I love my Mom, I love my Wife…why doesn’t Disney?February 13, 2008 at 6:10 am | Posted in Being a Dad, Musings, Reviews | 3 Comments
Tags: aladin, Bambi, cars, cinderella, Disney, Disney Dead Mom’s Club, dombo. snow white, Evanescence, jungle book, max and goofy, Nemo, pinocchio, Pixar, pochahontas, the fox and the hound, the little mermaid
Read the second part of this post here!
The opening lines of the Disney-Pixar film “Finding Nemo” relate a (somewhat) touching exchange between a husband and wife as they settle into their new home and contemplate their soon-to-be family…They are in essence ‘ pregnant’ (the fertilized eggs are outside the fish…cuts down on labor pain), and are setting up the new nursery (we’ve all been there) – here are the lines:
Coral: Yes, Marlin. I… No, I see it. It’s beautiful.
Marlin: So, Coral, when you said you wanted an ocean view, you didn’t think you were going to get the whole ocean, did you? Huh?
Marlin: Oh, yeah. A fish can breathe out here. Did your man deliver, or did he deliver?
In the ensuing scene, Coral (aka MOM/WIFE) and all but one of the eggs are devoured by some ravenous sea creature (an eel?). True to Disney’s longstanding tradition, mom and wife are killed off and taken out of the picture before she has any impact at all. Hmmmmm….
I’m going to take a little break from the music scene to contemplate this Disney curiosity (pathology?). First a list of films (that I can recollect) that belong to the Disney Dead Mom’s Club (These are in no particular order):
- Dumbo (OK,not dead, but caged and considered insane)
- Snow White
- Pinocchio (Maybe this is unfair, Gepetto is a pretty irresponsible Dad, though, getting pregnant with no mom to support him…)
- Jungle Book (OK, Walt was an equal opportunity killer there, knocking Mom and Dad off…Speaking of equal opportunity, how about that “Lion King?” Just Dad was killed…)
- The Little Mermaid (Actually, this may have been a divorce situation…in any event, mom/wife is no where to be seen.)
- Aladin (neither the hero or the heroine have a Mom)
- The Fox and the Hound (another orphan situation with Tod, the fox)
- Beauty and the Beast
- Max and Goofy…(again, it’s hard to say here, who would marry Goofy after all? Some quasi-dog lady probably just went home with him one night after one-too-many at the local pub, then left him with the kid…)
- Cars (Just kidding, Cars don’t really talk or have relationships – they are made on production lines which, if I remember my high school biology correctly, might also be referred to as asexual reproduction.)
So, as this large body of work demonstrates, Walt Disney, and the whole Disney family, it would seem, has an issue with parents generally, and specifically with moms…why? An internet search of Walt’s family history doesn’t offer a lot of insight (granted, I didn’t look too hard)…Wikipedia states, “Walt and his sister Ruth attended the Benton Grammar School where he met Walter Pfeiffer. The Pfeiffers were theatre aficionados, and introduced Walt to the world of vaudeville and motion pictures. Soon, Walt was spending more time at the Pfeiffers’ than at home… “(Read the whole bio here: Walt Disney at Wikipedia). Does the fact that Walt effectively left home at the age of 9 indicate some deep divisions in the Disney home? Could he have left home because of a domineering Mom who emasculated him and ensured that generations thereafter would suffer through scores of animated features which are, in essence, Walt’s working out his childhood demons based on his fear of his mother? Probably, but without some major research, we can only speculate.
The other option, of course, is that Walt and company needed a quick dramatic jolt to jettison their early films deep into the public consciousness. What better than the death of a mom? What, after all, is more sacred than motherhood? The concept is shocking, and it doesn’t take a cynic to imagine Walt and the boys sitting around trying to figure out how to move their little children’s film from average to blockbuster. The room, of course, was full of cigar smoke, and one of the guys said, “Let’s off the mom…that’ll get some attention…” It’s cheap, easy emotion, and, in a two hour film, it leaves lots of room for musical numbers and some comedy. After that first time, when Bambi hit the big numbers, the boys were hooked, and they’ve never looked back. It keeps paying, as “Nemo” showed us in 2003, sixty-one years after Bambi’s 1942 release.
So why doesn’t Disney love Moms? Simple, it doesn’t pay, and, in spite of what Mickey and the rest would have you believe, this is all about the money…they can’t let a few moms get in the way…
So, in tribute to Bambi’s and all the other Disney moms and wives out there – here’s an Evanescence song…we’re with you Bambi and Bambi’s Mom, Nemo and Coral, Dumbo and Dumbo’s Mom, etc….you live on, no matter what Walt put you through!