What a Life! | released 26 March 1930

Flip gradually assumes human features and human responsibilities, in The Soup Song and The Village Smitty but it is not until What a Life! that Flip begins to reflect and respond to the situation of his audience. Flip takes on greater questions of morality and authority in the city where Flip assumes the role of a street performer. Flip and his companion make a mockery of the policeman, fleeing and disguising themselves as a walking instrument with accompaniment and prompt the officer to tip his hat as they pass by. Flip tricks his friend into sliding into the officer. This action deconstructs the officer’s authority, removing his power over Flip. Flip is able to make the officer the “jokee” of his antics as a means to alleviate his frustration and anger toward authority. Flip becomes a moral guide for his audience in his action to assist a blind beggar. In a time of personal and social suffering, authenticity is found at Flip’s core and manifested in his physical responses. And, Flip is fully human, swayed by the temptation of sexual attraction—unchartered and risky territory for a cartoon—with a tall slender female who lures in Flip and his sidekick. Moments later, Flip discovers that the shapely woman is the wife of the police officer. Flip and his musical companion find themselves in a paddy wagon. Flip accepts his fate and leaves his audience with the reminder that through the jokes he played on the police man, Flip’s spirit has not been defeated by his condition and that he maintains the upper hand.