One of my all time favorite children’s videos was Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. This movie had it all–lovable characters, good songs, a level of creepiness, frustration, and some good old fashioned rhyming. What more could a semi-retarded child like myself ask for? Not a whole lot.
Before starting, I just want to make sure it’s clear that I’m talking about the 1971 TV special, not the disturbing Mike Myers movie nor the modern-day show for preschoolers, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That. Barf and barf. (I actually wrote a letter to the children’s TV network about the latter, informing them that they had some of their facts wrong in the show. I never got a reply.)
The story of this larger than life feline interrupting the playtime of two siblings stuck at home is somewhat of a classic. What I love about the show is that most of it is unexplained. And by the end you still don’t really know what happened.
Basically this brother and sister are left at home on a rainy day while their mother runs some errands. Why couldn’t she take them with her? They’re pretty young. Like, maybe ten years old or younger? The audience doesn’t know why they’re home–is it the weekend? Where’s their father? Are they children of divorce? Or perhaps their father died tragically? The world may never know. Or care.
The kids sit in front of the window waiting for their mom to get back. They’re like dogs. Why wouldn’t you turn on the TV or eat something? When all of a sudden this huge cat comes in the house exclaiming that he lost his moss-covered-three-handled-family-gradunza. The kids are like dafuq is wrong with you? And he explains how he must have left his moss-covered-three-handled-family-gradunza there and they have to help him find it. So like normal children reacting to a stranger in their house, they’re like okay cool.
There is a bit of a buzzkill in the house though. Karlos K. Krinklebein, their talking fish tells Cat that he needs to leave and that “he should not be there when their mother is out!” Why do I know this stupid movie word-for-word? In a normal response, Cat plays a game called Up Up with a Fish and balances Mr. Krinklebein’s bowl on a stack of bubbles to show him who’s in control. Pretty trippy.
After that, Cat wrangles the kids into helping him look for his lost item by using Calculatus Eliminatus which is a method of finding something by marking where it isn’t. I always liked this part because it was so absurd. I think the little girl said “It isn’t on my knee” and Cat replies “mark the knee 57B” as if he has this whole thing under control. When the house is sufficiently marked up, Mr. Krinklebein gets pretty pissed and tells Cat to leave. So Cat sings the fish a lullaby and he goes to sleep temporarily.
Then he remembers that he has Thing 1 and Thing 2 to help him. Thing 1 and 2 really set off my anxiety. They know how to destroy a house. They’re basically like two feral troll creatures who like to play and cause trouble. I don’t know why Cat thought they would help solve the problem because they only make matters way worse. Mr. Krinklebein flips a shit and yells at Cat which causes the over-size feline to break out in my favorite song of the whole show. Basically Cat claims how he’s a Cat in a Hat in many languages and the kids randomly chime in. I didn’t know they were deca-lingual. Mr. Krinklebein wants to join in and brag that he can speak Russian so he teaches Cat a new name for himself. Precious.
Interrupted by the sound of their mother’s car horn, the kids freak out because the house is a mess. Cat walks out the front door and comes back inside riding on this machine that cleans up the entire house in seconds. He sings a sweet song while he straightens up and then rolls out the door as if nothing ever happened. Their mother comes inside and claims that she saw the weirdest thing–a cat in a hat with a moss-covered-three-handled-family-gradunza.
So confusing, but so good. (The whole movie is on youtube and it’s only 25 minutes total. Enjoy!)