Mickey Mouse Shorts: Foreign Lands and Languages
As I have said before, the Mickey Mouse shorts that Disney has been creating recently has a surprising amount of diversity compared to the older shorts Disney has produced. In the article Mickey Mouse: Real World References I talked about how some of the shorts had Mickey Mouse as a resident of a real world country and the humor that came with that country. However, since this series of shorts started in 2013, there have been an increase in shorts taking place in a foreign land. Usually with the conflict of the episode involving an aspect of said foreign land. And with all of the characters gaining the ability to fluently speak whatever foreign language was dominantly spoken in that foreign land.
O Sole Minnie
Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse have been one of the most famous animated couples in American animation for quite some time now. Needless to say, episode from the Mickey Mouse series that focused on romance would involve these two. Especially in a place like Venice, Italy, where gondolas have been associated with romantic interactions, resided. Here Mickey Mouse played the role of gondolier. Minnie Mouse played the role of waitress. Mickey, of course, was smitten upon coming into contact with her. Unfortunately, his job as a gondolier made it hard to really talk with Minnie. Especially with the other boaters in the Venice waterways. Even more unfortunate was Mickey's initial attempts to woo Minnie actually getting the attention of another woman in the short. A very large woman. Mickey's second attempt at getting Minnie's attention involved Mickey (in Italian) serenading Minnie with a romantic song. Which was immediately interrupted by people banging metal objects together, anthropomorphic birds squawking at each other, and an opera singing whale. The third attempt was even more drastic. In an attempt at sky-writing, Mickey decided to install a motor on his gondola that would help in writing messages in the sky. To get said gondola airborne however, Mickey used Venice's buildings (and It's a Small World's clock tower) as ramps to get into the sky. Once airborne, Mickey did successfully write a greeting for Minnie, but all that plan did was cause property damage. Dejected, Mickey decided to give up. Fortunately, O Sole Minnie ended the short with her coming to Mickey and introducing herself. Thus ending this short on a happy note.
Everybody has a birthday sometime during the year. Even fictional characters. Which was what was being celebrated in ¡Felíz Cumpleaños! Interestingly, unlike O Sole Minnie, this short had all of its characters speaking in fluent Spanish. Which is fascinating because hearing the voice actors of these Disney characters speak in fluent Spanish is uniquefor viewers of the classical Disney shorts. As a nod to its Spanish influence, ¡Felíz Cumpleaños! began with Goofy, Minnie, and Daisy singing a Spanish version of Happy Birthday. Turns out that the Birthday Boy was, of course, Mickey Mouse. Of course, in typical Mickey Mouse fashion, this party was interrupted. By a gang of living piñatas. Who then proceeded to not only destroy Mickey's Birthday Party, but also terrorize all of Mickey's guests. Mickey does put up a valiant effort when fighting off the piñatas. Unfortunately, due to the sheer numbers, Mickey was eventually subdued by the piñatas. And forced into a Spanish Birthday tradition of being blindfolded and having his face shoved into a cake. This act, while a lighthearted tradition in Spanish culture, was seen as a somber moment for ¡Felíz Cumpleaños! Especially with the montage of all of the care that came with the preparation of the cake. Which prompted a second fight against the piñatas. A fight that had Mickey cut all of the piñatas in a way that left most of them as bisected masses with their candy innards scattered. And while the leader of the piñatas begged for mercy, an act of deception sealed his fate. As a source of free candy and sugar for children.
America's relations with the Middle East could be considered divisive, to say the least. While there are countries allied with the United States of America, some countries look at us negatively. Fortunately, the conflicts of that country did not stop Disney from making a short that took place in the Middle East. Simply titled Turkish Delights, this short focused on the confection that Mickey Mouse made. After opening with the creation of Mickey's Turkish Delights, the short moved onto the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. Upon opening his store, Mickey began distributing his Turkish Delights to children. Of course, in attracting customers, Mickey took the business away from some of the other sellers in the Grand Bazaar. Specifically Donald and Goofy. Who were understandably angry. So much so that Donald and Goofy forcibly kicked Mickey out of the Grand Bazaar. Obviously this resulted in Mickey trying various ways to get back into the Grand Bazaar. One plan, using a merchant selling coffee, was used to distract Donald. Which failed. And resulted in Mickey getting thrown onto a field. Another plan involved Mickey disguising himself as a shepherd and getting past Goofy with a flock of sheep. This plan failed and Mickey was thrown even farther away. Now aware of Mickey's attempts at entering the Grand Bazaar, Donald and Goofy were even more vigilant. Which meant that Mickey had to be more creative about how to sneak past them. Like using his Turkish Delights in a constructive manner to evade Donald and Goofy. Later Mickey actually managed to sell some of his Turkish Delight, but Donald and Goofy managed to catch up with him again. And when they managed to toss Mickey into the sky, Mickey just came up with another idea. Using his Turkish Delight, Mickey managed to construct his own Bazaar. But to show that he was a good sport, Mickey decided to invite Donald and Goofy to be his business partners in selling Turkish Delight.
The world is filled with many cultures. Those cultures can have their own languages. Mickey Mouse has managed to make shorts that not only had its characters live and operate in a way that was similar to a person living in the same country, but the characters' voice actors were also able to speak the foreign language to corresponded with whatever foreign country. Which is neat because viewers could hear characters like Mickey Mouse speak in a foreign language without getting another voice actor to dub over the English words, but now they can see some representation for countries that were not the United States of America.