Watch: The Germaine Identity Arc, Neurotically Yours

This cannot be stressed enough: Neurotically Yours is not safe for work. It features foul language, racist caricatures, and sexual humor. Watch these videos on your own time.

While some fans of Jonathan Ian Mathers' animated web series Neurotically Yours constantly come back for smart-mouthed Foamy the Squirrel, I've always been a fan of Germaine. Germaine is a Goth poet who turns to prostitution and other self-destructive behavior to shield herself from the reality of her own situation in life.

In the past year, Mathers has pushed the character in a challenging direction. In an effort to desexualize her identity, Germaine gains weight, shaves her head, and refuses to wear clothing that fits. At the same time, she embraces her own sexual exploitation to try and sell her self-published poetry book. Germaine had become a sad contradiction. She abandoned the ideals that pushed her in the early part of the series as her efforts to become successful became increasingly desperate.

While other web cartoons rarely advance characters in meaningful ways, Jim Mathers is always working to add to his universe. In the cartoon "Germaine for Stupids," Foamy narrates the entire history of Germaine's character as a way to address criticism against Germaine's changing character.

The shorthand: Germaine's desexualization is a direct reaction to the fans that sexualize female cartoon characters and just want more sex jokes. The overreliance on money shot jokes is a representation of the overly sexualized rhetoric regarding the character in the series. And Germaine's rapidly changing appearance and increasingly distraught voice is a way for Mathers to free himself from audience expectation without betraying his original intentions for the series. Don't let the talking squirrels and possessed toaster fool you: the series is very much based in real life. People change and so do the characters in this series.

After the "In Gloom" episode (above), Germaine decides to move out of NYC and rediscover who she is. This arc, though reduced to three travelogue videos from Mathers' original three month subplot, is refreshing for its candor in discussing the mindset of a struggling artist. At what point does pursuing your dreams mean you are sacrificing everything you believe in and failing to meet your own standards?

Germaine returned after two more travelogues to Foamy's great disappointment. In spite of his negativity, she has begun to turn her life around. She decides to enroll in a local college. This will give her the education she needs to find a high-enough paying job to afford the lifestyle she wants in NYC without relying on prostitution.

It's hard to tell what direction Jonathan Ian Mathers will go in next. He's been promising more material about the Cult of Foamy, but he put so much effort into Germaine that it's hard to believe this serious arc will be stopped anytime soon. I find so much joy in Mathers actually inserting so much social commentary and critique into a web cartoon better known for a rage-filled foul-mouthed squirrel. That he did it without betraying the initial premise of Neurotically Yours is something to be celebrated.

You can fill in the blanks in the Germaine story arc and watch all episodes of Neurotically Yours at the official YouTube page.

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