Mickey Mouse Gets Mean

Bloggers mock Disney's plans to show a new "dark side" of Mickey

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Disney wants Mickey Mouse to shed his squeaky clean image. "Epic Mickey," a new videogame, will showcase the beloved mouse's darker traits, including guilt, selfishness and destructiveness. This is all part of a larger plan to make Mickey relevant to a younger, edgier generation. (Game makers claim it's a return to the mouse's pugilistic roots on display in his first cartoon, "Steamboat Willie.") Bloggers greeted the news with dark humor and sarcasm.

  • He'll Always Be a Corporate Shill  The Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn says that Mickey only resonates with people over 60. To everyone younger, he's an enigma at best. He thinks Mickey's most enduring manifestation is as the icon of the Disney brand: "Mickey does mean something to us: Disney. The entire enterprise. From "Steamboat Willie" to "Homeward Bound II," wholesome family entertainment and costly recreation, the cable channel, souvenir opportunities, media acquisitions, alleged subliminal dirty pictures and songs we cannot cannot cannot get out of our minds."
  • Finally, Mickey Mouse Will Be An Asshole remarks Ann Althouse, "He needed some edge."
  • Deranged and Perverted Gawker has a field day with the news. Azaria Jagger notes the sexual undercurrent in Mickey's new personality: "The sexual creepiness here is subtle, which almost makes it worse, because you start wondering if maybe it's all in your head, and you're just the kind of perv who reads a sentence about an 'adventurous, enthusiastic and curious' child-like character and suddenly starts wondering, wait, what is the third G in GGG? And: Well, his feet are pretty big. And: In retrospect, he always did dress a bit like a Chippendale dancer."
  • Like Chris Brown, In Reverse  their damage-control for celebrity scandals like Kanye West's interruption of Taylor Swift:
While branding oneself takes time and effort to spin out a new product, re-branding can take several washes to redefine that same brand. Take for example the work United Airlines had to accomplish after breaking someone's guitar. Let alone the number of Twitter apologies issued forth by Chris Brown and Kanye West. But when others do it in reverse and run their good-guy image through a darkside wash cycle, the task might be a little easier. Such is the case with the re-engineering of  one Mickey Mouse.
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