Do the Mashed Potato, Do the Candied Yam

Yesterday was my birthday. I’m now forty-three years old. Too bad that, between the cold, the pandemic, and Beth having a cold (I’m also showing some symptoms of one), we couldn’t really do anything. What we have done in the past few days was to watch a few Thanksgiving cartoons. I find Thanksgiving kind of a boring holiday, at least in terms of mythology. Everything centers on either turkey or a whitewashed version of the Pilgrims’ story, if not both.

Garfield’s Thanksgiving – Here’s a character who would love a holiday devoted to eating. The plot here has Jon, during Garfield’s vet appointment, inviting Liz to his house for Thanksgiving dinner. He’s utterly incompetent at cooking, though, so at Garfield’s suggestion (which takes some time to sink in), he calls his sassy grandmother to help out. Returning from A Garfield Christmas, she’s a fun character, and has unorthodox ways of cooking like using a chainsaw on a frozen turkey and making sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows.

Dinosaur Dracula actually copied her recipe as closely as possible. There’s also business with Jon enforcing Garfield’s diet by having Odie blow a whistle whenever the cat tries to sneak food, and a talking scale fat-shaming Garfield by repeatedly calling him Orson Welles. Is it okay to make fun of Garfield for being fat as he is, after all, not human? I’ve known some pet owners who didn’t want to bring their pets to the vet as they were often shamed for letting them get overweight. For that matter, isn’t Jon constantly asking out Liz when she repeatedly says no kind of problematic? I guess everything worked out all right this time, though.

The Mouse on the Mayflower – I recently came across a post on Tumblr about how weird and disturbing it is when media have a society of mice directly paralleling that of the humans around them. And it shows up quite a lot. This 1968 Rankin/Bass television special is a take on the usual feel-good but not quite accurate story of the Pilgrims coming to America, but starring a mouse with Pringles man hair and the voice of Tennessee Ernie Ford. (A real mouse is made out of muscle and blood, I suppose.) There’s an attempt at adding some intrigue by having two sailors on the Mayflower try to steal the Pilgrims’ money, and eventually teaming up with a Native American and his pet bear. This guy is the only Indian who doesn’t immediately want to make peace with the people who came to their land without permission, and he and his compatriots are eventually run out of town by Miles Standish. The portrayal of Native Americans is what I assume was typical for the time, kind of racist, but I’ve seen way worse. I’d say the main problem with this one is that the pace is very slow. There are several low-key songs, and a psychedelic sequence with Priscilla Mullins akin to Jessica’s in Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, which was released two years later. It involves a Cinderella-style fairy godmother working magic, which I guess is different from a witch, as English settlers in Massachusetts weren’t too fond of them.

This entry was posted in Animals, Cartoons, Colonization of America, Food, History, Holidays, Humor, Magic, Music, Prejudice, Television, Thanksgiving and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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