a rickety bridge of impossible crossing

what was the deal with "Goof Troop"?

Most of the 90s Disney cartoons I watched as a kid were about fun and adventure. Darkwing Duck was a superhero, Ducktales was about what if Indiana Jones was three to five ducks, the Rescue Rangers were rescue rangers, the Gummi Bears were --- okay, I don't know what their deal was either, but at least that was like a fantasy forest show; Goofy was just, like, a dude. A dude who lives in a house. He did grown-up shit like father a child, and go to the doctor, and drive his car. I assume he drove a tiny joke car from the 1970s, something green and angular and meant to evoke a Gremlin or a Pinto, not because he couldn't afford a better one but because he liked it. Because he's Goofy! He does everything abnormally. I assume that's what the show's about, I have no clear memories of watching it.

For most of my childhood, The Disney Channel was a premium you had to pay extra for, so even with stolen cable it was off-limits to me. Whatever positive experience I had with Disney properties came from watching the movies that were available on VHS, the Sega games, and syndicated broadcast TV. So maybe this is sour grapes, but I always got the impression that Disney cartoons on Saturday morning TV (I think most of them were on ABC) were the ones kids actually wanted to watch, and the ones on the Disney Channel were ones that worried Christian moms approved of their kids watching. We'd occasionally get a "free weekend" of HBO and Disney where the channels were unscrambled for a couple days, and I don't remember seeing anything on Disney I felt like I was missing out on. There was a weird Winnie-the-Pooh show that used puppets or stop motion or something, which I objected to on principle (what was wrong with the cartoons?1 Just make more of those.2) There was the Mickey Mouse Club, which was and still is a baffling premise for a TV show. There was an animation block where they played classic Disney shorts, which was like Looney Tunes but boring; And there was Goof Troop, which I don't understand who it was supposed to be for.

It was like The Simpsons if it was written by Ned Flanders --- Goofy was a bumbling Homer Simpson type character but he never did or said anything funny. His kid (I think named Max?) was the Disney version of Bart, because his hair (such as it was) was sort of spiky and the show seemed to want me to believe that he was a cool rebellious tweenager. From what I recall, which isn't much, Max's main form of rebellion was disagreeing with and being embarrassed by his bumbling father, but they always came together for a heartwarming reconciliation at the end, because that's what happens at the end of every Disney Channel show, I assumed.

No, during these free premium weekends I was always much more interested in HBO. It had Fraggle Rock, and I didn't really understand that show either, but at least it was weird and not about a dad. It had a character who was a pile of trash, which was obviously relevant to my interests. Also, if I could manage to sneak the TV on after bedtime (I had to quickly mute the audio and turn the brightness way down) HBO presented my first opportunity to see the softest of soft-core pornography. How many hours of shows with titles like "The Red Shoe Diaries" and "Paris After Dark" and "Petticoat Fantasies" did I watch in the vain hope of at some point seeing a shower curtain slip away to reveal one (1) identifiable human butt cheek? Too many.

Anyway, the best piece of media starring Goofy is Goofy's Hysterical History Tour for the Sega Genesis.

It was in the bottom tier of Sega Disney games, being developed by Absolute Entertainment rather than Sega themselves, but they clearly had the right idea w/r/t how best to use Goofy in a piece of fiction. How come Goof Troop wasn't about Goofy on a unicycle being chased through history by Pirate Pete, and overcoming adversity with the help of his patented Extend-O-Handβ„’? Now that's entertainment 🦝

  1. This was before I had read the books, so I've since come to see the cartoon as a gauche Americanization of a uniquely beautiful (and uniquely British) treasure of children's literature, but they were charming enough for a 7-year-old↩

  2. I had a similar reaction to The Tick, which was one of my favorite shows for the brief, beautiful time it was on. I was bummed when it was cancelled, and years later I spit on their live-action reboot. "It was closer to the comics", people say, as if the comics consisted of photo collages of people dressed up in costumes↩