Disney has been entertaining children for years with stories centered around personal tragedies and some rather strange ideas about courtship and marriage ...

Images by Dan O'Brien and Matt Barrs

Relationships: the Disney model

What little girl doesn't dream that she's secretly a princess? None!

However, if she were to follow the Disney Model for Extremely Risky Relationships, she'd be married at 16 after dating for only a few days, and her future spouse may/may not be related to her. In The Little Mermaid, a girl goes exactly where she's not supposed to (the surface), meets her people's greatest predator (humans), and becomes infatuated enough to essentially sell her soul for a potential husband (If spending your life as a sentient shrimp cocktail in waiting doesn't qualify as at least some level of hell, you've got some personal empowerment issues to work out).

After catching her on the surface, her father confronts her about her "adventure," and she declares, "I'm 16-years old. I'm not a child anymore." After a metamorphosis t least as traumatic as a sex change, she becomes an entirely different species, albeit one with the appropriate genitalia (now that would have been a plot twist!) and heads for shore. After spending three days without having a single conversation with the man of her dreams, she goes ahead and marries him, thereby making drunken, random Las Vegas marriages look romantic and well-planned.

Where does the incest come into play? That would be compliments of The Lion King. Oh yeah. Extending beyond the realm of the back-water hills of Appalachia, digging your sister stretches over the Atlantic and hits the Savannah. There is only one male in the pride. That would be the beloved lion king, Mufasa. Simba and Nala grew up in the same pride. Again, I reiterate, there are no other males making babies in the pride. That would make Simba and Nala half siblings. That's right. They used the British royalty method of keeping the King's bloodline pure. The punishment of such a relationship? A half-baked sequel staring your mutant off-spring that introduces new blood (in the form of one new male) into the pride. I'm not even going to tread near the notion of how Simba inherited all those females. Neither The Lion King or The Lion King II: Simba's Pride seem to have any scruples concerning raising children in a harem of sex partners. An orgy is simply quality "family time."

No mother, no father, no problem

Disney movies that have a parent tragically taken from the poor main character:

  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Bambi
  • Tarzan
  • The Lion King

Disney movies that don't even address the fact that a parent is missing:

  • The Jungle Book
  • Aladdin (Jasmine or Aladdin, take your pick)
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Basil--The Great Mouse Detective

Really when you break it down, you have a movie empire built on the back of making children consider the prospect of being orphaned, while also teaching them that this will somehow make their life fuller.

We're all for teaching kids important life lessons through art, but speaking from childhood memory, there's something macabre about herding a group of small children into a close, dark space, flooding their senses with light and sound, and killing an effigy of one of their closest relationships right in front of their young, innocent eyes.

Sequels, sequels, they're so fun!

Disney treats their most successful franchises like Rochester treats his wife in Jane Eyre, keeping them locked up in an attic for decades at a time. Unlike most films, Classic Disney Movies are rarely available to rent or purchase.

Then Disney will use some excuse to trot them out and allow us to gaze upon their glory for a limited time only and hold a parade all over the media about what a special opportunity we are all being given. The franchises will then be shut away for another ten years until there is a new generation who has not yet learned the trick, and which point Disney marches them back out and starts milking them for all they're worth with promises of "digitally remastered" and "added footage."

If you think this is out of some respect for the brilliant original works created by the company's ingenious namesake, you obviously don't know about the "sequels," which makes sense since they didn't bother releasing any of them in theaters.

Films with shameful, direct to DVD sequels:

  • Pocahontas
  • Brother Bear
  • Lilo and Stitch
  • Bambi (yeah, even Bambi has been ruined)
  • Mulan
  • The Jungle Book
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • 3 The Little Mermaid movies
  • 3 The Lion King movies
  • 3 Aladdin movies
  • Air Bud has starred in more films than Rocky

Yes Disney has milked each of its most successful franchises for more sequels than a derby horse put out to stud, thus bringing us to a place where the captive lunatic metaphor becomes entirely too creepy to carry any further.