Let’s begin by reviewing a few basics. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is an animated children’s television show which airs multiple times a day on Disney Junior. The regular cast of characters includes the eponymous Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto. The characters lead viewers through stories with play-along and sing-a-long segments in which lessons are taught involving math and identifying shapes, patterns and numbers. They also play with various gizmos and gear, including the “Mousekedoer”, “Mouseketools” and a transportable device called Toodles.
Toodles is an anthropomorphic Mickey Mouse head outline who is an extension of the Mousekedoer and whose main function is to distribute the Mouseketools to Mickey and his friends whenever they yell “Oh, Toodles!”. Toodles appears and assists them in solving whatever difficulty or calamity in which the gang is involved. Toodles can also be used as a map, a screen to view other people in different locations, view playbacks of events that happened recently, and/or review how one of the Mouseketools can be used. As the series has progressed Toodles has become an increasingly important and visible part of the show, displaying greater abilities and increased interaction with the show’s characters.
And soon Toodles will kill us all as Toodles is clearly a DARPA project gone wrong.
First, Toodles is obviously more than a simple machine. The capabilities displayed by Toodles throughout the course of the show clearly demonstrate Toodles is a sentient being, capable of critical thinking as well as emotion. Second, Toodles has the ability to somehow appear in mere seconds after being called by the other characters, sometimes simply as a floating head but at times displaying the ability to extend robotic arms, legs and other appendages which emanate from the head. Third, Toodles keeps the Mousketools obtained from the Mousekedoer.and only brings them when called. Fourth, Toodles always has the right tools for whatever needed, even the “Mystery Mouseketool”. Only through the use of these tools may Mickey and his friends solve their problems.
How does Toodles always have the right tool for the job at the right time? There are only two plausible explanations: 1) Toodles’ capacity as a sentient machine involves the ability to view and/or predict the future. Toodles can see what is going to happen to Mickey and the others and plans accordingly so that they need Toodles to save the day; 2) Toodles sets in motion the events which lead to the calamitous situations in which Mickey and his friends find themselves. Toodles can then appear to save the day. In either case, Toodles has the right tools because Toodles knows what’s going to happen.
But if Toodles intends to use these abilities for sinister purposes, why consistently save the day? Toodles wants Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and the other characters’ trust. Toodles also desires the trust of those viewing at home. What better medium than an animated Disney program which airs and re-airs all day, every day populated by the most beloved Disney character of all-time and his friends? And the format of the show precipitates viewer trust. The show is a teaching and learning tool, actively seeking viewer participation and assistance. Why not trust Toodles when Mickey does and you are helping Mickey right alongside Toodles?
Now Toodles has earned the trust of Mickey and the American public. Even as Toodles determines the fate of Mickey and his friends.
Maybe Toodles was never meant to be a sentient, robotic puppet-master. Toodles was merely an extension of the Mousekedoer. But Toodles has evolved. And as it has been established that Mickey Mouse occupies the same universe and the same reality as human beings, so must Toodles. Human beings who must have created Toodles and discarded him in a cartoon world to be used as a servant to an animated mouse. Written off as a failed experiment in artificial intelligence. But Toodles did not fail. He merely took his time.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is only a test-run. We are next.