A second new Mickey Mouse short, No Service, has been made viewable (for American viewers) on Disney’s website. This short is night and day from the first one they made public, Croissant de Triomphe. It has a solid setup, fast-paced but clear direction, character-driven conflict and gags, and most importantly, it’s funny.
A couple weaknesses stood out. As with nearly every other contemporary cartoon, the short is padded with unnecessary dialogue. What does the audience gain from hearing Donald Duck say, “That’s not funny,” after we already see him fuming from being dissed by Mickey? The bigger issue is the backgrounds. As lovely as they are as illustrations, they don’t fulfill their primary purpose for the shorts, which is to stage the characters and gags. There are random background textures and details that distracted from the character action in nearly every scene. The backgrounds even obscured the jokes. For example, there’s a gag with Mickey’s tail in the framegrab below that I completely missed on the first couple viewings because of the random dark shadow area placed exactly where the gag takes place:
I don’t know the production order of the shorts, but No Service is a huge improvement over the first offering. These could end up being some of the funnier takes on classic cartoon characters, and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the series.