All this time, I thought I was the only one who found the Lie Detector
taking down the two little pigs' swimming trunks and spanking their
pink behinds with brushes was funny-- and a bit sexy! I'm glad I'm not
the only one!
As to the two brother pigs getting hot for the (really ugly) Mermaid
Wolf-- that was very funny too! The old Disney cartoons really dealt
more with sexual feelings than people seem to think.
So Practical builds another anti-Wolf contraption, this time a Lie
Detector. His brothers have about as much patience with him as they
did last time, and they even proceed to mock the overuse of "Who's Afraid
of the Big Bad Wolf?" from earlier shorts by dancing around and pretending
to play their instruments! Despite their brother's warnings, Fiddler
and Fifer go swimming, only to get caught by the Big Bad Wolf, who once
again uses the drag routine and "seduces" them! It's a very funny scene,
and I love the Wolf's disguise because it's so ridiculous. He takes
them back to his new home (in the old mill) and after some arguing,
heads off to get Practical, his sons set about turning the other two
pigs into a pork pie, despite promising their father that they would
wait for him.
The Wolf, disguised as a "messenger boy" delivers a letter to Practical,
who isn't fooled at all. He then traps the Wolf with his Lie Detector
machine, which does as its name implies and detects when the Wolf is
lying. It also washes his mouth out with a scrubbing brushed & soap
and/or pulls his pants down with a big hook and gives him a spanking!
Ouch! While the other two pigs manage to free themselves and escape
the wolf cubs, Big Bad is subjected to increasingly more torture until
he finally gives in and tells the truth, only to then be shot right
out of the house with a rocket. Before Practical can go to save his
brothers, they rush in and send him into the wall. When he scolds them
for going swimming against his orders, they lie, and soon are getting
a spanking from the Lie Detector too! I guess the moral of the story
is "don't ever tell lies!"
Reading the other comments about this short, I have to say I agree
with the somewhat sexual undertones of the ending, with Fiddler and
Fifer strapped down getting their bottoms warmed by the hairbrush-wielding
machine. The rest of the cartoon has a similar feeling to it, and it's
simultaneously hilarious and disturbing. But we have to remember it
was made in a different time, and while it seems violent now, it was
more acceptable back then. Still, it's one of my favs!
Before, we saw how the pigs treated the menace of the wolf, with two of the brothers mocking him while the more level-headed brother took things seriously and ended up saving the day. No change in this short, as it’s named after the level-headed brother, who again saves the day.
The Practical Pig, as I would assume he is named from the title, is now becoming a bit of a tinkerer. We saw his invention in the last pig short, Three Little Wolves, which saw the “Wolf Pacifier” come into play. This time out, he’s building a Lie Detector. Not sure what the purpose of this would be, but he insists it will help against the wolf. Doesn’t really make sense when you think about it.
This is the attitude of the pig’s brothers, who mock him roundly and head off to the swimming hole. Of course, they are then captured by the wolf, just like they were in the previous shorts. This is my main problem with this short, is that it is the same set up as the earlier pig shorts. The story in this and in Three Little Wolves is very much the same.
I will have to say that there are some particularly inventive gags in this one. The wolf catches the pigs by posing as a mermaid, which was pretty amusing. The Lie Detector itself was an inspired piece of work, as it takes great pains to find out if the wolf is lying and later if the other brothers are, then paddles them with a brush or washes their mouths out with soap.
The three little wolves are also back here, but they are just like Huey, Dewey and Louie, in that they are not distinct characters, but more parts of a whole. They move in concert, trying to eat the brothers while their father is off trying to catch the other pig.
The Practical Pig includes some great funny ideas, but it does not hang together as well as the previous pig shorts. Like I said, I enjoyed the Lie Detector greatly, and the finale of having the pig brothers all being attacked by it was quite good. The problem was that there was nothing else new in the middle to keep things flowing. I liked it, but it definitely seems like time to retire the pigs.
Now the series focus can be on Wolf character conflict, and the Pigs can settle into the ideal foils and MacGuffins for the situation; interesting enough that they're never boring, but not the main characters, either.
I agree that the pig cartoons are falling into a pattern and, had the series continued, the stories could do with some new ideas. As David says the comics focussed on the the Big Bad Wolf (renamed Zeke in the comics I read) and his son who was friends with the pigs. However, I think Practical Pig is a strong enough character to work in all kinds of stories. There are all kinds of scenarios which could be created concerning him starting up businesses with his crazy inventions, while the foolish pigs wind up getting him in dangerous situations. Or maybe Practical could play a trick on his brothers to teach them a lesson. The Pigs also live in a world with other fairytale and fable characters so there's a wealth of opportunities there. Also what if the wolf changed tactics and started trying to trick and capture the smart pig first for a change?
Still, this cartoon is too enjoyable for me to care that it's falling into a formula. The lie detector, which also punishes the truth out of its victims is great - you get the feeling Practical built it as much for his brothers as he did the wolf (his increasing annoyance with them could have fueled lots of funny story material if the pig series had continued). It also has one of my favourite endings with a gag I didn't see coming the first time I saw it.
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