Friday, February 04, 2011

Discrepancies in Super Why and Mickey Mouse Playhouse: Come Inside It's Fun Inside

I assume you are familiar with the PBS children's show, Super Why? If you're like me you watch it at least once a day and sometimes ten times a day. I like Super Why. It's a good show and not hideously unwatchable (like Sid the Science Kid). I even enjoy Super Why. It's the new Blues Clues. But there are some discrepancies in the plot. There are three main people (Princess Pea, Whyatt, and Red) and also one main pig (Pig). I guess they are all characters from  a fairy tale but what is Whyatt from? Is the show itself the "fairy tale" which he stars in? Is the show, at it's heart, some kind of meta-criticism of the post-modern narrative?

And then there's the question of Whyatt's brother, Jack. Some of my favorite episodes include Jack, the angsty older brother. He has the most beautiful singing voice you ever heard, which is showcased in the episode where he sings a giant to sleep. You see, Whyatt tells us that Jack is the Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk.  How can this be? If that is "his story" did he really sell the family cow for magic beans or is "his story" more like a play he was once in? Normally when they "jump into a story" the story characters are differentiated from the Super Why characters by being in 2-D. Jack isn't 2-D. I wonder a lot about Jack. I'd like to know more about him.

The other thing I wonder about is this: What is Goofy? He's a dog, correct? Why does he walk and talk while Pluto remains in a subservient pet dog position? It would be like if Pig on Super Why had a pet pig that could only oink. I hate Goofy and all the Disney cartoons. They are so flat. One note. Lacking irony. But, back to my question: Mickey has Minnie. They are both mice. Donald pairs off with Daisy and they are both ducks. (How would you like to hang out with Donald Duck? PLEASE! Give me Daffy any day of the week.) So where does Goofy (a dog, presumably) get off having a pet dog and dating a cow? Claribel is a cow! The Disney universe needs to be more consistent with inter-species dating rules.

And then of course there is "Toodles." Toodles is nothing but the Disney logo. They have anthropomorphized the Disney logo! They didn't make him a tool box or even a friendly and helpful frog. Or a pet hamster that hands tools to a walking talking master hamster who dates a cow. Nope. Toodles is a logo. This entrages me. Sometimes I don't pay attention while my kids watch their shows but I heard them saying "Hey Toodles!" along with the TV so I finally looked up to see what this Toodles character was. "THAT"S Toodles? Toodles is nothing? Can't you see that Toodles is nothing?" My kids don't even care. They accept and love Toodles. (Better put critical thinking skills on the list for our summer enrichment lessons.) Here's Mickey talking to "Toodles." Inventive, no? Like, literally: That is Toodles.


  1. I maintain that the freakiest thing about Mikey Mouse Club House are Mickey and Minnie's ears. The nature of portraying an original 2D character in a 3D environment that is projected on a 2D screen means that when mikey and minnie turn their heads their ears have to rotate around their heads as though they are on a spinning bowl, because otherwise they would look like they had no ears when viewed side on. I have clearly thought about this too much. It looks wacked out and yet I seem to be the only person bothered this. A mouse in high heels I can accept. One with an anatomically impossible rotating skull plate I cannot.

    1. I know this is old, but the ears things irks me to no end. I thought I was crazy, glad someone else noticed! lol

  2. I've asked myself this "Goofy" question, too! I even googled it to make sure he was a dog and not a cow because of Pluto and the fact that he's paired with a cow. Random.

    PS...on today's episode Toodles has a birthday and they actually gave him eyes and a mouth. Not sure what I think about that?

  3. At least Mickey and friends have the decency to cover up their genitals, unlike some characters who only wear shirts (I'm talking to you Winnie-the -Pooh!)

  4. I am laughing SO HARD right now. First, I thought "Oh geez... these people have too much time on their hands!" and then I thought again "Wait... I used to have some of these SAME thoughts back when my kids were younger but about different shows!" And yes... I have thought the same thing about Goofy for many many MANY years! I believe I brought this up to my husband around Christmas when the kids got Epic Mickey for Christmas from my Momma.

  5. I got no answers for you. But for some reason your post has made me nostalgic for the Wiggles.

  6. As I read this, Sid the Science Kid is on at my house. The main problem I have with this show is the spazzy friend at school. I like the "I love my mom" song.

    Re: Toodles, sometimes I wish I had one. Like, right now. "I need to assemble this IKEA sofabed, but I'd rather just sit here and eat chips and salsa. Who could put together the furniture? Oh, Toodles!"

  7. Oh Toodles bugs! I've disliked that he is the answer to everything, never a "figure it out for yourself" moment with "it" around. My other peeve is in the theme song. "Come inside it's fun inside." Seriously? Did Fred Durst write this? Has rhyming gotten so difficult? Where are our imagineers to bring things up to the Disney standard?

  8. I spent a few minutes watching Sid the Science kid yesterday and it is unbearable. Why do they all walk like that? Why does Sid's voice sound like a 12 year old but he's clearly a preschooler? I noticed something about Jim Henson in the credits. THAT is his legacy!??

  9. Wyatt is the son of Jack and the Beanstalk (it tool a a while before I figured that out) his brother is Jack Jr. Red is the only one that is actually the Fairy Tale character the others are the sons/daughters of the fairytale characters.

  10. Make Sesame Street seem logical by comparison.

  11. So, Pluto is Mickey's pet, not Goofy's--and its cool that a mouse has a dog as a pet, right?

    Goofy has a son named Max but who is the mother?

    Sid the Science Kid is unbearable.

  12. Suzanne's got it. Pig's dad is one of the original three littles, etc. The best thing about Super Why is that after several months of watching it, when my 4-year-old wants to know something, he says, "Mom, can we check out a book about x?" That's right, son. Have a problem? Look in a book-- so I can keep reading mine.

  13. If Whyatt's dad is the original Jack of Jack and the beanstalk, why is he Jewish?

  14. My theories on MMC: The ears are freaky. No explanation. It all takes place in a domed world created by Mickey's super-rich family and the kids are really in school.

    Goofy is the tutor, Mickey is the heir, the other main clubhouse pals are children of friends of the family. Goofy the tutor? You ask incredulously. Yup - clearly he is an educator who went back to school after a successful career as a clown. I know this because he always asks the leading questions, never hurts himself no matter how traumatic the fall, and would otherwise be too stupid to breathe.

    I have tons of evidence from multiple episodes that back up my ideas. Like when they "Go to Mars" or when Mickey "Makes it Night" to set off fireworks...

    I've given this an appalling amount of thought in an attempt to stay sane.

    Also, Toodles is passive aggressive and suffering from Stockholme Syndrome (Road Rally double episode).

    And the Pluto/Goofy issue can be answered by the most controversial theory - the whole society is based on Island of Dr. Moreau type hyprids, but Pluto is just a regular dog. That's why they have normal birds, but talking chipmunks.

  15. I've been reading your blog for a while now, but I've never commented. So, hi!

    I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only person who has questioned Goofy. I think I might've gotten into an argument with my sister about it, even.

    This didn't really clear things up for me, I'm just happy to know that I'm not alone in my wondering.

  16. We watch Arthur. They have an episode titled "Vomitrocious." No other kids show on earth can beat that level of awesomeness.

  17. My two year old loves the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I think that toodles is preparing generations for dependence on the iphone and apps. There must be some sort of marketing scheme there.

    I enjoy watching the Electric Company on PBS with my older boys. I have learned a lot about grammar and the English language from that television program. I don't ever remember a lesson about silent "e" in grade school, but put it to music or rapping and walah! Lesson learned, schoolhouse rock style.

  18. I've never seen Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and am not really into anything "Mickey" so my kids are curiously unindoctrinated about the whole Mickey Mouse cast. They wouldn't even be able to tell you who any of them are. Maybe I should remedy that before they get to school and are ridiculed.

    But anyway I always wondered the same thing about Goofy and Pluto when I was a kid. Definitely a legitimate question. Goofy's one redeeming quality is the "Goofy yell." Does he do that anymore? That was my favorite cartoon thing. Somehow Goofy would go off a cliff or something and "Aaaaaaaaah-hoo-hoo-hoo" got me laughing every time.

  19. What do you know, top Google search for "Goofy yell."

    Goofy yell

  20. I have no idea what most of those shows are that people are talking about. I have seen Mickey's Clubhouse, so that is something familiar.

    However, it sounds like that the weird factor of US kid shows can't hold a candle to some they show on Cbeebies (the children's BBC). My daughter's favorite show is called 'In the Night Garden'. The characters include (they're all people in costumes ala teletubbies):

    Iggle Piggle: A blue gumby like creature, he doesn't talk but has a bell in his foot and carries a red blanket.

    Upsy Daisy: Her hair stands on end when she's excited and she can pull a cord to make her skirt fly up into a tutu. She and Iggle Piggle kiss a lot.

    Makka Pakka: A troll like creature who lives in a cave and is obsessed with washing and rocks. He counts rocks, washes rocks, washes the other's faces etc.

    Tomliboos (there are three called Un, Oo and Ee). They're always losing their trousers. Seriously, they can't keep them on.

    Pontipines: They're animated clothes peg type characters. Eight kids and two parents. The parents always want to eat outside and make the kids carry the table everywhere.

    I could go on, like how they ride the Pinky Ponk or the Ninky Nonk, but I think you get the idea. Oh and it's all narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi. Seriously.

    It's crazy I tell you! Now back to lurking.

  21. The twins are into Super Why now, and so it's great that it's on Netflix Instant. And every time they watch it, I think, "This show is why Ellen is a genius." I have many random associations like that. For example, every time I spray Beach spray on my hair: Kacy!

  22. Tootles is the smartest character on Mickey Mouse clubhouse. Without him/her Goofy would still be stuck on Mars, Minnie's bday party would have been ruined, and nothing else would ever happen because none of the characters can do anything for themselves!

    I like Between the Lions, because they have a segment called GaWains World with reminds me of Wayne's World.

  23. You are hilarious..and brilliant! Love the observations and good to feel not-so alone in this confusing, twisted world of Sprout. Finally, words to the random, sleep-deprived mur murs of my echoing, bat-filled, musty mommy brain. (hm..mur mur...i'll have to google that spelling or I could ask Pricess P - she really loves to spell..S P E L L) I can't get that song out of my head. Like, ever.

  24. hahahahahahaha

    loved this

  25. I don't like super Why because they can books. What is up with that? I also get freaked out by the mickey mouse ears. Freaky. I hate all the voices in Sid the Science Kid. I use to hate Sesame Street but now i like that they have short clips, all varied, even though some of the human characters are annoying.

  26. Why hate super why? it is very educational for children,it is a great help for us parents because they mix entertainment and learning.Long live Super why!
    Super Why Party Supplies

  27. I AM LMAO reading this!!! I am currently watching the MMC Road Rally and it was really starting to bother me that toodles was talking. My five year old son was the one who said too me that it was really creepy watching toodles talk so I decided to google it to see what was up with that.

    I too have wondered for many years about the whole goofy/pluto thing, but I think that after watching it as a kid and seeing it again I have just become accustom to that is just how it is.

    I thought I was the only one with way too much time on my hands watching cartoons with my three boys and wondering all these strange questions. I am sad to report that after years of watching adult, intellectual shows, I find that my new favorite shows are now Bubble Guppies and Team Umizoomi (the songs are addicting....oh yeah and SpongeBob, gotta love SpongeBob!

  28. Anonymous7:54 AM

    I think you put WAY TOO much though into this. It's a children's T.V. Show, it doesn't have to make logical sense, it's suppose to be fun and colorful and educational FOR THE KIDS. Kids learn best by fun not logic. I highly doing any of the kids young enough to benefit from these types of shows even notice the difference between Pluto, Goofy and Claira Bell, like us ADULTS do. That's like saying Dora is stupid because she can't see a mountain right in front of her, it's to get the kids to interact. Toodles is a great attention grabber simply because kids don't know what he is. Its not about what makes sense its about what grabs attention, and as long as it is educational who gives a crap, your kids is learning whether you like it or not so get over it. Same thing with Super Why. Who cares if Whyatt isn't significantly fairy tale-ish, kids don't look at that kind of stuff. It's like a family with Super Heros in it, chances are not EVERYBODY is going to be Super.... Whyatt is that not Super one but he makes the most of it anyway. Come to think of it he is special. He's making his own fairy tale.... He's got the power to read! Super Why!
    So, yea. I would tell you to grow up, but in this case you need to grow down a decade or two.

  29. Anonymous, I must admit that, while your comment may not have "made sense" it WAS attention-grabbing. I guess that's the most important thing! Who needs logic, anyway? Why teach our kids to think clearly and critically, to ask questions rather than accept discrepancies? All they really need is something to attract their attention!

  30. Anonymous, I think you've put way too much thought I into the thought that we've put into these things. We aren't petitioning to have the shows removed for Pete's sake, we're simply trying to engage in some adult conversation in a world where we are presented with pretty limited intellectual fodder. And Dora IS a bleeding moron. So there :0p


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