The man behind Netflix’s popular animated series points out how overwhelmingly and unnecessarily male most comedic characters are
The croc wearing crocs is a LADY
Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksber wants you to know that the animated crocodile wearing crocs on his show is a woman. In a recent Q&A with viewers on his tumblr a fan innocently asked at what point during the creative process show creators come up with background gags. Referring to the aforementioned croc in crocs, the viewer gendered it as a “he,” a common mistake, and one that Bob-Waksber politely went in on.
“The underlying assumption there is that the default mode for any character is male, so to make the characters female is an additional detail on top of that,” says Bob-Waksber. “In case I’m not being a hundred percent clear, this thinking is stupid and wrong and self-perpetuating unless you actively work against it.”
While he admits to have been guilty of gendering his characters as male in the past to keep the “cleanest version of a joke as possible,” Bob-Waksber credits Bojack Horseman head designer Lisa Hanawalt with opening his eyes to the damage that baseline male comedy characters can bring to writers, viewers, and the stories they tell.
“You can see this all over but it’s weirdly prevalent in children’s entertainment,” writes Bob-Waksber. "Why are almost all of the muppets dudes, except for Miss Piggy, who’s a parody of femininity? Why do all of the Despicable Me minions, genderless blobs, have boy names? I love the story (which I read on Wikipedia) that when the director of The Brave Little Toaster cast a woman to play the toaster, one of the guys on the crew was so mad he stormed out of the room. Because he thought the toaster was a man. A TOASTER. The character is a toaster.”