Les Shadoks

Les Shadoks is an animated television series created by French cartoonist Jacques Rouxel (26 February 1931 - 25 April 2004) which caused a sensation in France when it was first broadcast in 1968-1974.

The Shadoks were bird-like in appearance (in the tradition of cartoon birds they had beaks with teeth), were characterised by ruthlessness and stupidity and inhabited a two dimensional planet.

Another set of creatures in the Shadok canon are the Gibis, who are the opposite to the Shadoks in that they are intelligent but vulnerable and also inhabit a two-dimensional planet.

Rouxel claims that the term Shadok obtains some derivation from Captain Haddock of Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin and the Gibis (who wear Bowler hats, which unlike their heads, contain their brains) are essentially GBs (Great Britons).

The Shadoks were a significant literary, cultural and philosophical phenomenon in France.

Even today, the French occasionally use satirical comparisons with the Shadoks for policies and attitudes that they consider absurd. The Shadoks were noted for mottos such as:

  • "Why do it the easy way when you can do it the hard way?"
  • "When one tries continuously, one ends up succeeding. Thus, the more one fails, the greater the chance that it will work."
  • "If there is no solution, it is because there is no problem."
  • "To reduce the numbers of unhappy people, always beat up the same individuals."
  • "Every advantage has its disadvantages and vice versa."

The Shadoks were also noted for their seemingly useless and endless pumping — as the Shadok say: "Better to pump even if nothing happens than to risk something worse happening by not pumping".

In 1973 The Shadoks appeared on Thames Television, London's ITV company, in the early evening. Kenneth Robinson provided the narration in English.

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