Sunday, November 29, 2009

An appreciation

A character is the representation of a person in a narrative or dramatic work of art (such as a novel, play, or film). Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr (χαρακτήρ) through its Latin transcription character, the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration... the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed. Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person." Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor. Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practised by actors or writers, has been called characterisation. - Wiki
Well, there are some who say that we identify with characters by sympathising with the situations that they find themselves in. There are others who say that characters can represent people we want to be like, or people we don't want to be like. Many maintain that fictional characters resemble people in the real world.

But I don't know about all of that when you consider the character of Krang, (from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Universe) a large pink pulsating brain with eyes and tentacles, sitting, manipulating a control board, in a hollow chamber in the chest of what appears to be a mindless human slave. I have never known any pinkly pulsating tentacled brains personally, and I don't think I know anybody who does; I do not particularly sympathise with the plight of pinkly pulsating tentacled brains; and I don't particularly want to be a pinkly pulsating tentacled brain. It seems to me that the theory of character can only take you so far, and doesn't quite manage to encompass creatures like Krang.

I've been thinking about Krang for a while. I don't know why. Possibly he has a natural charisma. Anyway, what actual function did Krang serve in the TMNT cartoon show? As far as I can remember, he didn't actually do anything. Krang just kind of harrangued Shredder to go after the turtles, and that was it. In Turtles Forever - by far the best Turtle movie - his principle function seems to be to stand around and looked scared every time Shredder does something evil. Sure, Krang is evil too, but he's evil in a placid and domesticated way, and you get the sense that he really doesn't care much about taking over the world. He just kind of blobbles around, pulsating pinkly, and occasionally squalling at Shredder to do something for him.

Oh Krang. It's been so long since you left our television screens. Why don't you ever call?

Is it wrong to be talking this way to a pinkly pulsating tentacled brain who is, by the way, evil?


Paul said...

Ha! That is just superb, Tim T. Pop culture reference and all. Your blog is one of my favourite places on the net. One day I am going to drunkenly buy you a beer and slobberingly tell you how much I love you, man.

BwcaBrownie said...

Consensus is with us.
At DimensionXbook a.k.a World Zeitgeist, there are 193 Krangs, and pages of fan groups.
The desire to take over the world is clearly supported by all.
When Krang succeeds, I will ask hime to destroy all the people who have been cruel to animals, and Tiger Woods will ask him to destroy all tabloid press photographers and journalists.

Martin Kingsley said...

Well, Krang was an antagonist, one with whom you really weren't expected to sympathise nor identify, courtesy of the fact he was EEBIL, but also because he was a brain in a jar, which is probably why the show and comic was known as The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and not Citizen Krang.

Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week, try the potato salad.

TimT said...

I got the impression when watching Turtles Forever that he was supposed to be sympathetic - that that was in fact his principle reason for being. An emotional foil to Shredder, in other words - Shredder's all 'ra ra ra, got to kill the turtles', and Krang's all 'you blundering fool! I will wave my tentacles around in a perturbed manner because I am disturbed by these evil acts of evility, but do not wish to say it!' Check out the scared face, in particular, in part 1 (or maybe 2?) of those Youtubes.

TimT said...

Oh, you, Paul.

Martin Kingsley said...

I much prefer Bob the Killer Goldfish from Earthworm Jim for all my jar-based sympathisin'.

Mitzi G Burger said...

Paul, I tell Tim all the time. Can we love him enough?

I would carry Martin K's brain home in a jar if he wasn't using it.

I was fond of the TMNTs, particularly Donatello in the purple eye-mask who I found to be the most sensitive and balanced for a teen.

Krang. Bitter, twisted, yes, but very, very clever. I believe it was his plum throat voice which added to the grotesquerie.

Dan the VespaMan said...

I could never get into the whole TMNT thing. I think it was because of the blatant over-use of the word "dude". To this day when I hear someone address another as "dude" I imagine the shaky foundations of the English language crumbling just a little more.

TimT said...

Looking back now it seems a delightfully absurd idea Dan. Wikipedia has a list of turtle send ups. None of them seem funny apart from the Karate Cows, but then again, it's rather in the spirit of the original.

TimT said...

Maybe you were too old for it at the time. Almost certainly, I was too. Didn't stop me watching it though!

BwcaBrownie said...

My relationship with the word is from dude ranches and from the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

The Word detective suggests DUDE:
"first showed up in the late 19th century, most probably as a variation on "dud," a Victorian slang term meaning "article of clothing" (still heard today as "duds"). The original dudes were fops and dandies, well-to-do young men who were known for their fancy style of dressing as well as their often dissolute "lifestyles."

A few years later, "dude" made its debut in the Western United States as a disparaging term for any city-dwelling visitor (also known as a "city slicker") to cowboy country. The taming of the West brought a flood of tourists from the East, and "dude ranches" quickly sprang up to give the visitors a taste of "cowpoke life."

In the 1930's, "dude" mutated a bit and came to be used as a general synonym for "guy" or "fellow," without its former connotations of dandyism, and seemed to be slowly fading away. The early 1960's surfer culture of Southern California, however, gave "dude" a shot in the arm, transforming the word into one of its basic units of linguistic exchange. There were no "guys" or "fellows" hanging ten -- only "dudes."

After cruising through the 1960's and 70's as a low-level slang term, "dude" hit the big time again in the 1980's courtesy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and is still going strong today."

BwcaBrownie said...

at if you search for titles of TV shows or movies with 'dude', there are 70 results and Ashton Kutcher isn't responsible for the ones of 1929 and 1933 (follow the link for a laugh).

TimT said...

Dude Duck! Now that's showin' some attidude.

TimT said...

And then there's that other Turtles' term, Cowabunga!

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