You have to hand it to Disney, despite now owning almost all of the world’s most popular entertainment franchises they still persevere in trying to make Mickey Mouse lovable. It’s that sort of dedication that got them where they are today but it’s a futile effort. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy Duck, Pluto and Goofy are all unlikable creatures. Unfunny, lacking style or character, with annoying voices, and brought to life via unremarkable animation. You can argue that they are iconic until you are blue in the face but no one in their right mind would have any of them in their hundred favourite cartoon characters. Most historically important? Sure. But favourite? Sorry. Not a chance. The shorts may have been cutting edge when they were made, but compared to the work Chuck Jones, Isadore Freling, Tex Avery and others did at Warner Brothers, they are, to use a contemporary expression, basic. Disney’s repeated mistake of introducing characters that cannot communicate effectively being just the tip of a particularly lame iceberg.
But the damn mouse is on all the merchandise so, you know, gotta keep trying.
It is hard to argue that Mickey and The Roadster Races is anything but a huge step backwards. It’s a conceptual tyre fire, supposedly a sort of wacky races meets light comedy it unnecessarily crowbars in a subplot where the female characters run a housework-for-hire business because, you know, you couldn’t just have female characters racing cars like everyone else, could you? But not content with being a bit sexist in a naff, old fashioned way, Mickey and The Roadster Races is also boring. Really boring. Like, even children find it boring, boring. Largely because their heroes aren’t characters, they are brands, labels. You have to make the show then print the t-shirts, not the other way around. Mickey doesn’t represent anything other than existing as Mickey. He is a blank page that for contractual reasons nobody is allowed to write on.