What is the deal with Goofy and Pluto?
February 1, 2006 11:43 AM   Subscribe

What is the difference between Goofy and Pluto?

Why does Goofy talk and wear clothes, while Pluto is just Mickie's pet? I mean, they're both dogs, so why the inequality?
posted by Botunda to Society & Culture (19 answers total)
 
Anthropomorphism.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:50 AM on February 1, 2006


artistic license.

Also, why is it Jiminy Cricket can talk but the whale can't (or the donkeys the boys turn into)?
posted by Tuwa at 11:51 AM on February 1, 2006


This guy thinks Goofy isn't a dog at all, but Disney disagrees.
posted by designbot at 11:53 AM on February 1, 2006


I thought Goofy was Donald's friend, and Pluto was Donald's pet. No word on how Goofy feels about his friend 'owning' a dog.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:56 AM on February 1, 2006


This is my favorite theory:
What is the deal with Goofy
versus Pluto? A bunch of us
at Caltech figured this out
long ago. They are in fact
brothers. Goofy sold Pluto
into slavery in exchange for
the power of human speech.
(And evidently he was robbed
too, given the unsatisfactory
results.) Why else the hat
than to hide the surgical
scars?

Allen K.
Mouseketeer
Plutocrat
aknaton@math.mit.edu
posted by designbot at 11:56 AM on February 1, 2006


Thanks for that link designbot. I've always wondered this. Too bad the answer is rather boring.
posted by like_neon at 11:58 AM on February 1, 2006


Again, because Goofy is a purebred and Pluto is a mutt.
posted by Makebusy7 at 11:59 AM on February 1, 2006


Here's another theory:
With all this in mind, we have to use the GOOFY V. PLUTO argument. Pluto is a "dumb" cartoon dog (barks, slobbers, walks on all fours) while Goofy is an anthropomorphic, sentient cartoon dog. The GOOFY V. PLUTO argument states that if they are both of the same basic species, yet one is "dumb" and the other is fully sentient, that their relationship must be similar to that of humans and their lesser primate cousins, monkeys. In short, Goofy is an "evolved" form of dog (or MAN), and Pluto is the unevolved form (or MONKEY).
And here's another:
well, to sort of change the subject back to Goofy. . did anyone here read Wicked? In that book there is a distinction made between Animals and animals. . . Animals can talk, think, and are sentient, whereas animals cant and are not. So, Goofy, by that logic, would be a Dog, rather than a dog, whereas Pluto would be a dog, if you can dig it.
posted by designbot at 12:03 PM on February 1, 2006


Goofy is a human/dog hybrid (or, if you will, "manimal") of the sort our Dear Leader warned us about, and Pluto is just a dog.

I wonder if Old Glory Insurance has hybrid-attack coverage...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:05 PM on February 1, 2006


I can't remember if they've ever appeared on screen together? Perhaps they exist on different plains of existence. Or different moments in time. Maybe Goofy IS Pluto after some sort of mutation.
posted by brundlefly at 12:06 PM on February 1, 2006


I think this is the best answer yet:
Not much of a Mystery as it has been answered in many stories. As was the opinion of Carl Barks the main characters in the stories just happen to look like animals but are human in their behavior, emotions and culture. They represent humanity. But that doesn't mean there are no animals left. There are plenty of regular animals appearing in his stories. The best example would be a panel in the classic storie "Ghost of the Grotto" that has the human-Ducks (Donald Duck and his nephews) appearing in a panel while in the panel's background there is a family of regular animal-ducks. Just Barks's way of contasting the "human" and the "animal" version of the species.
The same rule also applies in the stories of other creators. Even in early stories by Floyd Gottfredson there are clues towards this point of view. For example a recuring gag was Minnie Mouse's fear of regular animal-myce. The Italian stories have explained that the humanized versions of those species have evolved from the regular versions millions of years ago, established a civilisation as early as 1.000.000 years ago and have long lost most of the original animal's traits. For example no member of the Duck family has the ability to fly on its own means since they have hands and not wings. But their webfeet still help them in swimming.
The course of evolution in the Disney Universe may not be very realistic but has its own logic and leaves few mysteries.
posted by designbot at 12:09 PM on February 1, 2006


Obviously, we should be asking this fellow.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:12 PM on February 1, 2006


Oddly enough, last week I just finished watching The Complete Goofy two-disc set (in the Disney Treasures line).

Goofy is most certainly a dog--if I recall correctly, his original name was "Dippy Dawg." However, over the course of his solo acting career he becomes increasingly anthropomorphized, adn his apperance from year to year lacks consistency when compared to the other Disney animated stars. (Sometimes Goofy is drawn without ears that hang down on either side of his face, for example.) Finally in the early 1950s, he becomes a staid middle-class suburban homeowner who actually owns a dog at one point (see the short "Man's Best Friend").

Two things are worth noting here:

(1) In the shorts in which Goofy behaves most as a human, it's made clear that he lives in a world whose intelligent beings are all males of the same Goofy species (with the important exception described in (2) ). Not only are there no other humans, but there are no other talking animals. Pluto appears in a cameo in one short, but as we know, he barks, but does not speak.

(2) The caveat for the above statement is that the very few females in the world described in (1) appear to be human--we can't be certain, though, because we never see their faces. They either wear bonnets or hats that obscure their visages completely (see the love interest in "Two-Gun Goofy"), or their heads are carefully kept out of frame (as in the several '50s shorts in which Goofy is married, with a child that has many of his facial features). Certainly, the women of Goofy's world seem to otherwise have completely human physiques--hands with five long, slender fingers; feet that are not large and twisted and black.

The sociological implications of this are, quite frankly, too profound and frightening for me to consider.
posted by Prospero at 12:29 PM on February 1, 2006 [4 favorites]


It should be noted that in the later Disney series, Goof Troop, and its feature-film spinoff, A Goofy Movie, the world appears to be populated with both male and female anthropomorphic dogs (many of which are basically just people with black round noses), as well as a non-anthropomorphic dog & cat. (See fan art here).
posted by designbot at 12:39 PM on February 1, 2006


Everyone seems to have this question, but no one asks why a walking, talking mouse could have a regular dog for a pet.

Goofy always struck me as one of those weird animal-men that are always in old-fashioned cartoons. (After which the Animaniacs were modeled). Mickey and Minnie are the same, it's just that they don't have a pet mouse. (The thing about Minnie being scared of mice is funny, though). There were also some Disney cows and others that looked similar. The only difference is that it's very clear that Mickey and Minnie are mice, and for the most part it's probable that Goofy is and always has been canine, while the Animaniacs and their authentic predecessors were more ambiguous.
posted by lampoil at 2:14 PM on February 1, 2006


Pluto was created much later than Goofy, in order to specially compete with some Warner Bros. cartoons that featured only semi-anthropomorphic animals.
posted by frogan at 5:17 PM on February 1, 2006


I should say that Pluto, in his most famous, recognizable form, was featured later than Goofy. He had earlier appearances, but not in his more recognizable role.
posted by frogan at 5:20 PM on February 1, 2006


Cecil Adams answered this a while back:

Dear Cecil:

Wil Wheaton, in Stand by Me, posed a very interesting question. Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, Pluto's a dog ... what the hell was Goofy? Enclosed is a bribe--the largest I could afford. --Britt R., Seattle

Dear Britt:

A year-old Seattle Mariners ticket is your idea of a bribe? Not to cast aspersions, but a current Mariners ticket isn't exactly a siren's call to my ears. Equally depressing is your failure to grasp cartoon conventions. For starters, Pluto isn't a dog, he's a dawg. So is Goofy. The difference is that Goofy is a human dawg, whereas Pluto is a dawg dawg (or dawg2, if you're into the new math). You can tell a dawg dawg from a human because the dawg gets naked and walks on all fours and the human doesn't, though admittedly this isn't the acid test it used to be.

Educated people--leastways, educated people who've just chatted with the Disney archivists--know Goofy first appeared anonymously in "Mickey's Revue" (1932), looking essentially as he does today except older. In the wonderful way of cartoons, he then got younger, meanwhile adopting various aliases, including Dippy Dawg, Dippy the Goof, and Mr. Geef before settling on Goofy in "Orphans' Benefit" (1934). So if the guy has an identity crisis, it goes back a long way.

--CECIL ADAMS
posted by fandango_matt at 6:39 PM on February 1, 2006


Pete the Cat (nee Pegleg Pete) never gets the recognition he deserves, despite being at least as old as Mickey.
posted by SPrintF at 6:59 PM on February 1, 2006


« Older What are some impressive birth...   |  For the past few days, my conn... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.