About the Author

Satiricalifragilistic grew up during the Disney Renaissance, and The Little Mermaid was the first movie she ever saw in theaters at age 3. Her mother flatly refused to let her leave the theater when Ursula got huge and terrifying, and maybe that explains her troubled psyche.

While she'll admit to being an inveterate nitpicker, she firmly believes in loving a piece of art even while criticizing it, and in the importance of engaging critically with what she loves. She has special contempt for anyone who tries to claim the politics in Disney films don't matter because "they're just movies," because she knows exactly how much the Disney Canon influenced her little gradeschool self—for good and for ill!

She loves art, design, music, dancing, movies from Hollywood's Golden Age, and British comedy...expect a lot of these to turn up in her reviews and mashups!

The Importance of Feminism in Pop Culture, Republican Debate Edition


At the Republican debate on Tuesday, Chris Christie (an actual human being alive in 2015 and actively trying to say things that will appeal to people!) actually said this:

“Think about the mothers who will take those children tomorrow morning to the bus stop wondering whether their children will arrive back on that bus safe and sound. Think about the fathers of Los Angeles, who tomorrow will head off to work and wonder about the safety of their wives and their children.”
Alice nodding sarcastically

Since the statement itself is so blatantly sexist I don't even need to deconstruct it, I'll go beyond that and look at this boneheaded remark in the setting of my analysis of Inside Out's poor choice to regurgitate a very tired stereotype of the "normal" family structure.


Part 4: When Sexism is More Than Just Bad Table Manners
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

New here? Check out the table of contents or start at Part 1. Wondering why this review is so critical? Well, everyone else has already written plenty about why Inside Out is awesome, so I'm going to be focusing on aspects that need some more attention.

Okay, everybody...buckle up: we've got to talk about the dinner table scene.

Oh, no! NOT THAT!

Let me just say at the outset that this is an extremely ambitious concept to attempt, and Pixar has my genuine respect for trying something as conceptually complicated as this scene: you've got to get inside three people's heads, so instead of having three characters interacting in one location, you've got eighteen characters (counting each human separately from zir emotions), ten of which the audience has never met before, in four locations, in two of which the audience has never been before. I get that you have to rely on shorthand at some point. HOWEVER, there's good shorthand (e.g., the first 10 minutes of Up) and then there's lazy sexist stereotypes. I found myself sitting in the theater saying to myself "Well, I guess they had to dumb this down so people could follow it..." and if a viewer is consciously aware of your filmmaking constraints and trying to make excuses while watching the movie in realtime (the FIRST time I saw it, I might add!), your ambitious scene has failed.

I'm giving this scene a participation award.


Snow White's To-Die-For Apple Pie Recipe

IMPORTANT: start this recipe **at least** one day ahead!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I wanted to share with you all a foolproof recipe for the most delicious, beautiful, guaranteed-to-delight-and-impress-your-friends-and-relatives apple pie you have ever tasted:

Tastes even better than it looks, might I add...

Let's start out by describing exactly what the perfect apple pie IS NOT, and then I'll share the amazing techniques that fix all those problems and gives you rich, flavorful goodness and a perfect texture.


Part 3: Has Anyone Else Noticed That Riley's Parents Kind Of Suck?
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

New here? Check out the table of contents or start at Part 1. Wondering why this review is so critical? Well, everyone else has already written plenty about why Inside Out is awesome, so I'm going to be focusing on aspects that need some more attention.

So far this series has discussed problems that have implications in how Inside Out relates to our larger society, but that don't detract from the movie's own internal worldbuilding. Today we'll look at some storytelling laziness and associated plotholes, most of which boil down to one simple fact that the movie doesn't seem to understand about its characters:

Riley's father and (to a lesser extent) mother are pretty shitty parents.

C'mon, we're Disney parents and we're alive--what more do you want?!


Part 2: Inside Out's Feminism, and Other Imaginary Friends
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

New here? Check out the table of contents or start at Part 1. Wondering why this review is so critical? Well, everyone else has already written plenty about why Inside Out is awesome, so I'm going to be focusing on aspects that need some more attention.

Welcome back to my series on Inside Out! Today we'll be looking at the tendency of some viewers to refuse to engage with feminist criticism of the movie because it has female characters and/or is more female-centered than other movies, to the point that this installment might as well be called Excuses for Sexism, Pathetically Low Standards Edition.

We're supposed to be satisfied with WHAT, now?!

One of the common responses to the uninspired gender roles in Inside Out is the defense that since Riley and three of the emotions are female, it is apparently unfair to criticize the gender dynamics in the rest of the plot. It's this sort of thinking that leads to defending the film with excuses like:


Part 1c: Look How Hilariously Political Traditionalists Are, (Especially) When They Think They’re Not
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

Feminists are frequently mocked for pointing out that the customs our society takes for granted are sexist, and those who like the status quo often accuse us of being too political. We are often told we are reading too much into customs/movies/whatever, when in truth the traditionalist is reading the exact same things into them, ze just likes it that way. In Part 1 of this series a commenter gave an epic example of just how political some knee-jerk defenses of the status quo can be:

When did it become unacceptable for a woman to follow the path of motherhood and caregiving? When did it become unacceptable for a man to be intelligent, driven and successful?

STRAWMAN ALERT! I'm not saying it's unacceptable, I'm saying this is the combination we see over, and over, and over again, and we deserve more varied role models. I'm saying that it's unacceptable that we see so pathetically few alternatives.


Part 1b: No, Dudes, Sitcom Dads Are Not An Evil Feminist Plot. They're Postmodern Patriarchy.
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

Being able to openly laugh at this is insufficiently empowering to make up for the fact that guys are STILL taught that it's ok to act like this in 2015.

If you happen to be a feminist on the internet, especially someone who comments on media representations of women, you have likely had some of your critiques met by self-righteous dudes who insist that the portrayals of men in sitcoms are THE WORST INSTANCE OF MISANDRY EVVVVAAAAR!!!! and that you, the feminist, should abandon whatever critique of gender norms you were in the middle of and divert your attention to assuaging their man-feels.


Part 1a: When "Choice Feminism" Really Means "Don't Question The Status Quo, Ever"
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

In response to my post Actually, Inside Out’s Gender Norms Are A Real Problem, I received a comment on reddit that encapsulates a huge part of the frustration I have with the defensiveness of “choice feminism.” Quite simply, this is a prime example of taking the idea of supporting women’s choices to the absurd and shark-jumping extreme of reflexively lashing out at anything that even criticizes the game rather than the player, let alone suggests the patriarchy-approved choice might be patriarchy-approved for a reason.

As opposed to this kind of shark jumping, which is awesome.

Anyway, the comment is quoted in full and in its original sequence, with my response interspersed.

You know why gender norms like these exist in fiction?

Because that's what a typical family looks like.

Actually, no. Not at all. According to the bureau of labor statistics, in 2014 only 19.9 percent of married families had a sole male breadwinner.

Moreover, the fact that this is what's considered "typical" is HUGELY affected by centuries of economic, social, religious, and educational oppression against women.


Part 1: Actually, Inside Out's Gender Norms Are A Major Problem
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

I honestly do love the vast majority of Inside Out ... despite the fact that this post is going to be all negative stuff--sorry! I've had to admit to myself that the dominant emotion at my Headquarters control console is probably Disgust...

...Snarky and Nitpicky? Perfect!!

At first, I got a little annoyed in the theater that the family seems to be picking up its life and centering all its goals around the Dad's job, but I told myself at the time "Some parents get really great opportunities they can't pass up. People move for jobs. That is A Thing that happens, and it doesn't have to imply male-centric social norms."


The movie still reinforces that social norm: Dad is portrayed as the one having the big ideas for the family, being the central provider, and Mom has no job that I could make out, and seems to do the majority of the child-rearing and home-and-hearth stuff. And BLEGH. Even the whole speech Riley's mom gave her about how they appreciate how positive she is came with some rather squicky undertones about the womenfolk needing to fall in line with the Man of the House's goals. Amanda Marcotte seems to think the film offers a critique of the gendered expectation that women be the positive emotional support, but I honestly didn't see that in the work itself. While Marcotte's critique is definitely spot-on for a lot of real women and girls' lived experiences, I don't think that in-universe the movie actually criticized or challenged these gender norms, or even understood why this is problematic.


Why Does Bree Newsome Look So Familiar?

Let's see: bold & outspoken, courageous, dismantles oppressive stereotypes, willing to face unjust punishment from her narrow-minded government for doing the right thing, thinks outside the box, outsmarts an enemy that resorts to terrorism after it lost a war...

...and oh, yeah, kickass climbing skills:

Congratulations, Bree, you've just embodied one of my childhood heroes.


Prologue: So...one little nitpick about Inside Out
Turning Inside Out Upside Down

Ok, overall, a really great movie...there’s only one teensy little problem:

I kinda understand the stress of moving to a new house, especially at that age, and I (kind of) get to a kid that city living would be a difficult adjustment from a big midwestern farmhouse... But I grew up near San Francisco. Riley just moved in to a Victorian in the middle of San Francisco.

Let me repeat that...


Now, I can’t find any screencaps online right now of the exterior of the house (if you know of any please put a link in the comments and I’ll update the post!), but comparing from memory here’s what 10 minutes of googling some real estate sites showed me:


On Frollo and Josh Duggar

8/27/15: Updated below!

Josh Duggar: the later years...

Today's object lesson in "Everything you really need to know in life you should have learned from Disney Movies" comes to us in the form of the Josh Duggar scandal, which could have and should have been avoided if certain conservative Christian sects had paid closer attention to The Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Yeah, turns out maniacally suppressing your sexual self in pursuit of "purity" is bad for you...

Gee, y'think?!


Confessions of A Disney Blogger


Whenever I say the word "Renaissance," I am about 100 times more likely to mean this:

than this:


When John Smith evasively tells Ratcliffe that he was "out scouting the terrain, sir..."


Disney Villains Fall Victim to "Gravity" (feat John Mayer)

This just seemed too perfect--I can't believe no one has done it before!

Did you notice that when Gaston is falling, at the closeup of his eyes his pupils turn into little skulls for two frames?


Today In Disney-Related Pet Peeves

So, there's this YouTube ad that is playing before practically everything for me, from some financial planning group^ and it's laying it on super thick about what a devoted Dad this guy is and so of course he uses this particular mutual fund because OF COURSE. But they open the ad with this line as to how his life revolves around his daughters:

"I know the name of eight princesses..."

WELL THEN, let's check out Mr. Father of the Year over here! Mr. Shill-For-Some-Mutual-Fund knows the name of EIGHT princesses!! What rapt attention he must pay to every aspect of his daughter's lives and interests, and how involved he must be to know the names of eight whole princesses!!


  • 1) Snow White
  • 2) Cinderella
  • 3) Aurora

The Last "Which Disney Princess Are You?" Quiz You'll EVER Need!

Are you...




Why Is The Pocahontas Redesign So Creepy?

So, I'm a little late to the party in pointing out that the 2013 redesign of the official Disney Princess line is totally the worst thing ever:

Really--is it too much to ask to just have screen-accurate costumes and facial features?! It's not like we don't all own the movies, and can easily verify what these women look like and what they wear.

More pixels than I can count have already been devoted to the multitudes of aesthetic and sociological fails represented by that image: the whitewashing, blingification, blatant consumerism, and a femininity so stifling and oppressive it's like trying to breathe in a roomful of your great-great-aunt's gardenia perfume. And the sparkles. Dear fucking god, so many goddamn sparkles!

So I'll just agree with all of that and move on to a point that is a lot less consequential but has nonetheless been bugging me and I finally saw it for what it was:


Disney Hunks' Uptown Funk

So, I had a decision last week...either I could do my taxes, or I could do a Disney-inspired Uptown Funk spoof. While you're racking your brain trying to guess which one I chose, you can... uh ... watch my Uptown Funk spoof!

Li Shang and Prince Phillip are so hot, they make Mushu and Maleficent want to retire, man!

Yeah, really stumped us there!

So, yeah, epic willpower fail on my part! I've been itching to do this mashup for weeks. You know you're a Disney blogger when you hear the line "make a dragon wanna retire, man" and your mind immediately goes to this:


Even More Eerie Similarities Between Fan Theorists and Anti-Vaxxers

Need to catch up? Check out the Table of Contents of the fan theories series!

#5: They get attached to the theory because it makes them part of a community.

This is another self-reinforcing aspect that makes theories of any kind particularly difficult to dislodge. As people get attached to theories, they also get attached to all the other people who believe in these theories. Believing in the theory then becomes a powerful marker of one's membership in a community of similar interests and values, and with that comes the significant social benefits of greater notice and promotion within a community (made all the more close-knit by marking those who do not believe as the out-group). Loudly supporting these shared beliefs and defending them becomes performative, to enhance one's status in the community and to reinforce social bonds. This also means that it's not enough to counter the theory with facts, because it's not just the facts that are convincing people, but a lot of social ...



The Eerie Similarities Between Fan Theorists and Anti-Vaxxers

By way of some background: first I made a little costume analysis debunking the Frozen/Tangled fan theory, and in my last post I addressed some of the more tenacious fan theorists' rebuttals, with all of the grace and dignity a blogger can muster...

It's not often that my mood is equally well communicated by both The Little Mermaid and a possessed psychopath on a murderous rampage.

But, you know, I do have a blog to write, and I figured I ought to move on to other topical Disney-related news items, like that measles outbreak at Disneyland:

The happiest place on earth, if you happen to be an airborne virus with 90% infectivity, a decent surface-survival time, and permissive incubation phase.


On Correctly Dating Historical Fiction

I've noticed a lot of people responding to my Frozen/Tangled debunking with some variant of "But it must have taken place in at least 1790/1890/1828 because it has Mozart/tandem bicycles/cupcakes!" and I wanted to address how this approach to dating fictional works is misguided.

Quite simply, it is making the mistake of dating fiction the way you would date actual historical documents. In real life, any single item may provide a minimum date because that item would have to exist in the real world in order to appear. So, a historic photo with a single item from 100 years later than the rest of the material would definitively date it to at least the later time period (i.e., meaning it's a fake). However, the same does not hold true for fiction, because we already know it's a fake...that's what fiction means! In fiction, it is more correct to take the overall appearance of the work and the predominant themes of costume, architecture, technology, and trappings to set a time period that the author probably intended. Remember we're looking for *intent* here, rather than when something actually happened (if we're looking for items to definitively date something in reality, that's trivially easy: Tangled is from 2010 and Frozen is from 2013).


Debunking the Counter-Theory to the Previous Frozen/Tangled Debunking

I recently did a costume analysis for those stubborn Frozen/Tangled shippers,

By which I mean this literal ship.

And today I'd like to share some pretty sad and hilarious counter-arguments that I just can't leave un-mocked. One even went so far as to chide me for failing to properly account for Jane Porter's costumes in Tarzan since that link has apparently been confirmed:




"Hitler": Eddie Izzard meets the Hunchback of Notre Dame

What with their mutual fondness for murdering gypsies and conquering Paris, The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Frollo seems the perfect casting for Eddie Izzard's brilliant summary of the life and times of Adolf Hitler. Also with some cameo appearances from other notable mass murderers!


"Unattended Bag": Eddie Izzard meets Tangled

The cast of Tangled (2010) has a run-in with some incompetent security when they come across the ominous unattended bag from Eddie Izzard's reminiscences.


"Criminal Justice": Eddie Izzard meets Beauty and the Beast

The cast of Beauty and the Beast (1991) teaches us some valuable lessons about the criminal justice system and mass murderers, as described by Eddie Izzard.


"Beekeepers" Eddie Izzard meets Aladdin

The ambition and thievery of Aladdin (1992) brings Eddie Izzard's "Beekeepers" bit to life, as Aladdin finds out how difficult it is to flirt when covered in bees!


On the Measles Outbreak at Disneyland

For such a vapid C-lister, Jenny McCarthy has a really impressive body count. Seriously, this is not one of those "Oh, let's let everyone follow their own feelings" or "Mommy knows best" kind of things. Measles encephalitis is a horrible way to die. Even not quite dying of measles or pertussis or Haemophilus or good old-fashioned flu are still pretty damn miserable.

True fact, if you mention Jenny McCarthy's name in a conference full of pediatricians, you get this:


"Cake or Death?" Eddie Izzard meets Sleeping Beauty

Some good ol' Disney magic comes to Eddie Izzard's classic bit, "Cake or Death," as Church of England is taken over by Maleficent and the Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty (1959). Perhaps they CAN have extreme points of view!


"Do You Have A Flag?" Eddie Izzard meets Pocahontas

Eddie Izzard gets a few visual aids for his classic bit "Do You Have A Flag?" with the help of the cast of Disney's "Pocahontas" (1995). Chances are this is actually more historically accurate than the original Disney film!


Today in Deep Thoughts in Film Criticism...

I was doing some research for my Pocahontas review series, and I stumbled upon the amazing factoid that apparently in Pocahontas II (which, full disclosure, I have never seen and based on the opinions of everyone ever I have no intention to!), John Rolfe was played by … Billy Zane?!?!?!?

Now, of course everyone quite rightly mocks James Cameron for ripping off all of Avatar from Pocahontas. But, in an odd sort of karmic retribution, it turns out that Pocahontas II (1998) could have learned one very, VERY important lesson from Titanic (1997), and that is:

If you are a voluptuous, free spirited American girl sailing across the Atlantic, you have two love interests, one of whom is Billy Zane:


That is all.


On That Bonkers Frozen / Tangled Fan Theory...


Genetics--How the fuck does it work?!

I love bimodal distributions, don't you?