i'm kind of curious about your interest in tanks! what kind of fish/animals were you thinking of keeping when you get the chance?
Honestly? I’m not picky… I just love aquariums and terrariums. I get excited whenever I see one and make a beeline straight towards it to see whatever is inside. I could stare at a rich tank environment and watch relatively boring critters move around for hours.
I’ve been thinking about a king snake - they’re relatively docile, reasonably sized, beautiful, and easy to care for. Bearded dragons are cool, too, and I’m kind of surprised I’ve never owned one…. but they’re not my first choice. Someday, I’d really like to have a beautiful terrarium full of dart frogs, but they’re pretty high-maintenance and expensive. If I went for an aquatic pet, I think I’d want a freshwater eel. They’re tricky to care for, but common enough that I see them at pet stores. Super cool to watch.
And… I really want a cane toad. They’ve got great personalities and are easy to care for (though you probably want to wear gloves to avoid the bufotoxin), but since they’re enormous, they require suitably gigantic terrariums and I doubt I’ll have room for one anytime soon.
So since my post on Friday, this blog has gained over 1,000 followers and many of you have chosen to interact with me beyond just liking/reblogging! I just wanted to say thanks for that! I love the requests and submissions! Even if I don’t specifically ask for them, please feel free to keep them coming. If I get enough of them, particularly submissions, I’ll be able to maintain more posts per day!
Edit: If you think of it, make sure to include the names of your animals that you’re submitting! This isn’t a rule, I just want to know! I love knowing what people name their animals!
I think the person who made the animal crossing ask didn't really get that it's not so much cartoons and video games you are correcting (unless they're trying to pass of the portrayals as fact, it doesn't really matter how much they anthropomorphize them, no one rational is going to take a cartoon as fact) but actual people interpreting animal behavior in ways that are just plain wrong.
It doesn’t make it an unreasonable question, though, because I’ve never openly stated that I won’t correct or comment on games. (Like, man, I have so many feels about really good zoo design that I learned from the original zoo tycoon). There’s just not often a reason to comment on them, really.
I feel a little bad for responding so cursorily to that ask (I was traveling at the time) because there aren’t any stupid questions and if you’re new to the blog it’s reasonable to wonder at what point make animals human-like in media is exaggerated enough it’s no longer a problem.
If you were to give Les Amis spirit animals what would you give them? Because I can't make up my mind~ Like Jean with a sugar glider????! Because YeS!
Ooh yay! This was fun to think about! Thank you so much!! <3
• Feuilly is a beaver because “busy as a beaver” and all that. The man never stops working!
• Bahorel would be a pit bull because he’s pretty intimidating from afar but on the inside he’s just a big softy.
• Jehan as a sugar glider, yes! But consider also, Jehan as a hummingbird. Smol, adorable, and attracted to flowers and brightly colored objects.
• Bossuet is probably a baby giraffe or something… clumsy as fuck but happy-go-lucky anyway.
• Joly, and stick with me here for a minute, Joly would be a pig. Pigs (in the right environment) are actually really clean animals! Google “World’s cleanest animal” and you’ll get pigs.
• Courfeyrac would be a Labrador Retriever puppy. Happy, high-energy, gentle, loyal, good with children, etc.
• Combeferre is a Siamese Cat. Siamese Cats are intelligent and social creatures, just like Ferre. Ferre hates being bored, loves puzzles that keep his brain occupied, and lives for friendly debates and discussions.
• Enjolras is a wolf. A good leader, prefers to be with his “pack”… Plus wolves are sacred to Apollo, see what I did there?
• Grantaire is a Barn Owl. Barn Owls mate for life and when their mate dies they have been known to become depressed and starve to death shortly after. Also, Icarus/flying too close to the Sun… Grantaire had to be a bird of some sort.
• Marius is a deer. I don’t have much reasoning behind this one; he just reminds me of Bambi.
• Cosette would be a Ragdoll cat. They’re adorable, gentle, affectionate, and good-tempered.
• Eponine is a tiger. Beautiful and will absolutely fuck you up.
• Musichetta would be a grizzly bear because if you fuck with Joly or Bossuet she will rip you apart.
• Montparnasse would be a falcon. Gorgeous and deadly. (And now I’m giggling to myself because Falcon!Parnasse and Hummingbird!Jehan…)
Straddling the Fourth Wall as an Active Plot Device
How Meta Played a Big Role in the Regular Show Finale
Regular Show features some pretty bizarre, surreal, and mind-bending imagery as a whole, but the series finale was the ultimate fourth wall break. It starts with Pops’ disorienting vision about how the universe would be destroyed: from the cast breaking down into linework, to thumbnail sketches on sticky notes, and then just nothingness. That’s just a small taste of what the storyboarders, writers, and animators had in store, though. The Morpheous parody character, The Seer, acts as a viewer avatar, candidly discussing general viewer critiques, comments, and observations about the series as a whole. Few viewer avatars are presented as blatantly as The Seer is: one foot in her universe, one foot in the real world. It’s usually presented as a one-off scene where the avatar looks at and talks directly to the audience or makes tongue-in-cheek jokes. Though, here, The Seer is experiencing the series finale alongside the audience. She holds a role similar to that of a sports commentator: pointing out highlights in a witty way while getting as immersed and hyped by the game as the spectators. The Seer was a good addition to maintain a viewer’s sense of immersion, but to also press forward with the senses-warping antics.
Pops’ vision comes to fruition: As the battle between the Titans Pops and Anti-Pops rages on, Mordecai and Rigby shift between phases of development from thumbnail sketches to storyboard panels. As the universe unravels, it breaks down to its’ most basic parts. Combine this with the idea that the creative team set up Pops vs Anti-Pops as the ultimate end and reset for the cartoon’s in-show universe. It’s similar to how the Aztec calendar ends on a specific date, implying that a god was ready to reset and recreate the world. In essence, Pops’ ultimate ordeal is parallel to a viewer reaching the end of the series. Will there be closure or will there be this sense of wistful nostalgia in trying to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle magic by watching re-runs? When the tapestries depict slightly different variations on the cast after every universe reset, it echoes how viewers do find something slightly different or gain new meaning after re-watching episodes of a show. Look at how much Pops refuses to let the universe reset. This as much his existential crisis as the creative team saying, “Viewers, you will get closure on these characters you’ve come to know and love.” Again, Regular Show approaches assuaging viewers’ nerves about ‘this is the end’ is done is a meaningful way that’s also really organic to the flow of the toon’s narrative.
The meta dimension of the narrative adds an extra satisfying layer to the viewing experience at large. Everyone was fighting for Regular Show to get the closure the series deserved. The series ends on as open-ended and fulfilling a way as Gravity Falls did. Benson finally finds love with Pam, Mordecai becomes an artist and stumbles into someone new years later, Rigby is finally accepted by his father, and much more. Loose plot threads are tied up, but viewers are given food for thought for Mordecai’s and Rigby’s futures as dads and what the newest park staff are like.
The Amazing World of Gumball and Self-Aware Characters
The Regular Show finale turned the gears in my head and got me thinking about another, really fantastically imaginative approach to weaving fourth wall breaks with a dramatic in-show narrative. Enter: The Amazing World of Gumball.
In general, The Amazing World of Gumball inserts meta commentary quite often. Though, the crowning achievement of how clever and world-bending it can be are featured most prominently in the two-parter episode “The Disaster” and “The Rerun.” The overall premise plays with the idea of “How could a TV remote affect a cartoon character’s world and livelihood in show?”
It’s a premise that’s very similar to the Fairly Odd Parents TV special Channel Chasers. In said TV special, Timmy enters the world of pre-written and recorded TV as an escapist fantasy. He has some capacity to change up and alter the world around him, if only to make his self-insert an organic addition. The overall special is presented as a love letter to creator Butch Hartman’s childhood favorite programming and a ridiculous ‘what if’ for kids that yearn to live in a fantastical world seemingly richer than their own. Timmy acts as an avatar for the real-world viewer, bound by the restrictions of ‘Yes, this world is scripted.’ So, he would inevitably get bored once he lived through enough re-runs and characters couldn’t deviate in significant, interesting ways.
The reason I brought up Channel Chasers is to present the underlying reason for why Gumball’s take on the godlike, universal remote is so intriguing: It’s a remote wielded by self aware cartoon characters. When Gumball’s self-proclaimed rival Rob first gains access to the remote, he has godlike powers and ability by this toon’s standards. Classic remote options like rewind, parental filter, and subtitles, become Rob’s tool kit for wreaking havoc and gaining revenge. Rob uses subtitles to simulate Gumball’s insulting stream of thought and upset Darwin. It’s set up in such a way that, supposedly, turning on subtitles is like reading a toon’s mind and presenting their worst passive aggressive inner snarks for the world to see.
Turning off parental filter provides similar effects; it makes Nicole openly admit her convictions about Richard where she’d generally hold her tongue. Overall, remote features are used in a really clever, creative, and surprisingly grim respect here. The remote acts as a means to peel back layers of TV reality in the same way a person might be tempted by mind-reading powers in real life. Revealing someone’s innermost thoughts would result in the same disastrous spiral Gumball encounters, such as the idea of Darwin resenting him for an indefinite time or even a potential divorce between Richard and Nicole. It’s as much a fantastic spectacle for meta cartoon antics as it is an allegory for how important it is for a person to hold discretion with how many of their personal thoughts they share.
The craziness escalates to the point that Rob and Gumball discover the edge of their universe: a static-filled screen and remnants of their world floating around aimlessly. This scene is a toon’s equivalent to finding out that the universe at large is really just a subatomic particle. If Gumball and Rob hadn’t been in a dire crisis, they might look at the screen and wonder: What’s beyond the glass in that greater, outside world?
Since Gumball likes to play with grand existential questions, such as the similarly titled episode “The Question,” I wouldn’t be surprised if an episode had Gumball and Darwin meet their creator. This kind of scenario can yield interesting results: In the Chowder episode “Shnitzel Quits,” Shnitzel meets C.H. Greenblatt, his creator, in a moment of existential crisis. In the 90′s animated Spider-Man series, Spider-Man meets Stan Lee in our dimension and then takes him webslinging over New York City.
In regards to Gumball and Darwin meeting their creator Ben Bocquelet, I imagine it being played out as the two getting a tour through the animation studio, meeting storyboard artists, and otherwise. It’d be a tongue-in-cheek behind the scenes set up, ending with Gumball and Darwin pondering over how much work just three seconds of them talking makes for a creative team. Then it’d be followed up by an Inception scenario where Gumball wonders what the implications of him creating a cartoon and the existential quandaries of his creations would be.
I’m really hoping more cartoons explore the potential of self-aware cartoon characters and fourth-wall breaking used as a plot device. These two are striking examples of how meta can serve as a fantastic part of world-building and plot. Fourth wall jokes are fun, but look at how much depth and crazy creativity playing with an idea like a universal remote can be?
I hate when farmers say that they “love their animals”. The only reason farmers keep livestock in the first place is because they want to profit off of what the animals produce; milk, eggs, etc. They wouldn’t raise livestock if this wasn’t the case; livestock require a lot of land, feed, and money to care for. As soon as that animal is depleted, off they go to slaughter.
Only caring for your animals when they benefit you is not love, it’s control. True love is always unconditional, and sending an animal to die after they’re done being your tools is an act of betrayal and selfishness.
So I'm studying Conservation Biology at uni but I haven't specialized yet in what animals I'd like to work with. I see a lot of your posts of dead specimens and taxidermy work and I won't lie, it freaks me out. I can't stand animals dead or in pain, and I've got no hope when it comes to dissections. Some of my professors hate this. Are there field jobs where I keep the endangered buds alive and not work with the dead ones? Can I make it without dissections? Thank you!
1. First, I’m really sorry that my posts have made you uncomfortable! I’m not very good at tagging consistently, but I will be more careful in the future. I usually tag that kind of thing as “dead stuff”, so that would be a good blacklist.
2. I should be clear: working with dead birds isn’t actually a part of my job, in that it’s not what I’m currently paid to do. I admittedly love dissection and museum prep, and it’s a hobby of mine– so I prepare specimens for the museum! If I didn’t voluntarily pick up roadkill, etc., I would never have to handle dead animals for my job.
3. However, you’ll probably have to do a dissection at some point or another in your career, if not teach one (if you end up going the grad school route). It’s definitely disconcerting (or downright horrifying) for some people, and you may be able to discuss accommodations with your instructor. However, I cannot possibly understate the educational value of dissection. There is only so much you can learn from diagrams and observation of live animals.