Media carries cultures across borders. Movies, TV shows, songs, and even cartoons teach cultures, values and assumptions more than we can imagine. Much of what we learned about America and American culture was rooted in an American cartoon called ‘Life with Louie’ that takes place in Wisconsin. We always watched it in Turkish, so when we saw the original version it felt different.
Apparently it is an old cartoon (1995- not so old, but probably it wasn’t airing in the 2000s in the US, unlike in Turkey) so none of our American friends know about this cartoon. They are missing a lot!
‘Life with Louie’ is actually based on real life; Louie Anderson turned back to his childhood memories and revamped them as a funny story, which, he says, was challenging. He calls the translation process “a catharsis” in an interview.
Indeed it must be hard but also empowering to turn your childhood into a humorous cartoon, where you have to rethink and reevaluate some of the not-so-fun details. We love the vulnerability and the naive perspective of Louie.
Here is a list of things we learned from ‘Life with Louie’:
- Wisconsin is a cold place and gets lots of snow in winter (remember the episode about Wisconsin Snow Monster).
- Americans eat pie and turkey during Thanksgiving (we learned the English word for Thanksgiving much later).
- Americans live in houses with gardens and garages (this is not the norm in Turkey; most people in Turkey live in apartments).
- There is a vegetable called sweet potato, and it looks orange! We were very curious about the taste, and we thought Louie’s mother Ora added sugar to make sweet potatoes.
- Tuba is a very challenging instrument, and getting sound out of this instrument itself is a success.
- When you make jokes at a stand-up show, you can make people laugh without making fun of them.
- In summer, Americans go to lakes for fishing.
- You can see a deer near your house!
- For Christmas, Americans buy real pine trees to decorate!
- Boys bond with their fathers in the garage, as they help with some repairs.
- Americans put peanut butter on their breads (we wondered the taste, again).
- 4th of July is celebrated with fireworks, and the people get together to watch them.
- Americans don’t wear uniforms to school.
- Kids can earn a good deal of money by carrying golf bags. (All we knew about golf was limited to that episode.)
And some of the life lessons:
- Helping others gives a great sense of bonding and satisfaction.
- Love your siblings; even if they sometimes get annoying, they are your friends.
- If you want to be successful, don’t go into dishonest roads.
- Support your friends when they need you, they are important in your life.
- and cover your ear when you play snowball with your friends.
Interestingly enough almost all of our friends in Turkey know about ‘Life with Louie’ and it is one of the favorites. Funny how things work out… Probably, the creator of the cartoon Louie Anderson does not know how far he reached with his childhood stories.
We watched every episode multiple times and we love that we can watch it again and again and it will still be funny and warm, just like how childhood should feel…
Here is the an episode of Life with Louie in English:
And here is the Turkish dubbed version of the first episode:
As the theme song goes: “he is likable, lovable, completely huggable…”
Övgü & Öykü