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Mexican Cat Dance (Looney Tunes)

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Mexican Cat Dance (Looney Tunes)
"I like this short's writing! It's stubborn like a bull!"
Series: Looney Tunes
Episode Number: 915
Air Date: April 20, 1963
Writer: John Dunn
Director: Friz Freleng
Previous episode: "The Million Hare"
Next episode: "Now Hear This"

Mexican Cat Dance is a Looney Tunes short released in 1963 directed by Friz Freleng. In this short, Speedy Gonzales bullfights against Sylvester in a bullfighting arena. It is criticized as the worst Sylvester cartoon and the worst Speedy Gonzales cartoon prior to Alex Lovy's Speedy shorts in 1967 and 1968, and in some instances, even unfavorably comparable to the most infamous and notorious "See Ya Later Gladiator" short.

Why It Doesn't Deserve To Have A Mexican Dance

  1. The cartoon is a watered-down remake of "Bully for Bugs", but without the charm and cleverness into it.
  2. It is a Sylvester torture cartoon, so much it ends up being as one-sided and having an atmosphere of a Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry cartoon or a Herman and Katnip cartoon. Unlike the other Speedy Gonzales cartoons, where Sylvester usually inflicts harm against Speedy and deserves his comeuppance (though depending on your view), here he is completely innocent of his actions yet gets tormented to no end.
    • There's also an infamous scene where Sylvester gets pinned in the butt by Speedy Gonzales.
    • Speedy Gonzales goes completely unscathed throughout the cartoon and inflicts harm on Sylvester for the humor of the audience mice, depicting him as more sadistic than his usual appearances. Even his roles in "Gonzales' Tamales", "It's Nice to Have a Mouse Around the House", "Swing Ding Amigo", "The Music Mice-Tro" and "Rodent to Stardom" weren't as mean-spirited or sadistic as this short.
      • In addition, unlike the other five shorts, Speedy Gonzales was heavily flanderized into a sadistic jerk in this cartoon, inflicting pain on Sylvester throughout the short without any comedic moments, making Speedy more similar in personality to Herman from Herman and Katnip or Jerry Mouse's flanderized persona from the Gene Deitch-era than his own true self. Luckily for us, this flanderization was immediately undone starting from "Chili Weather" and mostly onwards, where Speedy Gonzales was reverted back to the likable "Fastest Mouse in All of Mexico" he was (though he was flanderized that way again in "The Music Mice-Tro" four years later, albeit to a lesser extent).
    • It doesn't help the fact that shortly before the cat-and-mouse bullfight match between Speedy Gonzales and Sylvester begins, said bullfight event literally begins with all the Mexican mice jeering and badmouthing Sylvester when yelling out "VIVA SPEEDY! VIVA SPEEDY! WE LIKE SPEEDY! BOO FOR EL GATO!", even though Sylvester clearly never even provoked the Mexican mice to begin with, unlike previous and later Speedy Gonzales cartoons.
  3. The animation in the short is notably lazier than the animation of the other cartoons during the time, and starts to show Freleng's attempts to recycle animation to salvage cartoons during his late works on Looney Tunes. Notable animation being recycled in the cartoon includes Sylvester running after Speedy, the audience mice laughing, Speedy bowing with flowers thrown at him, and Sylvester getting slammed in the head by an anvil.
    • Animation error: During the scenes involving the audience mice laughing, some of the audience mice appear to be completely static with no movement whatsoever, hence highlighting how further on how lazy the animation is even by 1962-1964 standards.
  4. The gag of Sylvester acting like a raging bull, while funny and amusing at the beginning, starts to get old as the short goes on.
  5. The scene with Toro the Bull at the start is completely recycled from "Bully for Bugs", showing how rushed and cheaply made the cartoon was. Not only that, the massive difference in animation quality between the new animation and the footage from "Bully for Bugs" makes the archive footage look out of place in this short.
  6. Plot holes, which are all because of plot contrivance:
    • Even though the audience mice are depicted to be slower than Speedy, they managed to quickly escape Sylvester's attempt to snatch the audience and quickly rushing back with supersonic speed like those of Speedy's, contradicting Speedy's characteristic of being the fastest mouse and the other mice being more slow-paced than Speedy.
    • It is unknown how Sylvester exhibits bull-like characteristics throughout the entire short, despite never displaying such bull-like characteristics in previous and later appearances. This is unlike the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: M.A.T.A.D.O.R", which co-incidentally has a similar premise to this short and "Bully for Bugs", where there is a valid explanation on why the dads forced into the bully-fighting ring act like raging bulls despite them being ordinary human men, which are as the result of them being force-fed coffee to the point of being driven to feral aggression in said episode.
  7. Speaking of slow-paced, the pacing in this short itself is awfully slow, with half of the cartoon just being the Toro the Bull sequence and then the introduction to Speedy and Sylvester before any slapstick happens. Most of the gags also carry out for too long, leaving very few gags left in the cartoon. In fact, the long gags make it feel like something is missing in this short, when one first watches it, but then watches the short again.
  8. Even though the background designs are excellent for its time, it suffers from washed-out colors.
  9. The audience mice laughing constantly plays to no end throughout the cartoon, which will get on your last nerve, even more so than Mr. Tristan's voice from the short, "Good Noose".
  10. All of the gags in the short are reused from previous cartoons, making them very predictable.
  11. Every single scene of Sylvester losing and Speedy winning in the cat-and-mouse bullfight are all because of a series of contrived coincidences, hence making the cat-and-mouse bullfight even more one-sided, which just shows how broken and rushed the writing of this short is. Examples:
    • In two separate scenes, anvils randomly appear out of nowhere just so that Sylvester could crash into it or bump his head on it, one behind a post when Sylvester chases Speedy and then one hanging upwards when Sylvester attempts to jump-scare Speedy with "Yeehah!".
    • When Speedy catches the dynamite stick that Sylvester threw to him, a bottle of glue appears out of nowhere, enabling Speedy to paint glue on the dynamite stick and toss it back to Sylvester, who then gets the dynamite stick stuck to his hand because of it.
  12. Misleading title: Despite the cartoon's title stating "Mexican Cat Dance", there's no Mexican Hat Dance sequence found in this cartoon whatsoever.
  13. Terrible ending: Sylvester attempts to snatch Speedy with rocket skates, only to not only propel him out of the arena, but also burrow him through the ground in the desert and be sent away to an unknown fate.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The concept of a cat-and-mouse bullfight between Speedy Gonzales and Sylvester is kind of creative, but executed poorly, particularly due to its status as a one-sided rehash of "Bully for Bugs".
  2. Sylvester is the only likeable character in the short.
  3. Good voice acting by Mel Blanc, as always.
  4. As stated above, the background designs are excellent for the cartoon's time, but due to washed-out colors, this isn't much saying.
  5. The musical score from William Lava is surprisingly authentic, catchy, and stays true to the Mexican theme of the short, and is one of William Lava's best efforts on composing music for the series after Milt Franklyn's death in 1962.
  6. As stated above, Speedy Gonzales' flanderization was immediately undone starting from "Chili Weather" and mostly onwards, where Speedy Gonzales was reverted back to the likable "Fastest Mouse in All of Mexico" he was (though he was flanderized again in "The Music Mice-Tro" four years later).


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