It’s time once again for our ongoing series surveying the awful shows you’re forced to endure before you can finally kick the kids out of the TV room to watch sports for eight hours.

The Show

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

The Theme Song

It’s the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!

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Come inside!

It’s fun inside!

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(NOTE: Disney Junior hired They Might Be Giants to do the music for this show, which sounds hip and cool until you remember that They Might Be Giants were one of the most annoyingly precious bands of the 1990s.)

The Mythology

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a shoddily animated half-hour of garbage programming produced in bulk somewhere in a sweatshop editing bay off the coast of Malaysia. It has all your favorite Disney characters, and serves as a reminder that you never liked these characters all that much to begin with.

Anyway, the gist is that Mickey Mouse has a clubhouse he wants you to come play in (hence the song). BUT … to make the clubhouse appear, you gotta say the magic words:

MEESKA

MOOSKA

MICKEY MOUSE!

When I run an opium speakeasy one day, this will be my ironic password.

Episode Format

Okay, so you say the magic words, and then the clubhouse magically appears. Like Disney World itself, it’s quite crowded and underwhelming. After that, Mickey and the gang usually encounter some problem that they need YOU, a 3-year-old, to help solve. Degree of difficulty for each task varies wildly. Potential predicaments include:

* Lost birthday-party favors

* Being trapped on Mars

* Pete stole our balloons!

* Rescuing Santa

* Finding a duck

Some of these tasks are quite difficult, but are in fact solved quite easily because of TOODLES, a literal animated Disney logo (for a while, it didn’t even have a face, until animators slapped one on, which is NOT an improvement) that can be summoned from a big contraption called the Mousekadoer. Is there a song EVERY TIME the Mousekadoer boots up? You know there is. Anyway, you can get Toodles’s help four times per episode by shouting out, “OH TOOOOOOOODLES!” This is what I hear in my night terrors now: A deranged lunatic is stabbing me with a steak knife, and I scream out, “OH TOOOOOOOODLES!” And Toodles never comes.

Once Toodles pops up out of nowhere, you have your choice of four different objects (or “Mousekatools”) to help you solve the problem. One of them is the Mystery Mousekatool, which remains hidden from sight until a simple process of elimination forces you to choose the magical clothespin hidden behind the question mark.

And this is where Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fails. I swear to you, they choose the absolute dumbest shit for Mousekatools, and their methodology makes absolutely no sense to anyone with a basic knowledge of contract labor. Let’s say you gotta climb a fence, and all Toodles has for you is a boiled ham, a tennis ball, and a flashlight. Those are all useless, right? WRONG. No, that’s when Mickey is like, “What if we step ON the ham to get over the fence?” And this is presented as the correct solution. That’s how stupid this show is. I swear to God, one time they made you push a button to summon a train sound, and the correct button was a fucking HOT DOG. You know why? Because, as Mickey explained, you “chew” a hot dog, so if you “chew chew,” you’ll get CHOO CHOO. This show has all the deductive abilities of a Politico commenter. It’s horrifying.

I haven’t even gotten to the worst part yet, which is that when you select the “right” Mousekatool (GUYS, WHAT IF WE USED THAT HANDGUN TO MIX UP THE BROWNIE BATTER, THAT MAKES SENSE), Toodles lights up, and then you gotta say …

We got ears!

Sayyyyy cheers!

They say this a billion times per episode. It will ravage your mind. The average MMC script has three new lines in it. The rest is template. It’s awful.

Anyway, once you’ve used the kite to blow open the bank vault and solve the problem, the show is over, and you must do the Hot Dog Dance. Ohhhhh, They Might Be Giants. Oh, I will ruin you. No word on if the Hot Dog Dance summons a goddamn train.

Characters

Mickey Mouse. Everyone loves Mickey Mouse, right? Well, that’s because Mickey Mouse is a cipher. He has no personality, no interests, no discerning traits of any kind. He’s got big ears, and that’s about it. He’s a talking logo. If he were a live person, he’d be one of the actors in The Maze Runner. Mickey Mouse blows. All he does on this show is cheerlead you into tacking mouse onto other words.

Minnie Mouse. Ditto. What do you REALLY know about Minnie Mouse, other than the fact that she’s a girl? What’s her favorite food? Does she like to ski? What are her dreams? Minnie Mouse makes Ms. Pac-Man look like Eleanor goddamn Roosevelt.

(By the way, when I was a kid, I had Mickey and Minnie toys, and I used to make them do it. I wasn’t the most stable child.)

Donald Duck. An angry duck with a lisp. You know who’s a better angry duck with a lisp? DAFFY. It’s not even close. Watch this show and you will come to the quick realization that this is, hands down, the lamest group of cartoon characters in modern history. The Looney Tunes gang destroys the Disney stable. Every secondary Tex Avery character pwns the shit out of them. Even Deputy Dawg is cooler. I have no use for these people.

Daisy Duck. Again, utterly forgettable. I think she wears shoes.

Goofy. Goofy has long been the source of comic relief in Disney cartoons, which is a problem, because he’s not funny at all. Remember when all the kids in Stand by Me couldn’t figure out what kind of animal Goofy was? I’ll tell you what kind of animal he is: He’s an original member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. “WELL GAWRSH!” Fuck off, redneck.

Pete: Pete—a kind of evil Goofy—is the villain of this show, but you’d barely know it, because he turns good five minutes into every episode. One second he’s stealing pies, the next second he’s handing them right back to Mickey and begging to be invited to some asshole picnic. This isn’t the Pete I remember from my childhood, when he was the Ghost of Christmas Future in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and he chomped on a cigar and shoved Scrooge McDuck down into the literal flames of Hell. That Pete was a fucking badass. YOU’RE THE RICHEST MAN IN THE CEMETERY, EBENEZER! MWAHAHAHAHAHA! Gimme a kiddie show about Pete putting his cigar out on other cartoon characters’ faces, and I’m in.

Clarabelle. A talking cow with a voice that will make you claw your nipples off. God, it’s like visiting relatives every time I gotta hear Clarabelle talk.

Best Episode

N/A

Worst Episode

“Mickey’s Monster Musical,” a special extended Halloween adventure featuring “Count Mickula” talking in a bad Romanian accent. For this episode, Toodles is also rechristened BOO-DLES. Get it? Huh? You know you like it.

Pros

No ads! This is a breathtakingly dumb and vacant show, but at least there aren’t any ads. If I gotta fast-forward through six ads after 10 minutes, that’s no good. I need the child to stare at the TV for 20 uninterrupted minutes while I dick around on my phone or eat chips or do other important grownup shit. Fast-forwarding on a DVR is simply too much parenting for me. I can’t do it. This is why I direct the 3-year-old to this awful show instead of Paw Patrol.

Cons

HOT DOG HOT DOG HOT DIGGITY DOG NOW WE GOT EARS IT’S TIME FOR CHEERS.

Previously in WYCTPS: Saved by the Bell | Jessie | Super Why! | The Fresh Beat Band | Max & Ruby | Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! | Chuggington | Dora the Explorer | Thomas & Friends

Lead illustration by Jim Cooke.

Adequate Man is Deadspin’s self-improvement blog, dedicated to making you just good enough at everything. Suggestions for future topics are welcome below.