightens him. Through him, we observe the situations, more clearly and because of that, we have a character who can see the whole story, even if nobody else can.


26. Garfield



I'll admit, to debating about whether or not I should include Garfield. Even I kinda think of him, more as a comic strip character than an animated character, but he's had numerous television and now movie adaptation now, so I think we can now consider him mainly a cartoon character, and if we do that, we have to rank him as one of the best. He's the ultimate, eh, self-indulgent, lazy lifestylist of animation. He's The Big Lebowski of animation, this orange fat cat, who wants to sleep all day and occasionally and wants to do nothing else. It's such a brilliant sarcastic, anti-cartoon. Garfield, represents an attitude, a point of view on life; he's got a character to be sure, but it's not the relevant part. He's schemer, but he's schemer so he can do as little as possible. He's sharp, he's sarcastic, he's witty. He doesn't care, it's fuck the world, now give me food. A human, would be kicked out of the house if he did that, a cat, can get away with it, and I think we all wish we were more like Garfield, or could be like Garfield, in our everyday lives.


25. Jessica Rabbit



So, Jessica Rabbit, eh, probably the greatest cartoon character entrance of all-time, let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. She's definitely the ultimate femme fatale, in terms of character and archetype. You know, it's easy to dismiss Jessica Rabbit, but the fact is that, she actually is an intriguing character. She's right, she's not bad, she's just drawn that way, She's caught up in others problems and has to do some things to protect her husband, and that includes what seems like a few double-crosses with everybody, but she's playing everybody too. She's manipulating the situations; she's a strong character on the page, and without that, she's not nearly the iconic one on the screen that she instantly became.


24. Goofy



Purportedly Walt Disney never really liked the Goofy solo cartoons, which is kinda funny in hindsight, 'cause I think those are the ones that most people remember, probably 'cause they are so different than the rest of the classic Disney characters. Goofy was kinda who you through in, when you were trying to do something different, like those sporting cartoons he's always win. It makes sense, 'cause he doesn't always fit in next to Mickey and Donald naturally, but you create a world of people like Goofy and animation-wise you basically can do anything. He's much free-form and jazz-like as a character. Even when, they created "Goof Troop," they basically did the same thing, create him and his family around him; it was the world they inhabited. I think he's kinda being rediscovered, but he was always, the also-one in the Disney collection too, for me, especially when I was really young, but when you look back, he's arguably the one I like the most. He is basically a blank slate as a klutzy, but courageous comic foil, that you can kinda do anything with him and that's why I suspect he's survived and adapted as well as he has over the years.


23. Wakko, Yakko & Dot Warner



I did not have a positive reaction to "Animaniacs" originally. Um-, I heard about it, and then I heard everybody at school talking about it, and I was a classicist, even in elementary, I studied the past before I ever got to the modern-day. I watched Nick at Nite to study television; I didn't watch Nickelodeon as much, so I would argue Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes were the funniest and the best, and I watched "The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show" religiously, no the Saturday morning block of shows that were before, at least, not intently or with any seriousness, but then the kids would say "Animaniacs" was funnier and better, and-eh, I did not react well to that. I thought that was them being contrary, just to be contrary, and-um, while I won't admit they were right, they weren't, eventually I came around to recognizing just how good and special "Animaniacs" were. It did take awhile, but eventually, I got it, they were animated versions of the Marx Brothers, which makes perfect sense considering their backstory. Being too rebellious, too funny, and forced into the tower not to be sprung on the animation world; that's a major claim to make on a lot of different levels and it's amazing that they actually pulled both comically and believably; you can envision, the scenario where the were created in the early days of sound and our only now, out into the world. It's-, it's kinda sad they're not around anymore; they're the one group of the characters that probably could've survived and adapted to today over the years, instead of just being a remnant of the '90s anymore.


22. Chihiro Ogino



It's not simply that "Spirited Away", is the variation of version of "Alice in Wonderland" ever put on film, at least it's the best of that tale. The young girl, who enters a magical world full of amazing imaginative creatures and characters that she finds and befriends and has to survive.Except, they give her, a reason for being there. Alice just falls through a mirror, Chihiro Ogino, has to save her parents. Grow up, work, get a job, quickly, she's a scared little girl who has to overcome a lot of great odds, and not to mention find out which characters are good or bad, as we get bombarded with this wonderful imagery. Alice mostly drifts in and out and gets herself in and out of trouble, Chihiro is way more interesting and complex, and really, has a reason to try to want to get out. I suspect that's the reasons we really have such high regard and respect for "Spirited Away", that, more than we probably realize. Chihiro, again, Miyazaki, young female characters, girls, nobody's better, maybe in the history of cinema, much less animation.


21. Daria Morgendorffer



It's already kinda surreal, especially with American television, when you go back and realize that their aren't really that many great teenage girl characters in the history of television, at most, you can say there's good archetypes, maybe there was a good character here and there and if there was they were rarely the main character of the show. So, that's already kinda ingrained, and it's important to recognize because it really underscores how Daria Morgendorffer is truly a pioneering, unique and important character, much less animated character in television history. Occasionally you might've seen a Darlene Connor on "Roseanne" become the sarcastic, smartass teenager rebel, but that's not who Daria was. She wasn't being rebellious to the conformity, she rejected the conformity in this sardonic, observant manner, that I think a lot of girls I knew and a lot of guys well, really reacted to, 'cause it so strongly represented them that hadn't been seen before. It's hard to understand how much Daria changed the game, from Aubrey Plaza character in "Parks and Recreation" to Ariel Winter's in "Modern Family"... on top being Mike Judge's greatest animated creation, even more than Beavis-and-Butthead and Hank Hill, one of the few truly transformative characters in television history. There are Daria's and version of Daria on television and in movies now, there weren't before, not as fully-realized characters. For that alone, gets major recognition from me.


20. Riley Anderson



On the one hand, how can I include Riley Anderson, she's not where the primary focus of "Inside Out" on the other hand, how can I not include her and not rank so high; the whole movie is about everything that goes on inside her. It's not a new trick, there's been numerous pieces of art that are about, essentially the voices and a physical manifestation of our emotions in our head, but they were never done this well before. She's not the star, but she's the location, so, everything that happens in "Inside Out", she's going through, and in a sense we're going through, and we know these feelings (Choked up snort), sorry. Again, Pixar, doesn't do it easy, they created this little girl as a unique character and they put her in this wonderful situation, where we have all recognized, and fear and from that, jumping off point, her emotional journey, becomes our physical journey. That means you better have a great character, for us to go through that journey with and they do, with Riley. If we didn't, then-eh, well, we wouldn't react so, viscerally to the film afterwards.


19. Peter Griffin



MacFarlane, playing with the television archetypes, basically started with, what if Archie Bunker, wasn't consumed by politics or a racist, he just grew up on nothing but television, which is probably why Peter Griffin is much more distressingly accurate than we probably wish. Peter is like Homer, dumb, but he's a bit more over-the-top, more of a schemer, more of a Mel Brooks character. He's breaking the fourth wall, he's got the crazy idea, he's gonna go ridiculously over-the-top to solve his problems; he's naturally gonna make them worst. It's everything we've seen or done before, but it's taken to the extreme, and Peter does that more than anybody on the show. Comedy should be, no holds barred and reckless and be damned whether it's gonna fits into the universe. It is the TV universe, it doesn't have to fit; you can always change the channel, and Peter, I think that's basically the ideal he's realize, something goes wrong, well change the channel, something else will fix it or turn it into a new problem that one can solve. Some shows straddle that line, others break it, "Family Guy" just destroys and annihilate it, and Peter Griffin, will blow it up multiple times over just to beat up a chicken. You can't really top that.


18. Donald Duck



It doesn't surprise me that there's a whole Wikipedia section on Donald Duck's popularity worldwide; it's easier to become popular on a global scale when nobody is quite sure of exactly what you're saying. Donald has two emotions, either calm, happy-go-lucky and hopefully enthusiastic about the world and then, pissed off beyond belief; I think it's pretty easy to see why so many people can relate to him. That's probably the reason he's the one with the truly memorable extended family and why ducks are such a go-to character for Disney. I mean, he was the one they gave a feature film to, with "The Three Caballeros", they only gave Mickey a scene in "Fantasia", you know. I wouldn't be surprised if Donald turned out to be one of Walt's favorites. He's truly a timeless character. He would be a hit today if he came out now.


17. Wallace & Gromit



For two characters who showed up in as few cartoons as they showed up in, they really defined Aardman Animation, and solidified them as the modern-day masters of the short film and basically re-birthed stop-motion. Wallace & Gromit, have always been at their best, a bit on the cerebral side and yet, the thing is that they're actually quite classical in their approach. They're kind of a slow-speed Laurel & Hardy or someone like that. They get caught up in an adventure, usually one that's involving an invention of some kind, something strange and elaborate, and then, the have this strange trip of going through this latest endeavor. I guess that's why they're so popular, in that, they seem like characters that have been around forever, and when you realize how much of their work is stop-motion, especially their early cartoons and it becomes clear how much work that they do for each of these, you can really appreciate the care that they put into their films.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
16. Elsa, the Snow Queen of Arondelle

                                                                                                                                                                 
I do not understand for one second the anti-"Frozen" people. Really it's similar to "Tangled", where in "Tangled" was there a character like this!? I mean, this is one of the most self-conflicted complex character's Disney ever created. The most impressive thing about Queen Elsa, is that in most every traditional character sense, she's supposed to be a villain. She has the evil witch-like skill, she's the one that does the bad thing, she's the one who's found her way to power, she's a literal ice queen, who damns the world who betrayed her, and creates her own secluded palace segregated from the rest of society. She has the villain song, "Let It Go", is a villain song, and in context, it's one of the most frightening and startling sequences put on film. You're genuinely afraid for her, and afraid of her, of what she actually might do. It's one of the most amazing, theatrical, brilliant transformation sequences ever put on film. And yet, she's really struggling, to do the right thing, but she only has the powers of somebody who can't, at least she thinks she does. She has to repress herself, she has to stay away from her sister, because she loves her, because of what she can do. If other fairy tales had characters with this much depth and complexity to them, we'd stop making fun of them for being too simple or childlike, Queen Elsa, is neither of those things; she's one of the great tragic heroines of literature.


15. Sheriff Woody Pride

 

You know, the funny thing about "Toy Story", is that, while it seemed, at least at first that the movie's focus was Buzz Lightyear, and how he had to come to grips with the realization that he's a toy, it's actually Sheriff Woody, who has the most complete and over-arching revelations about himself over the movies. He's the one who realizes, what would happens to him when his authority is challenged, that he isn't necessarily as good a guy as he thinks he is, or that he has the answers to everything. Then he has to completely  revamp his own thoughts on the world, when he realizes he's a rare, valuable toy, and then has to rethink his place in the world there, and then again when Andy grows up and just becomes too big for his toys..., Woody is the one that definitely goes through the most change and has the most inner identity conflict throughout the series. It's actually kinda amazing that a toy can have such personal emotions; well-, I guess it makes sense since we often put such powerful and emotional connections to our toys that we place upon them, why wouldn't they therefore have such strong and emotional feelings towards us? Sheriff Woody, is the quintessential representation of that feeling.


14. Stewart "Stewie" Griffin



There's so many great characters on "Family Guy", but I think Stewie Griffin, definitely tops them all. You can really do, multiple psychological analyses of Stewie and realize just how fascinating he is. Just the original idea alone of the one-year-old, determined to kill his mother, that's already a twisted idea. He's a baby, he's prone to extreme swings in emotion so it, kinda makes sense, and then, the more they go, the more versatile Stewie can be and can evolve. Sure he doesn't kill, but he can build a time machine, or he can run a few companies, be an entertainer, be a playwright, there's nothing he can't do. He's kinda the opposite of Brian who's constantly searching for a greater self and never finding it, Stewie just does whatever he feels he needs, often without really thinking of the consequences and once he keeps that focus there's nothing that can get in his way. And then, as he starts developing real emotions and more complex personality traits, and it's- this really perfect combination of cartoon absurdity mixed with the psychoanalytically surreal. Stewie, is I suspect who we wish we were, while Brian might be more likely who we actually are.


13. Homer Simpson                                                                                                             

 

If "The Simpsons" really were a perversion of the typical nuclear family, then of course it makes sense, that the show, at it's best, would have Homer as the main focus. It should be about the dumb old dad and how he, in some ways seems involved in everything and yet usually manages to screw everything up. He's the center of everyone's universe, so he should be the character with the most growth and development, even if that means he gets perpetually stupider and more, laid-back in terms of everything happening. He's grown up, he's had his family, and now he'd probably want nothing to do with them if at all possible, and just drink at his bar, eat his donuts at work. It's quite a bizarre combination, but I bet it's one that everybody's constantly struggling with over and over everyday as adults and comes up regularly and constantly with them. I think that's probably the biggest secret as to why "The Simpsons" has survived as long as it has and remained as great as it's been, so long remained as great as ever. It can have it's dozens of aberrations and in-jokes and obscure, but it's all center around that core center of Homer Simpson.


12. Wile E. Coyote & The Road Runner 
             

Chuck Jones, can be given a lot of credit, amazing credit for almost all the Looney Tunes, but I think his true genius is Wile E. Coyote & The Road Runner. It's genius, in it's simplicity. I mean, it's basically a remake of Tom & Jerry, but it doesn't feel that way. Maybe it's the desert, maybe the wide open spaces, it always feels like it's on such a wider, grander scale that it therefore makes the comedy more hilarious the more imaginative and thoughtful ways Coyote thinks he's come up with to catch the Road Runner, only constantly be thwarted. It's not, whether or not The Road Runner would somehow escape, it was about, how would this plan catch inevitably fail and backfire on Wile, that's what makes them great. The second half of "The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Movie", which is basically 45 minutes of footage strung together from their Chuck Jones shorts of just the Coyote's plan faltering, one after another after another is one of the funniest 45 minutes or so you'll ever see, and there could've been another hour or two of just those failed plans attempts from Wile if they wanted. When they're all this good, it's perfectly okay that they're all basically the same.


11. Eric Cartman                                                                                                                   
                     


Eric Cartman, is basically the obnoxious ten-year-old version of Archie Bunker, only much more obnoxious and sociopathic, psychopathic, anti-semitic, basically everything horrible all wrapped up into, that blob that is Eric Cartman. The one thing that's kinda unfortunate is that Cartman also happens to be smart. Not in a way that anybody wishes he were smart, but you know, there's the constant continuous fear that Cartman will grow up and become President or something, that kind of fear. He is influential and he is determined and he will raise an army just to prove somebody else wrong, whether or not he knows what he's doing is right or not. You want to feel a little sorry for him, because he's got that whore of a mother, who basically gives in to all his demands, but that only goes so far. The levels of fucked-up-ness that Parker & Stone have put onto him, is just, insurmountable. It's really quite sadistic in hindsight of everything he's done and why he does it. If he was a human adult character, nobody would believe, but for reason, and obnoxious 4th grader, yeah, that seems like the kind of crap he'd do.


10. Belle 



Hell, I could've made an argument for putting Belle as the highest-rated Disney Princess on the list, just for being the only one that reads. She's by far the most interesting and comes from the best movie. She's self-sacrificing, she suffers from a grave internal conflict that she wants adventure, and isn't in favor of falling in love, and she now, begins to have feelings for her captor, and a monstrous one at that. She's in a different world, she's mischievous but she's also smart and emotionally astute, and she doesn't just, go with the flow. She's active, she tries to escape, she tries to manipulate her environment to her; she's a thinker, she's a reader. Knowledgeable. She's not a simple character, and that's why the movie works, and that allows her to become enchanted by The Beast. He has to earn her trust and she has to learn to trust him.


9. Snoopy



Snoopy's a character, who in practice, could've been a character like an Eric Cartman or a Stewie Griffin who could've done anything and often does get involved in anything, but Snoopy, instead has a pretty distinctive persona and personality. He has his interests, and he focuses on them, when he wants or needs to. He can be the Red Baron, he can be a shortstop, he can be, Joe Cool; he's really a performer more than anything. You pick up your influences, your likes, your skills, and then you learn them. He's silent, but it's not that he doesn't, we just don't hear what he says, but we can understand him enough. That's a wonderful little twist as well. I don't think can hate Snoopy, he's the quintessential cool character; there's always gonna be something somebody likes about Snoopy, whether he's a loyal dog, or conniving dog, or trying to get under someone else's skin, there's always more going on with Snoopy. You don't know what he'll do next, but you know it'll be interesting, you know he'll give it his all and you know it'll be funny.


8. WALL-E



Sure, it's empathy for a robot, but you know how difficult it is to do that? This is another one of those examples of just how good Pixar is, in that, this isn't particular new; in fact it's heavily borrowing from so much of science-fiction, but it doesn't matter 'cause of exactly how good it is and how well it's told. They got us to feel and care, about a poor robot who's been collecting garbage for hundreds of years, and as far as he knows, that's all there is, and after awhile of that, he finally started to dream of something more and then, he found out that that possibility existed and he fights for it. It's so wonderful and sad and brilliant; he's the highest-ranked character on my ballot that originated in computer animation, and he's a character that needed that. It could've worked in 2-D as a story, but you need to believe that a robot can have space and volume and he does. Especially since so much of the movie, is just him; I don't really know if a movie like that could be as effective in 2-D on hand-drawing.


7. Rocky, the Flying Squirrel & Bullwinkle J. Moose



I don't think a lot of people today, really, truly understand just how ahead of their time and genius Rocky & Bullwinkle are. I think, they sorta know their importance, kinda remember seeing them as a kid, but in terms of, especially television, animation history, they were so ahead of their time. They were the first animated series that specifically through in adult humor, into their work, but that doesn't fully explain just how strange and kinetic they were. It was a variety show, there'd be a sketch, they're be a long-running narrative story that was like itself full of fourth wall breaking and surreal absurdist jokes, they'd have numerous characters,- I mean,- I think I can compare it to is "The Jack Benny Program" at that time, but even Jack Benny, once he decided what to do that week, he basically stuck to that. Rocky & Bullwinkle were all over the map; it's dated looking now, but imagine a 1959 audience seeing this for the first time?  I don't even know why these characters? Why Moose & Squirrel; it's so absurd, it's almost Dadaist in nature. Rocky & Bullwinkle, were subversive, and I don't think we always knew what they were subverting, but it was always subversive, and not enough people realize how important and big they are, 'cause you can make a great argument that these are the two characters that basically influenced, nearly every future primetime and a lot of daytime animated television, a lot of modern television in general actually.


6. San



San is the most mysterious and intriguing of characters. I can see some complaining why is she the highest ranked feature-film character and female character at that; you can argue she's not even the lead in "Princess Mononoke" even though, at least the American title is named after her, but she is the most fascinating character from the movie, and the one you are curious about. She's already a weird contradiction, a human, raised by wolves and she acts a wolf, and she's one who fights the humans who are destroying her land, and then, she's confronted with a different kind of human, not just one she has romantic feelings towards, but one that's not like any she's confronted before. Yet,she doesn't take a cliched approached to the romantic arrival, she's still complex; she is fighting what might be her natural instincts. She's not nice, really, she's angry. She's passionate, aggressive, a warrior, there's so many complexities to her and she can't deal with all of it either. She's a very flawed character and watching her trying to circumvent these numerous conflicting traits, especially from afar. She shouldn't be the main character, she should be the character who were curious about. We don't know how she'll react and for that matter, she doesn't either, and that's what makes her so intriguing.


5. Daffy Duck



He's the top anthropomorphic duck but he's the ultimate second banana. He thinks he's the star, he thinks he should be the star; I'm not even sure I necessarily disagree with him, maybe he should be the star. Daffy's one of the great characters of all-time. There's so many ways you can use him, he can be a hero, but mostly he's a scheming villain, he's a huckster, he can be the ultimate complainer, he's totally egocentric and completely selfish, there's a real lot to Daffy that makes him beloved, but he's almost always funny. He's one of the first really great, screwball characters. You know you're getting, not just laughs but riotous laughs, and laughs in a way that you don't see anymore. Nobody is more fun to watch who's in absolute pain than Daffy. He's despicable!


4. Charlie Brown



Good grief. Poor Charlie Brown. There's not much else, he constantly tries, and struggles to achieve, but he always fails. It's not always his fault, but he always gets the blame. He's the ultimate idealist, which in turn makes him the ultimate pessimist. He's not really, the average kid, it's just that everybody else is so definable, at least to him, or to us, that compared to the other kids, and his dog, so he's always withdrawn from society, wondering why he's there. Charlie Brown, is the one who represents Charles Schulz's view the most, and it's fascinating the way he portrays him. He just wants an understanding of life, a little moment, a little fame, and you feel so sorry. He should get it, it's not like he's selfish or egotistic, he's more than willing to do anything to have it. That's why he's so great, he's a great kid, who's always dealt a bad hand, Charlie Brown vs. The Universe, and just once, you want him to win.


3. Tom & Jerry



Walt Disney has the most Oscars of anybody, ever, but the cartoon characters that have won the most Oscars are Tom & Jerry, they have seven. The sad thing is that, William Hanna & Joseph Barbera never won an Oscar, 'cause they gave those awards to the producer's at the time, but there's no two characters that are more brilliant that they invented than Tom & Jerry. It's utterly simple, Cat, mouse, done, and with that alone, you can do so much, and it's actually shocking what they did and what they got away with back then. Some of their cartoons are just some of the most sickening, dark, surreal violence of all-time. There were other violent cartoons, even back then, but I don't think any of them had the sick sense of humor that they had. It shouldn't be Tom & Jerry, it should be Tom vs. Jerry, and much of the time it was. They're just so dark, and they calmed down after awhile, but eventually, they get to be themselves. You know the funny thing is, is that they're essentially fighting each other over their home. You know, Jerry with his little furniture in his mousehole, they're two animals who don't want to share the same place. So, it's not just that they're cat and mouse, it's a fight for survival; you stay on your side, I'll stay on mine, and when that doesn't they're the Hatfields & McCoys.

(Sigh) I suspect you've all figured out who I put at numbers one and number two at this point, and I don't think I have to explain or defend either of them, so the only real question left, is how did I rank them, and why. (Deep breath) Well, drumroll....

(Drumroll begins)

Number 2!

(Drumroll ends)

2. Mickey Mouse



It's basically a preference but they say Disney was classical music and Warner Bros. was jazz, and I prefer jazz; it's more interesting, there's more room for improvising, it's more fun.

So, number one....


1. Bugs Bunny



All hail, King Bugs! Ye-ah, What's Up Doc? I love Mickey, but you can't beat Bugs Bunny. He's the coolest, he's knows he's the coolest, he's the perfect combination of laid-back suave and total anarchism, and Mickey, from a different century compared to that, no matter how many theme parks he puts his image on.

So, that's my ballot, keep an eye out on Geekcast for the complete results. Back to regular blogs, and hopefully on a semi-regular schedule, next week.

Take it Porky!


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