My kids are young, which means they watch shows intended for younger audiences. And while that wasn’t an extraordinarily deep statement, it does set the stage for a major issue in the world of kids’ entertainment:
Many folks don’t go above and beyond to make the best product possible.
Come on. We’ve all seen them. Kids’ movies that insult even a toddler’s intellect. Movies that don’t make any effort to do something interesting, to layer meanings, to tier their entertainment so someone other than a fart joke aficionado can enjoy it. I mean, I know I’m not the target audience for kids’ shows, but is it too much to ask for them to throw me a bone every now and then? And I’m not talking about an occasional crass bit of sexual innuendo either. No, I mean…something witty. Something creative.
Something like the wonderful Phineas and Ferb (yep, I said that). And the newish series Classic Mickey Mouse.
We happened upon this show a couple months ago, and within thirty seconds I could see that here was something different. Something witty. Something creative.
The show isn’t a rerun of old shows, by the way; it’s called “classic” because it adopts some of the classic styles of yesteryear’s animation. At least I think that’s why they call it that. The average episode of Classic Mickey Mouse lasts a grand total of four minutes, so it’s not like it’ll be a major time investment for you. And if you want to test my taste, feel free to check out this link to “Potatoland,” which is a longish episode for the show (seven minutes) but quite indicative of the quality I’m talking about.
So we begin with Mickey and Donald driving Goofy to a place Goofy has dreamed about since earliest childhood: Potatoland. It soon becomes apparent that Potatoland doesn’t really exist—at least not in the theme park sense that Goofy envisions. What follows is pure genius.
To appreciate Classic Mickey Mouse, you have to really study it, and you really need to remember that the makers didn’t have to go to the lengths to which they went to make the show interesting on so many levels. But they did. Every frame is infused with ingenuity. You never get the sense the creators are going through the motions. So, specifically, what do I like about it?
The music is as varied as it is perceptive.
The voice talent is incredible. The delivery of the actors alone makes the show entertaining.
The animation is full of treats, from the artistic design of the backgrounds to the wonderfully varied facial expressions of the characters.
The plots and twists are always engaging.
The soundscape is nuanced.
Have I mentioned the show is really, really funny?
So watch “Potatoland. Then watch the rest of the Classic Mickey Mouse shorts. Then just see if you don’t spend the next day shouting “Potato-LAND! Potato-LAND! Potato-LAND!”