Who Are You, I Think I Love You

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I bit into a healthy number of apples from the tree of knowledge.

                                                                                                                                                       
I developed a crush on a cartoon character.  It’s true.  And it wasn’t the first time.

The first time, it was Tintin, the intrepid star of his own comic books.   He was brave, noble and compassionate, adventuring all over the world righting wrongs.

Most Americans didn’t know about him until Steven Spielberg’s animated The Adventures of Tintin, which I didn’t care for because it failed to capture the almost-subversive humor and nuance of the books.  Subversion is So My Thing that I’ll see it where there mightn’t be any, yet, even I couldn’t project it on to the spiritless film version.  But I’ve been obsessed with the Tintin books since I was six years old and still living in Iran.  I’ve read the comics in Persian, English, French and Italian, and even as an adult, go through the entire collection every few years.  I may have been a Tintin groupie.

Tintin

It never occurred to me that the diminutive, strangely asexual Tintin, with the funny-looking quiff, was a kid.  And it didn’t matter, because when I discovered him, I was a kid too, and stayed a kid for a good many years before reaching the age where I’d be akin to his pervy old aunt – you know, if he weren’t a Belgian cartoon in plus-fours, and I, a flesh-and-blood Iranian New Yorker.

Besides, his innocence remained intact while I bit into a healthy number of apples from the tree of knowledge.  Eventually, he proved too much of a goody-goody for my taste, and I outgrew my crush.  But I remained devoted to his adventure books.

Enter my second cartoon crush, Sterling Archer, a self-destructive, hot-as-fuck spy with mommy issues.  He’s inappropriate, immature, inconsiderate and an alcoholic.  But lest we forget, Hot As Fuck.  And his crystal blue eyes widen most innocently when it comes to his steely mama.  Damaged, reckless and fun, he’s a lovable prick.  So let’s just say, guys aren’t the only ones who see the merits of a “crazy” paramour.1  Plus, underneath his brash dickness, there’s that vulnerable, evolving heart.  It’s an evolution that may take a million years, but the important part is that there’s motion.  It might be a microscopic motion, but it only matters that you believe in it.

In the meantime, he is absurdly good-looking.

Archer

If he were a real person, people who care about you would constantly chide you for believing in him.  He’s bad news, they’d say.  But you’d know he’s an angel.  They would look at you pityingly for your patience, and lecture you about not having self-respect in the matter.  They’d forget that you yourself are pretty reckless and immature – I mean, you’d have to be immature to put so much value on “fun,” right?

They’d call you an idiot for forsaking noble Tintin and taking on emotionally stunted Archer.  If Tintin and Archer were real people, to win your favor, one would try too hard, and the other wouldn’t try hard enough.

And both would annoy the shit out of you because of it.

But even if you could, you wouldn’t meld them into a Franken-cartoon of both, because the truth is, you love them each exactly as they are.  Well, except the annoying parts.  You could only judge so much though, since you’re no thornless flower yourself.

Sure, your friends would still feel sorry for you for stubbornly loving the selfish one in a carnal, can’t-get-enough of his absurd deliciousness way, and let’s not forget his microscopically evolving heart.  They’d keep saying he’s beneath you, yet, they’d look at you like you’re a delusional peasant trying to sneak into a royal ball.  (Why?  Brainy, aging geishas can’t go out with good-looking spies?)  And that’s just a mixed message on their part, not subversion.  So they’d end up annoying the shit out of you too.  Soon, you wouldn’t know anyone who didn’t annoy you.

“You” would, of course, be me.  So good thing for me, Archer’s only a cartoon.

If I were a cartoon character, it’s possible I haven’t been drawn yet.  But I decided to look.

I would’ve gone with Betty Boop because of the big eyes and short dark hair, but then I read somewhere that she’s known more for heart than brains.  Why can’t we get heart and brains?  Also, she’s too spilling-out-of-her-dress sex objecty.  Sure, it really works for her in the cartoon realm.  But I couldn’t walk into Rite-Aid in a little red dress and fishnets to fill a prescription for say, amphetamines, without the Bangladeshi guy behind the counter thinking I have a daddy complex, and besmirching the stellar relationship I do have with my father.  Sorry little Betty, gotta pass in spite of your adorable haircut.

Betty Boop

So I did a cursory search for “fierce female cartoon characters,” and was dismayed to find the paltry results included My Little Ponies.  Is there a shortage of human female cartoons?  And those rainbow ponies – fierce, really?  The guys get to be skydiving, gun-toting savers of the world, but “fierce” girls get to be a…carousel ride?!

There was a Disney Megara, befittingly slanted-eyed and mysterious.  But it was…Disney.  And that’s just antithetical to me.  Also, she dated Hercules who’s overly brawny for my likes.

Then I remembered The Matrix Comics.  And stoic, fearless Trinity.  Of course!  When The Matrix came out, I had short black hair and couldn’t go to the deli without someone likening me to Trinity.  It probably helped that living in New York at the time, I wasn’t big on smiling, and wore a lot of black.

Trinity.  Perhaps a match.

Trinity

Would I ever admit that this cartoon matchmaking is mild code with parallels to my real life?  Of course I would.  You know I don’t play coy.  And of course it is.  But first we had to get through the literary conceit.

I spend a lot of time puzzling out how people affect each other and why.  I didn’t have a clear picture of where this post was headed, but it took on a table-turning / gender-bending shape that doesn’t displease me.  You already know how I feel about subversion, so along the same line of sub- prefixes, if a post manages strata of subtext and sub-subtext, I’d be content to write even about a trip to the gas station.  Any subterranean shuffling of dirt is bound to turn up a find.

In my parade of cartoon characters, I discovered the unintentional trail of too goody-goody, too much of a sex object, and too brawny, none of which are undesirable if you take away the “too.”  The right pinch and dash of personality traits determine your chemical reaction to anyone.  It’s the difference between your internal, who are you – go away, or I think I love you.

Obviously, it’s all subjective.  I might respond to “fun,” when you, being you, respond to “respectable.”  I might see “delicious” where you see “douchey.”  What I look for – and find – even more than subversion, is goodness where others might see none.  Imagine, then, how I’d swoon at the combination of goodness and subversiveness in one person.  Or cartoon character.

Knowing I had a crush on Archer, you’d worry about me getting hurt.  And if I were a pink My Little Pony, you might be right.

But I’ll just remind you that in the bigger scheme of cartoon analysis, whether in comics or animation, Trinity is an ass-kicker and Archer is a joke.2

– Fin –

Cathartic Monkeyism

  • Maybe I got a little carried away.  Getting carried away is fun.
  • 1 “Crazy chicks are good in bed,” wouldn’t be offensive if you replace crazy with complex, and chicks with people.
    2 By “joke,” I mean a literary conceit within this post, and not a cartoon character I don’t take seriously.  I take my crush on Archer very seriously.
  • Spelling everything out takes the fun out of double-meaning and subversion.

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51 comments

  1. Thought of this as I read your (great!) post:

    “I’m not bad, I was drawn that way.” Jessica Rabbit

    1. She’s one of my all time favorites…

  2. I like Archer too. Crazy show, but fun.

    1. Some might say it’s the “crazy” that makes it fun…

      1. I’ve always been a big fan of the guy that voices him. He is a genius in quite a few animated shows. He is also really good at improvising.

  3. Veronica was plenty fierce enough for me . . . never could pick between her and Betty, and then Midge showed up!

    1. Just like Archie couldn’t pick, right? Who is Midge?!

      1. Who is Midge? When in doubt, go to Wikipedia!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midge_Klump

      2. And she’s got an awesome haircut to boot:

        http://www.mightycrusaders.net/a_whoswho/midge.htm

      3. lol…actually looks much like my old high school girlfriend, now that you mention it!

  4. P.J. · · Reply

    I think we’ve all had comic crushes… it’s inevitable and quite hard to avoid them. And there are quite a few that guys can have, if one branches off into cartoons as well. A fun read. I enjoyed it!

    1. They’re often designed that way (crush-worhty), so it makes sense. And thanks!

  5. You’re completely adorable. I’ve felt this way a lot!

    1. About cartoons or me? *Wink*

  6. Mike · · Reply

    I loved this, Gunmetal!! I could definitely see you rocking your inner Trinity and she has such a sexy name! For me as a kid it was Betty Cooper from The Archies and Judy Jetson…yowsah! Though he wasn’t a Golden Retriever I had a dog crush on Astro too lol 🙂

    1. Thanks Mike!

      I agree, Judy Jetson was pretty cool and cute. I don’t remember if Betty was the blonde or the brunette.

  7. Oh get thee and shuffle your strata. I enjoy when you do that. It’s awesome. Also NEVER EVER look up a cartoon called ‘Drawn Together’, because it will SCAR YOU FOR LIFE (in a kind of dirty but amazing way – all your favourites, re-hashed into the most…no, actually, look it up).

    I already know my spirit-toon – Calvin. Yup. I’m a six year-old blonde boy with spiky hair, loneliness issues, an incredible imagination and an imaginary tiger (who, okay, I might moonlight as in real life – Hobbes is the philosopher, after all, but we KNOW he comes out of Calvin’s brain, so it’s all good).

    As for crushes…Aladdin *goes a little starry eyed*

    (cos I never read comic books past the Beano, and, well…mischief, but no crushes there)

    1. Looked it up. Yep. Betty has now fallen further in my eyes. Sigh.

      What’s Beano? A gas pill??

      Aladdin is a charming sweetie.

      Calvin (as long we include Hobbes) — what a great choice!

      Since the time you read this post, the strata have been re-shuffled. I’m certain you got most of the meaning in the first draft. However, I threw in…more.

      1. Whaddya mean you reshuffled it? Goodness me but you’re quick. Keep your footing there, won’t you, my friend!

        The Beano is a classic Brit comic with Dennis the Menace and a load of other fun cartoon characters. It’s kind of a classic. Not a pill 😉

        Glad you’ll take the dichotomy of Calvin and Hobbes wrapped up in one person. That’ll do nicely. I do love them both.

      2. I only meant that I updated the draft.

      3. Well *I* don’t know, DO I?!?!?! 🙂

        If you like cartoony silliness, the oddness of women and fun music, try the song ‘Hoochie Mama’ by a band called Stooshe

      4. Jeez woman, just re-read the post! (Hugs and kisses.)

      5. I DID! *wails and bangs head on keyboard*

        It’s a million o clock at night here… *pouty*

      6. Oh… Well, all that says to me is that you got it the first time, and you required no additional info or explanation! Don’t be pouty. I’ll sing a song of apology to you on WhatsApp and tuck you in bed.

      7. Yeah well I guess I would (or, rather, I *hope* I would) by now, be able to see past whatever conceited literary devices you employ to avoid and simultaneously embrace the spilling out, in this case whatever Archer-isms and sub-contexts it hides behind.

        I shall look forward very much to my lullaby – not many people can say they’ve been tucked into bed and sung to sleep by Trinity…

        (also, pink? girlie? not when someone with a very entertaining mind creates a mash-up): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnBaDMzFSfo

      8. It’s safe to say that one, no one has ever been sung a lullaby by me (until now). And two, no one is on my WhatsApp that I haven’t met in person (except you).

      9. It adds another dimension, fer sher 🙂 Yes it’s different (I saw, when I tried harder) and the layers of subtext are clearer without being clarified (that should make sense to you). But of COURSE I got it straight away. I thought I did, and then when you said I should re-read it, I wondered whether I’d lost my mind and climbed up the wrong branch of the crazy tree. But no, I was spot on first time. BOOM!

        I love my lullaby. Thank you. And I am truly honoured to have such a place in your cellphone.

        (delete? Are you kidding?)

      10. Yes, it does make sense to me. If you and I were on a team playing one of those boardgames where we’d have to give clues to each other, we’d piss everyone off. They’d accuse us of having played the cards before. Or telepathy.

        (Fine, don’t delete the song. I sang off key and didn’t rhyme on purpose. Sort of.)

      11. Ohhh we should find one of those games to play in VEGAS BABY! 😀 Are you set on going? I asked about dates today, so am waiting to hear whether I can take the time off, but have been told it should be FINE. So huzzah!

        Also re NY – did I say I know you don’t live there, but you told me I must go, and that you’d come out and find me for the day? Remember that? 😉

        And of COURSE you did it on purpose, precisely the beautiful way it was. As did I – all cracked and too low and a little like a frog-song 🙂

      12. That would mean you’d miss LA, which wouldn’t a ginormous loss. You shouldn’t miss CA altogether though.

        Vegas? My dear, you’re asking me to plan TWO years in advance! I’m truly not being facetious when I say registering for Blogher last February was the most advanced I ever planned anything. (It kind of freaked me out. Ask Aussa.) But, if I’m alive, healthy and not in the midst of ending world hunger, yes, count me in.

      13. Okay well I shall consider it a tentative, pencilled-in YES! I’m coming to CA anyway to catch up with my friends in San Fran. So there’s that 😀

        I can quite believe that you’re not a planner. I won’t force the issue, but I will let you know closer to the time when I’m coming over 🙂

        G’night x

  8. maurnas · · Reply

    I much prefer Cyril. I love a man in glasses. He’s like this dry, nerdy older hipster type that is amazing in bed. I can dig it.

    I wonder who I would be? Belle was believable once upon a time. I used to hear I even looked like her. Not to mention her love of books and her dissatisfaction with her world and her willingness to date an abusive, hairy, oaf.

    But then, I am not her anymore. In looks or actions. You’ve given me something to consider.

    1. Really? Cyril? To me he comes off as boring, stuffy AND pervy! The glasses are fine, but I see less hipster and more dolt in him. Shit, I would take Krieger before him! I do see the attraction to Beast though, for sure. He has an irresistible power to him.

      1. maurnas · ·

        But they are always talking about how good he is in bed. And once they said he tried to get surgery to make his penis smaller. And you know he and Lana were together for a while, so he was making her happy. And he cooked for her, no guy has ever cooked for me. I probably would get irritated with the clingyness.

        But I bet Krieger would do some crazy things in bed. It would probably be very weird and fun to try. At least once.

      2. I don’t know if he ever made Lana happy, she was subconsciously using him as a shield from Archer. He was the “safe” choice, except he ended up cheating on her!

  9. I think we’ve all had crushes on cartoon characters at one time or another (I hope), I liked Milady from ‘Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds’ (who doesn’t like a mysterious cloaked cat who’s a spy?). Even with comic characters there’s a gender imbalence: most of the “fierce female cartoon characters” on an image search seem to only be capable of wearing bikinis or swimwear, which saddens and angers me :/

    1. It’s indeed saddening.

      If we’re doing cross-species crushes, I definitely had a crush on Charlotte the spider from Charlotte’s Web. She’s pretty fierce, come to think of it.

  10. Paul · · Reply

    Well, well, a quest in the land of characters. Oh, sorry about joining this discussion late – my error (“I’m late! I’m Late!” – and down the hole we go. Ha!). Please forgive me oh Trinity. I’m likely to get blasted for what I’m about to say but here goes. It is my observation that most women (and perhaps men too, I’m not sure) enjoy being perceived as having a powerful bad streak in them – few will act on this but most seem to cherish it. Much like Jezebel. Which is best translated as “Where is the Prince?” – perhaps a quest for a love to end all loves, a way to put all else aside or subserviate all else to one and only one quest. It is a very attractive notion in this complex and balanced reality we live in. There is an enormous amount of power in that. And it fits well with the concept that love and hate are opposite sides of the same coin: Faith. And yet we all know that defining ourselves too simply will, eventually lead to evil. Hence, relating to multiple characters simultaneously – one foot in many simple character applications to create the balance. Always shifting your weight (presence/perspective) from side to side and front to back. Tell a woman that she reminds you of a rainbow pony and you’ll get a slap up the side of the head. Put here in the passenger’s seat of a sports car and break every law in the book running from the cops – and not get caught – and you’ve got a friend of life. Ha! Strange creatures women are.

    Myself, I’m an ardent follower of Wile E. Coyote. he may be a loser but that there wolf comes up with some of the most inventive ways to catch the Roadrunner that I’ve ever seen. If only he would make each attempt more than once, he’d be having fowl for dinner. Instead, the Acme Co. gets rich. Sigh.

    1. I always loved both those characters – the roadrunner and the coyote. But it bugged me that he didn’t get a single break! I found it stressful to watch.

      Paul, there are plenty of women who will not get on a motorcycle or next to a reckless driver. There are plenty who will proudly wear pink and still have their My Little Pony collection. I don’t judge them, it’s just a matter of taste. I don’t personally believe I have, nor do I want to have, a bad streak. I’d like to think of myself as having a very good streak. But if by “bad” you meant “tough,” then by all means, yes, I’d like to think I have a tough streak. And likely, as you say, most other people would like to think so of themselves as well.

  11. Paul · · Reply

    Ha! You gotta laugh at the way time freezes and Wile E looks right at the camera with those great big wide eyes of astonishment just before he gets flattened or falls off a cliff (my favorite -**retreating whistle** and the faint “pfft” as he hits the ground a thousand feet down). Ha! It used to bother me too until I realized he always came back in fine fiddle. If only failures could be so consequence free.

    Onward! See, I told you that I’d get blasted for saying that women love a “bad” streak. I mean look at all the gangsters and bad actors that have women hanging all over them. Us poor meek law-abiding guys struggle to drum up some interest in our poor dating selves. Sigh (*Insert small pity party here.*) Ha! (*Looks up to see if anyone’s paying attention*) Yeah, yeah, I know some women won’t get on motorcycles, but they have other ways to be “tough” as you put it – like scoping out other women to see what they can criticize. Or laughing their guts out when their male friend fails in some spectacular manner – like falling down the steps. Dig far enough and you’ll find a little Jezebel in each one (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) You can choose to call it “tough”, I’ll call it “bad”. So there.

    1. You call that a “blast?” That was a gentle stroke on the cheek…

      And yes, imagine how we’d live if falling off cliffs had no consequence!

      1. Paul · ·

        “There are plenty who will proudly wear pink and still have their My Little Pony collection.” Tried to throw me off, eh? Well, i watched the “SpaceMare” clip Irconsiderer shared and it scared me so bad i’ll have nighmares for a week. “Little Ponies” my foot – they are mean, bad ponies.

  12. Have you seen the cartoon version of Anastasia? I had a huge– HUGE– crush on the character Demitri. Let’s just pause for a moment and sigh.
    *sigh*
    Of course, I actually ended up dating white collar criminals (hackers) and arsehole conmen and it’s not really how it seems whilst animated and involving ships and lovely green vests and white button up shirts with the sleeves rolled up.
    *sigh*
    Trinity is uber kick-ass. I approve.

    1. I always meant to watch Anastasia and never did, but I just looked up Dimitri, and damn, his cartoon personality comes through even in stills. He looks quite the devilish charmer, so yeah, I share your moment of sighing…

    2. The guy that did that film– Don Bluth (The Secret of NIMH, All Dogs Go To Heaven, others) is my dad’s cousin.

      1. Interesting!

  13. Trinity is bad-to-the-bone.

    I sort of liked Fred from Scooby do, but mostly because he seemed “good” and I wanted to naughty him up, you get me?

    Captain Planet *swoon* he’s blue with green hair, has chiseled jaw and cheekbones, and a rockin’ body. Plus, he cares about the environment. Oh, and he can fly. Yum.

    Also, Aladdin, and ALSO OMG FLYNN RIDER. (Tangled) his body is AMAZING. *drool*

    You given me something to think about. I never thought about the cartoon version of me before. Maybe Tarzan’s Jane. I think that was a cartoon once, wasn’t it? I like the thought of living in the trees with a primal, sexy ape-man. (okay, that sounded better in my head)

    1. Yes, Beth, it was– even before Disney. It was Filmation that did a cartoon series for Tarzan, in the late ’70s.

    2. I definitely get you regarding Fred. Just looked up Captain Planet, and he’s got that square chin thing going on that affects me the way boobs affect guys.

      Aladdin has the mischief I love.

      Oh and Tarzan. I was into the non-animated version of Tarzan since I was a little kid living in Iran! He was in B&W. You’d make a GREAT Jane.

  14. 1 “Crazy chicks are good in bed,” wouldn’t be offensive if you replace crazy with complex, and chicks with people.

    Well that’s my new quote for the week. Yup yup.

    Also, I wouldn’t be the least bit concerned if you got involved with Archer because you could rule him. But I’d want to go on double dates with you all the time just to watch the shenanigans go down.

    1. I LOVE this comment all around. And I could only imagine the high-jinx on our double dates!

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