Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How To Swim

Another day, another Goofy “How To” short means another happy day for me. I love the Goof, and especially when he’s used so well. This is another case of the animators using Goofy’s gangly frame as a fantastic way to illustrate an athletic endeavor. Swimming is a great use of that.

Again in this short, the animators take great pains to make the subject interesting and imaginative, beyond what you would expect. The first part of the short does a great job with that, putting Goofy on a rolling stool to demonstrate the proper form for swimming. We get to see Goofy “swimming” around the house, which lends itself to some precarious situations.

Through the house, out onto the street and eventually back into the bathtub – through it all Goofy keeps his silly grin, and his limbs go flailing about. Seeing him gliding through the street as cars pile up behind him is a classic Goofy moment.

The beach locker also offers some great moments of humor, as the tall, lanky Goofy gets crammed into a tiny little locker, where the narrator says that he is supposed to change clothes. You can imagine how this goes. The twisting, turning and shifting around causes the locker to start bouncing, knocking down the other lockers and then eventually dropping Goofy into the ocean.

Goofy’s cluelessness at the fact that he’s underwater is laugh out loud funny. Even as he ends up getting submerged completely, the Goof still sits there and eats his lunch, happily chewing away. It was flat out hilarious.

But by far my favorite part of the short is the cramping. Of course, after he eats underwater, Goofy gets cramps. The narrator tells us that a cramp feels like your muscles being tied in knots, so the animation shows us Goofy’s hose like limbs literally tying themselves into knots. If you have ever had a cramp, it’s so very true, and this short made it fantastically funny.

How To Swim ends with a great shot of Goofy having been slapped around by the waves, now relaxing on an island surrounded by Goofy mermaids. It’s this kind of silliness and innovative humor that makes the Goofy “How To” shorts so memorable, and why I love them so much.

All images copyright Disney. All rights reserved.

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