PEPE LEPEWMedium: Theatrical Animation
Released by: Warner Bros.
First Appeared: 1945
Creator: Chuck Jones
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The skunk who loved a reluctant cat was introduced in the Warner Bros. cartoon The Odor-able Kitty (1945), directed, like nearly all
Pepe LePew cartoons, by Chuck Jones. Pepe continued to force his attentions on his unrequiting enamorata in a half-dozen or so subsequent outings over the next several years. One of them, For Scent-imental Reasons (1949), won an Oscar, proving once again that sexism pays.
Pepe never made it in comics, and while not being completely ignored, has not been a prominent part of the latter-day revival of the Looney Tunes characters. This may be because the philosophy he represents — that masculine persistence in the face of manifest resistence, even outright revulsion, on the part of his female target, is a virtue worthy of reward — is out of step with the times. We may wink at the Coyote's attempts to murder the Road Runner, but we draw the line at a character who evidently wants to commit rape.
But he can still be seen from time to time on television, as part of the Looney Tunes cartoon package that airs in prominent children's time slots on Cartoon Network. So fear not — Pepe's point of view will not be without influence in generations to come.