Do You Remember The Wuzzles?
To be honest, I can’t really say I had a favorite cartoon growing up. For anyone with siblings, you know that when you don’t have control of the remote, you rarely get to watch the entirety of a show. If the remote holder (in my case, one of my two older brothers), doesn’t like the show, he/she will change the channel without hesitation. On one Saturday morning, for example, I may have thought I watched one show, but it could very well have been five clumped into one. When I was little, all of the cartoons were pretty much colored the same way with the same type of characters and plots. I was also a very gullible child. While my brain realized that the channel had been changed, if one of my brothers, especially my oldest brother, had told me that it was unchanged, I would’ve believed him. Still, on the rare occasions when my brothers and I reminisce about childhood cartoons, we agree that one was very special.
The Wuzzles was sadly a very short lived show. It ran from September 1985-December 1985, only thirteen episodes were made. To date, this is the shortest running animated show that Disney has produced. Happily, the episodes were re-run on the Disney channel for a few years. While not a perfect scenario, it still allowed more kids to enjoy the show, like me. As I was only one during its original run, if I had not seen the re-runs, I wouldn’t be as familiar with the show as I am. So what is this show anyway? Admittedly, the concept is rather bizarre and would explain the very short run. There is a mythical island were “mixed-up” animals roam free. Part one animal and part another, they go about their daily lives, teaching life lessons along the way.
My favorite character was Hoppopotamus, a female animal possessing traits of both a hippopotamus and a rabbit. Voiced by actress, Jo Anne Worley, she was a pushy diva with a heart of gold. She loved to sing and act. She danced around Wuz, gracefully. Being that my interests have always rested in the creative/performing arts area, she was a natural choice.
The other characters were: Bumblelion, half bumblebee/half lion (He loved sports.), Butterbear, half bear/half butterfly (She was into gardening.), Eleroo, half elephant/half kangaroo (He has the distinction of being the largest Wuzzle.), Moosel, half moose/half seal (He had a very overactive imagination.), Rhinokey, half rhinoceros/half monkey (He was the resident prankster.), Tycoon, half tiger/half raccoon (He was the richest Wuzzle.), Croc, half crocodile/half dinosaur (He was the villain.), Brat, half boar/half rat (He was Croc’s sidekick and only Croc could understand what he said.) and Flizard, half frog/half lizard (He was Croc’s other sidekick. He was quite dimwitted.).
What I liked best about this show is what got it cancelled. While it was as colorful as the other shows with story lines similar to every cartoon that has ever been made, it was distinctly different. To me, the oddly formed characters symbolized our society. We are not all one color, shaped the same way. We share characteristics from different races. We share different beliefs that, to some people, make us appear different externally. We are a society characterized by our imperfections and our need to disguise them. Though “mixed-up” animals may have made people feel uncomfortable (I will admit that looking at this show from an adult perspective has made me view it differently.), they were harmless. Or were they? As with everything that is different, children look to their parents for explanations. Why do these characters look so different from the rest of the cartoons? How can they live normal lives if they are so different/ misshapen/ grotesque? We are taught from nearly the day we are born to fear people who are different. We must pity these individuals, singling them out whenever we can. If they do not seek to change, we must write them off, banishing them to a place where we won’t have to see them. You don’t get anymore different and out of the box than The Wuzzles. Considering the steps forward our society has made in the past twenty years, I wonder if the show would be cancelled just as fast were it to premiere today.
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