Queer Duck

Director: Xeth Feinberg

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

I read a series of fan comentaries on the dvd release of Queer Duck: The Movie (2006), & wow were opinions mixed. Some gave it one star or zero stars, finding it the most offensively stereotyped heterosexual animation studio's well-meaning but appalling perspective on faggots in America. Others said in essence, "I'm a gay man & I laughed all the way through it, it's very funny."

So I figured I'd have to see it for myself. Since I have a fairly demented sense of humor I figured I'd like it, & wouldn't mind if it was stereotyped queers just so long as it was funny. There's the rub: just so long as it was funny.

Queer DuckOf the feature-length cartoon & the six short cartoons from the 1999 web-animation & 2002 cable shorts included amidst the extras, the short ones barely won even a little smile, & were basically bad.

The feature cartoon however made me laugh pretty loudly a couple of times. But in the movie version, I especially liked Tiny Jesus. And when the retro doggy band sang their number, I thought it was delightful.

But these high points were few. Mostly I was bored. It was just all so 1976 disco dufus, such a slender slice of low-end gay stereotypes from the young years of the boomer generation, nothing at all current.

And even viewed as a period piece scripted by a straight man whose gay friends are all over fifty-five for whom Paul Lynd is still their one only only culture hero, well, the creators of this nonsense managed to know nothing about political queers who were embarrassed by queens, feminist queers of the sort who promised never to take their shirts off in public until women could do so too, country queers in flannel shirts, glamrock faggots who loved Iggy Stardust, punk faggots who adored Boy George, cosmopolitan queers who hosted excellent world-music & or international art events & shared housing with gays from other nations, & faggots who weren't disgusted by women & did have dyke friends & didn't demand the worship of faghags as the only kind of female they would tolerate. The creators of Queer Duck just can't imagine any of it.

No, in Queer Duck's world, all faggots are one kind of faggot to varying degrees of disco queen limp-wristed sissy. No other type exists. And by & large even this type seems to have come out of a time capsule & has no application for today. Like a film about African Americans full of variations of Stepin Fetchits, these cartoons just want to reinforce what older straight Americans already believes. And if they don't actually hate but kind of like sissy fags & foot-shufflin' yazzum-massuh darkies, it's not homophobic or racist, right?

It's not the same as lynching or queer-bashing in the park, but it is the same as assuming every damned fag on earth is a complete pansy, every Jew a money-grubbing world-dominator, & every black man a crackhead gangsta rappa, because what else can comedy be to dufus white men who've started out with a very limited ability to write humor?

By & large the nature of the homosexual community according to Queer Duck seems borrowed second-hand from old movies like The Boys in the Band (1970) & La Cage aux folles (1978) & nothing later. It's a little like constructing a cartoon dyke community knowing nothing about lesbians that wasn't in The Killing of Sister George (1968) & The Children's Hour (1961), & nothing newer.

There's a sissy crocodile Openly Gator who talks like Harvey Feinstein, a 1950s martini-sippin' sissy cat Oscar Wildcat, a white bear from the center of Hollywood Squares -- from the period mostly addressed -- named Bi Polar Bear, & a support cast of other anthroporphic limited-animation animals all very badly designed.

So it's essentially one character divided with slight variation among a quarter dozen animals. And the artwork, oh how limited & shitty can animation look? Visually none of the characters have power, & vocally they're just queeny cliches. And that's forgiveable only if it's a laugh a minute, rather than a laugh every twenty minutes.

I suspect if you're gay, male, white, between 48 & 60 years old and remember being repellant early in the disco era, but haven't even now realized how repellant you were, then this cartoon is going look like life once was. But if your world was never restricted to a few sissies & one aging fag-hag, then Queer Duck won't look like anything but a bad comedy writer's crutch at the expense of authentic sissies & with no interest whatsoever in the gay community broadly. And it's hard to imagine younger viewers, gay or straight, having a clue what the fuck the joke's about, beyond queers are ridiculous.

And yes, I can imagine that a group of talentless unthinking aging queers could've come up with the same string of lame stereotypes instead of humor, but it appears that that's something to remain only imagined since this mediocrity had no gays in any production role whatsoever, a fact which is hard to believe given the huge number of queers in the animation community They found not one for the production end, & only one for vocal talent. Which is reminiscent of Amos & Andy on the radio with its white cast doing black dialect.

But hey, what can you expect. Queer Duck was born at the same website which brought us white-imagined cartoons about a bucktooth oriental houseboy, Mr. Wong (2000), so it is not hard to imagine the next project being a shitload of white guys making cartoons set in Harlem with no African American input. They'll mean well, but every character will look like little black sambo or a chimpanzee. And when the creators go begging for praise from the African American community, only Lincoln Perry thought it came out exactly right.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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