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Why Shrek is Piss: A Long-Awaited Answer


"Piss is as piss does." – Whelt

"I think it's a natural tendency to adhere to anger if you have a verdant pigment. Instances of precedent include that of one Incredible Hulk, noteworthy for bursting into fury even if his favorite dish of soup is one degree too warm. Sociologist/songwriter Kermit T. Frog has noted the hardships of living the green life in society through his song Bein' Green." – Probo

"#Italiano" – cantflyman

When you traverse the diverse terrains of the Internet like I do, you start to notice that certain events tend to repeat themselves. Subforums the world over will continue to rehash brain-dead 4chan memes long past their expiration dates, one musician’s legion of fans will consistently rail against that of another, and overzealous TV Tropes contributors will criticize the nightmarish aspects of Mario’s peculiar universe.

But rarely has such a dilemma gone unanswered and all but unresolved as this particular one. First proposed by a strange rendition of Dilbert posting on Twitter, the question has followed me on YouChew for some time now. I have heard it asked and then abandoned in frustration, many users daunted by its heady implications. The only respite anyone could offer was “Italiano.” No more of that, I say! It’s time to step up to the plate and meet the problem head-on. I am ready to answer the call:

Why Shrek is piss?

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I’ll be completely honest, I would never have known Shrek was piss – er, pissed, without hearing it. I mean, when you look at all those billboards and DVD covers, he’s always smiling Dreamworks smirking at the camera, looking smugly content with himself. Does he actually feel that way, or is a smile being forced upon him? For what reasons could be possibly be pissed off?

My conjectures:

I – An over-milked franchise. I’m no man to argue with the cash cow, but I hope I don’t offend any Shrek enthusiasts or Tim & Eric fans when I say that Shrek has been run into the ground worse than a year-old sanitary pad. When the original fantastical farce triumphed everyone’s expectations, the sound of bills flapping in the wind suddenly attracted the ears of studio executives, and from that point on we would be treated to three sequels – first one good, next two not so good – and a feline spin-off. The plan certainly worked well, grossing over $3.4 billion worldwide and becoming the most successful cartoon series – but at what cost?

If Shrek was a real ogre who signed a contract with the Dreamworks heads, I think he’d want nothing to do with the company by this point, his name and appearance being whored out to children and adults everywhere. Combine that with the deteriorating state of the sequels and you have yourself one ogre who’d want out; hell, he even seems to be losing that lovable smirk of his in recent times.

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Of course, we all know the real reason why Dreamworks keeps pumping the ogre’s back until product comes out of his mouth: none of its stars can find any work anywhere else. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy might as well say goodbye to their comedic careers; Antonio Banderas can’t be taken seriously anymore; and Cameron Diaz just…kind of….disappeared from the scene altogether. Who could help but take pity on these rich, well-off former celebrities? It only makes sense that Myers’ well-being would end up being the source of Shrek’s piss.

II – Waffles? This theory has the least backup to support it, but I guess it’s worth a go. Anyone who’s seen the first or second Shrek knows that the titular ogre won’t tolerate any lowbrow humor. Witness his disgruntled reactions to and disapproving looks at Donkey’s Ohio Blackie humor; it couldn’t possibly be that Shrek is biased towards greens and not blacks, now, could it? Well, anyway, here’s what Shrek thinks of food-related humor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5yarpWMjZE</p>

Pretty piss.

III Prejudice. It's a known fact that prejudice is prevalent in Shrek's time period; witness the townspeople's aversion to his entry in the first film, or the cool reception he gets from the courteous-on-the-outside, racist-on-the-inside monarchs in the second one. As he laments to his black animal best friend Donkey, no one really understands him or even tries to because of his skin tone. The cause for Shrek's pissiness, then, could very well be his straining under the white-minded hierarchy of medieval times.

The latest entry in the franchise, however, might offer a solution to this struggle. Shrek leaves the human world behind and rejoins the other clans of ogres, mirroring Marcus Garvey's "Back to Africa" sentiment and proving that people feel better when they're among their own kind. (Unintentionally, this also happens to be the first film's moral as well.)

IV – The fans. Despite the fact that Shrek is almost literally a zombie franchise, what with the latest entry being an It’s a Wonderful Life retread “reimagining,” it’s only fair that it gets to have a loyal fan base. I can’t speak for the Scottish dude myself, so I don’t know if he scoffs at his legion of admirers and devotees, but I imagine he’d have quite a few things to say about the people that try to draw him.

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On first glance there’s really nothing to get mad about in this strip. All things considered it’s a fair representation of the classic scene in the first movie, in which Ogre and Packmule bond over the solar system. While the animal can’t comprehend the simple facts, Shrek is adamant: “That’s the moon.” Truer words have never been spoken.

So I’m guessing that Shrek would object to the manner in which he’s represented. At least Dreamworks, for all of its contract abuse and useless rebooting, gives the guy some decent animation, letting him move around like he would in (real?) life. GSW, however, confines Shrek’s body into a stiff shape akin to a taxidermy, only letting words escape a grinning mouth that never closes. And there’s also the facts that the man behind the magic created two versions of the same character (dark green GreenSwampWarrior, lighter green Shrek), killed the Shrek copy off only to bring him back through a kickboxing fight, declared him “afraid of potatoes,” and drew the ogre wearing a bra and speedo (neither of which covered his body). Really, who wouldn’t get piss?

But whatever the reason for his piss – be it contractual obligations, less-than-flattering fan interpretations, fantastic racism, or bad jokes – the problem still stands. It might be easy to toss the green man away and focus on the Italian plumbers out there, but if Shrek continues to be piss, who or what will stop him? Potatoes might be our only chance then.

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But I guess it doesn't matter much anyhow. No matter how piss, Shrek is dreck.

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