It’s often been said that for something to be considered a masterpiece, it must belong to at least two genres: the genre that it helps create and the genre that it helps destroy. If this is true, then “Oscar the Raccoon” is undoubtedly a masterpiece. On the one hand, the video is the ultimate “Awww, look at the cute puppy” video, never to be surpassed. Just as people stopped writing plays about mad Danish princes after Hamlet, so too will they stop filming their dogs after “Oscar the Raccoon.” After this, what’s the point?
At the same time, the video is also the very first example of the “raccoon thinks it’s a dentist” video, and it’s probably safe to say that it won’t be the last. Scenarios in which raccoons pretend to be dentists are potentially unlimited, and this video really only just scratches the surface. As a result, a new path has been cleared for other artists to follow. Just as The Odyssey inspired everything from Ulysses to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, there will be no end to the number of things that “Oscar the Raccoon” inspires. The “Awww, look at the cute puppy” genre may be dead, but the “raccoon thinks it’s a dentist” genre has only just begun.