When I went looking for a still from this, it of course hit the snag that any search for the cartoon does—getting caught up in all the actual images of actual home theater set-up. One image, which came from a how-to video for a Sony TV and so forth, looked not unlike the still I’ve chosen for my article image. Much of the cartoon is of course comedic exaggeration, but I had to connect my cable to my TV the other day, despite the fact that I thought I’d already done so, and yeah, there’s a lot of connectors on the back of my set—and this set is considerably newer than the cartoon and assumes that most of your important connections will be via HDMI cable, so you won’t even need that many plugs.
By the look of things, Goofy hasn’t updated his TV since the previous “How To” short, officially 1961’s “Aquamania.” In order to watch the Big Game—even Disney isn’t going to tangle with the NFL’s lawyers, I guess—he goes to a Giant Warehouse Store (where, hmm, the employees are wearing blue and yellow and where could that be?) and buys, well, everything. Including equipment rapidly becoming obsolete by 2007, and a VCR, which arguably had been for at least five years at that point. (I bought my first DVD player in 2001 and did not count myself as an early adopter.) And then, with the helpful advice of the narrator (Corey Burton), he sets it up as only Goofy can.
Honestly, this isn’t my favourite of the “How To” shorts, which are my favourite Goofy shorts and probably my favourite Disney shorts full stop. For one thing, it’s missing the cheerful pomposity—I love the scene in “How to Ride a Horse” wherein both Goofy and the horse are so bored by the narration that they practically fall asleep. This narrator sounds as though he doesn’t know all that much more about what he’s doing than Goofy does, and even if the actual wording of the narration makes it clear that he doesn’t, his tone should make it sound as though he does.
The problem, I suppose, is that this is a subject where we feel as though most people don’t know much. This isn’t golf or baseball, where quite a lot of people do it for fun. This isn’t even flying a plane, where we know there are people who are skilled at it. This is something that feels like a foreign concept even to experts. But I mean, while I don’t know the actual details of how to objectively tell if one TV is better than another, the short doesn’t even make hay on that. There’s one too big to fit into Goofy’s house, and there we go. The narrator suggests being practical, but there isn’t even technical terminology about what a practical TV purchase would be.
I suppose the difference here is that, in 2007, setting up electronics like this was something you just started having to do every few years, whether you liked it or not, and every other “how to” cartoon was about a hobby of some sort. It’s a different style. It’s still cute; don’t get me wrong. It’s also true that there’s a lot of comedy in the concept. It’s just that this isn’t all it could be, and that’s the sort of thing that always makes me a little sad.