Is Goofy Secretly Badass?


March 1, 2016

(The shortened opening)

NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. When people think "slapstick", they usually think of...

NC (vo): (pictures of) ...The Three Stooges, Charile Chaplin, Buster Keaton... (screenshots from classic Tex Avery, Woody Woodpecker and Looney Tunes shorts are shown next as Beethoveen's Ode to Joy plays in the background) And, of course, cartoons. But not just cartoons. There's some that stand out more than usual: the Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry...

(The main classic Disney shorts characters are shown)

NC (vo): But people rarely put Disney cartoons in there, as majority of them just seem more like kids' stuff.

NC: I mean, okay, a little kid can watch any of this and enjoy it, but it usually takes a certain amount of cleverness and effort to make it so that you would enjoy it as an adult. And Disney cartoons didn't always.

(A screenshot from "The Old Mill" (1937) is shown, followed by a promo image of Mickey and Minnie Mouse having a tea party with Pluto and picture of Donald Duck playing golf)

NC (vo): While there were certainly artistically pleasing cartoons that were more for adults, the adventures of, say, Mickey Mouse were usually seen as more aimed towards kids than grown-ups. Donald Duck is the only one who adults can relate to, and thus, he's seen as the only one who can get a laugh sometimes.

NC: But everyone always overlooks one comedic badass! (Goof Troop title screen is shown) Before that. (picture of Goofy (Dippy Dawg), as he first appeared in "Mickey's Revue" (1932), is shown) After that.

(A brief clip from Goofy short "How to Play Football" (1944), showing multiple Goofys bumping into each other, is shown)

NC: Yes! I am talking about the golden age of Goofy!

(A clip from "The Baggage Buster" (1941) is shown)

NC (vo): Now, when you think "Goofy", you think of him tripping over stuff, letting out a little laugh, not very smart comedy.

NC: Well, that's because that's the more kid-friendly and marketable Goofy that you see everywhere. What they don't show you is the Goofy that's...

(Clips from classic Goofy cartoons that feature multiple Goofys start playing as NC speaks)

NC (vo): ...violent, angry, a smoker, a psychopath, an abusive parent, and one of the freakin' funniest characters to ever come out of Disney. The people just kinda glance over this comedy, because they still associate him with cheap laughs. But there are a ton of hilarious cartoons that are not only funny, but would be considered actually kinda shocking today.

NC: Here's a joke, for example, that no kid would get, but a lot of adults would actually kinda drop their jaws at.

(We are treated to a clip from a cartoon "Father's Day Off" (1953), which shows Mrs. Geef driving away, crashing into a fence and some trees on the way)

NC (vo): Goofy stays home with his son not-Max, as his wife takes a day off for herself, partaking in (chuckling) hugely offensive woman driver jokes.

Goofy: Ah-hyuck! She made it!

NC: Wow!

NC (vo): When the milkman rings the doorbell, here's how he greets what he thinks is Goofy's wife.

(A milkman pops up at the door with his eyes closed and gives Goofy a milk, kissing him on the lips. The latter is confused by this)

NC (vo): Oh, yeah. Goofy just made an adultery joke.

NC: In a Disney cartoon. The dog went there.

NC (vo): What makes it even funnier is that it's a running gag. Everyone at the door greets him the exact same way, to the point where he's actually kind of expecting it! Dude, his wife gets around!

Goofy: Friendly cuss.

(The cartoon "Fathers are People" (1951) is shown next)

NC (vo): How's this for a good dad? When the baby is crying at night, he's told to get up and get the bottle. And that's exactly what he does. He goes to the kitchen and helps himself to some scotch, drowning up the crying of his child so he can sleep better. Yikes!

(Clip from "Father's Weekend" (1953) is shown)

NC (vo): On top of threatening his kid with violence and even tying him up when he's goofing off in the car.

NC: That's not the same character they've been marketing all these years.

NC (vo): The reason he was portrayed like this is, where Mickey was kind of a big-eyed innocent kid and Donald was a spolied, angry kid, Goofy was supposed to be the everyman, as an adult. So the humor, for a while, represented the exaggerations of what a suburban adult male would experience.

(The cartoon "Motor Mania" (1950) is shown)

NC (vo): For example, road rage. There's an episode where he starts off totally normal, but when he gets behind a car, he becomes a complete psychopath, practically running over anyone who gets in his way!

Goofy as "Mr. Wheeler": Watch where you're goin', stupid!

(He crashes into another car with another Goofy-like driver, and they start rambling angrily. The cartoon called "No Smoking" (1951) is shown next)

NC (vo): There's even an episode I'm shocked they still play where Goofy tries to give up smoking. But the majority of it is just him looking for a cigarette.

Goofy: (as he his frantically running to the tobacco shop) Smoke. Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!! SMOKE!!

NC (vo): No kid is gonna understand that kind of addiction, in fact, if anything, it kinda glorifies it a bit...

(Goofy is sentenced to be shot, but he decides to smoke before it, blindfolded)

Goofy: It's a Phylis Morrison!

(A poster of Goofy is shown with the words "Smoke Phylis Morrison. The smoke never gets in my eyes! George Geef")

NC (vo): uncomfortable. But adults will completely get it and laugh their asses off.

NC: And because he was the everyman, they'd put him in a variety of jobs, which just let them more open for more adult jokes.

(Next, we are treated to a cartoon "Teachers are People" (1952))

NC (vo): Just take a guess what these kids are whispering about.

(Goofy, as a teacher, overhears the kids talking about something and giggling. He gasps and throws away the image that says "Birds + Bees + Flowers = ...")

NC: (in a high-pitched voice, smiling) Disney! (makes a heart shape while saying this)

("How to Be a Detective" (1952) is the next cartoon)

NC (vo): Even when he's a private eye, they really go far with some disturbing imagery you wouldn't see today on most kids' shows. But they're still incredibly funny, partly because they are so shocking.

NC: But if Goofy as the everyman is surprisingly kind of intense, you can always turn to him playing sports. Certainly, that must be innocent, right?

(The classic cartoons from the late 40s, featuring multiple Goofys playing sports violently, are shown)

NC (vo): EHHHHH! This is where you see him at his most violent. Most of us know the ones where he's alone and, again, messes up with a playful chuckle, but while those are well done, they're not nearly as in-your-face or as violent as the ones where there's millions of him.

NC: You see, it got to a point where the slapstick with Goofy was so popular and it made sense just to make a lot more of him.

NC (vo): And rather than just give him some nephews or a family, they populated the whole world with him. And when it was a sports episode, it was some of the funniest violence you'll ever see. It wouldn't be funny if they were all just happy idiots, because then the conflict between the characters would be weakened. So they dropped much more angry and mean-spirited designs. In fact, in these episodes, they never referred to any of these characters as "Goofy". They had regular names, like George or Ralph, but not one of them was ever called "Goofy". This meant they could make them as blood-hungry as they wanted with no reprecussions. And that's exactly what they did. They mixed that angry conflict with brilliant slapstick, hilarious expressions, and some of the funniest yells ever assembled.

(Some of the scenes that feature stock Goofy screams are shown)

NC (vo): And don't forget the classic...

(The clip from "The Art of Skiing" (1941) is shown, showing Goofy doing a ski jump and yelling the famous Goofy Holler)


NC (vo): Look at the speed of this. But at the same time, you feel the impact of every punch. Every amount of pain that happens you get a laugh at, because it looks like it really hurts. But the raging testosterone keeps them vengeful and moving, so the momentum never slows down.

NC: Goofy suddenly became less about a silly character in a normal world and more about...

NC (vo): ...a crazy world that plurally reflected ours.

(The ending scene of a cartoon called "Hockey Homicide" (1945) is shown)

NC (vo): One of my favorites is when the fans of a hockey game are so caught up in the violence and fighting for their teams that they rushed the ice in a riot, beating the crap out of each other. By the end, they get so wrapped up in it that they don't realize the players have stopped playing and are now the audience, observing them as the spectacle.

NC: So, yeah. Goofy cartoons even kinda have good commentary.

NC (vo): If you're wondering why many of these turned out so funny is because most of them were directed by a man named Jack Hannah*.

(A picture of another Jack who worked at Disney, Jack Kinney, is shown along with the caption: "Correction: Jack Kinney (my bad)")

  • Note: Jack Hannah actually directed some of the Goofy cartoons, like "Double Dribble" and "A Knight for a Day"

NC (vo): His detail in slapstick is amazing. And if you watch it in slow-mo, you see just how well planned-out the timing, the expressions, and the impact of every hit is.

NC: He also directed a lot of the Donald Duck cartoons.

(Screenshots from the early 1950s Donald Duck shorts are shown, before going back to Goofy shorts)

NC (vo): Again, usually the ones that have the most slapstick and even kind of a mean-spirited nature to them. While a lot of everyday people probably don't know him, he's created comedy just as on par as Hanna-Barbera, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones. And, in my opinion, is a comedic animation giant. The cartoons he's created are beyond hilarious, and they deserve to be seen by anyone who loves good comedy.

NC: There's a lot of collections out there, but probably the best one is (picture of) "The Complete Goofy", by the Walt Disney Treasures collection. Just two DVDs of absolute awesomeness. So the next time you think of Goofy as just a chuckling moron who goes... (imitates Goofy's famous chuckle) Remember this!

(A brief clip from "How to Be a Detective" is shown with Goofy trying to knock out a weasel robber)

Goofy: Well, take this! (cut to black and we hear the sounds of punching)

NC: Yeah. (beat) Goofy's extreme!

NC (vo): If you haven't seen these cartoons or you just straight out forgot about them, definitely go and observe that there's a lot more for adults here that you would think. Go see the great animation, the great voice work, and the hilarious comedy that proved his character is much more than just a silly laugh.

(The clip from "Motor Mania" is shown with "Mr. Wheeler" telling the narrator to shut up)

Goofy as "Mr. Wheeler": Ah, shut up!

NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to!

(He gets up and leaves. The credits roll)

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