I’m sitting down with fellow mom and Disney Villians scholar Kaytie Ohashi on this episode of The Game of Nerds Podcast. Before we dive into the evil side of things, we chat briefly about what we’ve been obsessing over, including Falcon and Winter Solider. Kaytie recently got a ManiMe which makes custom-designed nails based on your nail size. We then jump into how Kaytie became known as the Disney scholar. This is, after all, our first podcast episode touching on Disney.
Kaytie was completing her Master’s program, and her instructor told her to do something different. So she did an entire mock podcast episode where she did a detailed character analysis on Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time. This hour and a half episode impressed her instructor so much that she decided to turn it into a podcast when she went on maternity leave. I ask here, though, why did she choose Villians? Since her background was in social work, she used Disney characters and Villains to describe various social identities in children and adults. As we all know, we aren’t just one identity but made up of multiple identities. After seeing Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier, the idea for the podcast only grew for her. What if we did not hear the Villians side of the story?
We then jump into a rousing discussion of our favorite villains. For 90’s kids, it’s safe to say, Ursala, Jafar, Scar, Maleficent, The Evil Queen from Snow White, and Cruella top off the list. Gaston is usually also added to the list, but we talk about how he isn’t really evil per se. There are really different levels of Villians. Some are true evil like Maleficent and Ursula, while others are just misguided or arrogant like Gaston. Captain Hook is one of those Villians that is somewhere in the middle. I ask the question all of us parents are dying to know, what’s the deal with Pete? Is he a friend, or is he a foe? To childcare professionals like me, he sends such mixed signals. In one episode, Pete is our enemy and ruining everything, and in the next episode, we are helping him get coconuts. What’s the deal? Kaytie believes that he’s the Frenemy. He’s the one you really don’t want to be friends with but not enemies either. I bring up Marie’s point from episode 13 that “Everyone is Mickey’s Bitch” and Kaytie states that there is a scholarly review that looks at how Mickey Mouse uses everyone. Queue my mind being blown.
We jump back into talking about villains that get little recognition. Kaytie states how much she loves Cruella for being the outspoken feminist she is but can’t get behind the puppy killing. I personally think that’s why the latest release of Cruella with Emma Stone will be amazing. She also loves Jafar. I personally have always found an attachment to Hades from Hercules. Growing up, I was a huge fan of Rattigan from The Great Mouse Detective and Madam Mims from Sword in The Stone. Kaytie talks about passive-aggressive evil, which sums up Melificinet and Mother Gothel to the T. Both took on and had to wait for their evil to pay off in the end. Robin Hood is another great example of villains that necessarily aren’t bad. They are just not the greatest or misguided. The real evil villain is The Sheriff of Nottingham in that movie. Prince John is just a different version of Kuzco from Emporers New Groove. Did you know Emporers New Groove is the only movie with a pregnant woman throughout the movie? Any other Disney movie has either a pregnant mom for a few moments or no mom at all.
Kaytie had a screenwriter on her podcast where she talked about Tamatoa, the crab from Moana. According to this guest, a villain must be in most of the movie and change the plot. Tamatoa was only in one scene and didn’t really change the plot. He only furthers it along. Does this mean Madam Mims and some of our other favorite Villians aren’t really Villians? Thanks to the success of Maleficent, we got Cruella along with a lot of other live actions. The question begs to be asked, did Melificinet succeed because of its storyline or its acting. Angelina Jolie really did bring this character to life, but ultimately the storyline was something completely new. It gave us a backstory and answers to questions we had been asking since we had watched Sleeping Beauty decades before. While there are no other Villian movies slated to come out soon, there are a bunch more live-action Disney movies on the way.
We finish up our discussion with Once Upon A Time. The series ran seven seasons on ABC, Disney’s parent network. It gave fans a weekly dose of Disney in an adult tv form. Frankly, the show was great for all ages. The series creators took their time to painstakingly weave all these well-known stories we’ve grown up to love into a series that continued to grow with the seasons. It also gave a lot of actors their stars like Sebastian Stan and Jaime Chung. It was always a treat to see how they would add or incorporate new stories. We have to remember at the end of the day, all these movies were original stories. Stories that have been told for thousands of years in so many different languages. Finally, my nanny heart talks about Descendants. While I managed to escape the High School Musical and every other Disney musical in between, Descendants I couldn’t escape from. But frankly, it’s a gem of a movie trilogy. The music is great. There are amazingly talented actors who play the parents. It’s a story about how kids are sometimes defined by their parents and how they have to strike out to create their own identity.
Learn More About Our Guest:
The Wonderful World of Disney Villains Podcast
The Wonderful World of Disney Villains Blog – www.wonderfulworldofdisneyvillains.com
Instagram & TikTok as @DisVillainsScholar