What’s up, docs? All right, we know, we’re sorry, that was a hackneyed intro. But, sometimes it feels good to go with the easy path. Besides, we here at Pop Modern have been feeling a bit stale lately, so we’ve decided to dig deeper into our pop culture roots to find a worthy Match-Up. This week, we’re going to let our hair out, and we’re going to get loony, since we’re taking two television legends out of their underground holding pens and into our gladiatorial arena: Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Of course you know, this means war. Our burning question this week…Who would win a game of chess, Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny?
Allen: The key to being a successful chess player is not only an intimate knowledge of both the game and your opponent, but also a feel for the game’s overall trajectory. At what point is Bugs going to cackle as he sacrifices his second pawn? Is Daffy going to respond with a defensive maneuver of some sort? It’s this intimate understanding of the game that leads to some of its most famous matches. Bugs and Daffy are both smart gentleman. With decades of outsmarting each other and various other people, they clearly understand the calculating nature of a game like chess. Only a true savant would use dynamite to blow up his friend’s duck bill so severely that it spun to the back of his head. But there’s something devious behind that wide orange bill and those devious black feathers. Daffy was often portrayed as the tragically foolish imbecile in his most famous public outings. When he wasn’t having his plans foiled by simple intuition or deadly weapons, he was always planning his next move. That’s why I think Mr. Duck would win in this duel of champions; he’s the underduck. Just when it seems like Bugs Bunny has him surrounded, and all the pieces are in place for a checkmate, Daffy would find the one flaw in Bugs’ plan. Like the tortoise and the hare, his advantage in the game would be consistency. With no history of success or hubris, Daffy can put everything on the line and win from behind in this mental duel of anthropomorphic adepts.
James: Bugs wins, but not for the reason you would expect. Settling down for their bout, Bugs and Daffy are already unmatched. The bout begins with the decision of who gets white. The argument goes as expected, with Bugs using his tricky switch. I get white! You get black! I get white! You get black! I get black! No, You get white! Bugs thus starts out with white. Bugs is not really a smart character as much as he is clever. As he is not an academic, his tricks would all be mind games, rather than classical chess moves. Instead of the Rasputin defense, Bugs would switch the pieces on the board while Daffy is not looking. But the one move that Daffy could not counter would be the classic Bugs trick. Bugs is not averse to using the wiles of a feminine influence on his opponents, choosing to trick the nimrods with a well-placed dress and some mascara. The piece de resistance would come when Bugs turned his King into a Queen, thus doubling the power of his royals on the board. With this coup de grace Bugs would turn the table and win the Jeux Nationale d’Échecs. Because it would be in France.
Magellan: This is a tricky Match-Up to approach for two reasons: one, these are cartoon characters, so they can pull any kind of shenanigans they want to mess with the established rules of chess; and two, Bugs Bunny pretty much never loses at anything. Now, that second one isn’t a hard and fast rule, but the Vegas odds are on Bugs no matter the contest. For the purposes of this argument, though, let’s assume that both of these despicable fellows are laying down arms (and bombs) and playing by the rules. No funny business. Or at least, not an unfair amount of funny business. So, we have Bugs and Daffy sitting in a park somewhere, peacefully starting a game of chess. I enjoyed the way James above me explained how the order of play would be determined, so let’s roll with that and say Bugs tricked Daffy and he now has first move. Now, knowing Bugs, he can easily play mind games and lull Daffy into a false sense of security, culminating in him pulling off some complicated gambit to clinch the win. But doesn’t that sound anticlimactic? Bugs just…winning a friendly game of chess? I don’t know about you, but if I was Bugs I wouldn’t care about some dumb board game. Daffy obviously would, though, since he constantly feels the need to prove himself. The way I see it, Bugs throws the game, letting his pitiable pal feel good about himself, and then hands over his beloved carrot as a trophy. Daffy is giddy with pride, so he takes a bit of the carrot without noticing the fuse trailing back to Bugs. The thing blows and Daffy is sporting a back-bill for weeks. He won the game, but he lost the war.
Daffy Duck wins 2-1
Well talk about not being hackneyed! Looks like we’ve not only gotten ourselves out our funk, we’ve gotten Daffy out of his too, finally finding him a contest he can win. Of course, knowing Daffy, he probably won’t give us a lick of credit. He’s despicable. It’s times like this that we all wonder what the venerable Porky Pig would have to say. We think it would go a little something like this: “W-w-w-w-w-w-w-well that was bullsh*t!” Gosh. The mouth on that guy.