We’ve been a little slow to letting Ellison watch television. Maybe me more than my lovely wife. I thought that it’d rot her brain out when she was first born. Or make her go blind. I mean, TVs these days are freaking five feet wide and can light up an entire zip code. Not sure what I thought. Maybe I just didn’t want her to spend her entire childhood sitting in front of the TV thinking it’s the world The Today Show broadcasts. We live in rur-ban Texas. It ain’t that scary out here. We watch frontal boundaries and home invasions. Some vandalism. Some guy goes on a tear and pokes holes in fifteen tires and then robs a Toot N Totum, later to be caught at drinking at a bar. That’s news. The Today Show has more violence, sex, lewdness and terror than most good screenwriters could feasibly write into a Hollywood script. They don’t hold any punches. And if it’s not that, they’re warning you on how your child’s toys will kill them.
My criticisms of today’s television have made me increasingly leery of letting Ellison watch anything other than Red Sox games (which are always fully permissible…basketball, however, is still on the banned list on account of Kevin Garnett’s colorful mouthing of a certain f-word and g.d.-word…and Chris Bosh’s ugly raptor-like mug). That was until my lovely wife insisted that I add back into our cable selection the kids’ stations that I deleted out when we first got satellite like certainly we’ll never need those stations in the same way I deleted out the Spanish channels and shopping networks. After adding them back in, my lovely wife quickly gravitated toward the Disney Channel, a brand you can always trust. It was a little program called “Mickey Mouse Club House.”
It really caught me open. For real. Mickey, Goofy and Daffy Duck knocked my whole world on its side. I wasn’t expecting it. Amazing how something can completely overtake you if you’re not ready for it. Last time that happened, it was Funkadelic’s first four records. Now it’s Mickey Mouse. I’ve become obsessed with this show and not necessarily out of enjoyment. More like I can’t take my eyes away. Like yesterday, a vendor was in and played a clip from Celtic Thunder and there were people dancing around like the video to “Safety Dance” with smoke machines, people in trees doing this weird arm dance, women in gypsy dresses, men fighting, more weird arm dances…I couldn’t look away. I was hypnotized. That’s kinda like what the Mickey Mouse Club House is to me.
It’s a sweet reunion, too. I was a Goofy fan growing up. You know, the awkwardly tall imbecile that always slouched and couldn’t play sports, that was me. Goofy was my boy. My eyes follow him around on the screen. He sets the show off. Mickey’s the star, but we all know who’s holding it down. I do find myself, though, a little disturbed by a newer character to the Disney family. Some dude named “Pete.” Now, at first he appears like a fat Goofy and then you determine that he’s not a dog, but a really large cat. Did a little research on Pete’s come-up after I swore I heard him say something about “a case of beer” on one broadcast. I’m not kidding. Turns out, you might be surprised to find out that this dude’s gotta pretty salty history. He’s not the kinda brotha you want hanging out with your kiddo. Pete’s gotta bit of a sinister side to him. Seems they cleaned him up a bit for the Club House gig. See Pete’s had a few different roles in his history, but Disney oldschoolers might know him from his days as “Peg Leg” Pete. Yep, dude’s hiding a peg leg. And that’s not all he’s hiding. Check out this terrifying photo.Here, as a swashbuckling pirate, we get a better idea of where ol’ Peg’s coming from. Heavy drinker, greasy womanizer, fat, unkept, unshaven. Want this guy watching your kids? Yeah, don’t think so. Let’s go a little deeper in Pete’s dark past. How about this gem from “Two Gun Mickey”:That’s our Pete about to put a knife through Mickey’s head while he chokes him out on the end of a cliff. What would’ve happened to the Disney legacy should he had succeeded that day, hmm? Pete’s a freaking murderer! It’s called Wikipedia, Pete. It’s all out there. You can’t hide. Wonder if he remembers these days when he first made an appearance in film in “Steamboat Willie.”
Or “Klondike Kid” as the gun-toting terrorizer. Check out this still. Far cry from the Pete we know today, yeah?Pete’s a bad man. They might try to dress him up in cute Hawaiian shirts or dignify him with a jacket and a tie.But we know his real history. Don’t believe the hype, kiddos. Pete has more aliases than a fifty-year fugitive. How about Peg-Leg Pete, Bad Pete, Black Pete (why’s he gotta be black?), Percy P. Percival, Peter Pete Sr., Bootleg Pete, Louie the Leg, Big Pete, Captain Pete, Colonel Pete, Mighty Pete, Dirty Pete, Pee Wee Pete, Pilot Pete, Pistol Pete, Sergeant Pete, King Pete, Emperor Pete, Lord Pete (seriously?), Baron Pete, Count Pete, Petey, Mr. Sylvester Macaroni (tell me that ain’t some mafia garbage right there), Tiny Tom, King Pete, Sneaky Pete, Round-the-Way Pete the Col’ Gangsta (okay, that’s my name for him). We know what time it is, Pete. I got my eye on you, son. Play it cool.Probably the most troubling part of the show is when they go into the “Hot Dog Show” which they do every episode. I’m telling you, once this gets in your head, you won’t shake it. You can’t shake it. I’ve played about eight hours of Bob Dylan trying to shake it loose and I can’t do it. And to prove it’s superior strength, check out the hits on YouTube:
Now, I’m no statistician, but I gotta think that one hundred and eighteen million freaking people is a pretty magnificent number. And that’s the number of people who didn’t get enough of the song hearing it everyday as they close out the show. These addicted people had to, then, go online to listen to it again and again. I account of the last 300 hits on YouTube, shamefully. Tell me you don’t lay down for the sheer magnetism of this song. Click on the link below and tell me you don’t see Goofy doing his little up-and-down dance in your head as “hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog” loops over and over and over and over again in your skull until you fall asleep. Today marks my third day rising out of bed to the song playing on repeat right behind my right ear.
Click below if you so dare.
You can thank me later. Have a good weekend.