This ‘Courage the Cowardly Dog’ episode is not only terrifying, but also timely
By EG Manilag, Staff Writer
It’s been many years since I’ve watched this show, and it surely brings back memories of my childhood. My brothers and I would just sit all day and binge-watch Cartoon Network shows. The main reason why I’m reviewing this episode is because of the Halloween season. After re-watching it, I found it more interesting, timely and relevant than I had when I first watched it. The episode I’m talking about is “The House of Discontent.”
This episode is topped as one of the scariest episodes ever in cartoon shows not because of the plot, but because of the appearance of a real, giant white floating head with pitch-black eyes. However, based on my interpretation, the plot revealed something more horrifying than that of the floating head—it revealed an accurate scope of the issues of human ignorance and apathy toward the widely-supported claim of man-made climate change.
The episode begins with the three main characters—Courage, Eustace, and Muriel—standing by a withering flower while Muriel reads a prayer about the harvest moon. After some time, the flower is still lying on the ground, lifeless. When they go back to their usual activities, having failed to give a single plant life before the harvest moon, odd voices start to disrupt them.
Muriel is in the kitchen when she hears a voice telling her to get out. As she tries to ignore it, the voice sounds again, and this time, louder and a bit angrier. When she tries to find the source, all the food and kitchenware suddenly come to life and attack her. While she screams, Courage hears her and tries to get inside, but unfortunately, all the doors and windows are locked. So, without any options left, he blasts the wall open using Eustace’s truck—saving Muriel.
Likewise, the same voice attacks Eustace while he’s taking a bath upstairs. But this time, instead of kitchen items, gushing waters splash him around. The room then becomes filled with water and breaks the floor. The bathtub, with Eustace inside, falls beside Courage and Muriel and breaks that floor too, sending them to the basement.
Left dazed and confused, the trio sees a giant floating head—revealed to be the source of the voice earlier. The floating head, with a deep and scary voice, introduces himself as the spirit of the harvest moon. He explains that they must “get out or face the consequences.” The spirit furthermore explains that they must leave for they failed to take care of the land. Because of Muriel’s plea, the spirit gives them a chance to stay—that is, if they can grow a single plant by midnight. But, if they fail, they’ll be forced to leave the farm. With only 10 minutes left, Courage, by himself, immediately tries to revive the plant while the other two argue and blame each other. Eustace even argues with the spirit.
Even with Courage’s special wonder techniques—which we all know is fun to look at for sure—he still failed. Midnight comes around and the spirit locks the two in the basement, setting the temperature extremely high. Everything around them just starts to melt. On the brink of giving up, Courage remembers a leaking pipe in the basement and rushes there, breaking the pipe—only to see loads of sand coming out because of the extreme heat. But luckily, he sees Eustace sweating. Courage then uses Eustace’s sweat to water the plant, and successfully, it bursts into life. Everything goes back to normal and the spirit reappears one last time, stating that Eustace has learned to be a good farmer. But sadly, instead of reproducing the plant, Eustace tries to sell it for money. Typical Eustace.
I think this episode associates to our present situation with regards to climate change. Everything starts off with the odd voice, symbolizing Mother Nature’s cry for help. When we are being (with few exceptions) ignorant to the claims of climate change, she sends natural disasters and calamities to awaken us. For instance, the tsunami-like feeling that Eustace experienced is also relatable in real life. Moreover, when Eustace and Muriel still had the chance to solve the real problem, they just kept on arguing. It’s just like us today. We can also see that Courage represents the minority of people who really do the work in what they believe to be saving the planet and stop global warming. Now that everything is supposedly melting, just like in the episode, the human population may dwindle. This position is held by many scientists, yet we are still arguing about the estimated dangers of climate change. As shown also in the episode, many believe the reasons for this arguing is because of the same reasons in the episode—greed, money, and power. Typical humans.