Review: 'Furreh Nuuz Teevee's criticism critiqued
I got two things in the mail yesterday. One was a DVD of The Godfather, which opens with the above line spoken by an immigrant undertaker. The character continues with a monologue about what coming to America means to him, and what it has cost him. Unfortunately, as this fictional funeral worker discovered, occasionally America beats your beautiful daughter’s face in because she won’t put out.
Like this character, I believe in furry, and though vicious beatings accompanied by implied gang-rape is one of the few crimes furries have not been accused of (yet), I find it an apt metaphor for how furry can sometimes make you feel. Even when you still believe in it.
The other thing in the mail was a copy of one furry’s reaction to this feeling: Joe ”Eryshe Falafel” Meyer’s self-published comic Furreh Nuuz Teevee. I doubt it’ll replace The Godfather in the annals of artistic storytelling (or Netflix queues), but it was certainly funnier.
The Story, as it is
Furreh Nuuz Teevee features the character Twiggy. (Ed: This link is safe for work. Others may not be.)
Twiggy is a goofy looking Labrador retriever/bear hybrid. I learned this in the comic’s introduction. I thought he was just a fat dog, but the half-bear thing makes sense now. He’s an excitable character, drawn in a simple yet expressive way, and a very effective straight man most of the time, who still works when the joke is on him.
Twiggy has set himself up as a sort of reporter who interviews various obvious parodies of well-known furries, at least within the fandom. Twiggy’s got a catch phrase, too. You’ll figure out what it is if you read it yourself.
The problem with reviewing humor of any sort is that it is so different from one person to the next. The best I can do is to say whether or not I thought it was funny, and I’ve got to say most of the jokes fall flat.
Partially, I’m just not involved in the fandom to get everything. Some of this stuff is pretty specific; I just don’t spend enough time on, ahem, furrehartzite.com. I’m sure the Holy Zeut jokes would be funnier if I knew what the heck was going on, but I don’t, so they didn’t work for me.
Some of Meyer’s jokes aren’t really jokes, as well. There’s a bit about Alan T. Panda I got, but the thing is, beating up the guy isn’t a joke in and of itself. I’m sure it was cathartic to draw, but it’s not a joke.
Finally, some jokes just don’t work, period. The Avatar strip is a case in point, and I’m biased towards it. I hate Avatar. It was a not very good movie, I wear glasses so I hate 3D, it beat my favorite movie of all time in the Ursa Majors, and I lost my hat at the theater. I liked that hat!
But the punchline to the strip is the big blue guy falls down. Not a good strip.
That said, I feel humor should be judged on its successes, not its failures. Though a few strips went by without much going on, a few also got real laughs out of me. Oftentimes, it was the details. A sign reading “Pictures of Dog Dongs $500” over a convention commission table is a sad statement, but a funny joke. A strip about censorship goes into real satire rather than just Internet satire territory with the one detail it leaves uncensored. Lastly, the Twiggy character is also genuinely funny by himself.
Furreh Nuuz Teevee makes some points, and definitely has its moments. It’s basically like any other decent comic strip, with that one panel that keeps you going for another hundred lame quips. Unlike stand-up comics, most artists don't have the luxury of polishing their material over time, so the duds can be forgiven.
In all honesty, I can’t recommend you buy the actual dead tree book, as I’m sure the entirety of the comic is available somewhere online (most can be found here), and the bonus commentaries and fan art aren’t exactly a big draw. But the strip is worth a try.
I guess the lesson for all parties involved is take the criticism in stride, and we’ll all be better for it tomorrow.
Confidential to Meyer: Next time, slip a twenty into the review copy and I’ll call it better than The Godfather. Netflix only gave me a ten for the mention, so screw them.