I don’t cover Pluto very often. This is mostly because the Pluto cartoons are seldom as memorable to me as the others; for one thing, there is obviously seldom anything in wordplay when it comes to a Pluto cartoon, given he doesn’t talk. To be perfectly honest, though, I’m once again doing “the first thing that comes up when I do a search on ‘Disney cartoon’ on YouTube,” and this was the first in what claimed to be a collection of classics. Is it? Eh.
This is, in fact, perhaps notable for the first appearance of Dinah the Dachshund. Pluto is head-over-heels in love with her and would do anything to woo her. She is not interested, and makes her lack of interest clear, so he resorts to trickery to get a kiss. She’s not happy. But then she’s captured by the dogcatcher, and in the pound, she’s menaced by Spike the Bulldog. So Pluto decides to rescue her.
I mean, Pluto full-on assaults her. He gets a giant bone—never mind that the idea of dogs’ eating bones is a faulty one that’s literally damaging to dogs—and she follows it along its length, and he kisses her. Sure, okay, dogs don’t kiss, but they do in cartoons, and she makes it very clear that she isn’t interested. Pluto knows she isn’t interested, so he resorts to trickery. That’s not okay, Pluto; I had a very long talk with my son yesterday about consent, and he’d know it was not okay, if he’d been watching the cartoon with me.
The Nice Guy trope is clearly an old one, then, because here’s Pluto getting rewarded for being a Nice Guy. And of course, it turns out that Dinah isn’t as desirable as she appears, because she’s got a litter. As if dogs cared about that sort of thing. So the pretty dog is playing hard-to-get, only it turns out she’s put out for someone else. I never would’ve thought of Pluto as a proto-incel before, but here we all are. People think the princess thing is toxic, and goodness knows it’s got its problems, but the worst of the princess cartoons are still better than some of the shorts.
So yeah, sociologically, it’s interesting, but unless you’re a big enough fan of Dinah to want to get into everything in her mythos, give it a miss. Trust me on this one. And I’m pretty sure very few people are huge Dinah fans; I’m not even sure Disney has merchandised her. And for Disney not to merchandise a character means she’s awfully obscure!