In the twenty-second session of Cowboy Bebop, Spike’s attempts to chase down a bounty are, more or less, ruined by himself. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Cowboy Bebop.
Okay, let me amend what I said yesterday. I think “Cowboy Funk” counters what I said in the review for “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui” in the sense that it proves that if a story is good enough, it doesn’t really matter what comes before it or after it. Of course, I’m talking about the nature of television here. But this is perfect evidence to prove me wrong in my last review! Granted, I don’t know if that changes how I feel about “Boogie Woogie Feng Shui” all that much. I’ve come to accept, however, that Cowboy Bebop is just going to do its own thing.
I said before that watching this show is like watching a bunch of vignettes unfold. Characters crossover into each story, there are reoccurring themes and motifs, but these all largely stand on their own. If that’s the case, then “Cowboy Funk” would be the story that deconstructs who Spike is. And that’s kind of rare for a story that is mostly centered around a straight male hero. The narrative doesn’t often actively tear the guy apart. But when you get right down to it, how different are Spike and Andy?
- They both posit themselves as a type of cowboy. Spike is a space cowboy, Andy is a literal one. And yes, I know Spike never calls himself one, but look at his behavior, his mannerisms, the way he carries himself.
- They both get into trouble.
- They both get into trouble all the fucking time.
- They are both single-minded, often ignoring all other elements and factors in order to get what they want.
- They are both horribly selfish.
- They both cause damage to people and things around them without any care for said things.
- They both are misguided in their attempts to control the world around them.
- DUDE THEY HAVE THE SAME FACE
- I CAN SERIOUSLY KEEP GOING
But the real joy of “Cowboy Funk” is how endlessly funny this is. It’s is easily the most hilarious episode of the show so far. We’ve got Teddy Bomber, a man who wants to blow up buildings (but not kill anyone, because why would he do that???) in order to make a statement about the excesses of capitalism, except he is constantly upstaged and interrupted every time he tries to make that statement. Then there’s the brilliance of Faye and Jet refusing to believe that Spike came across an actual cowboy on a literal horse, especially when those two do see Andy in full cowboy regalia at the masquerade. Or how about the fact that Andy’s public record is the most perfect rap sheet of every terrible, horrible thing he’s done as a “cowboy”? Because y’all, he got kicked out of the YMCA: the Young Men’s Cowboy Association.
For me, though, it’s the ferocity with which Spike and Andy attack each other that makes me laugh the most. These two are so dense and arrogant that they can’t see that the things they hate about one another are the same things they possess. They ignore a bounty – a particularly easy bounty to catch, given that Teddy is an awful terrorist! – in order to fight on top of a crumbling, post-blown-up building. This is how short-sighted these two dudes are, and I am all about male heroes being shown in a hilariously negative light. Of course the two of them eventually praise one another because all they’re really doing is praising themselves. They are so predictable. And that’s what is so entertaining about all of this. We watch Spike get torn down, we watch him build himself back up, and in the end? It’s Faye who secures the bomber. Andy and Spike utterly fail to do anything, they don’t ever stop the bomber, and they leave one another behind with the same inflated egos they had when they started.
This isn’t a story about growth or character development. It’s an examination of the static life that Spike lives, of the past that holds these men in their place. Even though Andy gives up the cowboy life, he immediately takes up a ridiculous samurai get-up. He hasn’t learned at all.
Bless this show.
Mark Links Stuff
- I am now on tour!!! I have 26 events spread out across the eastern HALF of the U.S. and Canada. They are all free and all-ages. Come see me speak about the Mark Does Stuff Universe and read terrible fanfiction live!
- Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
- Commissions are still open while I am on tour! There may be a day or two delay to get them done, but I am accepting them graciously to help fund my tour!