(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from the 2013 series, Mickey Mouse)
Doug (vo): For a while, I've had people asking me to talk about these new Mickey Mouse shorts. I'm...not even really sure what to call them. On YouTube, they're just called "A Mickey Mouse Cartoon". On Wikipedia, it's just Mickey Mouse. I mean, how do we tell the diff...there's clearly a difference between this and the old Mickey Mouse cartoons. I mean, I don't know. I guess we didn't tell the difference between the black and white ones and the color one...but maybe there's the difference, the black and white and the color one...anyway, these are very different from any Mickey Mouse cartoon you've ever seen, but certainly have familiar elements.
Premise and review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): The design, for the most part, goes back to the original Mickey Mouse drawings; dotted eyes, very flat and stringy. The stories have a very similar feel, too, very simple, like Mickey and Minnie going on a date, and he tries to get her a hot dog, but the hot dog slips, so he has to go get it, and it leads to this long, goofy adventure. Everything else, though, is kind of like a mix between Ren and Stimpy and The Powerpuff Girls. The expressions, the energy, the speed, the detail, the sudden lack of detail, you don't really know what's around the corner, and it's almost always insane. I'll admit, when I first saw a few clips of this on YouTube, I was intrigued, but not incredibly sucked in, mostly because I've never been a huge Mickey Mouse fan.
(Clips from older Mickey Mouse shorts, as well as images from House of Mouse, Runaway Brain, and Epic Mickey, are shown)
Doug (vo): I mean, of course I liked him as a child. What little kid didn't? But as I got older, I found his cartoons to be very safe and boring. Donald Duck, Goofy, Chip and Dale, I could still watch those fine, but Mickey was always so bland. And for years, that's pretty much how he stayed, despite many attempts of writers and animators trying to make him interesting, but he's just too popular a brand to take any risks on. He always has to be happy, because happy is friendly, and even if he's mad or sad, it's usually a very relatable situation, and he never gets too out of control or violent or extreme or anything like that. I guess I like that such a friendly persona was admired and looked up to, but he was just never that interesting a character.
(Footage of this show's version of Mickey Mouse is shown)
Doug (vo): Well, man, they go off-script here, because this Mouse is bonkers half the time. His facial expressions alone almost look like a psychotic killer, sometimes he even does stuff that a psychotic killer might do. But for the most part, it still seems just enough Mickey Mouse. Most episodes start off with him in a really happy mood, everything's going his way, until some sort of predicament happens, and his extreme reactions usually come from extreme situations. It's kind of like when you see Kermit the Frog crack. He doesn't do it often, but when he does, you get it, it's relatable. The only real difference is, Mickey goes a lot bigger with his reactions and does it a lot more often, but, again, the situations usually justify it. I'm honestly shocked Disney allowed this icon to go so crazy and violent and over-the-top and screaming and yelling. But maybe that's why they did such a different look for him. I mean, yes, like I said, this is clearly a send-up to the early Mickey Mouse cartoons, but you look at this and you wouldn't confuse it for an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. It clearly has more modern animation and timing.
(Clips focusing on the show's episode involving a hot dog are shown)
Doug (vo): With that said, the updates are very funny. Remember how I was talking about he loses a hot dog and he chases after it, that's kind of something you'd see in an original Mickey Mouse cartoon? Well, in that cartoon, he'd usually just try to get it and it keeps slipping away. But here, the hot dog does that at first, but then, it keeps moving on its own and it grows a consciousness, to a point where it starts going off gambling on the streets, stealing people's purses...it's insane!
(Clips focusing on the show's other characters are shown)
Doug (vo): The shorts are very good at creating this incredible high energy and just writing it as far as they're allowed to go. Honestly, my only complaint is, I wish they could go even further. Not the animation or the goofy ideas or anything like that, I am actually talking about the characters. Someone like Goofy works great in this. He doesn't catch on to stuff, sometimes, he can be selfish without even realizing he's being selfish, so that works in this high energy world. Sometimes, the same can be said for Donald. But the other main characters, like Mickey and Minnie and Daisy, do get to go a lot further than they've ever gone before, but there's a part of me that sees this as a brilliant cartoon if they could just go all the way mean, which I know they can't.
(As various clips continue to show, we are shown several clips from Eek! The Cat)
Doug (vo): I guess what pops in my head is something like Eek! The Cat. He's such this incredibly kind character and always wants to help people, and then the most awful things happen to him. The world is always out to get him, and it leads to terrible circumstances, but Eek is still jolly and happy and acts like it's not a big deal, even when it is. This Mickey is very close to that, but I don't think the world is quite mean enough in order for it to work brilliantly, and Mickey is not quite nice enough for it to work brilliantly, so they kind of give half and half. The world is a little mean, and sometimes, Mickey's a little mean. But again, it's impressive we get that from a Mickey Mouse cartoon at all, and with such energy and creativity and spontaneity. I only bring that up because I think that's the only thing stopping me from loving it. I was watching these and really laughing and having a good time, but I kept scratching my head, saying, "Why aren't I in love with this? Why aren't I treasuring this? There's clearly so much talent behind this, and they're working with something that's very difficult to work with." And, for me, anyway, it's because they couldn't go all the way cruel on one end, whether it's on Mickey's part or the world's part or both. But that really is kind of a nitpick, as, again, you're talking to a guy who never really got into Mickey Mouse cartoons, and for me to really be laughing and excited about what was coming next is very rare for these.
(Clips focusing on the show's animation and several episodes about to be described are shown, as well as images from various cartoons, including Amphibia, The Owl House, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe, and Star vs. the Forces of Evil)
Doug (vo): I really enjoy the look of this show. At first, it took a little time to get used to, but soon, I really warmed up to it. I love both the detail and the simplicity in the backgrounds, I love how they could look very flat, but if you look at how the colors sometimes leave the lines and just the little tiny touches everywhere, they're really well done. A lot of kids' shows nowadays are starting to look the same. If you were to play the first minute or so of a random show without showing any of the main characters, I don't know if I could point out what show it is. This one, I could get right away, even if you never show Mickey, Donald, Goofy, any of them. I also enjoy that not only does it sometimes take place in other countries, like Italy, France, or whatever, but the characters will speak the language. If they're in France, Mickey will speak French, if they're in Italy, he'll speak Italian. And it's just funny hearing these incredibly familiar voices speak a different language, while at the same time, maybe teaching your kids a few new words. I like that they're allowed to mix up the continuity like that, too. It's not that Mickey and Minnie are always a couple, sometimes, you see them meet, sometimes, it works out, sometimes, it doesn't. There's one episode where Goofy's just a zombie, and, by God, he's kind of a terrifying zombie. Again, I was really impressed Disney was allowing this kind of imagery for some of their biggest characters.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): And apparently, I'm not alone. Last I looked, one of these collections had something like 68 million views. I think they even have a ride at the Disney Parks now. (An image of that ride, Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, is shown) I guess that classifies them as a big hit. And you can totally see why. These shorts are imaginative, high energy, innocent and upbeat, but with an incredibly cynical edge, and both kids and adults can watch and enjoy it. If you're like me and you saw a fast, little clip here or there and you didn't know what to make of it, give it a chance. It might be one of the few times Mickey Mouse actually made you laugh.
(The closing scene of an episode, showing Minnie kissing Mickey and Mickey shrugging to the camera, is shown)