Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

Regarding Movies, Plot & Single Family Homes

With regards to “Music of the Heart” and the divorce which caused Roberta Guaspari Demetras’s life to change so drastically, the story line was based on a real set of circumstances, but the fiction and film industry has used this device for a very long time in order to create the life-changing situation which usually begins a story.

Where I’m going with this is – a couple of years ago I was driving somewhere (probably to work) and was listening to a Christian radio broadcast. The speaker was talking about how children’s movies were promoting broken homes to children in their story lines and plot and that the majority of Disney movies depicted most families as having a single parent. His argument was that Disney showing these single parent families was teaching kids that divorce was natural which would later on manifest itself by those children growing up, marrying, having a family and then divorcing because of what they’d learned at the theater as pre-pubescents.

What a load of hooey. Disney simply employed a tried and true dramatic tool to create a dramatic storyline for children. I am curious though about how many of the popular Disney movies involved the pernicious single family home, or even worse the nonexistent parent home. Let’s check it out:

• 1937 Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs – Single Family & Evil Step-Mother, forced to live in sin with 7 little men
• 1940 Pinocchio – Gasp! Born of no parents, but raised by a single father, a fairy & a cricket – can’t get any more dysfunctional than that
• 1940 Fantasia – Fatherless Mickey being guided by a preoccupied Mystic
• 1941 Dumbo – Being raised by Baby-Mama and no Baby-Daddy in sight, escapes his female dominated existence by getting high
• 1950 Cinderella – No parents, only evil step-mother and sisters, begins unnatural relationship with vegetables
• 1951 Alice in Wonderland – Seemingly parented by her governess, poor Alice turns to LSD
• 1953 Peter Pan – Wendy had parents, but Peter had none and turned to an alternate lifestyle
• 1955 Lady & The Tramp – Lady loses all her morals when her people parents have their own child
• 1959 Sleeping Beauty – A full set of parents plus a retinue of fairies, apparently having a staff does not ensure the safety of a child
• 1960 Swiss Family Robinson – Another set of parents!
• 1961 101 Dalmations – The people are married & the dogs are bonded, but things get a little out of hand with the puppies
• 1963 The Sword & The Stone – Back to parentless and guided by a wizard
• 1964 Mary Poppins – 2 self-involved parents who have to call in reinforcements to rear their kids
• 1967 The Jungle Book – No parents, raised by wolves, a bear & a panther. Still likes girls though
• 1970 The AristoCats – Single mama with talented children finds a surrogate dad in an unlikely place
• 1981 The Fox & The Hound – parentless pair find friendship in their youth, but maturity brings animosity
• 1985 The Black Cauldron – An orphan finds himself caught up in the power struggle of adults
• 1985 The Journey of Natty Gann – Not only is Natty motherless, but economic circumstances rob her of her father for a time too
• 1988 Oliver & Company – a parentless kitty finds himself at the center of a ransom plot
• 1989 The Little Mermaid – Not only does Ariel not have a mother, she doesn’t even want to be of the same species as her parents
• 1991 Beauty & the Beast – Raised by her dotty father, Belle turns to bestiality
• 1992 Aladdin – Parentless street urchin turns his interests from petty thievery to marrying well
• 1994 The Santa Claus – Divorced disinterested dad transforms into caring father Christmas
• 1994 The Lion King – two-parented heir apparent is menaced and orphaned by creepy, single childless uncle
• 1995 Pocahontas – single father just doesn’t understand his free-spirited daughter who turns to pale interloper for gratification
• 1995 Toy Story – Fatherless boy has cool talking toys
• 1996 James & the Giant Peach – Orphaned boy escapes the clutches of single, evil aunts and begins hallucinatory relationship with bugs
• 1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame – parentless main characters are plagued by puritanical persecutor
• 1997 Hercules – outcast due to his part human status, Hercules is parented by a series of humans & mystical creatures. Dad finally shows up when he can prove himself worthy
• 1998 Mulan – A misfit with both parents, grandma & a cricket joins the army and becomes a heroine

• 1998 The Parent Trap – 2 parents, 2 kids, separate homes, the kids join forces to get everyone back together
• 1998 A Bug’s Life – Bugs apparently don’t have a relationship with their parents
• 1999 Tarzan – Same story as jungle book, raised by animals, really likes girls
• 2001 Spirited Away – 2 parents and a serious acid trip to the spirit world
• 2002 Lilo & Stitch – Orphaned & misunderstood, Lilo turns to a genetically engineered creature for company
• 2003 Finding Nemo – overprotective single father loses his son and must rely on the kindness of strangers to get him back
• 2004 The Incredibles – 2 parents & 3 kids hiding their super powers & trying to fit in
• 2007 Enchanted – A parentless girl is thrown into another world by an evil step-mother
• 2007 Ratatouille – parented by his single father, a rat longs to engage in more humanly pursuits
• 2009 Up – A grumpy, childless old man is forced to become a father figure to a boy who tags along on his journey

According to the models presented to us by Disney, the moral of the story is that if you lose one or both of your parents avoid at all costs any stepmothers, aunts or uncles and do not depend upon a wizard to guide you with any consistency.

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