Wow, it's been nearly a year and a half since I've written a blog, but this topic is one that's been on my mind many times and many times I almost wrote something about them. All the time I see fans or ordinary people state something about the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise or characters that causes me and other fans to just shake our heads. Usually this misconceptions aren't made on purpose though they become a rolling theme for those fans that are extensively involved in all aspects of the franchise. The following are some of the most common claims made about Alvin and the Chipmunks.
|The franchise should be "Alvin and the other Chipmunks" or "Dave and the Chipmunks," not Alvin and the Chipmunks. Wouldn't it mean Alvin isn't a chipmunk?|
This question I see, and have replied to, so many times. While an official explanation of the name is unknown, a little bit of reasoning makes this naming seem pretty clear. The name itself makes an implication that Alvin isn't a chipmunk but familiarity with the characters, most obvious the Alvin and the Chipmunks series, reveals that The Chipmunks refers to more than just the animal. The franchise started with just Dave Seville and the three chipmunk brothers (credited as "David Seville and the Chipmunks," then "The Chipmunks with David Seville," back when Dave has a much larger role in their records) and transitioned to focus more on the boys. In the 80s, The Chipmunks, the name of their band without Dave, were more of a plot point (can't forget the theme "We're The Chipmunks"). Even The Chipettes tried making a claim to the band name The Chipmunks in The Chipettes.
What about Alvin? That's easy. Alvin's always been given the focus of the franchise (just take a look at the series' original series The Alvin Show). He's the star and most everything revolves around him. "Alvin and the Chipmunks" capitalizes on that and their band.
|The original Chipmunks are better (with a reference to the 80s series and sometimes the CGI/live-action films).|
Such comments I've found over the years are quite pointless having knowledge of all the generations. They all have their ups and downs, pros and cons, and every fan is going to disagree with which is "the best" (typically it's whatever generation you originally watched). Opinions are fine and should be encouraged in any fandom but be accurate when giving them. The Chipmunks were born in 1958 and even evolved from their designs before their first television series, The Alvin Show, in 1961 (with countless variations to follow). The 1983-1990 series may be more well-known, though they are not the original, nor are the 2000s films.
|They look nothing like Chipmunks but rather small humans.|
This point tends to be very opinionated, usually made against a generation one isn't familiar with or originally familiar with. Fans first exposed to the CGI/live-action films have been left shocked when they learn of the 80s series (some were too when the new television series debuted) while fans of the 80s series hold steadfast that that generation looks more like actual chipmunks than the ALVINNN!!! generation. The fact of the matter is that the characters are anthropomorphized and both of the latter television series have very human and very animal characteristics. In the 80s, the characters possessed four fingers and pronounced buck teeth while also being around three feet tall. The Chipettes at this time looked much more human given their hair styles and pale fur. Jumping to the late-2010s, the characters blend in more aspects of the newer films with the shorter heights, tails, and fur markings while making the buck teeth less pronounced and giving them five fingers. While neither of these designs are of actual, real-life chipmunks, they aren't of humans either.
|Simon and Jeanette are the oldest because they are the tallest.|
While this might make sense to some, it's just not correct. Certainly one doesn't walk around comparing people's age solely based on height (or even other factors such as maturity). Shorter people or characters can just as easily be older than those taller. The clearest example there is against this claim is the difference between Alvin/Simon and Brittany/Jeanette in the 80s series. Simon and Jeanette are taller than their siblings, but we know from Grounded Chipmunk that Alvin is older than Simon by five minutes and from "It's My Party" that Jeanette is younger than Brittany. Height doesn't prove age.
|The Chipettes are just girl clones of The Chipmunks.|
On the surface, yes. Alvin/Brittany have the popular kid stereotype, while Simon/Jeanette the nerd/geek, and Theodore/Eleanor the overweight pair. When looking at personalities though it becomes clearer that they aren't the same, despite having many similarities. Alvin is much more of an irresponsible troublemaker while Brittany tends to act more in retaliation and is generally more responsible. Simon and Jeanette have more polarizing intelligence meaning Simon's great in terms of experiments and Jeanette is better with books; he can also speak his mind with greater ease than Jeanette though can be become frustrated faster. Lastly, Theodore is very naive, gullible, and quieter while Eleanor can recognize situations in which someone is being used and can be more outspoken and athletic. True, they function as counterparts though they are not simple copies of the other.
|The Chipmunks and The Chipettes are siblings so their relationships support incest.|
I can see where people are coming from with this claim. In Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel The Chipettes move in with The Chipmunks and stay with them, though Dave only adopts the boys in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. Simon reveals in the original CGI/live-action film that their parents abandoned them early, though not suggesting they had additional siblings, who likely would have stuck with them. In ALVINNN!!! and The Chipmunks the girls live separately (after living with the boys as revealed in The Tree House) though still appear to be (somewhat) under the guardianship of Dave. However, in the 80s series the backstory of The Chipettes greatly undermines any notion whatsoever they are related. The Chipette Story reveals that the girls grew up in Australia while the boys were in America so the idea of them being siblings is extremely unlikely. Regardless, the boys and girls are never referred to as brothers and sisters between the groups.
|Alvin and the Chipmunks is just Nightcore, or vice versa. The Chipmunks are terrible because of such-and-such cover they did.|
This topic of songs is a big one that requires an understanding in a few areas: official Chipmunk songs, fan "Chipmunked" (repitch) songs, and Nightcore. All of these processes are different and aren't interchangeable.
- Official Chipmunk songs are those that have been released by Bagdasarian Productions or a licensed record/productions company. These songs are created in a way that does not speed up the instrumental of a song from that of the original and vocals are recorded similarly to that of the character's speaking voices (at a slower speed that is then speed up before being combined with the instrumental).
- Fan "Chipmunked," repitched, and sometimes just fan-fiction songs are those that are created by fans, and are not official releases (some fans can create "Chipmunked" versions of songs following the proper process though these still aren't official and aren't that common). These songs are generally created by taking a song from another artist and simply changing the pitch of the entire song (vocals and instrumental) in a music editor. 99% of the time these sound nothing like an official Chipmunk song (with a pitch much higher than they should be) and are generally what people use to refer to The Chipmunks as terrible because of a "cover" of a song they never actually covered.
- Now that the first two situations are out of the way: Nightcore. Nightcore is loosely related to the process of generating a Chipmunk song though isn't the same (arguably fans in the Nightcore community state that a song that sounds like a Chipmunk or "Chipmunked" song is not even Nightcore). Nightcore's focus is to increase the tempo/beat of a song, and sometimes the pitch as well, by a small margin (10-30%). An official Chipmunk song does neither, while a fan "Chipmunked" song increases just the pitch, an increase typically greater than a Nightcore song. Solely increasing the pitch doesn't make a song Nightcore as the change to the instrumental tempo is the primary focus.
|Charlene made a reappearance on the Rockin' Through the Decades special.|
In terms of fan debates within the fandom, this is one of the biggest and the truth is we do not know for a fact which side is correct. That being said, it's quite strongly believed that Charlene never appears in this special. Why? For one, Charlene the Chipette, appearing in "You're the One That I Want" with art on The Chipmunks Go Hollywood, was considered a step towards introducing The Chipettes (the girl group was name-checked in the previous album's track "Leader of the Pack"). The general consensus is that Charlene was the prototype character role for Alvin's counterpart, who officially debuted a year later.
Jumping ahead seven years and the Rockin' Through the Decades special is released showing a scene during "Crocodile Rock" in which Alvin dances with a Chipette. Five years after that When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk is released with artwork closely resembling the Chipette Alvin dances with along with Jeanette and Eleanor. The question then becomes why would that character be Charlene, especially given The Chipettes now exist? Perhaps, given the nature of the special, the scene was a throwback to when Charlene was introduced though there seems to be more to support a claim the character was not Charlene, but actually Brittany.
I'm sure I missed some, but these are the ones I've stumbled into many times during my six plus years in the fandom thus far. If I've missed any or you'd like to add some input to what I've stated about those above, feel free to post a comment below!