Animal Awards: Apes

ApesWhat’s so great about apes anyway? In my opinion, not much. One a scale of one to ten, I would probably rate my interest in apes at about a four. I’ve seen apes around town, but I haven’t really paid any special attention to them.

Which is to say: I don’t actively dislike apes, but frankly I’m not a huge fan of them either. So it is with a mild disinterest that I announce that I have inexplicably decided to give out achievement awards to many different styles of animal, beginning with the apes.

Which Animals Qualify?

GibbonI’m not about to sit here and type out a definition of apes. I can certainly bore people easily enough without resorting to some hack boredom-inducing cliché like that. Let’s just say I’m being pretty loose with the definition here. To me everything is an ape: Monkeys, orangutans, chimps, and gorillas. You know what? Let’s just go ahead and throw gibbons in there too. Gibbons don’t often get a lot of recognition these days.

Also, in case you’re curious, I don’t consider humans to be apes. Humans are therefore ineligible for the Ape Achievement Awards. I’m sorry but that’s just the way it’s gotta be.

Top 3 Apes

Best MonkeysI had a hard time choosing the “best” apes on the planet.  But after several seconds of intense research (typing “famous apes” into a search engine and subsequently clicking the link to the Wikipedia article with that title), I was finally able to narrow the list down to my five favorites.

These creatures are among the best (if not the best) the ape family has to offer.

3. Koko the Gorilla


This gorilla learned sign language, which is pretty impressive if you think about it. Then again, maybe it isn’t. What else has a gorilla got to do? Those apes have nothing but free time.

Also I think I saw in a documentary where this gorilla had a kitten as a pet, but it escaped, ran into the street, and got killed by a car. That’s why this ape is only at number three: Irresponsible.

1. None

BikeAlright: No apes are at number two or number one because I am sick and tired of trying to find apes which have accomplished anything significant. Look at the garbage I’ve got to work with here:

Sky Ape: A millionaire gorilla with a jetpack

Brani-ape: A gorilla with the transplanted brain of Adolf Hitler

Aldo (From Planet of the Apes): The first ape to say "no" to a human

The first two are just insane, and who the hell is the third one supposed to be, the Rosa Parks of apes? Are we really so desperate for inspirational apes that this kind of crap makes it to Wikipedia’s list of Famous Apes? It’s a shameful day for apes everywhere.

Worst 3 Apes

SmokingThis list was far easier to come up with. Just by scanning the list I was able to instantly come up with about a hundred candidates for “worst ape”. The difficult part was narrowing it down. It was so difficult, in fact, that eventually I ended up just looking through the list and picking a few apes.

I don't feel this is cheating. All the apes all pretty bad.

3. Jack: The chimpanzee from the MVP films.

MVPIf you aren’t familiar with the MVP series, it's a couple of low-budget children’s films in which a monkey plays sports and become famous. I guess MVP stands for something different each of the films. For baseball it’s Most Valuable Primate, skateboarding, Most Vertical Primate, and so and so on in a similarly obscene fashion.

Once I attempted to watch MVP2, which had a picture of a monkey playing hockey on the cover. This lead me to foolishly assume that the film was about a monkey playing hockey. This was certainly not the case. I was appalled to discover that the monkey in the film only played hockey in the first few scenes (in which he is thrown off of a human children’s hockey team).

It’s apparent that the filmmakers want this to seem like an unjust act, but I have to say that the league officials seem to have a good point here: The monkey is neither a child, nor is he human. Probably shouldn't be allowed in a little league hockey game.

But my entire point here is that after this scene, the entire rest of the film features the monkey skateboarding with a homeless child. I feel this is false advertising. If you put a picture of an ape playing hockey on the cover, AT LEAST 75% of the movie had damn well better be about an ape playing hockey.  If I would've paid to see this film instead of downloading it illegally, I definitely would’ve felt cheated.   

2. Grape Ape

GrapeI don't really feel like writing anything about Grape Ape. Instead, here are some choice selections from the Grape Ape Wikipedia entry:

"...a 40-foot-tall purple gorilla voiced by Bob Holt. His catchphrase is repeating his name twice ("Grape Ape, Grape Ape") after anything anyone says, usually as a form of agreement or acknowledgement of what was said."

"Grape Ape and his friend Beegle Beagle usually move in a small yellow van driven by Beegle Beagle with Grape Ape sitting on the roof."

"Given his size, Grape Ape's sneezes were equivalent to a hurricane; and when he cried, which was sometimes when he was homesick for his family, his tears could cause flooding in areas."

1. The Ape in 'The Ape and the Lady' in Princess Ida by W S Gilbert

GilbertI included this ape out of pure spite. I’d never heard of “The Ape and the Lady” before, and reading its name on a list of famous apes made me feel stupid.

So suck on this, Gilbert: You created the worst fictional ape of all time.

That’s all the animal achievement awards I’ve got to hand out for now. Frankly, this fiasco has got me pretty disillusioned with the whole “giving animals prizes for no reason” idea. I went in expecting to be pleasantly surprised by all the great things apes have done, but have come through to the other side feeling sad and hollow because apes haven’t accomplished anything. Let’s just hope subsequent animal award ceremonies turn out better.