For some reason, when Walt Disney sat down at his desk to draw an animated figure that would endear itself to millions through sheer cuddliness, he did not draw a penguin. I don’t know why. Penguins have to be the most cuddly animals on the planet, and would be my first choice for a sentimental cartoon character.
Instead, what he chose was a mouse. Having had a mouse in the house before, I’m here to testify that mice are neither cute nor cuddly. Mice are demons. It’s like choosing a fly for a main character, except that flies don’t poop all over the house. Or if they do, it’s too small to see.
Of course, if it was Mickey Mouse alone I wouldn’t mind. No, animated mice have been dominating the animated animal kingdom for a hundred years now. Disney alone had talking mice in Cinderella and The Rescuers, Dumbo and The Great Mouse Detective and Robin Hood and even The Aristocats. An American Tail and The Secret of NIMH also had mice characters.
Don’t get me started on Angelina Ballerina, where the characters live in a world only inhabited by dancing mice. I didn’t even know she existed, but with three young daughters, I have yet another cartoon mouse in my life.
Cats are invariably the bad guys in these shows. I would like a much more realistic family film, one where the thieving, dirty, ugly mice are hunted down and killed by cats, who place the mouse corpses on the doormat of the home to show just how important cats are. Okay, so maybe it would not be a great family film, but it would be a happy one.
The only bad mice in animated shows I can think of are Pinky and The Brain, a couple of pet mice who try to take over the world in every episode. It’s played for laughs, but this is really what goes through every mouse’s mind. Mice always live in holes in the wall, but really, they want to be running the joint. Tom and Jerry got that right at least.
I’m not sure just how cuddly penguins really are, since I’ve never tried to cuddle one. I have a feeling they probably aren’t as cuddly as they look. And I don’t know how many plot lines you can come up with in the frozen Antarctic. But man, it would be a great break from all those mice. It’s like we have an infestation.