Disney and the single parent family

There are few things that are certain about parenthood. Every child is different, every situation springs a unique problem with a unique answer.

But there is at least one certainty in the life of a dad: you will watch the same damned cartoon over and over and over and over AND OVER again.

I have seen Cinderella with my daughter 23 times - and still counting. Likewise, I have watched Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs with my son 17 times, and this is only because Natalie is older, so I've had more time to watch movies with her.

After watching the same movie over and over again, you start to notice some thing. I noticed how many cartoons are built around single parent families. Starting with the classics:

Single Parent Movies

MovieWhat's the backstory on the parent who is gone?
PinocchioMother's fate unknown. Probably something sinister because Gepetto is kind of unbalanced, and thinks a wooden toy is his son.
DumboFather gone. Dumbo is held captive with his mother. We have no backstory on the mother's relationship with the father elephant. Seems like a big plot hole, I admit
The Little MermaidMom is gone, and no one talks about her. What happened, no one knows, but King Triton has a bit of a temper ...
Cloudy With A Chance of MeatballsWe meet mom in a flashback. She's both sweet, loving, and kind of hot. Then she dies.
The Lion KingDad was killed in a wildebeest stampede. Talk about an overdone plot device.
Finding NemoMom made a brief appearance, just enough to see her get eaten by a barracuda, leaving us all hoping that Nemo is the name of the barracude and this is going to be more like a Liam Neeson revenge movie and less like a Let's Get My Kid Back From The Dentist one.
RatatouilleMom was dead. Probably something nasty. No surprise; it was a rat.
The Iron GiantDad's whereabouts unknown, but probably connected to the anti-communist hysteria this show leveraged. The mom was played by Jennifer Aniston. For some reason, that made the cartoon character totally hot.
How to Train Your DragonDad's an overbearing ass. Mom dead. Probably from Dad. He's a viking, after all.
UpOld man takes his house on a trip to Venezuela. The kid that stows away on the trip lives with his single mother. The father isn't dead: just a deadbeat.
Toy Story (1,2 and 3)Mom has no luck with men. We watch he raise her kid over almost two decades as a single mom. But she has a big house, so she either has a good job or else he had a great insurance policy.

Evil Stepmother movies (special subcategory)


What happened to the dad?
Snow WhiteThe dad was still around but he was totally whipped.
CinderellaAccording to Drew Barrymore, he died of a heart attack at the end of the driveway. It was a long driveway

No Parent Movies


What's the backstory?
Despicable MeKids are orphans. Adopted by a single parent father, so this movie really fits into two categories.
BambiMother got shot by a hunter. Father probably in prison.
Kung Fu PandaFat panda adopted by a duck - also a single parent - and somehow overcomes adversity to beat up a lion.
TarzanSuccumbed to ebola, probably
The RescuersLittle girl is an orphan. She's adopted by a Cruella clone, and is rescued by mice. Which makes you wonder how fearsome she is, given that she can be outwitted by rodents.
Lilo and StitchGirl lives with her sister in Hawaii. Parents also succumbed to ebola.
Puss in BootsThe main characters are orphans. A cat and an egg. Just weird.
FrozenParents die at sea. That's why heads of state should ALWAYS travel separately.

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