Season 5, Episode 4: “Surprise!” 11/18/18
Starring: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck
Costarring: Pete, Ludwig Von Drake, Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Pluto
Setting: Around Town
Plot: In lieu of a surprise party, Mickey’s pals effort in building him a cartoonishly large birthday cake.
This is Mickey’s third birthday episode after “!Feliz Cumpleanos!” (S3, E7) and “The Birthday Song” (S4, E9).
Here is a list of the characters who have attended all three of Mickey’s birthday episodes: Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Horace Horsecollar, and Clarabelle Cow.
This is the series’ sixth seven-minute-long episode after: “Potato Land” (S1, E13), “Wonders of the Deep” (S3, E8), “Ku'u Lei Melody” (S3, E16), “Split Decision” (S3, E19), and “New Shoes” (S4, E15).
I’m loving Mickey’s fourth-wall-breaking, VCR-motif’d storytelling.
Why does Mickey always schedule a dental appointment on his birthday?
Pluto makes the briefest of appearances during a flashback to one of his earlier surprise parties. This begs the question; why isn’t Mickey’s best pal a part of all the present day festivities?
Hanging on Donald’s wall in his house boat is a portrait of Malcolm “Matey” McDuck. Matey, a high-ranking officer in the British Navy during the mid-16th century, made his first of many appearances in Carl Barks’ 1956 Uncle Scrooge comic “Back to Long Ago.”
Among the items In Goofy’s swampside shack are a Tractor Pull wall calendar, a Twister mat, bottles of wine (what else is corked in such a manner?), and a sandwich/girlfriend(?) (presumably from “Goofy’s First Love” (S2, E13))
As evidenced by the monogrammed “M M” awnings, are we to assume the Minnie own her apartment building?
Ludwig Von Drake’s shrinking contraption is similar to the one from “Down the Hatch” (S2, E5).
One of the short’s more clever gags occurs when the flying bicycle starts getting dragged down and Mickey declares they must “lose weight,” only for the gang to start exercising and working out.
Final Grade: B
While not nearly as great as “!Feliz Cumpleanos!,” this birthday episode is about on par with “The Birthday Song.” The first half, with Mickey explaining why he doesn’t want anymore surprise parties, is cleverly done and well executed. The end is fun, but also kind of a bloated mess that didn’t necessarily pay off or live up to its premise.