(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)
Doug (vo): It's interesting how many times I've talked about Winnie the Pooh in Disneycember. I mean, yeah, everybody knows who he is and the characters, but I don't know many people who obsess over him, at least, not like other Disney characters. I mean, yeah, there's merchandise out there, but how many people do you know that collect a ton of Winnie the Pooh stuff. I'm sure they're out there, but not a ton. It's not something I would call a dedicated fanbase. But nevertheless, there have been so many Winnie the Pooh properties out there, so many movies, so many specials, so many adaptations. There is a likeable kind of simplicity that people do connect with. And one of the better adaptations, in my opinion, is The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a TV show that majority of the time found that special simplicity that made the character so special, which is more difficult than it sounds. Think about it. Think about, like, your favorite cartoon show and how many special episodes they have, an episode that's gonna touch you, that's gonna be emotional, that's really gonna tug at your heartstrings. Winnie the Pooh is supposed to do that at least half the time, if not more. So creating a series where half the episodes have to be special episodes, again, if not more, is not an easy task. But nevertheless, I thought this show did it pretty well.
Doug (vo): The story is, well, pretty much every Winnie the Pooh story you've ever heard. It's Christopher Robin and his stuffed animal, Pooh, who's so alive with his friends, like Tigger and Piglet and Rabbit and so forth, that Christopher Robin doesn't even need to be around for the adventures to happen. It's like he's somewhere else, he's in school, which always fascinated me. Is he imagining these adventures are going on while he's at school? Is it kind of like The Cat Returns? He just believes in them so much, it's like they have their own little fantasies going on, even if he's not thinking about it? I love abstract thinking like that. So majority of the time, it's Pooh and Tigger and all the other characters just kind of going about their everyday lives, learning lessons, getting into all sorts of trouble, and in the end, just finding a nice spot outside to sit down and chill.
Doug (vo): Again, something difficult to do effectively on a continual basis, but the show does it pretty well. There's a sense it doesn't have to move too fast, they don't have to keep throwing a lot of exciting things at you. Sometimes, just walking around, shooting the shit, and enjoying the environment can be enough. With that said, there's definitely episodes that are much more adventure-oriented. There's, like, ones about being a cowboy, or running away from monsters and bullies, stuff like that. I usually saw these as the lesser episodes, but they're by no means bad.
(Clips from an episode, "Find Her, Keep Her", are shown)
Doug (vo): The episodes that really stuck out to me are the ones that really took their time to focus on the weight of the emotion, even if what they're talking about was very simple or very complex. There's one I remember where Rabbit finds this little orphan bird, and he decides to take care of him*. And it isn't just for one day, it's over a really long period of time, and he sees himself as a parent, and the bird sees him as a parent. But at some point, he literally has to leave the nest, and Rabbit isn't happy about that, he's actually really, really upset, and he doesn't want to say goodbye, and he kind of turns his back on him, and the bird is crying, and it's super-emotional, you don't even really see the bird cry, you just kind of see his back and Rabbit feeling bad, and...it's a highly emotional scene.
- Doug incorrectly refers to Kessie, the bluebird who is the focus of the episode, as a male, when Kessie is actually female.
(Clips from another episode, "Donkey for a Day", are shown)
Doug (vo): There's another great one where everybody feels bad for Eeyore, because, you know, he just seems like a character that's always feeling bad, so everybody tries to cheer him up, and they constantly keep making things worse. But Eeyore reveals he doesn't just sit around doing nothing because he's sad, he sits around, looks at the sky, and does what he calls cloud-painting. What exactly is it? Well, he claims he's just looking at the sky using his imagination, but everybody runs up and can suddenly see it. Again, it's kind of a complex idea, but it's kind of a simple idea, too, and it's a really beautiful moment.
(Various clips resume showing)
Doug (vo): I feel like shows of this caliber are around, in that they do kind of tackle interesting and complex emotions, but they're usually with these very complicated plots...which is fine. Kids love complicated plots, I really got into them, and I think if I grew up nowadays, I would love a lot of the shows that were coming out. But Winnie the Pooh is kind of good at fooling you into thinking, "Yeah, this is just a simple little bit of nothing." But then, the more you let it sit and you come back to it years later, you realize it might've been more important than you gave it credit for.
Doug (vo): Over the years, I keep coming back to the character, and as I get older and older, I like him more and more. I like stories and characters that do that. I like him as a kid, then I kind of lose interest, and then I come back years later, and it's actually a little better, and for reasons I can't always 100% explain. There's just a confidence that what they're doing, no matter how simple, is valuable. There's a simplicity to being complex, and there's a complexity to being simple. It's kind of that great paradox that keeps feeding into itself. It's not always easy to explain, but it's wonderful to feel. And I personally think a lot of that is represented in this show. It's a very difficult thing to get right. But I think this show did get it right, and it deserves a lot of people taking a second look.
(The final scene of "Donkey for a Day", showing all the characters looking up at the sky and witnessing the "cloud-painting" event, is shown)