Sunday, April 23, 2006

Carrots: Funny or Evil?

So, getting back to the subject of the comedic appeal of giant carrots, which I promised on Wednesday that I would expound upon at some future date. Well, the future is here, but where's my flying car? Seriously, man, it's the 21st freakin' century and I will continue to walk everywhere until I get my Jetson-mobile.
Anyway, back to what's passing for a topic today.
In my four decades of consuming American pop culture, I have come across several examples of giant carrots in humor. The most famous would have to be a 1978 episode of The Muppet Show in which Gilda Radner sings Gilbert and Sullivan's "I Am The Very Model of A Modern Major General" in a duet with a 7 foot tall carrot. Other examples include a mid-70's issue of DC Comics' Plastic Man, written by Steve Skeates, in which Plas faces, among other nefarious foes, the Carrot Man, who is, quite simply, a man in a carrot suit. He had been a contestant on a fictional Let's Make A Deal type game show when he suffered a head injury that caused him to turn to crime. (This issue also featured a hired assassin from the West Coast named "Rice O'Rooney--the San Francisco Threat." I still think that is one of the funniest things I've ever read, which should probably tell you a lot about me.) Then there's Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot Comics, which features a hero who wears a giant carrot mask with flames on top where the greens of a real carrot would be. The character also wears flippers, and when asked why will always answer, "In case I have to swim."
Last, and most assuredly least, is my own creation, The 50 Foot Carrot From Hell, which is a giant carrot with a demonic face surrounded by flames, who starred in a series of unpublished and not seen by more than a handful of people one panel gag cartoons in the 80's.
So, I have always wondered what is about giant carrots that inspires humor? Is it some almost forgotten race memory deep in the human genome that makes us think overgrown orange roots are humorous? Does it have something to do with the vaguely phallic form of the vegetable? (When I was in college, one of my girlfriend's friends commented that the 50 Foot Carrot From Hell "would make a great sex toy." I guess her bisexual boyfriend wasn't sufficiently satisfying her.) I really don't know, but I certainly believe that this is a subject that merits some serious scientific study. I believe the results would yield many important insights into human nature.
Finally, and I really don't know if this is related to today's topic or not, have you noticed that none of the characters in Veggie Tales is a carrot? Or perhaps I accidentally hit upon something back in college with my creation of a Carrot From Hell? Are carrots really harbingers of evil and thus not fit for inclusion in a video series that indoctrinates unsuspecting children with Christian values? Once again, more study of this question is needed.

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thebigcurve said...

uh, ray, you are sadly mistaken.
there are indeed veggie tale characters who are carrots, and in the star trek spoof episode, the mr. scott character is a giant carrot, who speaks with a quite funny scottish brogue.