Everyone loves Growlithe, right? The heckin’ cute pupper of Gen 1, Growlithe is the pre-evolution of Arcanine, one of the most popular Pokemon ever – and allegedly at one time in Red & Blue’s development, set to be a Legendary. While certain species have gotten a raw deal in Pokemon – no fish starters, no turkey Pokemon – dog-based Pokemon have been consistently featured, and a large part of that is down to the series chasing the high of Growlithe. Just remember no matter how much you love it, Growlithe is, and always has been, a stone cold cop.
I know it looks cute. I know you just want to stroke its fur and pat its head and boop its little snoot. It’s still a cop. In the fast-approaching Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Growlithe will be getting a new Hisuian variant, as Pokemon continues to use regional variants to reinvent old Pokemon in a fresh light. It’s unclear how this will work with Legends: Arceus being set in the past, and any cop-ness aside, I’m not sure Growlithe is the best choice. We have enough Gen 1 variants already, and Growlithe isn’t a forgotten one in need of greater attention. That doesn’t matter though – I know Pokemon fans, and this is a shiny new thing, so we’ll get excited about it and buy a bajillion copies anyway.
Related: Pokemon Go, Stop Trying To Make Me Have FriendsJust remember when you head out into the wide but not-quite-open world with your trusty Tsareena by your side to catch your Hisuian Growlithe, the dog you catch will always be a pig. Growlithe is a cop, and don't you forget it.
There are a wide variety of Pokemon trainers across the games. I've often bemoaned the boring stock avatars we play as, while the rest of the world is filled with Jugglers and Firebreathers. Some of these characters become known for certain Pokemon – Hikers almost always have Geodude, Fishers have Magikarp, PokeFans have Pikachu. And Police Officers? Police Officers always, always, always have Growlithe. Police Officers have been in eight different sets of games now, and in six of them the cops have ran Growlithe teams. In Diamond & Pearl and its remake Platinum, cops use Hoothoot and Machop. Machop I get, since cops are often very small men who want to hit things in order to make themselves feel big, but Hoothoot? Well, I suppose owls do prey on unsuspecting victims under cover of darkness and rule through fear. If that mouse had simply complied… yeah, you know what, I get it now. Carry on, officer.
Growlithe, ever the loyal police dog, is right back in the next instalment as a buddy for Officer Dirk and Officer Keith – definitely extremely cool dudes – and has been by the side of its blue masters ever since. Of course, no Pokemon is born evil, just as police dogs in the real world could be very good boys if they hadn't been trained to be coppers, but this is a pattern of behaviour for Growlithe. When it's not with Officer Bert, it's been known to hang around with Gentlemen. That's not as debonair as it sounds though – most Gentlemen are stuffy old men who relish the authority of the good old days and want kids to get off their lawns. They also notice with some disdain that the children on their lawns aren't even white anymore. I mean, probably.
A few of the Gentlemen iterations are much sweeter and more jolly, but the Hawaiian shirt wearing Gentlemen of Sun & Moon and the cheeky fashionistas of Sword & Shield don't run Growlithe teams. These old guys are cool, and they don't fuck with cops. So they don't fuck with Growlithe. Because Growlithe is a cop.
This might seem stupid and frivolous, but it’s not. How many times have you seen videos of cops pulling someone over just to give them an ice cream? Lol, abuse of power is so totally random bestie! Co-opting Growlithe, one of the most popular Pokemon, into McGruff the Crime Dog, is just one of many, many forms of copaganda in our media. Don’t fall for it. Be gay, do crime.
Next time you're ruffling your adorable little pupper's hair, just check it's not rifling through your pockets so it can grass you up for an ounce of Stardust.
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