Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tennis Racquet

Here’s the way to get me to check out a Goofy short – feature some sort of sporting event.  Since the beginning of the Goofy formula of having a narrator discussing the proper way to execute some athletic endeavor while the Goof does it poorly, I have enjoyed every single one.  Some work better than others, but every one of them has great entertainment value.

Tennis Racquet gets to one of the few sports Goofy has not yet touched – tennis.  And as usual, it’s not with a reverent tone.  Instead, every convention about tennis is made fun of in this short.  It starts with the attendees, who are all packed into the middle of the stadium.  That’s the ones who actually go to the tennis match, and not to the nearby flower show instead.  That’s just the start of the jokes at the expense of the game of tennis.

One twist to the formula this time around is that instead of an omniscient narrator that is offscreen, the short features a broadcaster in a booth calling the action.  It’s that broadcaster that provides the narration, often inaccurately.  This little twist makes things interesting, because the commentator has to often lean over to the spectator in front of him to make sure he is making the right call.  That’s a great addition to this series.

It’s needed, because I may be jaded, but the sports action in Tennis Racquet is not as interesting as some of the other shorts.  The two Goofys competing against each other in the tennis match have some fun gags, but I think that some of these are less compelling because we’ve seen Goofy tossed around so many times before.  My favorite, though, is the groundskeeper, who continues to mow the lawn, pick the weeds and tend to the grass on the court despite the play of the competitors. 

Despite what drawback there might be to this one, it is just fantastic to have Goofy back in circulation with a sports short.  I think this is how the Goof works best.  It is another step along the way towards the evolution of Goofy from the bumbling guy we saw in his early cartoons to the “everyman” of the later shorts.  Soon enough, we’ll see Goofy become a father, a suburban man and several other roles.  The design and mannerisms of that future Goofy are present here as well.

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