“Cajun Granny Stew” has influences from:

  • Shakespeare
  • Classic Fairytales
  • Road Runner
  • Mr Magoo

cajun granny stew

STORY STRUCTURE OF CAJUN GRANNY STEW

WEAKNESS/NEED

Courage is scared of birds. So how is going to possibly deal with a formidable opponent like a shady fox?

park-bench-courage-scared-1

"I don't like birds. They make fun of me!"

“I don’t like birds. They make fun of me!”

Quite often in a comic story there is a main opponent and then there are lesser evils. The birds are actually harmless, despite their… teeth.

DESIRE

When a fox abducts the sleeping Muriel for stew Courage wants to get her back.

OPPONENT

The fox. The fox has an evil plan of his own, which is to make himself a delicious Cajun stew. Although he has sourced all kinds of hard-to-get items he is in the middle of cooking it before realising with horror that it tastes disgusting and needs a granny as a major ingredient. We see right away that this fox, unlike other craftier foxes, doesn’t plan ahead. (This will be his downfall.)

cajun-stew

In this episode we see the opponent first. But we are introduced to him gradually, bit by bit. First we see the outside of his lair.

foxs-lair

Then we see him cooking a Macbeth type concoction. But we only see his skinny arms. His body is revealed slowly, and we wonder who is talking in this deep, smooth voice a la Isaac Hayes (the chef off South Park).

"One pair of elephant ankles..." Oddly specific body parts make for good comedy.

“One pair of elephant ankles…” Oddly specific body parts make for good comedy.

Much of the comedy of this character is that he is serenading the granny as if she is a love interest rather than a cut of meat.

Courage and this fox are evenly matched. Both have obstacles thrown into their paths. For example, the fox tries to get away with granny in a taxi but then gets a flat tyre.

fox-taxi-granny

Although the fox is making cajun stew, he himself is not Cajun: he is try-hard Cajun. We see this when he slaps a pair of cool sunglasses on before leaving his lair. Later we also hear him say ‘vinegar’ with a slight French drawl. The Cajun from Louisiana as a baddie is a common trope in fiction, so the audience knows immediately that this fox is a badass.

Cajun people are originally from Canada.

Cajuns are originally from Canada. They trekked down to Louisiana by several routes after the French and Indian War resulted in the transfer of Canada to British rule. As a result, the Cajuns have a Southern U.S. culture with French-Canadian roots, and are an ethnic group mainly living in southwestern Louisiana

— TV Tropes

The cuisine is noteworthy and since many Cajuns were farmers and not especially wealthy, they were known for not wasting any part of a butchered animal. It makes sense that these animal parts were made into stew. Likewise, the fox in this story does not waste a single part of his meat, including her overcoat, gumboots and spectacles.

Original Cajun stew uses sausage, which explains why Courage tries to swap Muriel for one of those.

PLAN

Courage is forced to change his plan when each one is foiled. Because Courage is a sympathetic character he first tries to do the right one. He steals a salami from the butcher and offers the salami to fox in exchange for the granny back.

butchers

When this doesn’t work he slaps the fox over the head with it.

He persuades the Fox to have a game of pokies. When he wins with three (ironic) hearts the fox gets punched in the face.

When the fox loses Muriel altogether he floats with a single helium balloon over the landscape and uses a pair of binoculars to scout her out.

balloon-binocular

And so on.

BATTLE

This is a Road Runner type battle involving roadblocks, cliffs, drops into rivers, smashing against cliffs and cartoon bombs.

bomb

a cartoon bomb

bottom of a cliff

bottom of a cliff

Although this is a country area, props appear out of nowhere — e.g. the pokie machine which punches the fox in the face, the telephone booth to call the police.

As also tends to happen in picturebooks (see Walter The Farting Dog and A Fish Out Of Water) the police turn up right away when called.

A lot of this episode takes place high in the air, which feels as if the stakes are raised even though cartoon characters can fall to the ground at any time and get right back up again.

When Muriel puts her own life in danger Courage and the fox unite to save her from plummeting to her death. As they stand together counterbalancing the plane we see for ourselves just how similarly matched these foes are.

Muriel sleepwalks across the wings of a plane

Muriel sleepwalks across the wings of a plane

Muriel wakes in midair but assumes she’s just having “one of those floating dreams.”

muriel-sleep-floating

As in every episode of this series, someone comes very close to death.

Here Muriel is ready to be eaten, but after seasoning her the fox decides to roll her in flour.

muriel-on-a-plate

This ghostly colour makes her look even closer to death.

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SELF-REVELATION

There is no self-revelation. Courage falls into the fox’s lair by pure accident, through a chimney hole in the roof.

NEW EQUILIBRIUM

Like the ending of (non-sanitised) Three Little Pigs and similar classic tales, the evil canid ends up in the stew himself. Granny wakes up and smells ‘fox stew’. (We don’t see the fox go into the pot.) From inside the pot the fox says, “Cajun stew is not for you!”

Muriel suggests they eat and Courages says, “No thanks, I’ve had enough Cajun for one day!”

fox-stew