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Gut Reaction
I wrote a piece about cartoon abuse a while back that focused broadly on the advertising crimes of Big Pharma and particularly on the sad case of Jublia’s big, fungus-afflicted foot character.

Among other things, that poor creature suffers a fate that none of us, real or animated, should have to endure: poor conceptualization. It’s so sad…especially when we can see that it’s not really necessary. It’s possible to create a credible character to help hawk your fungicidal product. Lamisil has done it with Digger the Dermatophyte (its actual given name). Digger has a clear, discernable personality, and, unlike Jublia’s nameless monstrosity, his motivations are clear: he is a disease, and he wants to hurt you really, really bad.

To be sure, Digger has other issues. He is pretty close to pure evil, and he is capable of cruelties toward toenails that are truly disturbing. But at least he proves that it can be done. The disease is not the problem with these ads, it’s the so-called creative team. Digger the Dermatophyte may be scary — so scary, I would argue, that he might discourage potential customers — but at least his rationale as a character is coherent. To a professional cartoon/actor that’s all that matters. Furthermore, I want to make it clear that I do not object to the idea of cartoon characters selling drugs. The more cartoons there are in this world, the better. Besides, some can be quite entertaining.

My favorite is the Gut Guy. If you haven’t seen him, you’re not watching enough teevee. Gut is a tangle of pink intestines created to sell Xifinan, and he is a slightly disgusting delight. The Gut Guy (his given, trademarked, copyrighted name) has a clear identity: he’s a colon. The arms and legs have been added to give him both mobility and a pinch of simpatico. He’s not just any colon; he’s our colon. He may look like an unruly coil of Pepto Bismol-colored clay ropes, but he’s kind of sweet. Add to this that he suffers from is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), one of the funniest maladies out there. If you can’t get a laugh out of that, well, then you probably have it.

I confess that I have never experienced IBS (though I have, at times, experienced some digestive grumpiness), so my apologies if I find the condition quite droll. It’s amusing in a potty humorous way, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals happily plays to those cheap seats in its online animation. Yes, that’s our little buddy, clutching at his rump area and making a mad dash for the powder room. That, my friends, is entertainment.

I think the Gut Guy definitely has a future in show business. Whereas the Jublia foot-thing is destined for cartoon character limbo, G.G. is just too lovably goofy to die. He might even score his own series. Who knows? Perhaps a career in the movies, then a line of sportswear? And, if all goes well and the world is ready, his own fragrance.

Please Note: Tim Eagan will read your comments but he is currently not publishing them.

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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee