Wednesday, May 14, 2014
"The dresser!! The windah!!!..."
Anyway, first up, Never Sock a Baby. And as you probably can probably guess, Swee'Pea's the baby in question. As someone will probably note, it's a Popeye cartoon stripped down to bare essentials... why, it's just Popeye and Swee'pea in this one! Where's Olive or Wimpy at least? Usually the entirety of the Thimble Theatre was in every Popeye strip all the time... and what do the Fleischers have against the Sea Hag, exactly? What's that all about? But I digress.
Okay, spoiler alert, it also features Angel Popeye and Devil Popeye. They both sound more nasal to a degree than regular Popeye. This ethereal duo show up after Popeye gives Swee'pea a light spanking and, even worse, sends Swee'pea to bed without supper. Dude, that's harsh.
We never do find out what Swee'pea did to make Popeye so disciplinary, but considering the way he kept sneaking out of his crib in previous installments... oh, chances are he's up to no damn good. And, true to form, Swee'pea constructs the proverbial sack on a stick hobo luggage and sets out into the seemingly better world. Swee'pea has yet to find out that Mother Nature's spankings tend to be quieter and more long-lasting at times. Meanwhile, there's nothing for Popeye to do but wrestle with his conscience. Popeye picks a side when Devil Popeye calls Popeye a wimp. Why, it's worse than being called an imp, for Gawd'z zake! It's 'imp' with a w! Wimp. Maybe not as bad as being called a freak, but still bad. Popeye punches Devil Popeye into oblivion and rushes in to look at Swee'pea. "The dresser! The windah!" exclaims Popeye.
Now sure, I could be negative and point out that Popeye once again closes a whole canyon with naught but a rope and a tree trunk, or that the story arc is basically a rehash of every Swee'pea and Jeep cartoon, or A Dream Walking to an extent, but I did see Never Sock a Baby once on free tv. Maybe it was on Cartoon Network when they used to show old stuff like this. In context, sure, it's hardly original, but it gets points for showmanship. And uptight Christians can even enjoy it to a degree, as the virtues of good parenting triumph in the end... or do they? A single father, all by himself... wait a minute. Popeye's not even the father! Just a rogue babysitter! I take that back. Better stick with your boring animated vegetables and penguins... but I'm sticking with Popeye.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan