397. Here’s Nudnik – Gene Deitch

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SUMMARY: Nudnik is an unlucky character for whom nothing seems to go right. In this, his debut short, Nudnik has problems in the kitchen with expanding bread and a flooding sink.

WHY IT’S HERE: ‘Here’s Nudnik’, (also known as ‘Nudnik #2’, although it was the first of the series) was the debut short of Gene Deitch’s favourite cartoon creation. The Nudnik series is based around the simplest of premise: a guy for whom nothing seems to go right. From this premise, however, Deitch gets considerable comedic value and pathos. The shorts are dialogue free, with Nudnik’s sorry little sigh after something goes wrong being its aural hook. The comedy of Nudnik hinges on things escalating to the extreme. There were some 30 second short Nudnik cartoons but they never worked as well, since it didn’t give time for the situation Nudnik was in to get more and more out of hand. ‘Here’s Nudnik’ keeps its situation simple, a small domestic tale, but the frustration and Nudnik’s building despair in the face of it take everyday stresses to epic levels. The Nudnik series is actually very sad, as you wonder what it must be like to be that unlucky and can sense the utter defeat in Nudnik’s trademark sigh. This original run of Nudnik shorts lasted for 12 episodes but the character was revised for a new show in the 90s.

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