Here at Polygon, we were excited about a lot of things going into San Diego Comic-Con, but we might have been most excited for our own panel lineup at the TCL Chinese theater. In one of those panels, I got to talk to Steven Universe’s creator, Rebecca Sugar, for close to an hour — and the recording is now available in fancy podcast form.
Over our hour, we discussed influences on the show, how Cartoon Network’s erratic distribution of it shaped its central mysteries, and the prep Sugar has been doing for the upcoming Steven Universe: The Movie. That prep includes watching a lot of musicals, and a lot of TV movies that spun out of TV series.
Which is how we got to talking about The Goofy Movie, of course, which I’ve excerpted below:
This interview was recorded live from from the TCL Chinese Theatre during San Diego Comic-Con 2019. You can listen to this episode via the Polygon Show, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and everywhere else you find your podcasts.
Rebecca Sugar: The Goofy movie is a really good movie of a TV show. Although I wish I had a couple more songs in it.
Polygon: Let’s talk more about the Goofy Movie.
The Goofy Movie is intense! The Goofy Movie is intense. That scene in the hot tub? ‘My son respects me?’ Oh my god, that’s intense. I really like it.
I feel like I’ve been getting a lot of Goofy from the general churn of the Internet lately. Maybe it’s just that Polygon put up a big post the other day about diving into what happened to Goofy’s wife.
There’s so much interesting [stuff in] tracking Goofy back in time. Like, who are we really talking about? Are we talking about George Geef? Which iteration of Goofy? Yeah, he had that other wife in the ’50s and that other son with the red hair. I’m interested in the Geefs, the infinite Goofys that exist in those how-to cartoons. I really liked a lot of those.
And then you can go all the way back to Dippy Dog, which was kind of his own character. One thing I love, oh my gosh, this is this sort of an influence [on Steven Universe], too. Art Babbitt wrote this description of Goofy that I read back in college; I just love it, it’s so beautiful.
He was trying to explain Goofy to other animators, like ‘this is how this character moves,’ but it’s so beautiful. It’s like ‘He’s like absentminded.’ He’ll be thinking about a song that will occasionally escape as a whistle. It was like, how is his clothes hang on his body, the way that he’s a little disheveled. This thing, it reads like a love letter. It’s beautiful; the depth.
It’s funny because you understand all these things about Goofy, you understand what he’s like and that he deserves your respect in this interesting way. There’s something wholesome [about him].
[But] maybe not in the new shorts. The new shorts are actually kind of a different side of Goofy as well. Maybe not Art Babbitt’s humble, respected Goofy. He’s sort of scary in the new shorts.
Sugar is... not wrong.