From The Journal of Cartoon Overanalyzations comes this diagnosis for Donald Duck’s erratic behavior (though not for his epidemic of pantslessness): he has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, induced when he was a paratrooper in WWII. As the theorist notes, he seems to have fairly regular flashbacks, difficulty responding normally to social stimuli, and “persistent symptoms of increased arousal (e.g. difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger and hypervigilance)” — not to mention a total disinterest in talking about his wartime experiences.
Er, blue supremacists? Either way, many have noted that the Smurfs wear pointed white hats, except for their leader, who wears a pointed red hat — much like the fashion decisions of the KKK. There’s also the related fact that the big villain, Gargamel, is a money-loving, large-nosed, dark haired fellow. His cat even has a bona fide Jewish name, Azrael — which is also the name of the angel of death in Jewish tradition. There’s also this. And that’s not even all the Smurf conspiracy theories — check out a roundup of a few more here.
According to at least one writer, The Care Bears is the absolute height of Voodoo infiltration in children’s entertainment:
Start with the name first. Who can deny the similarity between the name Care Bears and Carefours, the district of Port au Prince which is the heart of the Voodoo world? Can the cloud city of Care-a-Lot be anything but an idealized ‘holy city’ of the Lwa – a divine reflection of Carefours? Then consider some of the terminology. The Care Bears constantly want to ‘Share until you care’, just as the Lwa want to share the bodies of their worshipers. The Care Bears are constantly trying to be children’s ‘friends’, just as the Voodoo Lwa are often referred to by their followers as ‘friendly spirits’ or just ‘friends’.
Plus, the cuddly insignias (er, “arcane symbols”) on the Care Bears’ tummies line up rather nicely with the symbols of the Voodoo gods. Hide your children! (Note: the source article is tagged “Humor and Satire,” so it’s possible the writer doesn’t really believe this stuff — but it was too good a theory not to share)
Remember the frame narrative at the beginning of Aladdin? Well, some enterprising viewers on Reddit have noticed some alarming similarities between the salesman, trying to pawn off what we soon discover is actually the Genie’s lamp (or an identical one), and the Genie himself. Firstly, they’re both voiced by Robin Williams. Secondly, they both wear (or “wear”) blue with a red sash at the waist. They have the same facial hair — bushy eyebrows and a beard that ends in a little curl. But the clincher is this: they’re the only two characters in the film that have only four fingers. So the Genie got free and decided to sell trinkets? It’s not totally impossible. But as one Redditor says, “Go deeper, the Genie is the merchant, trying to sell himself.” Whoa.
Here’s another popular theory for you Aladdin fans. The Genie says he’s been locked in his lamp for 10,000 years, right? He also tells Aladdin his clothes are “so third century.” Which, as many smart-aleck commenters have pointed out, would set the action of the movie in at least 10,300. So that explains all the flying carpets and magic — just future tech made rare in a post-apocalyptic, semi-Arabic world.
According to this popular fan theory, related by Cracked, the reason we never see Dr. Claw’s face is that he is — gasp — actually the real, or at least the original, Inspector Gadget! That is, according to this theory, which states that the Inspector Gadget we know and love is a robotic recreation of the man Dr. Claw once was, a normal human detective who suffered a terrible accident.
That’s where his conveniently smart niece comes in: Penny, in her grief, recreated her uncle as a crime-fighting robot … ignoring that the real man wasn’t dead, only disfigured and insane. This would also explain why nothing ever happens to Penny, even though Claw’s cronies seem to catch her every episode: She always finds a way to ruin Claw’s plans because she’s the only thing he still cares for. And hey, remember the part at the end of the opening theme where Gadget turns Claw’s chair around and there’s a bomb in it? A bomb that then explodes in Gadget’s face? Perhaps this was meant to be symbolic. Perhaps there’s no Claw, just Gadget.
Is it too punny to say “mind blown” here?
Well, this can’t be true, but somebody believes it, so it counts as a theory. Jim McLennan writes:
As well as being the most Oscar-winning duo in history, Tom and Jerry were also more-or-less the opposing sides in World War II: Tommies, the British soldiers, and Jerries, the Germans… I think it’s safe to assume, especially in the context of a series which began right around the time of the Battle of Britain, that the choice of these names was no accident, especially since it precedes the American entry into World War II. They are also markedly different to the meaningless names selected for other MGM cartoon characters around that time e.g. Sniffles, Droopy, etc… Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this theory is that Jerry is the good guy, the peace-loving victim of Tom’s evil schemes, but who usually wins due to his superior intelligence. Read in a wartime context, the suggestion that violence isn’t a solution goes beyond the subversive and borders on outright sedition. An alternative explanation that Jerry = GI is no more loyal, since it suggests the two Allied sides were fighting each other. In either case, it’s certainly worth noting that MGM were conspicuous by their absence in the field of animated Allied propaganda: even at the height of the war, Tom and Jerry was a series almost entirely free of political commentary.
Oof. This one hurts. According to at least one theorist, “My personal explanation for why Charlie Brown in Peanuts is bald is he’s dying of cancer and dreaming up everything. In the strip nothing ever works out for him and his life is a disaster, but he’s simply channeling his sadness into his dreams.”
Pikachu Projects ’98/Kobal/Shutterstock
For almost every unrealistic kids’ cartoon out there (read: all of them), there’s a theorist explaining how the main character is actually insane/in a coma/dead and that’s why the world he “inhabits” is so bonkers. It’s pretty self explanatory — but this theorist really goes above and beyond.
Well, just look at them. No random group of young people is so pointedly multiracial. Originally spotted by Jamie Steinheimer, this more in-depth explanation comes from Geekosystem:
Gaia pulled a Jacob (see: LOST), kidnapping a bunch of children and relocating them to an island where she brainwashed them into thinking they were in “school” and she was their teacher, Miss Frizzle. In reality this was an indoctrination camp where she created the perfect pollution fighters by instilling a love of science and ecology into them at a young age. Not all the kids made the cut. Phoebe resisted the brainwashing, unable to forget her previous life and constantly making references to her “old school.” It was a pathetic cry for help, and an attempt to hold onto her lest shred of sanity. Ralphie fell under Janet’s spell and the two escaped the island, only to be driven mad by their memories. Eventually, they turned to a life of crime becoming Hoggish Greedly and Dr. Blight respectively. The mysterious time-dialating effects of Gaia’s island accounts for their discrepancies in age. Keesha’s current whereabouts are unknown. When her “class” had matured sufficiently, Frizzle/Gaia wiped their memories and sent them out as an eco-friendly sleeper cell until she had need of them. Years later, she gave them the power rings, and sent them off on an ecologically toyetic series of adventures.
Sweet and cuddly robot in a post-apocalyptic setting or merciless scavenger molding the new world to his liking? According to one Reddit user, definitely the latter:
The Earth recovery act was going perfectly fine until one WALL-E unit went rogue. This particular unit wasn’t very good at its job, often refusing to crush particular object. Instead it wanted to keep these trinkets as treasures. However all the other units were still indiscriminately compacting everything, including trinkets this particular WALL-E wanted. So this rogue unit began destroying all the other units and cannibalizing their parts. It continued its senseless cannibalism until there weren’t enough WALL-E units left to combat the growing problems of Earth. Its continued cannibalism allow this rogue unit to continue operating long past is original operational life span, continuing to function for over 700 years. Alone, he can now selective pull out and protect his trinkets while still compacting all the rest of the earths junk. In the movie we see tons of mindless parts cannibalism preformed by our protagonist. He takes the trends off of a fallen comrade without a second thought. He hoards the parts of his dead brothers in his trailer along with all his precious trinkets that he had to protect from all the other WALL-E units. The reason why there is still so much trash on earth despite 700 years of compacting is because all the other compactors were killed early on and thus for 700 years only 1 unit has been working on the trash instead of a whole plant worth of units.
According to a theory that comes, yet again, courtesy of Reddit, Timmy’s fairy godparents are simply metaphors for Zoloft and Prozac — they’re there to help him through his problems, but only until he doesn’t need them anymore. Plus, not only did they start showing up at the same time as his problems, but there are some serious side effects every time he abuses their “magic.”
Here’s another theory: “The Fairly Oddparents is about a kid playing pretend with his fish. His godparents died in a car crash when he was younger; since they were the only adults who ever understood him, he finds comfort in imagining that they are there to watch over him, since his parents obviously don’t care. His babysitter slaps him around but he isn’t brave enough to tell on her. The granted wishes are all in his imagination, hence why they never have any lasting consequences. Mr. Crocker has made sexual advances on young Timmy for years, hence the delusion that he is desperate to steal Timmy’s ‘fairies,’ which represent his innocence, joy, hope, and good wishes for the future.” Now that is bleak.
Because everyone who sees him dies in short order. And then there’s this fishy thing about the sisters having no shadows… Read the whole breakdown here.
Jordan Hoffman at Ugo has made some highly disturbing observations about the latest installment in everyone’s favorite franchise — namely, that it’s a direct allegory to the Holocaust, with the toys as the Jews. It starts when Andy leaves for college:
These toys are left behind, just as host nations left behind the Jews as the Third Reich conquered Europe. Woody holds a meeting, where the assembled toy family discusses possible outcomes for their new position in the world. Change a few words and it is the same exact scene at the train station from Roman Polanski’s award winning Holocaust drama The Pianist. No, we won’t just be abandoned. Surely we can be useful to them somehow. Yes, we’ve lost friends (Bo Peep), but surely that can’t happen to us. Buzz Lightyear stands forward and suggests sanctuary IN AN ATTIC. Are you kidding me? The cattle car comes for the toys in the form of a horrible garbage bag – but they don’t go straight to extermination. They find themselves alive and at Sunnyside where they are put “to work.” (Consider this, then, Dachau instead of Treblinka.) Once there, they meet the toy version of Sonderkommando, toys who live the stay fed and well-sheltered (like Ken in his dream house) while leading other toys to a certain death. Newcomers are bashed and abused in the “Caterpillar Room” by non-age appropriate children until they resemble Muselmann and are eventually thrown into the trash chute. The trash chute leads to a systematic sorting of metal (e.g. any last valuables) until, eventually, the fiery crematoria. Our heroes get saved at the last minute, of course, and they find themselves a new homeland. It is a place where many of their kind already live and have an established foothold, and it would appear that security, finally, is at hand if they are vigilant.
And in case your mind isn’t blown enough, the same writer can also give you the rundown on Toy Story 3 as a Marxist text, as an Existentialist text or as a panoply of World Religions.