HYDERABAD: Chances are high that if you met someone with a speaking tiger for a pet, or someone who wants to kill anyone who is more beautiful than her, or one who loves to cross-dress, you would either call the police or try to make them get some psychiatric help.
Be it Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, The Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Bugs Bunny from Looney Toons all these characters have apparently been living a deluded life. Here is a list of cartoon characters and their obvious mental disorders – which would have required years or medication and possibly institutionalisation, had they been living in the real world.
Dora, the Explorer’s thirst for adventure, social behaviour with her family and animal friends makes her a healthy watch for your pre-schooler, right? Perhaps not. Dora, apart from being adventurous, also shows behaviours like wandering off and then forgetting all about her previous adventures--symptoms of those suffering from Fugue State. This disorder is a form of reversible amnesia in which a person temporarily forgets memories of their own personality but later recovers them all.
This Disney princess with her powers that threaten her family and her subjects qualifies for Agoraphobia, extreme fear of public spaces. Elsa’s misadventure with her sister and the death of her parents make her shut herself away. On her coronation, when she finally makes an appearance, she is panic-stricken. Later, she makes an ice palace and again shuts herself in it – all indicative of her phobia.
No child will ever say that he or she doesn’t like Ariel. The chirpy innocent mermaid, however has a serious problem. Remember all that Ariel loves to collect – most of it is nothing more than junk– surely a candlestand is of no use underwater! Ariel, thus, can be said to be exhibiting Disposophobia or a behaviour called hoarding. She also has body image issues and is not very comfortable in her scales, fins and tail. However, she is not the only disturbed one from this tale. Her father, King Triton and tiny friend Flounder also make to this list. While her dad, an overbearing one at that, has the responsibility of running the sea and taking care of his innumerable daughters, he distrusts humans and is prone to violent outbursts of anger. And, Flouder, the timid and rather cute fish is certainly paranoid. Agreed he is a small fish but he is too anxious all the time.
The relaxed Warner Brothers’ creation, Bugs Bunny, rarely gets excited and has a penchant for handling any situation with aplomb. His funny antics have entertained us galore. But ever noticed how much Bugs loves to cross dress? Called Transvestic Fetishism, it is a disorder wherein one has sexual interest in dressing up in clothes of opposite sex. In addition, he also shows signs of mood swings and impulsive behaviours, indicating that he could also have Borderline Personality Disorder. Bugs also seemed dependent on carrots and doesn’t mind taking risks to get the crunchy delights. Doesn’t that sound typical of a (other) substance abuser?
The other disordered characters from Looney Toons are Pepe LePew who is preoccupied with fantasies of unrequited love. The casanova polecat who lacks empathy and is arrogant in his treatment of his unfortunate amour, Penelope, could be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Likewise Tasmanian Devil and his poor control over his impulses surely earn him the tag of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Daffy Duck is a paranoid – trusts no one, has violent temper outbursts, whines too much and is insecure.
The ideal place for the Dexter, the cute boy boy-genius should be in his secret laboratory and not on this list. But sadly, this genius shows symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome.
He has poor social skills, has a repetitive routine, isn’t very popular, doesn’t have many interests except science and has communication issues probably due to his weird accent.
Winnie the Pooh
Like Looney Toons all characters from the Hundred Acre Wood are also quite disturbed. Winnie The Pooh’s obsession with honey, regardless of the consequences, is indicative of his Impulsive and Obsessive Fixations. Piglet successfully manages to find a stressor in everything. He is a classic case of Anxiety Disorder. Rabbit, bitten by the cleanliness bug, has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Tigger, has trouble in sitting still. This bouncy cartoon could have Attention Deficit Disorder.
The most pitiable of the lot however is Eeyor, who lives his live in perpetual pessimism. Unable to experience any joy in life. Eeyor is so depressed that he would probably need years of counselling and therapy to get over it.
With so many mentally ill characters it is a wonder that Hundred Acre Wood is functional. But then all these characters are Christopher Robin’s delusions, right?
Besides these cartoons, there are several others, if they were behaviours were analysed would reveal their chaotic mental state. Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes has Schizophrenia, Charlie Brown of Peanuts has Avoidant Personality Disorder. While our superhero Hulk has Multiple Personality disorder, Batman or Bruce Wayne could be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression.