Why Are Disney Parents Always So Dead?
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Why Are Disney Parents Always So Dead?

August 22, 2019

[Ben] Hey, brother! J, do you know what makes for a great children’s movie? The death of a parent! *Awkward silence* Disney parents are always so dead and if they aren’t already they will be soon. Man, this got dark quick! Today, we discuss why! (Intro music) [J and Ben] Hey, brother! [Ben] I mean we’ve got Snow White, Bambi, Aladdin, Anna, Elsa, Tarzan, Simba loses Mufasa, Ariel doesn’t have a mother, Mowgli’s parents are missing in action, Belle is missing a mother, Tiana is missing a father, Kuzco is missing both, Rapunzel has both of her parents, but she was taken from them, and if she wasn’t, they’d most likely be dead. I’m actually surprised they weren’t struck by a meteor upon reuniting *Peaceful music* *meteor striking* Point is: Disney loves killing off parents, which is super weird for a company that is like known for happiness and making dreams come true. What’s the deal Disney? Why can’t people just have their parents? Well, one of the longest-standing rumors is that Walt Disney himself made the conscious decision to kill off parental roles after the guilt he felt about his own mother’s death. See, after the enormous success of Snow White at the box office – seriously adjusted for inflation Snow White makes Frozen look pitiful. Ha, Frozen only making 1.2 billion. What a failure! Honestly they should just cancel Frozen 2 right now and start off with Snow White and the 8 dwarves instead. Where the eighth dwarf is… Wait for it– Olaf! Because I love Olaf! [Clip from Frozen of Olaf] Oh, look at that. I’ve been impaled. *Chuckles* Anyway point is with the money earned from Snow White, Walt and his brother Roy decided to move their parents from their modest home in Oregon to a mansion in LA. What great sons right? But then tragically there was a carbon monoxide leak in the new house and their mother Flora Disney died of carbon monoxide poisoning. So as the story goes, this is the reason why at Disney movies are just so parentless, because Walt was reflecting his own grief and guilt into his artwork. Which makes for a good story and a really interesting reason behind this kind of bizarre phenomenon, but it’s actually not true. Snow White when it came out was already parentless a year before Flora’s death in 1938 and at that time other parentless films including Bambi and Pinocchio were already way underway in production. In fact if you thought Bambi was sad it was based on a book called Bambi: A Life in the Woods which was considered too grim and somber for a Disney movie, so they dialed it back to make it more lighthearted. Because that’s how you described Bambi, right? Lighthearted! I can just imagine that production meeting. [Ben acting like he’s in that production meeting] Guys more lighthearted! How does we make this a happier movie? [Ben acting like he is Franklin] Mom lives…? [Ben acting like he’s in that production meeting] Lives? Franklin, you’re fired! We said lighthearted, not change the entire company philosophy. Now who said something about a skunk named Flower? Good thinking Not Franklin. [Normal Ben] But the point is yes, Disney obviously dealt very heavily with the grief of his mother’s death. But that wasn’t the inspiration behind telling sad stories. But so if that’s not the reason, then what is it? Well one thing to keep in mind is that as great as Disney films are they aren’t entirely original. Most of them are at the very least loosely based on an existing fairy tale. And in many of those fairy tales the parents were already dead or not present. So this storytelling technique has kind of been around for a very long time. Even outside of Disney orphans or singleparent children are pretty easy to come by. I mean just look at Harry Potter, Dorothy, Katniss, Luke Skywalker, Aang, Frodo, Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and well– You know what just go google ‘fictional orphans’. The list goes on. That’s because these types of stories are called a bildungsroman or coming-of-age-tale. By the way that’s bildungsroman with one word that sounds way better with a german accent. Which I don’t have… But more importantly is not Bill Dung’s Roman’s kind of story. 4:01.3 *Giggles* Dung! What a funny last name. Interestingly even the term bildungsroman came out well after these stories were highly popular, It’s just the first term that was coined to describe this kind of story, So once again we’ve come back to our original question. Why our Disney parents or really any parents in stories always so dead? Because perfect isn’t interesting. The story about the perfect little family, where the kids come home from school and do their homework before cleaning their room and then squeeze in 30 minutes of video games before dinner isn’t interesting. Especially if the kids take the plates to the sink after asking to be excused from the table. But the movie about the kid who works after school to help support a single mother and then goes home and stays up late eating a dinner they cooked for themselves while working on a state of the art robotics project for the Science Fair is interesting because we are watching our hero make a decision. We are watching them make the right decision, despite having a perfectly acceptable excuse not to and we all want to be that person or at some point in our lives have wanted to be that person. Well that person maybe not their situation, though I will say if I was given the opportunity to save all of China from the Huns by taking my father’s position in the army after he was unfairly drafted at an old age I totally would have. Some people just get all the opportunities. It’s not my fault my parents raised me in a loving household, during peacetime. Just kidding. Love you, Mom and Dad. But my point is these stories allow you to live vicariously through a precarious situation. They let you believe that if you were ever in a place where you had to make such [a] decision a decision that could change your life and the lives of the people around you then you would. And they are particularly effective with dead parents because it forces children, who are usually the target audience for these kind of stories, to come of age sooner than they would otherwise and to do so without the guidance of a parent. So there you go guys, that is why Disney is just so parentless. But for my question of the day: Which Disney character did you relate to the most. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the towel section down below. Also guys, want to remind you that next week on April 19th at 9 p.m., we will be hosting a live stream on YouTube. If you would like to figure out how you can tune in, be sure to check us out on Patreon. Guys as always thanks for watching be sure to like this video and subscribe the channel If you’d like to see some more Disney history from us, you can click right here to find out the mouse that actually saved Disney or right here to find out how Star Wars became such an empire. But J that is everything that I’ve got for you today, man. I will see you on Tuesday.

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  1. What's the big deal about Cuzco's parents being dead? If they were alive, he wouldn't be emperor! (Well, I guess the one that wasn't emperor/empress could be alive, but…I'm not sure that would have added much.) Also, that movie did feature a lovely, intact family with two parents and 2.5 kids. (Side note: I thought it was interesting that it took so long for a kid's movie to feature a pregnant woman.)

  2. I honestly don't find any Disney characters to be all that relatable. But, to be fair that's primarily because most Disney characters are portrayed as being so jolly most of the time. At least the popular ones are.

  3. I love Belle from beauty and the beast she loves books and was one of the first strong female roles in disney.

  4. I hate how they always make the MOTHER DIE. For some reason mothers dying in stories is one of my many petpeves.

  5. There's an old saying, " you dont grow up, until your parents die" these heroes become heroes because they have too. They dont have adults to help them.

  6. Seems like the reason would be to get sympathy towards the protagonist, and to stop parents intervening in the plot.

  7. Wow you …you YOU FORGOT TEEN GOHAN that’s it!!! Kaaaaa meeeeeeeeee haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee HAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAaaaaaaaaAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  8. Probably Anna cause I’ve honestly never known what love is either and had been isolated before. Darkness amiright?

  9. Bambi's mother, Todd's mother, Koda's mother, Ariel's mother, Belle's mother, Littlefoot's mother, Tiana's father, Simba's father, Arlo's father, Remy and Emile's mother, Luke and Leia's mother AND father (Anakin turned to the dark side) Yeah, they're all dead. lol

  10. Probably… the magic carpet. Need further explanation? Here ya go:
    Me: Does a lot of stuff for a project.
    Partner: "Why didn't you do anything?"

  11. I don't think Pinochio counts as parentless because his very existence negates the need for a mother and Geppettos deep love and constant support for him is a big part of the movie, so . . .

  12. I just watched another video where Ben mentions he'd love to save China from the Huns if he could. He must really mean that, huh? Who knew, lol.

  13. I have always related to Belle the most. She loved to read, she was smart and curious, and I fancied I looked a bit like her because of the brown hair and eyes. In addition she was odd.

  14. Lol you forgot Cinderella her mom died which is the reason why she had to live with an evil stepmother and stepsisters. And then after her dad choose to marry her because he wanted Cinderella to have a mother figure in her life the evil stepmother killed him. Probably one of most tragic Disney deaths.

  15. Disney: Let's make most of our films with no parents!

    Animator: Why-

    Disney: Shut up, you're fired.
    Disney: Now let's get to it! ehehehehehehehehehehehehe ehehehehehehehehehehehehe ehehehehehehehehehehehehe ehehehehehehehehehehehehe

  16. Just a reminder, if you thought Marvel was safe from dead parents …

    Tony Stark: Orphaned
    Steve Rogers: Orphaned
    Thor: Orphaned (plus two dead siblings)
    T'Challa and Shuri: No Dad
    Peter Quill: Orphaned
    Peter Parker: Orphaned
    Gamora and Nebula: Orphaned
    Wanda Maximoff: Orphaned (plus dead brother)
    Morgan Stark: No Dad
    Natasha Romanoff: Orphaned

    Oh yeah, and how's Star Wars doing?
    Luke and Leia: Orphaned
    Han Solo: Orphaned
    Kylo Ren: No Dad
    Jyn Erso: Orphaned
    Rey: Orphaned
    Anakin Skywalker: Orphaned
    Chewbacca: Orphaned

    See what I mean?

  17. Here’s a simper answer it’s builds up the the emotional ? buildup and because most of the time the parents don’t matter

  18. The reason that Disney will show you death is because it's ment to show that life isn't perfect and it's not meant to be and it's family for a reason becuase it shows that death is a part of life and that family will stick with you thought thin and thick no matter what

  19. Beauty and the Beast is based off of a Greek myth about a pretty mortal girl and a god named Eros. Pretty sad, but awesome as well.

  20. Because If There Were Parents, They Would Have To Obey To Them Or Else They Get a Whoopin'
    They Need Freedom To Even START The Plot XD

  21. Whenever being judged for being from a single parent household just tell them “well, all the Disney princesses are from single parent household”.

  22. I related most to Simba because I lost my father suddenly when I was 14 just months after seeing the movie in theaters

  23. Ok, this is actually How the story goes:So when Anna and Elsa’s parents went to a Ship, they crashed. Then they didn’t die because Tarzan was the continuation of the story of frozen except it’s now titled Tarzan, so they died from the gorillas or that jaguar. So it also means that Tarzan is a lost Brother from Anna and Elsa :3

  24. Judy hopps from Zootopia!
    Cause she has a goal she wants to make real even if it is hard for someone like her and and keeps doing it even though she got bullied of course of her dream!

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