GOODIES COR COMICS SYNOPSIS #5
(by Linda Kay)
(from C&G 76 – April 2002)
3rd February, 1973. No. 28
Ethnic humor, while currently not generally accepted as being politically correct, has long been a part of comedy tradition. The Goodies themselves were certainly not above poking fun at various cultures and the traditions therein. Ethnic humor should be unacceptable when characters are unfairly stereotyped with the sole purpose of insulting or demeaning those people for the sake of belittling them cruelly (i.e., for political propagandist reasons). But the basis of almost all comedy has always been to identify and ridicule the foibles of human nature, regardless of ethnicity. In the world of The Goodies, everything was fair game, including their own culture. One might say they were equal opportunity humorists.
One basic reason for ethnic humor is probably the ease of picking a particular setting in which to come up with jokes. Take a specific event and the comic possibilities of that event and one doesn't care if it's the Academy Awards, the Olympics or a meeting of the Houses of Parliament ... in coming up with comedy in those settings one is bound to make stereotypical jokes about the Hollywood elite, the international politics in Olympic voting, or the arguments of the British House of Lords. It's only natural. People laugh at what they recognize.
The comic pages were no exception and indeed some of the humor seen in such past comic magazines as Cor!! might not be wholly acceptable today. This month's comic isn't particularly derogatory in any way, shape or form, but the fact that much of the humor is based around Scottish traditions might make it be construed as such today. But picking the Highland Games as a setting in which to put The Goodies makes perfect sense, as The Goodies themselves often poked fun at Scottish traditions. Let's face it, a good setting with comic possibilities is always fair game to humor writers all around the world.
Header: THE GOODIES DECIDE TO GIVE THE HIGHLAND GAMES A FLING!
The Goodies are riding their trandem beside a tall wooden fence, behind which we see the top of a tent, a flying caber and a Scotsman hanging onto a hurling hammer. Tim points to a sign tacked onto the fence which reads "HIGHLAND GAMES - *BIG* Money PRIZES. The Noo!!"
TIM: Hey, look! We'll go in and try and win some money!
As they ride through the entrance a Scotsman holds his hand up to stop them cold, knocking them clean off the bike, which rolls on without them.
ENTRANCE SCOTSMAN: *OOT!* Ye canna come in here unless ye're wearin' the *KILT*!
Undaunted, the Goodies sneak along the fence until they spy a large Scotsman bending over to pick up a hammer (a sign nearby reads 'Putting the Shot? Hammer?'). Tim reaches through a gap in the fence to remove a safety pin from the back of the man's kilt.
BILL? (We can only see his eye through a knothole): ... just ... remove ... his ... kilt ... pin.
HAMMER SCOTSMAN: Right! I'm ready to throw the hammer!
The Scotsman spins around to throw the hammer and his kilt unwinds from his middle. Tim is quick to pull it through the gap in the fence. The Scotsman releases the hammer and looks down with surprise to find he's standing in his boxer shorts.
TIM (On other side of fence): ... scissors, please!
HAMMER SCOTSMAN: What a throw! OCH! Where's ma kilt?
SO, BEFORE YOU COULD SAY BOISTERING BAGPIPES . . .
The Goodies proudly re-enter the game on foot, each wearing a kilt cut from the large Scotsman's tartan (Bill's is high up around his chest and Tim has suspenders to help keep his up). The Scotsman at the entrance welcomes them warmly.
TIM: Och aye!
GRAEME: The Clan MacGoodies ready for the games!
ENTRANCE SCOTSMAN: Welcome, fellow Scots!
Graeme spots what looks like a hammer lying on the ground and anxiously runs toward it, leaving Bill and Tim befuddled in his wake (meanwhile a man with a caber is crashing into a tent in the background).
GRAEME: I'll try and win first prize at throwing the wotsit!
Graeme picks up what he thinks is the hammer only to find he's holding the lead to a rather vicious Scotty dog which barks "MacYap! MacYap!" at him. Even more threatening is a behemoth of a Scottish woman rushing toward him swinging a tartan purse.
SCOTSWOMAN: *Eek!* Let go of my wee Scottie, ye villain!
Graeme runs from the dog, which is close on his heels (a small tent nearby advertises Haggis & Chips and someone is struggling with very large bagpipes in the background). He heads for a large pole (with romantic carvings in it such as Jack "heart" Joanne).
GRAEME: *Help!* I'll have to climb that tree or that pooch will have my kilt!
Graeme leaps up the pole, the dog only apparently getting a little bit of his kilt in the process.
GRAEME: *Phew!* Safe!
What Graeme doesn't realize is he's just climbed up the caber which Tim was attempting to throw, and it starts falling over as Tim watches in shock, his suspenders snapping in back. The dog watches with a "Yuk! Yuk!" and a nearby Scotsman sticks his fingers in his ears and Graeme plummets to the ground.
TIM: I say really! You've spoiled my chances of winning a prize for *CABER TOSSING*!
SCOTSMAN WITH FINGERS IN EARS: TIMBER-R-R (The Noo).
MEANWHILE, BILL WAS BUSY, TOO ...
Bill is standing playing bagpipes in front of the Bagpipe Contest booth (the sign there also reads "Nae Sassenachs"). The Scotsman whose kilt they stole spots him and begins sticking corks into the reeds of the pipes.
BILL: Looks like it's up to me to win some money, so I'll enter the bagpipe contest!
HAMMER SCOTSMAN: That imposter's wearin' ma kilt! I recognise those twa moth holes! I'll plug his bagpipes!
Bill continues to blow and blow, filling the pipes like a balloon which lift him up off the ground. The Scotsman watches with a "Snigger!" as Bill floats high above the tent and keeps blowing until the corks pop out. He then starts flying around wildly.
BILL: YIPPEE! A highland rodeo!
HAMMER SCOTSMAN: Ride 'im, cowboy!
As the bagpipes run out of air, Bill is thrown from them in diving fashion (men in the background are standing next to a yak).
BILL: YEECH! I've taken a dive!
Bill lands face down on the ground (in the ground, actually) in front of a pair of crossed swords which are lying there. Two other men are standing at the ready in front of other crossed swords, and the dance organiser greets Bill in a friendly manner.
SWORD DANCING ORGANISER: Ye're just in time, mon! The sword dancing's just about to start!
BILL: Might as well have a go!
Nearby, Graeme and Tim are standing in front of a kiosk marked "PORRIDGE Making Competition" (the judge there looks as if he's eaten far too much porridge and is sick). Graeme and Tim each grab large bowls of porridge and throw them.
TIM: He'll never win against those two! Let's help him!
The bowls of porridge land under the feet of the other sword dancers, who quickly get caught up in the gooey mess. Bill, meanwhile, dances to his heart's content (although he's dancing the Hokey Pokey instead).
CONTESTANT #1: UGH!
CONTESTANT #2: OCH! Ah'm stuck!
BILL: You put your right leg in and you shake it all about ...
The sword dancing judges confer amongst one another as Bill continues to dance (the lady judge *could* be the same woman who owned the Scottie dog, only now she's wearing glasses).
JUDGE #1: I make him the winner, Lady MacSporran of MacThinggy ... do ye agree?
LADY MacSPORRAN: Och, aye!
JUDGE #2: Aye!
Lady MacSporran runs forward to present Bill with the winner's cup and prize cheque while Graeme and Tim look on. Only Bill's looked down just as his kilt has slipped, covering his legs.
LADY MacSPORRAN: Allow me to present you with a cheque and cup as first prize!
Bill is beside himself as Graeme and Tim run to the rescue.
BILL: AAAAGH! I'VE CUT ME LEGS OFF!
Bill looks relieved and Tim and Graeme pull his kilt up to reveal his legs, still intact.
TIM: Don't panic! YOUR KILT SLIPPED DOWN!
BILL: Coo! What a game it's been in the highlands!
Sign-Off Line: OUR PALS GET UP TO THEIR FUNNY "CABERS" AGAIN NEXT WEEK!
RATING (using the BLACK PUDDING RATING SYSTEM):
II - Fair-y punkmother.
Settings and ethnicity aside, the important thing is always the jokes, and in this particular entry the jokes don't come across as being particularly inspired. Throwing cabers and playing bagpipes isn't the most original material one can work with. Add to the mix some implausible gags like Graeme climbing a caber while Tim's holding it (okay, I know it's a comic strip, but there's a limit to what one can accept regardless of the cartoonish-ness of a gag) and a very weak ending and this comic just never lives up to its potential or the cleverness of other comics in the series. The artwork is quite good with lots of gags going on in the background which helps pull this one from the depths. But this comic situation should have had a lot more to offer.