Welcome to “One Moment of Fear,” a hopefully recurring feature on this blog where I highlight a single strange or scary moment from pop culture- usually one that made a big impression on us growing up. Today we look at “Courage the Cowardly Dog.”
Let’s be honest- Courage the Cowardly Dog had so many scary moments, I could discuss the whole show. Everybody who watched this show has their own personal bugaboo, a moment that scared them- or, if it didn’t scare you outright, it was a moment that startled you and stayed with you longer than any of the others. Many would cite the creepy Harvest Moon, the infamous Freaky Fred, or the creature sometimes called the “Perfect Trumpet Thingy”. I’ll offer up my own moment, one cited by a few other fans as well: The “Violin Girl” from the episode “Courage in the Big Stinkin’ City.” (More after the video.)
Now, the “turning around” reveal’s been done to death (even on this show) but it was effective here in my opinion. First of all, this whole show is surreal and likes to introduce surreal elements in a sudden way. The tone is also EQUAL parts comedy and horror, and the two co-exist in a strangely harmonious way. Depending on the viewer, you could be scared of something played for laughs or laugh at something played for horror. For example, many viewers were creeped out by the character Ramses, but the song that follows him around is annoying and funny. In this episode the first two doors Courage found were weird, but in a funny way. Based on the tone of the show, we get the feeling ethe third door will contain something even stranger, but will it be strange in a funny way, or a scary way? Will Courage only react as if it’s scary, while we laugh? I was afraid, and so was Courage, but you may have laughed. And neither reaction is ‘wrong’, which is one of the things that made the show memorable- that and the minimalism. Minimal background and context for events, minimal dialogue: those elements really allowed the comedy to shine through or create a tense atmosphere.