Mickey Mouse Shorts: Diversity and Comedy Coming Together
Mickey Mouse as a character has been around for a very long time. As the first and original mascot for Walt Disney's animation company in 1928, Mickey Mouse's image has become one of the biggest icons for Disney as a character and as a franchise. Unfortunately the original 1929-1939 Silly Symphony shorts that featured Mickey Mouse and all of the other Disney characters Walt Disney made later on were not being broadcasted on the television anymore due to a recent focus on live-action programs or different cartoons. However, with the creation of the new Mickey Mouse shorts in 2013, new viewers had the chance to view a Mickey Mouse who emulated earlier incarnations of the character, but with interesting references to alternate properties of Disney and increased diversity. With Mickey Mouse acting like earlier incarnations in the new shorts,Mickey Mouse has made a cartoon which showed the original Mickey Mouse's less-than-perfect personality, but in a modern setting. With an emphasis with including diversity in the new Mickey Mouse shorts, new viewers have a chance to see equal representation both locally and internationally and see fascinating references of older Disney animation characters. And a recent episodes that starred Minnie Mouse shows that Disney is at least interested in making both Mickey and Minnie interesting characters for new viewers.
A Return to the Classics
With the new Mickey Mouse shorts viewers now had the chance to view Mickey Mouse before massive character development and redefining made him into the idealistically moral figure modern children have seen in other cartoons, books, and video games. Now the viewer got to see a Mickey Mouse who was more slapstick in nature. He took things without asking people, he made mistakes, got hurt, tried to avoid involving himself in situations if it looked like he could get hurt, and sometimes broke-in people's homes to help his friends.
In the Stayin' Cool short the viewer saw Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy break into a wealthy character's pool to escape a heat wave. After getting caught and escaping the characters then proceeded to break into a car wash to use the water like a shower and fail, used someone else's airplane rotor like a fan and get reduced to skeletons, break into a butcher shop and run way due to Donal Duck nearly getting butchered by the butcher, and finally break into an ice cream truck. Which crashes into a fire hydrant. Which turned what was originally an overly heated environment into a colder and icy environment. What this short showed was a less-than-perfect Mickey Mouse. In the spirit of the original Mickey Mouse cartoons, the new Mickey Mouse shorts displayed a Mickey Mouse who did things for the sake of comedy.
In the Down the Hatch short the viewer got to see a Mickey Mouse who indulged in an activity at the expense of another character. After accidentally getting himself and Goofy shrunk down and ingested by Donald Duck, rather than immediately find a way out, Mickey decides that Donald's body could be a source of scientific discoveries. So while Mickey and Goofy are playing inside of Donald, Donald experiences weird results in the outside. And when Donald finds out, rather than apologize, Mickey says that he and Goofy can explain why they were inside Donald. While Mickey and Goofy make it outside of Donald safely, the viewer spends a few minutes seeing a more mischievous Mickey Mouse rather than a courteous Mickey Mouse.
What really made the new Mickey Mouse shorts more appealing to new and old viewers was the inclusion of international elements and cameos from characters that belonged in those different countries. When a short took place in a different country the characters, Mickey Mouse included, would adopt aspects of that country, like language, and act like they were from that country.
In the Croissant de Triomphe short the viewer sees Mickey, Minnie, and all of the characters speak French throughout the entire cartoon because it takes place entirely in France. What made international shorts like Croissant de Triomphe even more fascinating were the cameos of past Disney characters from other Disney cartoons or movies. In the video above Cinderella and Prince Charming from the the 1950 movie Cinderella made cameo appearances and the Notre-Dame Cathedral from the 1996 movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame gets to be used as a source of Mickey Mouse's slapstick humor. Sometimes even rides can make cameos in these shorts.
In the Switzerland-based short Yodelberg the Matterhorn Bobsleds from Disneyland made an appearance, or rather the Abominable Snowman and destroyed versions of the bobsled ride vehicles made an appearance. The new inclusive nature of the Mickey Mouse shorts meant that the characters could adopt the culture and mannerisms of people living in foreign countries, and still make an entertaining cartoon that does not diverge too much from the characters' personalities, which viewers from foreign regions can enjoy.
Letting Minnie in on the Action
Minnie Mouse, a character that was drawn in 1928 alongside Mickey Mouse and served as his significant other throughout all these years, got a chance to shine as her own character in the new Mickey Mouse shorts.
For the Clogged short the viewer got to see Minnie Mouse in her own adventure, and her own version of slapstick. Taking place in Holland, Minnie is presented with the problem of a windmill not providing water for one of her tulips. After trying and failing to fix the problem externally by producing wind to turn the windmill, Minnie decides to make a bicycle that could turn the windmill internally. She does this by outfitting herself with humongous clogs. Minnie initially succeeded in watering her plant, but the increased momentum eventually caused the windmill to break and destroy a neighboring town that was near where Minnie was pedaling. While Minnie Mouse in older Disney shorts would have been the damsel-in-distress or served as a catalyst for Mickey to save the day, the 2013 Mickey Mouse managed to make Minnie a character who can be a source of slapstick comedy as much as Mickey.
Mickey Mouse as a character and a franchise has been around for a long time. With the 2013 Mickey Mouse shorts the creators attempted to recapture Mickey Mouse's more mischievous personality, but with more modern sensibilities. The new shorts show Mickey get into some of his classical shenanigans, but with a more modern art style. One of the big changes for these new shorts was the integration of cultural elements like language or characters being acknowledged and displayed for the viewer to watch. And the inclusion of Minnie Mouse as her own separate character shows that Disney can make a more socially diverse cartoon where both the males and females can get into trouble and cause slapstick equally. Overall Mickey Mouse shows new viewers older incarnations of Disney mascots that older viewers were fans of, but with more diversity and cultural elements that can make even people who do not speak English appreciate the characters and laugh at the same slapstick humor with viewers that have had a better grasp of the English language..