Those who profess to know me know that I’m not what you might call a voracious blogger. I tend to write about things as and when they occur to me, or when I’ve got something interesting to share. Or completely trivial stuff that only seems to hold an interest to me. I shall let you make your own mind up which type this post is.
The subject for today’s lecture has been a slow burner for me for a long time. I have always been a fan of Disney films for the most part (until they went all princessy), but my main love stemmed from their animated shorts, Mickey Mouse in particular. But ever since my youth I have thought that poor old Mickey suffered from Shadow Syndrome. You know, when someone who is supposed to be a side-player ends up stealing the show and becoming the runaway favourite by the masses – people like Captain Jack Sparrow and Han Solo to name but two…
I’m talking about Donald, of course. Now, Donald Duck was a rascal in a lot of the earlier Disney shorts. He was borderline psychotic and an evil little back-stabber whose ‘tricks’ involved all manner of dangerous objects and elements that could easily have seriously maimed Mickey, Goofy and Pluto. He was a rebel who always played outside the rules – and I loved him for it. He was easily the most interesting Disney character – verging ever-so dangerously towards Disney’s biggest rivals when it comes to animated shorts – the incomparable Looney Tunes gang. Although to my knowledge Donald never resorted to exchanging Scrooge McDuck’s bird-seed for buckshot, or hiding a stick of dynamite under Mickey’s pillow, he was still a rule-breaker and you never quite knew where you stood with him. God knows why Mickey would want to be best friends with him, but that’s always been the mouse’s biggest problem: he’s far too nice.
And just look at the other folk he hangs around with in the clubhouse.
Mickey is a mouse. Minnie is a mouse. Even the seldom seen these days Mortimer is a mouse.
Donald is a duck. He has webbed feet and feathery type hands/fingers. He talks in a quacky way and (for some inexplicable reason) he wears a sailor’s outfit (stop sniggering) top – no trousers, though (which is odd, because Mickey wears trousers, and so does Goofy). For all his rough edges, he seems to genuinely care for Daisy, who also happens to be a duck (thankfully). She has always been way out of his league, and seems to have some sort of unhealthy obsession with the 1920’s. She even dances like a flapper. But you can’t deny that they make a nice couple and Daisy has just the right amount of spunk (stop sniggering) to deal with Donald’s outrageous behaviour.
Let’s confirm right now that in Mickey’s world it is proven that it’s possible for the animals to procreate – just look at Huey, Dewey and Louie for that proof – they are Donald’s nephews and so they must have come from somewhere, right? (strangely, they are also Scrooge McDuck’s nephews, yet Scrooge and Donald are not brothers – he’s actually Donald’s uncle too). Not even Jeremy Kyle could make sense of that family tree.
Now this is the interesting bit (I promised you there was one, remember?)
Pluto is also a dog. But he cannot talk and he walks on all four legs doggy-style (stop sniggering). He wears a collar around his neck (but no lead) and he barks. He eats out of a bowl on the floor and chases chipmunks. He is generally seen as Mickey’s ‘pet’ – even in the modern day Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Pluto is still characterized as a traditional dog.
So what’s up with that, Uncle Walt?
If you look at the facts, you might be inclined to say that Pluto is the odd one out because he is the only animal that continues to exhibit all the evolutionary traits (digging holes in the garden, chasing small rodents, eating bones, barking at butterflies) of his canine species.
(My personal theory is that he was blasted into space in a rocket in the late 1960’s and crash landed on a planet where animals had evolved to be superior to human beings, treating them like slaves and hunting them on horseback through cornfields, and if only someone would take his collar off he’d be able to speak, thereby shattering decades of fabricated history concocted by the evolved animals’ High Council who were the only ones keeping a dark secret under wraps, and one that Pluto is destined to learn once he takes a trip along the beach one day and comes face to face with the Statue of Liberty…)
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t lie awake at night debating (seriously, stop sniggering) this question, but every time I watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (which is frequently in my house) I can’t help but feel sorry for poor old Pluto and the raw deal that he’s been given. I fully appreciate that his legacy comes from a simpler time, before such things as human (or canine in this case) rights were introduced, the formation of the RSPCA and a time before everyone had the free vote, but if Mickey and the gang keep the abhorrent treatment of Pluto up for much longer, I can smell an uprising in the air…
…unless it’s that unwelcome present that Pluto left in Minnie’s garden under her bush (this is the last time I’m going to warn you).
He’s got a little flap at the back of his trousers for doing a poo out of.