189. Fresh Airedale – Chuck Jones

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SUMMARY: A scathing political allegory presented via the story of a sweet-natured cat and an opportunistic dog.

WHY IT’S HERE: Chuck Jones’s ‘Fresh Airedale’ is one of the most remarkable Warner Bros. one shots ever made and a personal favourite of mine. Extremely subversive in that it refuses to bow to our moral expectations, ‘Fresh Airedale’ presents us with a set-up that is crying out for a comeuppance at the finale and then declines to provide us with it. Instead, it offers us a scathing political satire which tells it like it is; if you’re at the right place at the right time and willing to behave only in your own interests, you can reap the benefits at the expense of everyone else. So we are presented with a sweet-natured, heroic cat who is upstaged at every turn by the deceitful, manipulative, downright evil dog Shep who uses his accepted status as “man’s best friend” to gain ever greater plaudits from his master and, ultimately, the rest of the country while the cat is either brutalised or ignored. Cruelly hilarious and constantly relevant, ‘Fresh Airedale’ is 100% more effective for not giving us the happy ending we all want and expect. While it remains a buried treasure, ‘Fresh Airedale’ continues to delight and exhilarate anyone who happens to unearth it, provided they are not married to the constrictive notion that good must always triumph over evil in entertainment.

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