The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Get out of my sight, wherever you are!

Two German monsters in a row! I didn't plan it that way.

Speaking of monsters, I have been watching Count Duckula for the first time in over twenty years. I had remembered Duckula's clueless nemesis Dr. von Goosewing pretty well, but I had forgotten how delightful the evil butler Igor is:

Duckula: I just want to know what all that bumping is.
Igor: Nothing to do with me, milord. It'll be Nanny, in the kitchen, swatting flies.
Duckula: Swatting flies? How could swatting flies make so much noise?
Igor: She likes to swat them with the refrigerator, milord.
Duckula: She swats them with the refrige-- Well, why can't she use the flyswatter?
Igor: Oh, no, sir, I use that.
Duckula: Ah, you swat the flies.
Igor: No, no, sir, I use it to stir the soup.
Duckula: To stir the-- You-- You mean you stir my vegetarian soups with a flyswatter?
Igor: Ah, sir, think -- a bluebottle today, the underfootman tomorrow.

There is something marvelous about the whole setup of Count Duckula, apart from the vaudevillian humor that's more like the Marx Brothers than anything else I would have witnessed at the age of ten (not that it's equally witty, but the formula of the jokes is similar). The show was a DangerMouse spinoff (with the same occasional egregious racism, unfortunately), and while our protagonist and his servants are ostensibly Transylvanian they are, of course, thoroughly British. This makes perfect sense because it allows the same obsessions with class that dominated the source material, Dracula -- an Englishman's book about the terrifying Eastern European other. It therefore also makes perfect sense that since the vampire is our (very English) hero, the vampire hunter has to be the other -- von Goosewing has an accent that would embarrass the Nazis from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Of course this is a bit of a simplification, because Van Helsing (note the cap; that's how Stoker rendered it) is a funny foreigner too, but von Goosewing is the only vampire hunter in the Duckula universe, and has no stout Englishmen and -women (and that one American dude) to negate his foreignness. He's the intruder in a world that, because Duckula is a vegetarian, has no need of him. That's actually kind of brilliant. Also brilliant is that Igor, because of his essential Englishness, and despite his name, is essentially Jeeves as a homicidal maniac. I can't think of another character like that -- not in literature or anywhere else.

Duckula: Oh, look at that stain! It's all over the carpet!
Igor: Sir, in your father's day there was always a stain on the carpet. That one was a red-haired dairymaid. This, a window cleaner with a wooden leg--
Duckula: Yes, thank you, Igor, I don't wish to know that.
Igor: And here you are worried in case you hurt the feelings of a spring onion.
Duckula: Igor.
Igor: You're a sad disappointment to me, sir.
Tags: cartoons, stix, vampires
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