Not Your Father’s Mister Hummington

I think this might win as the weirdest idea for a Microscope Chronicle history, but it totally worked. Marc says, what if we make the history of a cartoon character? And we ask, you mean like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, the character’s place in society and how the character changes over time and influences the way people see it? Correct.

So say hello to Mister Hummington, plucky hummingbird everyman, and his arch-nemesis Doctor Hawk. We ran the full gamut, with lawsuits from the original creator getting ripped off by the studio, to the character being co-opted as a counter-culture anti-war icon, to a latter day queer reboot. And yes, Jen is a monster, because she had the beloved actor who had been the voice of Mister Hummington for decades come out against the queer reboot, in a true J.K. Rowling moment. Dark event!!!

Which actually brings up a new thing I’m testing in Chronicle, which is that when you make an Event, you are also required to pose a question — just like a scene question — but not answer it. The purpose is to get us thinking about what we don’t know. Plant some more seeds for the future, things we might see if we zoomed and explored more. For example, did the elderly voice actor oppose the reimagining of the Hummington franchise because she was a bigot, or was she just trying to generate some press for her failing career (because, like Peter Pan, Mr. Hummington is canonically male but traditionally played by a women, so add that to your gender calculus)? We never found out, so we’re still wondering.

It is very interesting to overtly call out unknowns in the history and then potentially never answer them. All Microscope games have those kind of gaps, things you are left wondering after the game is done, but usually they are unspoken. And different players have very different parts of the history they are pondering. This way you have both: you have unanswered questions on the table in addition to the ones you have in your head.

Not to be outdone by all this, when Caroline made Doctor Hawks it was as an anchor character. And we’re like, uh, are you implying we’re going to have a separate thread in this history that is the in-fiction story of the relationship between these cartoon characters? Like playing scenes between these cartoon characters inside their shows? And Caroline is like, uh, maybe???

As Nurse Pigeon would say, “Ohnodoctorhawks!!!” It’s all she says. It’s her one line.

    Ben Robbins | July 2nd, 2024 | , , , | leave a comment