A Year in Shorts Day 193: "Self Defense... for Cowards"

There are two things we seem to be covering more frequently here in our Year in Shorts- Faux instructional videos, and the films of Gene Deitch. And of course, as we’ve seen, sometimes those two great tastes go great together. Today’s short is no different. So let’s take a look at Self Defense… for Cowards.


(via Rate Your Music)


Anyone watching Self Defense... for Cowards will notice more than a few similarities between it and How to Avoid Friendship. That's hardly surprising of course; they're directed by the same man, have the same style of animation and have the same narrator, Arthur Treacher. Any differences between the two are fairly minor, although apparently this short is based on a book by Alice McGrath, and it came out two years earlier, in 1962. So if you liked How to Avoid Friendship, you should like this one, and which one you prefer will come down to minor details. Which is nice, because that just gives me an excuse to not spend too much time writing today's post!



As for myself, I have to give Self Defense... for Cowards the slight edge. For one thing, the humor is based on violence instead of social encounters, which is just a bit funnier to me. And the short just has a wider variety of tips compared to How to Avoid Friendship, which keeps the jokes fresh. But again, these are all really minor details, and both shorts feature dry wit, a good use of limited animation and Arthur Treacher's pleasant narration. You really can't lose either way!


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