275. Cheese Chasers – Chuck Jones

song-of-the-prairie

SUMMARY: Hubie and Bertie eat so much cheese that they become suicidal, setting a chain of death-wish events in motion.

WHY IT’S HERE: I once showed Chuck Jones’s ‘Cheese Chasers’ to my friend Amy, who remarked that it was the strangest cartoon she’d ever seen! Part of the masterful but lesser known Hubie and Bertie series, which more often than not tackled darker subjects than most cartoons, ‘Cheese Chasers’ takes suicide and mental illness as its subject and runs with its unique premise to create an exceptional and exceptionally black film. Having eaten more cheese than they can stand in the space of one night, the mice Hubie and Bertie decide there is nothing left to live for and therefore they should commit suicide. This one little event throws off the natural order in the animal kingdom to the extent that a cat and a dog also long for death by the cartoons end. Subverting the usual chase formula so that each character runs away from the character they would usually be trying to catch, ‘Cheese Chasers’ is a unique and absolutely wonderful cartoon. Just witnessing how disturbed each animal is by the twisted turn of events is enough to equally disturb the viewer while also provoking plenty of laughter. ‘Cheese Chasers’ is a highlight in the too often overlooked Hubie and Bertie series, perhaps only topped by the even blacker ‘The Hypo-chondri-cat’.

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