Season 4, Episode 13: “Year of the Dog” 2/10/2018
Starring: Pluto and Mickey Mouse
Costarring: Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Uncle Scrooge, Horace Horsecollar, and Clarabelle Cow
Setting: Shanghai, China
Plot: A down-on-his-luck Pluto attempts to crash Mickey’s Lunar New Year’s dinner party.
This is the second short to take place in China after Season One’s Panda-monium which was set in Beijing.
Lunar New Year is a celebration based on the beginning of the Chinese lunisolar calendar that is celebrated by many different Asian cultures including the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Vietnamese.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2018 is indeed the Year of the Dog.
The rooster, dog, pig, monkey, rabbit, rat, tiger, snake, and ox taking part in the opening parade are all members of the Chinese Zodiac.
Pluto, in keeping with his role as a destitute dog, is collarless.
Mickey is preparing Dim Sum which is a Chinese meal consisting of smaller snack-sized portions of food. Included are dumplings, noodles, rolls, soup, and a non-snack-sized cooked bird.
Minnie’s gift of Mandarin oranges is a customary symbol of luck during the Lunar New Year.
Chekov’s udders: an appearance by Clarabelle means her udders will eventually come in to play. Here, Mickey ends up getting a milky smack in the face.
Shanghai’s skyline features prominently, specifically the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center which sits next to an Oswald The Lucky Soda billboard.
Final Grade: A-
Much like last episode’s Brazilian double dip, we get another repeat visit to a foreign country (albeit a different city). The backdrop here is Chinese Lunar New Year but what separates this short from the last episode is… Pluto! Despite having large roles in Season Two’s Space Walkies and Doggone Biscuits, this is the closest Pluto has had to a starring role during the series. And, Pluto was FANTASTIC in offering a different vibe and welcome change of pace to the decidedly Mickey/Minnie heavy Season Four. It’s a simple enough story that stays true to some of the classic Pluto shorts of a hungry dog chasing food. Despite some reticence on Mickey’s part, he ultimately relents in bringing the stray dog to his table for a satisfying and warm ending.