Mickey Mouse: Animal Confusion
In the article Mickey Mouse Shorts: Diversity and Comedy Coming Together I talked about the new 2013 Mickey Mouse shorts and how these new collection of shorts made old cartoon characters drawn in an old style entertaining for a new generation. Mostly by introducing more diversity to the content. And by referencing other classical Disney material within its shorts. This article however will talk about some other aspect about the new Mickey Mouse shorts. Specifically, the fact that despite these shorts taking place in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals and starring anthropomorphic animals, there still existed pets or events that involved non-sentient animals. Some of these episodes took place in an area where animals watching other animals in enclosed areas might be seen as somewhat awkward for viewers, one episode was weird in that a character who was a dog got the chance to enter a dog show, and even a national event like the Running of the Bulls was weird because the bulls in this Mickey Mouse short seemed too sentient to willingly participate in an event like this. In the episode Panda-monium Mickey Mouse tried to get a picture of a baby panda while in a zoo, in a world where everybody was an animal. The episode Dog Show, the viewer got to see two dog characters participate in the same dog show, despite one of those dogs technically designated as one of the human characters. And the episode Al Rojo Vivo had its animals participate in an event where they chased their fellow animals, despite being shown at some points to possess a higher level of intelligence despite not being an anthropomorphic creature.
The episode Panda-monium began with Mickey Mouse visiting a zoo in China. Mickey Mouse, the animal, was visiting a zoo for animals. And taking pictures. Naturally, Mickey decided to take pictures of all the animals in the zoo. But when it seemed like Mickey was done taking pictures of the animals in the zoo, he saw other anthropomorphic animals get excited over one particular exhibit. A panda exhibit. With a baby panda which was stereotypically portrayed as cute. Unfortunately, the first time Mickey tried to take a picture of the panda, the panda was hiding behind a bamboo tree. The second time, the panda had a fan which hid his face. Subsequent attempts to take the baby panda's picture also failed because of a random pair of glasses, the panda laying on a lounge chair and wearing a cosmetic mask, and randomly growing a mustache. Fortunately, Mickey got the idea to get to high ground to get a shot of the baby panda. But the unfortunate thing about that plane was that some of the animals were not happy about Mickey going on their pens, or using them as lookouts. like an elephant who looked like a pile of rocks. But due to some comedic shenanigans, Mickey eventually ended up in the same pen as the baby panda. But by the end of Panda-monium, Mickey was mistaken for the baby panda and he git his picture taken. This episode was strange in that the animals, like the panda, seemed to have their own personality and sentience that suggested that they were more than just animals that could be kept in a zoo. Yet, Mickey and the other anthropomorphic animals still treated them like ordinary animals. Which was somewhat strange.
Pluto, Mickey Mouse's pet, was a dog. Goofy, one of Mickey's friends, was a dog that normally did not behave like a dog. So it was interesting that the episode Dog Show acknowledged that difference. Dog Show began with Mickey Mouse playing with Pluto in the park before a dog show. Soon Goofy comes out and decides to play with Pluto. After playing fetch resulted in Pluto falling off a cliff, Mickey revealed that if he and Pluto won the dog show, they would give the prize money to the orphanage down the street. Fortunately, after seeing that Goofy and Pluto shared similar traits due to both being dogs, Mickey decided to enter Goofy into the dog show as a replacement. But this proved to be more difficult than Mickey imagined. Mostly because Goofy had a hard time behaving like a pet dog. Mostly because Goofy could not behave like a dog as an animal. Like when he got up and tried to sign his name when he was not supposed to. During the actual dog show, Goofy still messed-up because he could not perform regular dog tricks like a regular dog. One example during the actual dog show was when Goofy decided to use a chair when all of the other dogs were commanded to sit. By the end of Dog Show it looked like Mickey and Goofy were going to lose the dog show. That was intil Mickey snapped and basically won the competition himself. And became a dog himself.
Al Rojo Vivo
The interesting thing about the new Mickey Mouse shorts was the fact that different events from foreign countries were referenced as the plots of some episodes. One case was the episode Al Rojo Vivo, where Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse got to go to Spain to celebrate the annual Running of the Bulls. As the name suggested, the Running of the Bulls involved a group of men running from a large group of bulls. Like all of the other previous Mickey Mouse shorts, all of these men were portrayed as anthropomorphic animals and the bulls were portrayed as regular animals. Of course, certain shenanigans in Al Rojo Vivo made it so that Mickey was forced into participating in the same Running of the Bulls. But with just one bull. And since Mickey was colored red with anger in one scene, the stereotypical idea that bulls got angry and chased anything that was the color red, this meant that this one bull sould obsessively chase Mickey throughout Spain. Hilariously for Mickey, his chase sequence with the bull always had something colored red, like signs, cars flowers, and instruments, which meant that Mickey had to run for a fairly long time; eventually making his way into a part of Spain where the entire block was colored red. Except for one single white door. Which Mickey was able to use as camouflage after forcing his body to be completely white as well. For the comedy of this segment, the bull managed to find and chase Mickey, but he became red himself. Which meant that he would be chased by the rest of the bulls. And run in a bipedal fashion. By the end of Al Rojo Vivo all of the bulls managed to stand on their front two legs, but Mickey's iconic red pants meant that the bulls would continue chasing him.
The new Mickey Mouse shorts had episodes where the fact that everyone was an animal seem strange when certain institutions and rituals required non-sentient animals to function. Some episodes even poked-fun at the fact that some of Mickey's friends, like Goofy and Pluto, were sentient and non-sentient versions of each other. But since Mickey Mouse was a comedy, they all had a funny tone to them.