The Real Villain of ‘101 Dalmatians’ Was Pongo’s Owner
We get that iconic Disney villain Cruella de Vil is objectively terrible. She literally hired two goons to kidnap dozens of puppies with the endgame of just owning a new coat. At least Darth Vader didn't blow up Alderaan just to get a new pair of socks. Soon Disney will try and trick us all into siding with Ms. de Vil in the upcoming live-action spin-off Cruella. While we can't get behind that, exactly, we would like to point out that Cruella isn't the only morally bankrupt character in 101 Dalmations. We're talking about Roger, Pongo's pipe-smoking, piano-noodling owner.
In the original 1961 movie, Roger is a songwriter. While struggling to come up with a new tune, he's inspired to write a song all about what a giant asshole Cruella de Vil is -- and keep in mind, she hasn't kidnapped a single puppy yet. He crafts a bitter F-you of a song about his wife's former classmate purely out of spite. If you think that's totally cool, try composing a brief ditty about how much you hate your significant other's friend next time they come over and see how that goes.
Roger's sociopathy pays off, and his song becomes a big hit. But he's literally singing about Cruella, a private citizen, using her real name. Isn't that ... legally actionable? In the direct-to-video sequel, Cruella is on probation due to her crimes, but that song continues to haunt her.
In the live-action remake, Roger designs video games for a living, presumably because '90s kids didn’t give a flying fart about the fine art of songwriting. Roger can't come up with a good villain for his new game, but in the end he uses, you guessed it, Cruella de Vil.
We get it, she's a monster, but that doesn't mean he should be allowed to use her name, likeness, and even her license plate in a video game that allows children to simulate murdering her. Of course, going by reality, video game-based ethics may not exactly be Disney's strong suit.
Top Image: Disney