I love/hate Disney

Here’s the latest episode in my ongoing saga of my love/hate relationship with Disney.

I like Winne the Pooh. There is a marked difference in the quality of story between the original A.A.Milne stories and the Disney spawn. The A.A.Milne stories are sappy and sentimental, but they are just stories about a boy and his friends. The Disney stories are always preachy, and try to teach kids something about right and wrong. This is deeply ironic coming from a company like Disney, but we won’t go there right now, because I’m peeved about something entirely different this time.

There’s a new Winnie The Pooh video, and I was enough of a sucker to buy it. I regret this decision. The movie, so that you can avoid it, is called “Winnie the Pooh – Springtime with Roo”. It is, theoretically, an Easter story, although it has nothing whatever to do with Easter. (And here, too, I will omit a tangent into the difference between Easter and what we in the United States celebrate around this time of year.) It’s about how Rabbit is controlling, and gets irate when things don’t go exactly the way that he plans, so he cancels the easter egg hunt.

Then, thing get really bizarre. He is visited by the spirits of easter past, easter present, and easter future, and persuaded to change his ways and be a better bunny.

* pause for this to sink in *

So, they are so completely incapable of coming up with new plot lines that they rip off Dicken’s “Christmas Carol” for an easter video? That’s just about the lamest thing to come out of Disney in a long, long time.

I am a big fan of Dickens, and “Christmas Carol” is my favorite Dickens work. And I own at least 6 different renditions of “Christmas Carol” movies, ranging from the serious Patrick Stewart version to the Jetsons Christmas Carol. But even if you are as fanatical as I about this story, I do not recommend that you get this one. I was positively slack-jawed watching this, and the only reason I didn’t turn it off, as soon as I realized what they were doing, was that my little person was watching it and wanted to see how it turned out.

I suppose that Disney, who so many parents entrust with their children’s entertainment, have become complacent with this role, and don’t feel that they really need to produce anything of any genuine artistic quality except for the twice-a-year box-office movies, one of which might be good enough to sit all the way through.

While I used to feel that I could feel safe with Sarah watching the Disney Channel and PBS, I’m starting to see more and more things on Disney that make me wonder if I really want to have that in my home. Not just because it is terrible from an artistic/literary perspective, but because the values that are being promoted are just getting a little too odd.

And, of course, PBS seems to be leaning in the “all answers are right” direction with a lot of their shows. (Follow the decision-making process on Dragon Tales some time. All answers are equally valid, and are not subjected to any kind of sieve of experience. “This didn’t work the last 8 times we tried it, but to reject it would devalue you as a person.”)

Perhaps just pitching the TV in front of the next train might be the wisest move.