Season two will be led by the same creative team: Paul Rudish, who exec produces and directs some of the shorts, Clay Morrow and Aaron Springer as lead directors, and Joseph Holt as art director.
These Mickey shorts are a quirky project. Most of them are under four minutes in length, which is an unusual format for any studio to be using nowadays, and they don’t seem to fit into any overall Disney strategy for classic characters. Whatever the thinking is behind them, I’m happy they exist because the best ones in the bunch rank among the funniest and most appealing studio shorts produced in modern times.
The shorts are packed with personality and a point of view, elements that were lacking in the more high-profile Oscar-nominated theatrical Mickey short Get A Horse! Lacking the budget of the latter for full animation, these shorts manage to exhibit fine craftsmanship of a different kind, with custom expressions and poses for each cartoon, sharply-timed gags, and gorgeous (although occasionally discordant) backgrounds.
To their credit, the team producing the shorts has a confident contemporary take on Mickey and the gang and is unafraid of trying new things. In one of the later first season episodes, Flipperboobootosis, there’s an impressively ridiculous gag that keeps going and going, and ends up lasting for fifty seconds. In Bad Ear Day, we, the audience, only hear muffled sound after Mickey loses his ears. One of the tamest (and sweetest) shorts from the first season, O Sole Minnie, is presented in Italian. These playful gags push the form in a way that is all too rare in mainstream TV animation nowadays.
There’s still room for improvement. Hopefully in the second season, we’ll see more comic exchanges between characters, instead of the first season’s overreliance on frenetic action sequences with questionable comic payoff. In too many of the shorts, characters pursued random objects or otherwise avoided each other, and thus neglected one of the most effective devices for creating comedy, which is shoving characters into each other, both figuratively and literally.