I can’t be the only person who still gets weepy when Bambi’s mom gets turned into a mantle decoration, when Copper protects Todd from the hunter, or when Simba is wrongly blamed for Mufasa’s death. And I get it: Some people just don’t get weepy. But anyone with a childhood worth remembering has watched Cinderella get ready for the ball with the help of some singing mice (who are apparently completely down with shirts, but can’t manage to find a pair of pants), has sang along to every Disney song ever, or has even gone three weeks using nothing but a fork to style their hair so they could be like Ariel (No? Just me?).
Disney has had control over my soul ever since my mother first sat me in front of the television and inserted 101 Dalmatians into the VCR. I adore Disney. I’ve been to Disney World three times, watched almost every Disney movie known to mankind – including some obscure ones like The Three Caballeros – and my dearest ambition during the awkward time known as middle school was to be a Disney princess.
It seems poetic, then, that there is a Disney movie that bears similarities to my freshman year: An Extremely Goofy Movie. The sequel to A Goofy Movie, it stars the classic Disney character Goofy and his teenage son Max.
A recap for all the non-Disney fanatics: Max is leaving home for his freshman year of college. Goofy isn’t taking it so well; Max is euphoric. Max meets these guys who are members of a skateboarding fraternity. They want Max to join, but Max says no. Rivalry ensues. Meanwhile, Goofy loses his job and finds out he needs to finish his senior year of college in order to find employment. Guess where he ends up?
There are tears, drama and lots and lots of Cheese Whiz. And it all culminates with an epic skateboard/dirt biking/rollerblade competition where Goofy ultimately saves the day, and Max realizes his dad isn’t so bad after all.
Now, clearly the freshman year presented in An Extremely Goofy Movie is not an exact copy of my freshman year at Northwestern. As far as I’m aware, we have no skateboarding fraternity, and my skateboarding ability can best be summed up by this. Unfortunately, I will probably not engage in any epic rivalries that will result in college fame and glory, and the likelihood of my dad coming down here and falling in love with the librarian is pretty slim (I don’t think Mom would approve). And yet, the similarities remain.
For one, I shared Max’s amazement at the idea of heading out to college, particularly because it meant I was finally done with my high school job at a retail store. Quite frankly, I was this close to shouting, “See ya SUCKERS,” as I skipped home from work after my last shift. Like Max, college represented an escape, one that I was all too happy to take advantage of.
Before Max could get to college, he needed to pack. Only meaning well, Goofy attempts to help him but is brushed off by his son. It’s supposed to be a sad point in the film, but it’s hard to get too teary-eyed when this sort of thing is a regular occurrence in a teenager’s life. The epidemic known as “packing” began for me in mid-August. It started with a few boxes here and there – one for bedding, one for clothing, – and ended up ultimately consuming my room and the hallway. It looked like an episode of Hoarders. My parents thoughtfully offered to help pack. Unfortunately for them, their daughter does this when people so much as offer to help. It’s not their fault they got stuck with me.
Then comes the part that I’m sure most everyone is familiar with: the “talk.” No, not that talk. This is college. If you don’t already know that stuff I might be slightly concerned. I mean the “remember to always leave time for your studies,” or “don’t do anything stupid,” or “join clubs to make friends” talk. The one where parents desperately try to remind their eager young ‘uns that college is about more than seeing how much fatty food you can eat at once or scoring with the hottie down the hall. And like Max, I rolled my eyes at these conversations and assured my parents that I'd be fine and that I knew what I was doing. Except for maybe laundry.
The next stage in the college adventure: the road trip. While we didn’t take a detour through a cornfield like Max and friends, my parents and I still had to survive an eight-hour drive through the wasteland that is Wisconsin. The car was so full of items I deemed necessities (only about half actually were) that we couldn’t see out the back windshield. I have to give my dad credit. He managed to back out of a crowded gas station almost completely blind, and no damage occurred. Though, we did almost hit a horse trailer.
Almost at the end of the process is the grieving phase. You know, the part where parents either A) cry uncontrollably at the thought of you leaving, B) try to maintain their composure and cry the entire ride home or C) throw a huge party in the bedroom you no longer use. Max’s dad (dear old Goofy) falls under option B. So do my parents. It’s a little backwards, really. There were no tears when my parents cleared out of Evanston, but according to my sister, Taylor Swift’s new single “Never Grow Up” released the floodgates. Apparently my mom couldn’t even make it past the first line.
So here I am, just at the start of my freshman year. I’ve completed a grand total of almost two weeks of classes, which clearly makes me an expert. It’s gonna be a long four years, but if Disney is any indication, it’s gonna be fun.
Good question, Bobby. Good question.