Doesn’t it just bug the pee out of you when people don’t receive the credit they deserve? What really drains the urine out of me is how secondary characters get the short end of the wand in Disney movies. Characters in supporting roles are never adequately recognized for their crucial contributions to catalyzing whatever the main character wanted to accomplish.
Here’s the short list of supporting characters who totally got robbed in Disney films:
1. FAIRY GODMOTHER from Cinderella
Cinderella should be titled Fairy Godmother Fixes Lifelong Woes In A Hot Second. Let’s engage in a moment of honesty: Prince Charming could only see women if they sparkled, literally, from silk-ribboned head to crystal-covered toe. Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother (she doesn’t even get a real name…makes sense) realized that marrying a flawed but wealthy prince was preferable to dusting the chimney while losing one’s sanity to talking mice.
Fairy G pulled out all the stops to provide Cindy with the resources to grab ol’ Moneybags’ attention. The glass slipper and magic curfew were rather calculated additions to the ensemble; FG knew that ’Rella couldn’t keep track of time and that the whole evening would end in a mad dash down a glass-grabbing staircase. Bippity boppity BAM: Princey was dazzled and had an enchanted shoe to help him track down Small Toe Cindy. Without magic accessories from a certain someone, Cinderella would still be singing into soap bubbles and dictating her memoir for the mice to transcribe.
2. PUMBAA (& TIMON, BUT TO A LESSER DEGREE) from The Lion King
So here’s the dealio: Simba raced out of the Pride Lands with zero plans. The little hairball was toast as soon as he stepped beyond the light’s jurisdiction. Pumbaa and Timon saved Simba from dehydration and buzzards, thus saving the entire plot. (Side note: it’s pretty sad that Simba lacked the gumption to roll to his right just a little where a luscious jungle of treats awaited.)
Major props go to Pumbaa for fighting for Simba. Timon was not a particularly generous guy when it came to adopting a carnivorous invalid. Without Pumbaa’s naiveté and inexplicable desire for a pet, Simba would have rotted in the desert while Pride Rock crumbled under Scar’s tyrannical ineptitude. A few savvy lionesses would have escaped under Nala and Sarabi’s lead, but the circle of life would have been tragically disrupted. At the end when the animals are bowing down to Simba, they should know that while he might be the hottest one there, he never would have been a hero without Pumbaa (and Timon, I guess).
3. KING TRITON’S DISAPPROVAL from The Little Mermaid
What pushes teenagers to meet with questionable witches and embark on impulsive, species-altering adventures? Their parents’ disapproval, that’s what. Fueled by King Triton’s icy stare and rude expectations for her to be grateful for anything ever, Ariel snuck away to change her species for a chance to giggle at a man who she saw on a boat one time.
THANK POSEIDON for King Triton’s disapproval of the human world and desire for Ariel to keep her born identity as a mermaid. If he had been like “Yes, daughter, please alter your physical appearance by whatever means necessary and abandon all of the wondrous opportunities and merpeople who raised you,” Ariel would have been like, “Ugh you’re making it too easy on me, Dad. Never mind.” And that would have been that.
4. THAT UNNAMED WITCH from Beauty and the Beast
Remember that super cool intro where an enchantress beast-ifies the prince for being a f*ckboi? We completely forget all about the witch when Belle’s all like “Bonjour! Books! My dad is clinically insane, but I Iove him! Gaston, get the f*ck away from me!” We mistakenly believe that Belle’s actions thrust her into a weird, fairytale-type situation at the enchanted castle. Truth is, if The Beast had just been The Prince, there’s no way he would have trapped Belle inside his castle until she loved him. At least I hope not.
Anyway, due to the witch’s spell, the Beast was angsty and cursed and ripe for a fairytale ending. Somehow, Belle came to love him, and we’re like YAY Belle, you saw him for what’s inside (although he looked pretty sexy as a beast tbh). However, none of this would have happened if that enchantress had just shrugged and been like “Ok, a**hole, I’m going to try the castle down the road.”
5. ALL REFLECTIVE SURFACES IN THE VICINITY from Mulan
Alright, I’ll be the one to say it: if it wasn’t for the reflective surfaces in Mulan’s immediate line of sight, that girl never would have noticed the disparity between her physical appearance and her immortal soul.
In a world without mirrors (or water and daggers that act uncannily like mirrors), Mulan would have been forced into a loveless, disappointing marriage while the Chinese dynasty crumbled and her aging father died in a pointless war. Shout out to the mirrors, because you turned a bride-to-be into a country-saving, gender-empowering, short-hair-repping warrior.