Jun 7, 2018

All Hail King Julien: Mort Still Has a Foot Fetish

Remember King Julien, the androgynous, booty-shaking lemur king from the Madagascar movies (2005, 2008, 2012) and the tv series Penguins of Madagascar (2008-2015)?   Dreamworks has produced a prequel, All Hail King Julien (2014-2017), which depicts the adventures of King Julien XIII beginning with his ascension to the throne of the Lemur Kingdom.

Since it's a prequel, taking place before the events of Madagascar, it's rather odd to watch Julien mature from a crazy party monster to a brave, resourceful leader (although still booty-shaking).  He must have regressed.

Maurice, the "that's not a good idea" advisor, and Mort, the squeaky-voiced mouse lemur with a crush on Julien's feet, develop as characters also.  Especially Mort: not a child, actually infinitely old, a mysterious traveler through multiple universes, who still has a crush on Julien's feet.

Countless new characters appear, including dozens of lemurs with varying personalities, a newscasting toucan, a psychic chameleon, a tenric scientist, rats, crocodiles, foosa, dolphins, sharks, allies and enemies, enemies who become allies, in exhaustingly complex plotlines.

Clover, the king's bodyguard, who writes fantasy-world fan fiction.

Sage Moondancer is the pacifist, faux-Eastern wisdom quoting hunk.

Karl, a fanoloka antagonist who is dating a cockroach named Chauncey.

Here is a fan art anthropomorphic version of the characters.

It's also frustrating that passionate same-sex relationships abound, but they're always subtext. The closest we come to an open depiction of a gay relationship is when Julien notes that Karl and Chauncey are "together or something."

When Clover announces that she's getting married, Julien assumes that she's marrying a woman, but she's not.

When Mort is imprisoned, he flirts with the guard to get released.  We think that the guard is male, but she turns out to be "all woman."

The lemur Ted is "Hollywood gay," with feminine traits and interests, a nasal voice, and a fear of intimacy with his wife Dorothy.  In one episode, he is made to believe that Dorothy is imaginary, and responds with unabashed glee "You mean I'm not married?"  But nothing comes of it.

It goes on like that, character after character bringing up same-sex potential only to back off at the last minute.

I also find it frustrating that they continually depict Madagascar as a small island with no human residents (the lemurs have never met a human, but they get a lot of our stuff that washes up on the shore.)

It's the 4th largest island in the world, with 12 million humans.

It's hard to suspend your disbelief when you keep shouting at the tv screen "You lemurs should be speaking Malagasy, not English!"

1 comment:

  1. Falls into "never even heard of that language". Along with "they just didn't care".

    Yeah, I always wondered how many characters I didn't recognize as gay at the time were just "Hollywood gay" without me knowing it. I mean, I have gay relatives, but none of them matched the stereotype. I remember as a kid thinking Jay Sherman's hairdresser (not his makeup lady) was a eunuch, but I never thought of gay.


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