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Courage the Cowardly Dog Show! One of the fifteen original Cartoon Cartoons, Courage the Cowardly Dog Show aired on Cartoon Network from November 12, 1999 to November 22, 2002 with a total of 52 episodes spread out over four seasons. The series was nominated multiple times for best sound editing during the time it aired and won an award for its production design in 2000. Courage the Cowardly dog is best remembered for its overly creepy concepts and characters that caused most viewers (including me) to have multiple nightmares.
Courage the Cowardly dog tells the story of a dog, Courage, who was saved and adopted by a sweet old woman, Muriel Bagge, and her grouchy, selfish husband, Eustace Bagge who live in the middle of Nowhere. The series consists of random, supernatural adventures that the trio tend to find themselves involved in. Each new adventure leads to a new, interesting character that seeks to disrupt Courage’s life in some way. Many of the situations that take place in this series have the potential to harm Muriel and it’s up to Courage to do what any loyal dog would do to protect his owner.
Since its premiere, Courage the Cowardly Dog has been my favorite cartoon despite the many nightmares I have endured as a result. I started this blog back in January with the plan to cover Courage the Cowardly Dog. Since it is my favorite cartoon of all time, I decided to save it for the last post of the semester and I am beyond excited that I am finally writing about this amazing series. Let’s get started.
When I sat down to watch Courage the Cowardly Dog this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find all four seasons on Netflix. I watched the entire first season, some random favorite episodes, and I am now currently watching the fourth season. After watching all these episodes, it occurred to me why this is my favorite animated series of all time. The quality was consistent. The animation of the series may have improved ever so slightly throughout the seasons, but the dosage of creepiness and great story telling remained the same. There is never a dull moment in this series due to the continuous introduction of supernatural events and new, evil characters.
Most people who remember Courage the Cowardly dog remember the series for one reason. That reason being the horrors they had from the ghost of King Ramses repeating, “return the slab” over and over. Don’t get me wrong, that episode had me up for days and thinking about it now still scares me. I, on the other hand, remember Courage the Cowardly dog for the amazing music in every episode. Each episode featured new and reoccurring scores that gave each environment its own identity and feel. The music in Courage the Cowardly Dog also gave way to some the creepiest moments of the series. The chase scene in “Human Habitrail” between Courage and Dr. Gerbil (a.k.a. Lulu Mae), the traveling vacuum salesman, brings up a disturbing feeling while a beautiful opera piece plays in the background. Another example appears in the episode “The Nutcracker” in which the majority of the episode plays the Nutcracker while two junkyard rats dance to the music and attempt to cook Muriel alive.
The music is only half the reason Courage the Cowardly Dog is my favorite cartoon. The other piece to this puzzle that makes this show so great is the characters. It is insane how each episode takes shape based on a new character. There are several reoccurring characters, such as Katz, Le Quack, and the two military gentlemen that are always doing something ridiculous, such as launching a missile that makes vegetables grow even after eating, to the point that you may explode. Other than that, all new characters are introduced with each episode, which help keep the series interesting the whole way through.
It’s crazy to think that this kind of supernatural eeriness in an animated series for children was allowed. Although I was sad to see Courage the Cowardly Dog end; maybe it was the realization that kids can’t really handle this level of horror that cancelled the show.
The comedy within the series is also something that I find interesting. Unlike most cartoons, this series isn’t so slapstick. The humor comes from the ridiculous personalities of all the characters. Something major could be going on and Eustace is only worried about his dinner. Something small could happen and Courage, being the paranoid dog that he is, screams. Because Courage The Cowardly Dog is unlike the cartoons of its time, and the majority of cartoons now, it remains a great series throughout its tenure.
In the first half of the last episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, the story of what happened to Courage’s parents is revealed. I had never seen this episode before and it honestly granted some relief and choked me up (no tears cause I’m too gangster). Check it out if you want to know the story. In October of 2014, Cartoon Network premiered a Courage the Cowardly Dog Show special titled, “The Fog of Courage.” The new special featured the series in a new CGI animation and new voice actors. Rumors regarding if the special was a hint to a revamp for the series have not been confirmed, but I believe the series is best left as it is.
If you search Courage the Cowardly Dog theories, you will find some pretty interesting explanations for the series. The most popular being that the series is so crazy because it is taking place from the point of view of a dog. Others go into far more detail concerning the death of Muriel and Eustace at the end of season one. If you’re already a fan of Courage the Cowardly Dog, you should check some of these out, they’re quite interesting.
Courage the Cowardly Dog remains my favorite cartoon to this day. Everything about the series is great. There are a few episodes that reach beyond the level of creepiness appropriate for children, but I think we all turned out fine (besides getting chills every time someone says “return the slab”). I would recommend Courage the Cowardly Dog to cartoon lovers of any age. The entire series is on Netflix so go check it out!
I would like to thank everybody that has kept up with these blog posts. I’ve had a lot of fun this semester writing every single one of these and will have another awesome batch of cartoons to review in the fall. Thanks again everybody and stay tooned for next semester!