Toon Tunes: Jigglypuff

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curated by Joel Dear

Forged in the gaudy fires of the late '90s, my obsession with Pokémon is one that I never really outgrew. Just the other day I was playing Pokémon Stadium on the N64 with my younger brother, watching with glee as my Seaking took out his Hitmonchan with Ice Beam before he was able to finish me with a Thunder Punch (my brother and I are 20 and 24 years old, respectively).

I knew I wanted to do a Toon Tunes playlist for one of the characters from the Pokémon cartoon, and Jigglypuff - that is, the wild Jigglypuff who follows Ash et al around and carries a marker pen that looks like a microphone - seemed like the perfect choice. This heartbreakingly adorable pink blob is tragedy incarnate: she wants nothing more than to be a pop star, but cannot finish a song without putting her entire audience to sleep. In the Pokémon video games, Sing is a moderately useful move that renders the opponent's 'mon unconscious and unable to attack, but in the context of the show and this particular Jiggly's musical ambitions, it's a curse. Sure, the hypnotic properties of Jigglypuff's song occasionally make for a handy plot device, but poor Jig's dream to be the #1 diva in Kanto is frustrated at practically every turn.

Fortunately, Jigglypuff's vocal talents are accompanied by buckets of determination, and no matter how many time she inadvertently lulls her listeners to sleep, she never shows any signs of giving up. And occasionally, her tenacity is rewarded - there's a cute bit in the third series where she befriends Team Rocket's Meowth (they briefly form the 'Dream Team' and vow to follow their dreams together), and in a more recent episode she actually manages to find someone (a 'mon called Whismur with an ability known as Soundproof) capable of listening to her song without falling asleep.

That's what I wanted to capture with this playlist: not just Jigglypuff's inherent tragedy and the almost unbearable sadness of those moments when the world does get her down, but also her determination, her willingness to chase her dreams, and her enduring belief that, one day, she'll become the star she was born to be.