Cartoon Corner: The Ghost and Molly McGee Season 1 Review
Sweet Baby Corn! It’s time to Enhappify!
What’s the Story?
Scratch is one cantankerous old ghost and, honestly, he wouldn’t have it any other way. His town is miserable so, even if the ghost council wants to, they can never send him to the Flow of Failed Phantoms. What does it matter if all the other ghosts shun him and he eats mainly out of trash cans? The only way things could possible go wrong for him is if some super excitable and worryingly exuberant tween girl happened to move into his house. But even then, Scratch has a full proof plan, he’ll just curse the girl so that he will forever follow her around until she leaves his house for good! It’s not as if this girl, Molly, will interpret the whole ‘follow her wherever she goes’ thing as meaning that Scratch is her new best friend, right? Wait…uh huh. Oh dear. Sorry Scratch, you’ve really only yourself to blame for this one.
And once more the Disney train comes a rolling into this station. For however much we fear our corporate overlords I can’t deny they have an eternal grip on my soul, or in other words… like a parasitic worm, they live in my heart! (Sorry for the rather disturbing analogy but this show’s songs are alarmingly catchy and several lines like that are currently stuck in my head). Disney has been on it’s A-game with cartoons in recent years, from Gravity Falls to the Duck Tales reboot they have knocked it out of the park again and again. Admittedly a very noticeable pattern has emerged with these Disney shows, usually focussing on a cast that includes an energetic, if slightly odd, middle school girl, some sort of over-arching mystery and a dark sense of humour. Does ‘The Ghost and Molly McGee’ follow this same pattern? Mostly, I’ll get into the differences in the next paragraph, but the far more important question is, is this another win for Disney? In my humble opinion, absolutely yes.
Let’s get into those differences though, starting with my check list. Energetic, slightly odd middle school girl as a main character? Check. Dark sense of humour? Also check, I’ll refer you back to those song lyrics about the parasitic worm (plus an alarming amount of things die in this series, mostly animals but we do see one old guy die on screen. At least until Scratch grabs his ghost and shoves it back into his body). That just leaves the over-arching mystery and that’s where the checks stop. There is a single plot thread that could become over-arching, but so far it’s only really been important in two episodes and there’s no mystery to it. Outside of that this is very much a slice-of-life style series with each episode consisting of following Molly and Scratch on two different misadventures.
This is a very fun and charming show. Not only is it wittily written, but it has a host of lovable characters to fill up each episode. Molly’s exuberance is infectious and Scratch is a big softie at heart, as much as he tries to hide it. Then of course there’s the turtle-obsessed Libby, Molly’s mad family and all the ghosts and the townsfolk. It’s not a laugh-a-minute, but you won’t have to wait long before the show has you smiling again. Part of that I want to put down to the animation. This is a very expressive show and it isn’t afraid to exaggerate or make things look a little, well, ugly in order to make a joke really land. In a way this series reminds me of a lot of cartoons from the late 90s/early 2000s. There’s something a bit ‘Ren and Stimpy’-like about the way Molly’s face scrunches up from time to time. Throw in some top notch vocal performances and you have the recipe for well-produced comedy that can suck you right into its world.
Talking about those vocal performances though, that brings me to the songs. Each and every episode features at least one song and all of them are some of the catchiest tunes I’ve heard in a while. My hat goes to the performers and the writers that managed to cover a wide array of styles with some odd-yet-killer lyrics. My three personal favourites are ‘Abraham Lincoln’, which gives Hamilton a run for its money, ‘Just Give’ which feels like the Disney theme song in how it demands your money and ‘Awesome Best Friends Day’, which while short perfectly sums up Molly’s personality. There’s also the opening theme which is what got me interested in this show in the first place.
In the end, The Ghost and Molly McGee is a another winner for Disney’s vast cartoon library. I’m a little sad that they’re stepping away from the more mystery-focused adventure series and back towards slice-of-life comedies, but I have to admit this is a top notch comedy. With catchy songs, witty dialogue and a great cast of characters backed up by some truly expressive animation I really don’t have a single complaint with this show so far, I’ve loved it from beginning to end. However you want to describe this series it certainly can’t be as any sort of a curse. Sign me up for forever with this show!
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.