By Neeti Adhia
Majority of us have followed the same guideline as kids when it comes to terror. An entire movie or a single episode could leave us shaken and develop a sense of uncanny. There is a fine line between ‘cutesy’ spooky and intimidating which most shows have never attempted to cross. Although, one cartoon network show portraying a little pink dog as a protagonist threw all that out of the window.
The show ‘Courage the Cowardly Dog’ can give almost anyone nightmares.
The first episode takes off with an abandoned puppy saved by an old Scottish woman named Muriel. In the first meeting itself, she was inspired to give him the name “Courage”. Muriel lived on a farm in “The Middle of Nowhere” along with her husband Eustace Bagge who made Courage’s life bittersweet and often referred to him as a ‘stupid dog’.
The family is visited by all kinds of monsters, aliens, demons, mad scientists, zombies and vampires. They encounter several supernatural/paranormal events wherein the plot uses perceptions like horror films.
Episodes like “King Ramses’ Curse” and “The house of Discontent” used uneasy and way too realistic animation to instil their stories with dreadful creepiness. Courage being weak and defenceless was always afraid to face the challenges which were thrown at him. Right from his own shadow to a red-eyed chicken from space, he dreaded every situation. Ironically, at the end of the day, Courage was the one to act brave and find a solution to save his owners from such dreadful happenings.
There were also more common yet shattering threats like Freaky Fred, one of Muriel’s nephews, with an odd interest in cutting hair. Freaky Fred was never known to be fierce, but his gentle sways and deliberate vile smirk never failed to make the audience feel uncomfortable. The show featured the cartoon version of “The Exorcist” known as “Demon in the Mattress”. In this episode, Muriel was possessed by a mattress which had a satanic spirit. It was a tedious task to not think of Godzilla while watching the stock footage of King Ghidorah as well.
All the 4 seasons were concluded with the episode called “Perfect”. It not only highlighted the reality to the ‘Courage the Cowardly Dog’ but also to the audience. The episode focused on teaching us that it is absolutely okay to feel vulnerable and scared. That it’s alright to fear what’s coming next into our life or whatever it is that plagues your soul. It taught us to not succumb to our fears and admit to ourselves about our deepest vulnerabilities.
This TV show hence seems to remind us of an important lesson we all have chosen to forget: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the action in the presence of it.” Only then can we truly overcome it and make a decision without “fear” dictating it.
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