We here at A Waltz Through Disney LOVE Disney’s new series of Mickey Shorts. Our family of three will often call up Youtube on a lazy Saturday afternoon and binge watch five or six of them. Amy and I find ourselves particularly in awe of the stylized, new-fangled animation while its frenetic, slapsticky pace gives our six-year-old, Brody, a bad case of the giggles.
But what I appreciate most about the shorts is the way they seamlessly, yet aggressively blend old with new and the familiar with something entirely fresh and different. You hate to say it but, after eighty-or-so years, the “Fab Four” has gotten a tad stale. Don’t get me wrong, the old shorts hold up incredibly well but most incarnations made from the 90s on feel desperate and bland. Even still, you really can’t move forward with Mickey and his pals without tethering it to some sort of long, forgotten nostalgia. For example, if not for the new shorts, I wouldn’t have realized how much more I prefer the look of Minnie’s flower cap from the ‘30s in lieu of the perpetuity of her polka-dotted bow. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my own personal favourite, Goofy, whose vest and no-pants ensemble is also a call-back to the ‘30s from when he was known as “Dippy Dawg.” You will also notice a bit of modern spunk infused into the gang’s personalities. Mickey is no longer the level-headed foil to Donald’s mania. And, while not a complete unhinged lunatic like his web-footed pal, Mickey is now an active participant in their once one-sided rivalry. It’s just a great reminder that these iconic figures who are more soft and cuddly than anything else were once trouble making rascals and this new cartoon shows that they very much still are.
Animation-wise, I’m no expert on cartoons but the style and tone really remind me of what Ren and Stimpy (‘91-‘96) introduced and Spongebob Squarepants (’99 – present) perfected. Just like those modern classics, the new Mickey Shorts manage to be both irreverent yet respectful while also toeing the line of being both cutting edge and retro. It’s not an easy feat to introduce something so different from those original shorts and still appeal to HUGE Disney nerds and traditionalists like Amy, myself and BILLIONS of others.
And, with that, we hope you join us as we go all Leonard Maltin on you in presenting A Waltz through Disney production of “PW Blog-Hosts the New Mickey Shorts”
S1, E1: “No Service” 6/28/13
Starring: Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
Co-Starring: Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck and Goofy
Setting: Santa Monica, CA
While waiting to meet Minnie and Daisy for a date, Mickey and Donald decide to surprise the gals with an impromptu picnic by ordering some lunch from the Snack Shack. However, the Shack’s cook and proprietor, Goofy, refuses the fellas service because the duo are in violation of the establishment’s “No Shirt, No Shoes” policy.
This leads Mickey and Donald into hatching a plan where they combine each others clothes into one outfit so one can get the food while the other stands by… NUDE! Mickey loses Donald’s rigged game of drawing straws/feathers leaving him naked and afraid. As Mickey sees their dates quickly approaching, he’s left relying on a series of sight gags in avoiding being spotted by the girls.’
Back at the Snack Shack, Donald unwittingly tries to pay for their meal with Mickey’s credit card resulting in an angry Goofy kicking him out of the Shack… and right out of his clothes. Of course, the clothes and lunch land with Mickey – our hero, while a naked Donald crashes down at their feet as the literal butt of the joke as he gets excoriated by a furious Daisy.
While not specifically spelled out, the setting looks an awful lot like it’s based on Santa Monica – especially with the Ferris Wheel’d pier.
Also to that end, the Ferris Wheel’s sunburst design may also be a nod to the original incarnation of Mickey’s Fun Wheel from Disney California Adventure.
Coincidence or not, we see a “Casa Escabar” in the background while a differently spelled “Casa Escobar” is an actual Mexican Restaurant in Santa Monica.
Here, Goofy is uncharacteristically ill-tempered while not seeming to have any prior relationship with Mickey or Donald. I’ll chalk this up to the notion that, historically, sometimes these characters are merely just players acting a part in lieu of Goofy having gone through a major crisis of personality.
Also, in lending credence to this theory, Goofy is never referred to as such and is not wearing the traditional outfit he will don in later shorts.
It’s a common joke to point out the inconsistency of Donald not wearing pants yet still wrapping a towel around his waist after a shower. This short cleverly builds on that premise in highlighting the mismatching of Mickey and Donald’s wardrobes.
Minnie is especially cute wearing her flower cap, playing the ukulele while Daisy is downright FIERCE in her parasol, sunglasses and boots combo (especially the boots!) – YOU GO, GURRRL!
I tried to google the lyrics of the song Minnie is singing but, by all accounts, this is a Mickey Shorts original!
The bag that Mickey wears around his torso is incorrectly labeled as “Shack Shack.”
Just like the good ole’ days, Donald is still an unapologetic, a*hole. Rather than help his naked buddy, Donald can only laugh hysterically as Mickey falls into one pratfall after the next.
It’s hard to say if Mickey is intentionally mocking Donald with his flipper’d beak, ducky inner tub’d performance but I’d like to think he is. This 2013 Mickey is already an improvement on the toothless, milquetoast mouse he had become in recent years.
As you will notice, these shorts love to use gross-out gags. The first is a dog urinating on a fire hydrant.
I love the details on Mickey’s Driver’s License down to the Castle Logo to the WED (Walter Elias Disney). But I can’t figure what the rest of the coding alludes to other than the obvious MM. Can YOU???
Speaking of nostalgia, I can’t remember if the old shorts ever employed the two-couple dynamic like this one did but it really evokes what The Flintstones (’60-’66) used to do so well.
Final Grade: A
As the maiden episode, it really set the tone - especially in giving the dulled out Mickey some much needed edge. Great story and very clever with the whole outfit mix-match. While I'm not a huge fan of the way Goofy was used, the dynamic between the two couples really added a fresh feel to the characters' relationships. Plus, this one is just flat-out funny - I lol'd on multiple occasions!