He's a skunk, and skunks are cool, but it's more than that.
Pepe first appeared in 1945, with a Mel Blanc voice inspired by Charles Boyer. He was a regular in Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons and won an Oscar in 1949 in For Scent-imental Reasons (written by Michael Maltese). Johnny Depp is reported to have based his Pirates of the Caribbean character Captain Jack Sparrow not only on Rolling Stone Keith Richards, but also on the urbane Le Pew. But it's more than that.
Pepe's self-esteem is made of solid stainless steel. 'E pursues zee beeyootiful laydee, and eet does not matter eff she rebuff heem. But not in a yucky, date-rape, Pepe-needs-to-learn-that-no-means-no kind of way. He's just totally sure that he's fabulous, and if the object of his affections will just get over the whole vile stink issue, zey can mek zee beeyootiful music together, eh, oui? Being a skunk, he lives in a virtual tuxedo, so he's always elegant. And the fluff of the tail--gotta love the flourish there. But really, it's the confidence that makes him so captivating. There's a line between revolting arrogance and charming self-assurance, of course. Probably different people draw it in different places (I adore Russell Crowe, for instance. Other people maybe don't so much.). But Pepe's got the magic, I say.
Of course he's a French guy. That probably has something to do with it, even if he's not a French guy named Jacques (my favorite kind).
More on the joys of French guys in the next post.
I 'ope you all 'ave zee fabulous day, mez amies!