originally published, and incredibly still accessible at epinions.com
Positive role model and practical life lessons
Too much baboon butt
Some other epinionators have cast negative aspersions (or should I say e-spersions) upon what may be the best program on Cartoon Network today: “I AM WEASEL”.
The toon’s semi-eponymous protagonist, I. M. Weasel, is clearly the finest animated role model on television ever. Just think of some of the flawed personalities infesting most of CN’s characters: Johnny Bravo is an idiot, Scooby Doo is a coward, Daffy Duck is a greedy schemer, and Ed Edd and Eddy are all of the above (in that order).
In contrast, I. M. Weasel is defined by his upstanding honor and high achievement, having been, in various episodes of his series: doctor, architect, judge, diplomat, medical researcher (at least twice), ping-pong champion, and foremost authority on volcanos. Even in the rare installment where he portrayed a mere grocery clerk, he was employee of the month for five years straight.
Truly a high irony, and hopefully an intentional one, in light of the (might I say undeserved) lowly reputation of the weasel. Considering that one of the two species of weasel in North America (mustela frenata) is on the endangered list, and the other (mustela erminea) is being used to make ermine coats, the weasel needs every PR break it can get, and I. M.’s PR is AOK.
Not to mention the noble toon has a strikingly un-cartoon-like voice, a positively stentorian baritone provided by actor-of-color Michael Dorn, also known for his long-running role as the noblest Klingon in the history of “Star Trek” (the fact that I am a life-long trekkie and collector of Klingon memorabilia has nothing to do with my opinion of I. M. Weasel; I would admire him even if he had the voice of that Ferengi bartender on DS9).
Of almost equal import to the quality of the I AM WEASEL cartoon is its fun-house-mirror-image antagonist to the honorable Weasel, the grammatically incorrect I. R. Baboon. Possessing almost all the negative characteristics of the rest of the CN program lineup in one, he functions to provide useful life lessons in two ways. In one common scenario, he incompetently attempts to compete with the far superior I. M., ultimately resorting to cheating, at which he is also incompetent, proving that, if you’re not smart enough to compete fairly, you’re probably not smart enough to get away with competing unfairly either. In the other, I. R. is hierarchially subservient to I. M., and envious of his position, an envy which drives him to try to prove his nonexistent worth in a way that ultimately sabotages both of their efforts, to the detriment of the entire world – an important lesson to all of us: some people know what they’re doing, so get out of their way!
Now, I must admit there are negative aspects to everything, even to the I AM WEASEL show. As others have accurately noted, the program’s creator/producer, David Feiss, often places an obsessive focus on grossness in general and prominent body parts, like I. R. Baboon’s red butt, in particular. He shows the same flaw in his other Cartoon Network series, “Cow and Chicken”, where his depiction of Cow as the rarest-of-rare, a fully-realized multi-dimensional female cartoon character, is diminished by an animated overemphasis on her udders. I am sure this problem originates with some traumatic experience in Mr. Feiss’s childhood, and a program of appropriate cognitive and behavioral therapy would do him a world of good and he can produce even superior cartoons in the future.
But let us not denigrate what is certainly one of the most life-affirming programs for children and adults, and a much-needed positive influences in today’s media. Let us hold the banner high for “I AM WEASEL” and sing its praises, so everyone will know and understand, and I can use my I AM WEASEL screensaver without some poophead asking me “What’s that on your computer? A ferret?”