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The Mistreatment Of Daffy Duck

Discussion in 'Back To The Inkwell - Classic Cartoons Discussion' started by JabarR, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. JabarR

    JabarR Member

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    Back in the day, Daffy Duck had a lot of traits that Warner Bros, used, sometimes he could be as crazy as a fox, stingy as Yosemite Sam and as smart as Bugs Bunny. But nowadays, they're just making him more stupid as ever, examples are in shows like The Looney Tunes Show and Duck Dodgers. IDK about anyone else, but I think what WB is doing to Daffy now is an insult of what he was back in the day. They're only focusing on him being as dumb as a box of rocks and not focusing on his other traits he was known for. If anyone here agrees with what I'm saying, please come voice your opinion.
     
  2. Goldstar Neo

    Goldstar Neo Good Morning!

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    I completely agree. Steve Schneider, the author of the book That's All, Folks wrote that Daffy Duck was a child, but he was a brilliant child; crazy and crazily articulate at the same time. The Duck's downfall started when the early 1950s shorts such as "Show Biz Bugs" in which Daffy was portrayed as Bugs' jealous arch rival. From there, Daffy began to be typecast as a one-note antagonist, especially in the WB shorts from the 1960s when he often pitted against Speedy Gonzales. In these shorts, Daffy was just a mean bird that we (the audience) wasn't supposed to feel sorry for.

    Duck Dodgers basically turned Daffy into Zapp Brannigan and The Looney Tunes Show was a little better, but that shows' writers made Daffy too much of an oblivious idiot. As a major Daffy Duck fan (the Duck is my favorite Looney Tunes character), I'd personally love to see the insane but brilliant Daffy make a return.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Silverstar

    Silverstar Rock the Dragon

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    My personal favorite incarnation of Daffy Duck has always been the 1940's version; my ideal take on Daffy would be a mix of 40's Daffy and a less jerky version of Pizza Steve from Uncle Grandpa: an unabashed egotist, but still nutty and playful enough to be likable.

    The later Looney Tunes projects have overdone Daffy's stupidity and dark side, The Looney Tunes Show in particular carried the 'jerk Daffy' persona too far. In addition to coming off as Peter Griffin stupid at times, TLTS too often portrayed Daffy as the most weasly, detestable creature on the planet, and he shouldn't ever be that.
     
  4. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I'd say the level of stupidity would rival that of Beavis & Butt-Head.
     
  5. JoeMabbon

    JoeMabbon Marble

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    Daffy's a favorite of mine, too. While I enjoy his selfish, egomaniac side, I'd love to see the writers play up his more positive traits as well. Even when he was an antagonist, they made a point of establishing that he was much more cunning than Elmer or Sam and at least bothered to give him reasonable motives (self-preservation, stinginess, etc.).
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Dan's Revenge

    Dan's Revenge Gooood kittyyyy

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    I'm also in the agreement pool. It's something I've thought about numerous times as well in the last year. Re-watching many of the cartoons started giving me more perspective on the characters and their traits, and when going between an older Daffy to a newer Daffy, I could tell something was off. Gold and Silver make great points as well. I always enjoyed the Daffy cartoons of the 40s when paired with Porky. Porky was more serious, but not to the extent he wasn't likable, which he was, but it's hard to like Daffy in this later stage because of how he was portrayed when paired with other characters. Seemingly with all his pairings with Porky, even the ones in the 50s like trying to sell Porky insurance, were decent, even if he wasn't goofy. Just feels like Gold mentioned, paired with Bugs, it just became a ploy to get Bugs more well-liked (which didn't work on me, I felt bad for him).

    Never watched Duck Dodgers due to no interest but I'd also agree in TLTS his appearance. Not as disliked, but definitely feels a lot more respected, and it was great when he and Bugs were on the same page numerous times.
     
  7. I.R. Shokew

    I.R. Shokew DISGRACED and Rooting ONLY for Underdogs

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    I'm saddened a little that I even have to look back on any of this... At all. It's a part of my childhood cartoon viewing I'd like to put behind me, because even then, it saddened me to see what a jerk Daffy was, all because the writers thought the persona of "making him just like Bugs, but never even coming close" just plain frustrated and angered me to no end...

    To tell you all the truth I've always liked Daffy far more than Bugs - so to see him get turned into a jerk who was jealous of the guy, only in later recent years to be turned into Peter Griffin light always frustrated and angered me, immensely.

    Even though I did enjoy Duck Dodgers for what it was, I was still not fully satisfied with Daffy's portrayal as dumb, but not quite. TLTS was the last straw for me, as they only reinforced, as well as worsened him greatly as just that. An Idiot, just like the dumb father trope everyone who is an executive seems to think is funny - when it's just not and at the same time, just that - condescending, insulting, and wrongfully stupid!

    And making things quite worse, because there are no plans to make new Looney Tunes to someday rectify this awfulness, unless people (like myself) continue remember his once-known/renowned greatness in the 1940's shorts (including those with Porky Pig, which were God Tier stuff, IMHO!), Daffy will forever be seen as an egotistical moron, rather than the crazy, lovable oaf of the 1940's I (I can't speak for all of us, nor will.) knew and loved. I will never understand whose dumb idea it was to make him jealous of someone who is deep down a Gary Stu like Bugs Bunny...
     
  8. ToonReel

    ToonReel Active Member

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    While I have preference for the crazy Daffy, I must admit that I likely wouldn't be endeared by him nearly as much if it wasn't for his shorts as a frustrated loser. I think what made Daffy awesome was that versatility and multiple sides you got from watching his entire filmography. He was supposed to be the wild card of the roster.

    I think this was the problem with making him a full time jealous rival for Bugs, it was an iconic formula it felt like limiting his character doing it ALL THE TIME. It's almost like if Bugs did his shtick with Cecil Turtle every short. I think Chuck Jones was over committed to formulas and pitting winners against losers. There were few variations and in-betweens, just the same characters stuck in the same shtick every time (they were usually very good formulas but still). I think this is why I liked a lot of Robert McKimson's shorts. He took notes from Jones' Daffy but kept bits of his original crazy Daffy, experimenting and trying different setups. He did film hack roles and Bugs vs Daffy cartoons, but they were among many different story ideas, he could easily go back to being a heckler (eg. Don't Axe Me). He kept the idea of Daffy being unpredictable. I do notice some of the newer stuff does make some call backs to the original Daffy, but the incompetent one seems to be the contemporary rendition.
     
  9. Silverstar

    Silverstar Rock the Dragon

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    [QUOTE=ToonReelI think this was the problem with making him a full time jealous rival for Bugs, it was an iconic formula it felt like limiting his character doing it ALL THE TIME. It's almost like if Bugs did his shtick with Cecil Turtle every short.[/QUOTE]

    Seconded. The "Daffy is jealous of Bugs" shtick is fine in controlled doses, but then we went through a long phase where that was Daffy's [U]single defining character trait[/U]. I cringed at that. The 'frustrated loser' aspect of Daffy can be entertaining, but I admit that I kind of miss the brilliant nut-ball.
     
  10. dumbfoolkid5

    dumbfoolkid5 Active Member

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    I hate the way the treat him as well, still scars me mentally.
     
  11. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Having seen a lot of Daffy's Golden Age shorts, as well as his later material, I'd say they milked his obsessive-compulsive-greedy persona past dry. His team-ups with Bugs are classics. The ones with Speedy? I wish, and I love Speedy.
     
  12. Steve Carras

    Steve Carras SUGAR RUSH!!!!

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    Totally agreed.

    Because of McKimson, we have:
    Daffy being a salesman to Porky and to Fudd
    Daffy outwitting Elmer and Tasmanian Devil
    Daffy even being teams with Foghorn and the Barnyard Beagle!!
    Daffy and Bugs rivalry occasionally..
    even a few one shot early 1960s Daffys like the "Mutiny on the Bounty Magician" one called "Good Noose"
    the early McKimson 1948 short where Daffy's a babysitter, "Upstanding Sitter"
    and so many more BEFORE the Daffy/Speedys (most of which were directed by him).
     
  13. ShadowBeast

    ShadowBeast Well-Known Member

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    I am so glad I'm not the only one who noticed the adding stupidity to Daffy.
    He was one of the few characters that didn't fall for Bugs's disguises and I was disappointed with his intelligence in the Duck Dodgers series.
     
  14. ToonReel

    ToonReel Active Member

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    In fairness it isn't just Daffy that is often limited in modern works. Contrary to how WB streamline them, Bugs wasn't ALWAYS outsmarting bullies or overshadowing Daffy every short, nor was Sylvester ALWAYS going after Tweety, or Elmer ALWAYS a hunter. Hell, there were tons of other memorable characters and series that WB executives allegedly hate to even touch.

    One artist claimed he risked his job by daring to suggest drawing Daffy without grimace or Bugs with a non-smug smile. Every time he drawn Porky he also inexplicably disappeared in the final material.

    According to Mckimson's few interviews, he seemed to be the one director who wasn't really with the new characterisations utilised in the 50s onward. He thought the more suave version of Bugs spearheaded by Jones had no personality. It would make sense if he thought the same about Daffy.

    In fear of getting flamed, I actually preferred some of the Daffy vs Speedy shorts over most of the Sylvester ones. I felt too sorry for Sylvester and Speedy was usually so one note and unstoppable it was hard to connect with him (ironic since they were mostly made by Freleng, who made almost identical complaints about the Bugs vs Elmer series). At the end of the day, it was just a blander, more one sided Tom and Jerry. Daffy was an ass to Speedy, but he at least did that part well. He menaced Speedy more, and had more of a back and forth with him, grating at his good nature or getting in cheap shots. He feels like he could be a good villain if he wasn't Daffy Duck.
     
    #14 ToonReel, May 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2015
  15. Daffyfan2002

    Daffyfan2002 $enior member

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    The weird thing is that most of the Daffy/Speedy shorts were directed by McKimson, who as we previously established preferred to use the crazy Daffy of the early years for quite some time. I wonder what made him change his mind and make Daffy into a villainous type.
     
  16. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Corporate interference, maybe?

    Hmmm. Daffy getting dumbed down even further started not long after they did the same thing to Fred from Scooby-Doo. Coincidence?
     
  17. Alonso Torrejon

    Alonso Torrejon Active Member

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    Coincidence? I think not.
     
  18. Neo Ultra Mike

    Neo Ultra Mike Creeping Shadow of "15000"+ Posts

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    To be fair, I think the dumbest Fred was in the whole Scooby Doo canon was actually a Pup Named Scooby Doo where his whole schitck was being an idiot who had no idea how to properly go after the ghosts and always just blamed things on Red Herring. I don't think any other series or movie has ever made him that stupid again so that's where I think his biggest dumbing down actually was.

    I do agree I wish they did more then Daffy. In fact say what you want about Looney Tunes Back in Action, they at least had the gall to have Daffy call out his mistreatment several times in that movie. And how annoying overly favoring Bugs even when he isn't doing anything of worth actually is. Sadly WB doesn't really heed their own advice as we still see Daffy even if not being screwed over still being portrayed as an idiot and fool. Honestly it didn't bother me that much in Duck Dodgers because technically in that series Daffy was only supposedly PLAYING the actual character of Duck Dodgers and honestly could at least come off sometimes as competent. Which we never even got much of in the other series. To be fair that's probably because in those series unlike the shorts it's more of an ensemble cast so you stand out more by focusing on one specific quirk and gimmick then rather having a multitude. It's still a shame Daffy lacks his versatility from the classic era as honestly that's what made him my favorite. And yeah the fact that even in the golden age when he was portrayed as an antagonist it was at least more of a "he isn't the thickest person in the room" sort of thing.

    I think the reason they keep doing it in addition to the fact they want to capture what people feel generally is the "best" or at least most marketable version of Daffy, is also a way to make Bugs shine better. You know since he's more of the icon for the Looney Tunes so they always want to have him look more in charge and more intelligent, even though the shorts knew how to balance that a lot more and weren't nearly playing favorites as much.
     
  19. ToonReel

    ToonReel Active Member

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    Fred's depiction seemed more aligned with the creative team wanting each of the gang to have their own quirks, compared to the original series, where Scooby and Shaggy were usually the life of the entire show. Ironically later era Fred probably contributes more than the earlier one, who usually just disappeared outside to explain the obvious and make traps that never work.

    Daffy I guess maybe was just oversimplifying his later depiction. He became less competent and more another outsmarted antagonist to Bugs, thus through a simplistic outlook, dumber.
     
  20. Steve Carras

    Steve Carras SUGAR RUSH!!!!

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    Very interesting and the artist who you mentioned at the top of the reply (and who shall remain nameless) posted in John Kricfalusi's JOHN K., STUFF! blog about 5 years ago on the very same thing. BTW I HAVE seen GREETING cards with Daffy as being Daffy AND an authorized 1989 fake "VIPO" card with a daffy (but late 50s-ish) Daffy. And McKimson HAD to be FORCED to make 1960s Daffy in the Speedy shorts more meaner..(discounting things like 1968's "Skyscraper Gladiator" and the final original one, where they're friends, the same year's "See Ya Later Gladiator" where Daffy is an employee or intern and is SUPPOSED to kick Speedy out only when they're in time, they have to join forces against Roman Emporer Nero's lion..then Daffy goes back to being a suffering janitor..he's not a villain in either, though the Gladiator one about the time trip to Rome does, it's agreed, suffer from non-persona related animation problems..)
     

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