(Footage from various films, TV shows, and short films, all owned by Disney, is shown)
Doug (vo): It's that time of year again. Time to look over Disney's best and not-so best. I've been doing these Disneycembers for several years, and every year, I try to have a certain theme to them, whether they be the hand-drawn animated films, the CG animated films, the direct-to-DVD movies, and so forth. And in that time, Disney has just gotten bigger and bigger, swallowing up more companies and trying out different things and styles. So even if I was to pick one theme again, there's so many new movies and shows that are constantly coming out that I'd feel like it'd be kind of a shame not to talk about them. Well, last year, the theme was By Popular Demand, and it seemed to go over pretty well. I liked it because I could kind of talk about whatever I wanted, I wasn't bound to just one thing. So, that seems like the best route to go. From here on out, Disneycember is just going to be one giant grab-bag, because every time I do a themed month, everybody says, "You missed this one" or "You forgot this one". Well, from now on, I'm not bound by anything. It just has to have Disney's name on it and be watchable...well, for the most part. The one thing I do want to add this year, though, is Disney TV shows.
(A clip from the Nostalgia Critic's Disney Afternoon review is shown)
Doug (vo): Now, if you watch Nostalgia Critic, you know I talked about Disney TV shows a lot, with Disney Afternoon and DuckTales and so on. But these are gonna be ones that I either thought would make a very good Nostalgia Critic episode, or I just want to look back and reanalyze, see if my thoughts have changed on it at all. The one qualification is, it has to be a show that's ran its course, like all the episodes are available and I can watch them, so that way, there's no surprises if suddenly the show goes downhill, and I wasn't there to talk about it. (A brief shot of The Mandalorian is shown with the caption "With one exception") So this Disneycember, the sky's the limit, whether it be live-action, animated, TV movie, DVD, whatever. If I think it's worth talking about, I'm gonna talk about it. So sit back and enjoy. This is Disneycember: 2019.
(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from House of Mouse)
Doug (vo): Well, since I said I was gonna include TV shows this time around, might as well start with a TV show, House of Mouse. So, yeah, this show was well past my time when it came out. I was just starting college when this show premiered, and even if I was a little younger, it just doesn't seem like the age group it was meant for. This is clearly meant for, well, little kids. So, why am I taking a look at it? Well, a couple reasons. One, just because it's for little kids doesn't necessarily mean there can't be something of value to it. It can still be creative, funny, and new. Second, it's grown quite the popularity over the years. I mean, okay, not as much as its other Disney properties, but you mention House of Mouse and a lot of people seem to know what you're talking about, or at least have a general idea. And finally, I think it is a pretty clever concept.
Premise[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): There's a rocking place where you can get dinner and a show called House of Mouse. It's owned by the four-fingered one himself, Mickey, ran by his colorful friends you know by name, Goofy, Donald, and so forth, and the guests that show up are all Disney cinematic animated characters. You name it, the Little Mermaid, the Beast, Aladdin, Snow White, all those classics. They usually sit around, making conversation and jokes, while they run a cartoon as they eat their dinner. Though it is weird to see people watching Goofy on the big screen and then have him also kind of serve your table. It's a little odd. Though, actually...maybe it's a little too realistic. They always say if you want to be an actor, the best book to read is this. (An image of a book called "How to Be a Professional Waiter or Waitress" by Lishka De Voss is shown) And generally, that's the setup of the show. Usually, it focuses more on the main staff, with Mickey getting in trouble, or Goofy getting in trouble, Donald, whatever, and the cinematic guests either being unaware of the trouble and just responding to the short that's being shown, or become alerted to it and react to it in the over-the-top manner that their character would.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): In my opinion, the show works best when they show the classic cartoons as the shorts.
(A clip of a classic 1948 Donald Duck cartoon Three for Breakfast is shown with the caption "Though this rarely happened")
Doug (vo): I like it because it mixes three different types of humor. One is the mostly timeless humor of the 1940s. (Another caption is shown saying "Mostly" while a short clip of Dale imitating a Chinese person plays) Another is seeing those same characters reacting to an updated environment. And the third being the cinematic characters' reactions to both.
(Clips focusing on the newer cartoons (all are segments from the previous similar-animated show from 1999, Mickey Mouse Works) played throughout each episode are shown)
Doug (vo): When they show the newly-animated shorts, it doesn't seem to have the same timing or speed or magic that the original had. There was a sense you could get away with a little bit more in the older shorts, because the characters were still being established a little bit and they could be a little more violent or mean. They're by no means awful shorts, they're well-animated and such, it just kind of looks like they're trying to recapture what they did in the past, and they're just not gonna do it as well, because the characters are too familiar and too family-friendly. How often are you gonna see Donald Duck hold a gun anymore?
(An image of an 1939 cartoon Donald's Penguin showing Donald Duck pointing a gun at a little penguin is shown, before resuming showing various clips, mostly focusing on the show's main characters)
Doug (vo): With that said, that's also kind of one of the problems of the show. The original shorts worked because they knew the strengths of their character. Goofy was funny as when he didn't talk, Donald was funny as when he was angry, and the Mickey Mouse cartoons usually weren't funny, they were more creative, they were whimsical, they were magical, you watched it to see something really imaginative. So when you focus on them as the main characters in what's essentially supposed to be a really funny scenario in each episode, while it's not necessarily bad, it's not exactly hilarious either. A lot of these scenarios are good scenarios. They're kind of the classic "restaurant on fire" or "somebody not showing up" or "somebody has to stall and do something else for the crowd". These are routines that have been done for years, and they're usually pretty funny. But you know that Mickey always has to be nice and he always has to have that pleasant voice. Goofy always has to talk and be clumsy, so he can't be really mean or angry or there can be a lot of them like in the old shorts. Donald can mostly be the same, but because Daisy has a much more prominent role in this one and she has a nicer, kinder voice because that's kind of what she was in the original, she was kind of a side character, now she's a prominent character here, they can't get as many strong laughs, even when both the writing and the animation is right on point. Look at this scene where Mickey and Minnie come back and the place is destroyed, those expressions are great. Donald and Daisy quitting to go on vacation after all this shit happened is also great. But when you hear those perfected, non-threatening voices come out of them, it immediately loses its edge.
(That aforementioned clip from Season 3 episode "Mickey and Minnie's Big Vacation" is shown, showing a completely-shocked Mickey and Minnie, having returned from their vacation, looking at the now-destroyed club as Donald and Daisy speak to them)
Daisy: We need to tell you something.
Mickey: You don't say.
Minnie: What happened?
(Donald and Daisy suddenly yell, knocking both Mickey and Minnie off their feet)
Donald and Daisy: We can't handle it!
(Clips focusing on the various appearances from various characters from many Disney films are shown)
Doug (vo): The same can almost be said for the cinematic characters, although it's kind of in reverse. The jokes with them are mostly hit-and-miss, and when they miss, it is kind of awkward. But when they hit, it is pretty funny, especially because, like I said a moment ago, it's reversed. It's not silly characters acting serious, it's serious characters now acting silly. It's funny to see Disney heroes and villains just take some time off, relax, have something to eat, and just chill. They try to act like normal people, even though we know they're the least normal people in the world. So, yeah, their stuff is kind of in the middle. Some hit, some don't.
(As more clips focusing on the Disney film characters continue to show, we are also shown some clips focusing on one of the show's direct-to-DVD movies, Mickey's House of Villains)
Doug (vo): But let's be honest. The reason this show is remembered and so many kids liked it is because, it's just a cool idea. The novelty of seeing every animated Disney character in one spot is really neat. Even if they're not necessarily doing anything funny, it's just cool to see these characters all together. It's kind of like in Roger Rabbit or those old Cartoon Network bumpers. There's just something so awesome seeing these characters interact with one another. That kind of stuff gets a lot of kids excited, and I'd be lying if I didn't say the inner kid inside of me didn't get excited just seeing these characters side by side. Sometimes, they'll have little crossovers, like all the villains would get together and toss the good guys out. I'm not really laughing that hard at it, but how is it not cool to see all these famous Disney baddies side by side, from Hades to Captain Hook to Ursula to the Siamese Cats from Lady and the Tramp? The detail they have in trying to include every character they could possibly think of is really something.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): So, yeah, I guess your enjoyment of the show really centers around how much of a Disney fan you are and how forgiving you are of it. If you're someone that likes Disney but aren't really obsessed with them, then this probably isn't the show for you. But if you're one of those people that likes to see all the different Disney characters just stand next to each other and have a conversation, it's...okay. Like I said, it is mainly aimed for little kids, and, yes, there is an occasional adult joke here or there, but they never lose track of their audience. It's for little kids. So while the older adult in me was saying "you could make this a lot better", "you could tighten that joke", "you could change this delivery", and so forth, the little child inside of me is just so excited to see every Disney character I ever grew up with in one place. So is it timeless? No. Is it gonna be remembered through the ages? Probably not. It's not even really anything that impressive to be celebrated. But if your Disney nostalgia is strong and you still have that inner fanboy or fangirl that just squees every time you see a certain character or characters together, it might be worth checking out an episode or two.
(The final shot of an episode, showing Mickey ending the show and bidding farewell to the crowd, is shown)