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Like many parents, I've logged more hours watching Disney Jr. than I ever thought possible. Along the way, I've become far too invested in a particular character: Pete. And by invested, I mean he drives me crazy.
Mickey, please hear my plea: Pete's a bully, you're a pushover and it's time to take back control of your clubhouse and garage. Pete needs to hit the road.
On a quick side note, not only am I writing an entire blog post on a character from the Disney universe, but my husband and I just had an entire discussion argument on that character. Specifically, we couldn’t agree on what he is. I said cat, he refused to even entertain the notion.
“He's a dog, the kind like Goofy who walks,” he insisted. “Not the Pluto-type, who’s a pet.”
Thanks to a quick Google search we solved the debate. Pete is indeed a cat.
My heart is not completely black and dead. I feel for poor Pete. He lacks self-esteem and it manifests in his behavior. He’s lonely, he wants to be included. None of these are abnormal personality traits.
Pete could be redeemed. If he wanted to be, that is. But he just keeps causing chaos, not only in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but also over on Mickey and the Roadster Racers. He’s two-for-one trouble. His British counterpart is a jewel thief, for crying out loud.
On some levels he’s a necessary evil. All real heroes need an antagonist, someone to help drive them. Pete is that for Mickey. The nemesis, the problem child that allows Mickey’s true character to emerge.
My issue is that Mickey’s true character is almost too good where Pete’s concerned. He’s become a pushover.
Yes, there are things we need to teach our kids. Be kind to others. Sit next to the child who’s alone at lunch. But to let a bully walk all over you and keep coming back for more?
On an episode of Roadster Racers he stole the gift that Mickey was planning to give to Jiminy Johnson. It led to a car chase, putting everyone in jeopardy. Yet when all was said and done Mickey turned to Pete to ask, "Are you okay?" Pete stole, taunted, and could have killed him. But yes, let's be sure to check in to see how he's faring.
I get the “be nice, turn the other cheek,” approach to a bully. But this is beyond that. Pete is not simply a nuisance, he's a danger. And Mickey isn't turning the other cheek. He's rolling out the red carpet and sending a car service to pick up his bully and bring him right to his door. Or rather his clubhouse door, but you get where I'm going.
I’m all for a redeeming character. But episode over episode he’s a huge jerk. What’s to love? Or even like?
He’s even a martyr. When he invited everyone to his Halloween party his invitation also included him mentioning that nobody ever wants to come to his party, so why does he bother.
Friendship based on guilt. That’s a great quality to teach my child.
When Donald finally speaks up and says what we’ve all been thinking – that he doesn’t want to go to Pete’s party – he’s told it’s “not nice.” I’m with Donald. Why would anyone even want to be around Pete?
Yes, it’s sad that Pete feels inadequate. But it’s really his own fault. Mickey and his friends are always including him. Trying to help him exercise. Pete just turns on them. At what point can they say, "Pete, buddy, we've tried. But you need to see a therapist and work out your issues with a professional."
In the real world I’d say it’s time for Pete to kick rocks. Enough is enough with this jerk. He’s mean. Mickey’s interactions with him are not teachable moments. I’m tired of yelling at my television.
But this is a cartoon. It’s intended to be fun. Aimed at children, not 40+ year-old mothers who shouldn’t be overanalyzing one character among many. Oops.
At any rate, I'm already invested. So I'll ask this:
Please, to the writers of Disney Jr. cartoons, I beg of you. Can you please make Pete even somewhat decent? Or keep him as a jerk if you must. Stop making Mickey such a pushover. Mice have backbones, right? It’s about time he showed us his.
For more mom moments, follow me on Instagram at Witty Otter.
Images by Disney/ABC Television Group
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.