Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999 - 2002)
Courage the Cowardly Dog is a 1999 animated series produced by Cartoon Network and Stretch Films Studios and created by John R. Dilworth, who directed each episode. Courage the Cowardly Dog is an American animated horror comedy television series created by John R. Dilworth for Cartoon Network and the eighth part of Cartoon Cartoon. It was produced by Dilworth's own animation studio, Stretch Films, in association with Cartoon Network Studios, the series since its inception had high levels of audience being one of the most successful and remembered cartoons of Cartoon Network and at the same time having excellent acceptance from critics and the general public.
Dilworth released the series to the Hanna-Barbera animated shorts show What a Cartoon! and a pilot titled "The Chicken from Outer Space" aired on Cartoon Network on February 18, 1996. The segment was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to Wallace and Gromit's A Close Shave. Cartoon Network gave the green light to the series of the short, which premiered on November 12, 1999 and ended on November 22, 2002, with four seasons of 13 episodes each. During its execution, the series was nominated for 5 Golden Reel Awards and 4 Annie Award, of which I won 2 Golden Reel Awards and 2 Annie Award.
Over time, the series has received great recognition from critics and has developed a strong cult of followers of the series that still after its end have groups on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks that make it more remembered.
The cartoon series was created in the mid-1990s, when the Cartoon Network channel went looking for new cartoons that would appeal to the taste of the viewer. A test episode was made of a number of cartoons, which were broadcast as part of the 'What a cartoon!' Program. The viewer was allowed to determine which test episodes would result in a cartoon series. Courage was one of the winners, along with cartoons such as Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls.
The trial episode of Courage had a somewhat cartoonish drawing style, and was characterized by an absurd kind of black humor, somewhat comparable to the cartoon series Ren and Stimpy. In this episode, Courage only stays at home when his owners go out, and he is overwhelmed by a couple of cats who come to give a wild party in the apartment. The series that followed became less absurd and therefore fitted more in with the image of the other modern Hanna-Barbera drawing films. The characters Muriël and Eustace were added, and the staging of the series was from now on a cottage in the countryside.
The story is about a dog named Courage (Galls in Spain and Courage in Latin America) and their owners: Muriel Bagge (Thea White), a kind and sweet old Scottish woman, and Eustace Bagge (Eustace in Spain and Just in Latin America), a grumpy old farmer who lives in a house with a connected garage near the fictional city of Nowhere, Kansas. During episodes 1 to 33 of Lionel Wilson or episodes 34 to 52 of Arthur Anderson, Eustace regularly abuses Courage for jealousy and refers to him as "stupid dog". The plot generally uses conventions common to horror movies. Although most of the creatures the three face are hostile, some turn out to be friendly and simply suffer distress and act desperate. The task of protecting their elderly owners Muriel and Eustace from such dangers lies with Courage, who strives to frustrate or reconcile with the monster of the week and remedy or repair the damage caused. Although Courage is occasionally helped with that task, most of his efforts are usually done without Muriel knowing.
The dog Courage (English for 'courage') lives with his owner Muriël and her husband Eustace in a remote house in 'Nowhere'. Mysterious things happen in every episode. Characteristic of the characters is that Muriël is far too naive and Eustace is only interested in his daily newspaper, television and money. His urge for money often strikes him and that is why they often get into trouble.
First appearance of Courage
The first time he saw Guts/Courage was in the short famed 1996 called The Chicken From Outer Space (The Chicken from Outer Space), presented at the show animation What a Cartoon!, in which he already showed the main characters with their current form, although without names and without any dialogue, except for screaming effects and what Agallas/Courage says at the end, where a voice is more squeakier than normal. In addition, the quality of the animation of the short film was much lower than that of the series.
The short is re-presented in the episode Revenge of the extraterrestrial chicken, sequel to the short. This pilot episode was nominated for the Oscar Award for best animated short in the 68th edition of the Oscar Awards.
Conversing with Raisin, the inspiration
It should be noted that before this short film appeared, Dilworth created another short film before, called "Conversing With Raisin" (in English, called Smart Talk With Raisin), which was broadcast by the MTV, in the short television segment of "Liquid Television", and that showed characters very similar to those of the Agallas/Courage series, but with other names. It was a dark short, which was about a young girl named Raisin (which could be a prototype of Muriel), who decides to strengthen her dog Hamilton (a kind of prototype of Guts/Courage) so she could do a magic trick, and prove to Raisin's brother, Malcolm (the Eustaquio/Justo prototype), who could be considered as a misanthrope, that they could do anything together.
The series, in the United States, was aired by Cartoon Network from November 12, 1999 until November 22, 2002. In these 3 years 102 segments were broadcasted in 52 episodes and distributed between 4 seasons. A pilot episode, called The Fog of Courage, was broadcast in the United States on October 31, 2014. In Latin America, the series premiered on Friday, March 10, 2000 on Cartoon Network.
- Courage is a small scared dog that often falls victim to harassment from the husband of his boss Muriel and also to the pigeons in the park. When his boss is in danger, he is suddenly very brave. His parents were once shot into space by an evil veterinarian for experiment and as a little pup he was taken by Muriel to their farm in Kansas.
- Muriel is a naive old lady who likes to cook dinner or sit on the rocking chair with her dog Courage. She is of Scottish descent and talks with a somewhat Scottish accent. When she sees that Eustace, her husband, is bullying or abusing Courage, she always comes with a rolling pin to hit him on the head.
- Eustace is a grumpy old farmer (who, however, does not work like a farmer) who reads the newspaper, watches television all day long or finds a way to get rich quickly. In addition to Muriel, he has a passion for his old tractor. He has a mother who always calls him "stupid kid" and is actually as bald as he is, but wears a big wig. He also had a brother Horst who died and with whom he could not get along. His most used pronunciation is "Stupid dog!" When Courage once again did something wrong in his eyes.
- Doctor Vindaloo is an Indian doctor who is often called in to investigate an unknown disease. Like when Muriel was bitten by a weather mole. He seems to be a loyal friend, but he also has his weaknesses. For example, he sent secret data about Muriel to a powerful company for a lot of money.
- The computer speaks with a sarcastic (almost cynical) English accent and gives information to Courage to help him against problems. Once the computer moved its mind into the soul of Muriel.
- The alien chicken is a red-eyed chicken from the planet Mars. This villain appeared in the pilot of the series. The chicken is trying to take over the farm.
- Katz is a red anthropomorphic cat with an English accent and has his own background music in the series.
- LeQuack is a malicious duck who was once hired by Courage to relieve Muriel of her memory loss and has since been a great enemy to him.
- Snow Man is a living snowman who captured Muriel and Eustace to turn them into snowmen.
- Freaky Fred is Muriel's crazy cousin who has a morbid urge to shave people.
- Benton Tarantella is a zombie who once made a series of snuff films with his partner Errol von Volkheim.
- Jeeves Weevil is a charming anthropomorphic snout beetle who was a guest at Eustace and Muriel, but he only pretends to be able to empty them.
- Jean Bonne is an anthropomorphic pig that drives its own burger joint. Courage initially thought that Jean Bonne and his wife made hamburgers from human meat and gave them to their customers before they also turned the customers into the meat grinder. Later they turn out to be mainly artists who make vegaburgers.
- Goose God is a divine creature that looks like an anthropomorphic goose. He is lonely and looking for a partner. He fell in love with Muriel, whom he wanted to abduct to his empire. At the end he falls in love with the Eustace tractor and instead of Muriel he takes the tractor with him, much to the sadness of Eustace.
- Cajun-Fox is an anthropomorphic fox with a Cajun accent that Muriel wanted to take with her to put her in the soup. At the end he falls into the soup himself and is eaten by Muriel.
- Black Poole Queen is a pretty, mysterious woman who seduces men and lures them into the black pool. There she takes them to her underwater castle before she transforms into her true monstrous form and eats the men.
- Marty Grabstein: Courage
- Thea White: Muriel
- Lionel G. Wilson (ep. 1 to 33), Arthur Anderson (ep. 34 to 52), Wallace Shawn (3d film, The Fog of Courage): Eustace.
- Ruud Drupsteen: Courage
- Hetty Heyting: Muriel
- Rudi Falkenhagen: Eustace
- Victor van Swaay: the computer, doctor Vindaloo and a large number of bad guys (including Le Quack).
Without a doubt, the cartoon of a fearful dog and his daily struggle against strange forces was present in the childhood of many of us, although certain chapters are so strong that they make us doubt whether this production of the Golden Age of Cartoon Network was actually going aimed at children.
The former is the case of "The Mask", the most controversial episode in the history of the program, and to a greater extent, the famous television channel. The controversy caused by the short film was so great that the television medium was forced to censor it in the United States. This is a chapter full of prostitution, machismo, slavery, abuse and you can even notice a bit of Lesbianism. Extremely controversial and mature topics for a child audience.
The plot is based on the arrival of a mysterious woman in the life of the protagonists. This, always covered by a mask and a white robe, says she feels great hatred towards dogs which she unloads mercilessly beating Courage because her best friend, Bunny - who is suspected of being her partner - has been kidnapped by Mad Dog, a delinquent dog, who has threatened to kill her in case of approaching Bunny.
Then we see what makes evident the accusations the chapter receives: Bunny the bunny is vilely manipulated by Mad Dog under the motto I gave you a better life, and this is how you pay me?, referring to her wishes to meet with Kitty, the woman in the mask.
We also see her frustrated attempts to escape from the side of her executioner, who by the way has her guarded by two dogs belonging to her criminal gang, which is responsible for torturing her ruthlessly.
Thanks to the courage of the cowardly dog, what irony, Bunny can finally escape his jailers, and together they flee to meet Kitty, but they are surprised by Mad Dog, who violently tries to overwhelm them with his car.
After getting rid of the pimp dog, Courage helps the couple of friends finally meet again, this time without being threatened by anyone, so the mysterious woman in the mask - who is actually a feline - says goodbye saying "Thanks dog, now I see that not all dogs are bad."
Much of the controversy caused by this episode was due to the presumption that these two friends were, in fact, a lesbian couple, which caused many associations of parents to shout in the sky, causing the chain Television will definitely remove this chapter from its broadcasts in the United States, a problem that did not exist in other countries where the mask is still transmitted.