The Questionable Ethics of Mickey Mouse & Friends
Our two year old loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Propping her in the sofa with some breakfast, and her favorite TV show on the idiot box on a Saturday morning brings calm and serenity to the household. We usually watch with her, and recently we had the pleasure of watching the story of “Donald and the Beanstalk”.
In the episode, Donald trades his favorite chicken for magical beans from a mentally challenged giant. Realizing that the beans are not magical in the way he thought, he throws them angrily to the ground. The beans then rapidly grow into a huge beanstalk, which leads up into the cloud where the giant lives. This shows that the beans were, in fact, magical after all, making the terms of the trade - favorite chicken for magical beans - valid.
Despite it being a fair trade, Donald is hellbent on getting his chicken back. That he has now used the beans doesn’t seem to be important to him. He teams up with Mickey and Goofy, and they all climb the beanstalk to the giant’s farm to steal Donald’s chicken back. At the farm, they sneak past the giant, who is sleeping peacefully in his bed, and locate the chicken. It looks like they are about to commit the perfect crime. But on their way back from the farm, the chicken cackles, and the giant wakes up.
The chase is on.
The three robbers call upon the assistance of one of their criminal friends, a mechanical assistant called Toodles. He uses his magical powers of materializing objects out of nothing to create a soap bubble machine, which they use to create a diversion. The soap bubbles make the giant forget all about just being robbed by a pack of criminals led by a duck without pants. The reaction to the bubbles clearly shows that the giant’s mental capabilities is below average. Most grown men wouldn’t abandon a chase like this to play with soap bubbles.
The soap bubble machine soon runs out of bubbles, though, and the chase continues. It finally ends when the giant catch up with the three “mousketeers” at the bottom of the beanstalk, where Mickey starts to argue on Donald’s behalf.
“Boo Boo Chicken is Donald’s chicken, and he didn’t mean to trade him. […] You can have your beans back, but look; they grew into a big, magic beanstalk!” - Mickey Mouse hustling a giant.
What I hear: “Trading Boo Boo Chicken was an accident, you moron. That makes it OK to steal him back. But, hey, you can have your stupid beans back. They’re not beans anymore, though, but a huge beanstalk. Sod off, retard!”
In the end, Toodles conjures up a cuddly teddy bear for the giant. He seems to be happy with that, and there is no mentioning of pressing charges against Donald, Mickey and Goofy. So what did this episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse teach our two year old? Her two main takeaways were:
- Making a trade with someone, and then stealing back what you traded for is perfectly fine.
- Taking advantage of people with reduced mental capabilities is totally A-okay.
I hope you realize that this who post is intended to be rather tongue-in-cheeck, and that I’m not actually worried that she’ll start hustling toys from her friends now. But if she does, I know who to blame. TV!
“Donald and the Beanstalk” is Disney’s relatively child-friendly adaption of the well-known fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The original contains both theft and bloody murder, and at least Disney decided to keep that last part out of their version.