Finding Dory Uses Bullying For Laughs. Am I The Only One Angry?

Finding Dory Uses Bullying For Laughs

I‘m not generally a sensitive person.

No, that doesn’t mean i’m INsensitive.

I’m just not one that gets easily bothered by things. I’ve always taken to heart the oft-quoted Brigham Young who said, “He who takes offense when offense is not intended is a fool. And he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.”

So when people cry about getting their feelings hurt, I’m usually just like, “Whatever.” Because if someone is trying to hurt your feelings and you let them, then who’s got the problem in this situation?

But there are times when I see things and I just have to speak up. Because sometimes people do really stupid things that aren’t thought through and I know it’s wrong. And I have to say, “Hey! That’s wrong!”

I saw Finding Dory last night at a screening at the Walt Disney Studios lot. I took my friend’s 15-year-old twins and their (14?-year-old) cousin.

Because this is a Disney/Pixar collaboration, it starts with a short film, Piper, which is seriously just the cutest. Absolutely loved it.

And then Finding Dory started. And ohmygosh, the little kid that does the voice of Young Dory just got me right in the feels. I was about to die from cuteness overload.

So, basically the movie takes place a year after Marlin and Dory crossed the ocean (or maybe just the Australian coast?) to find Nemo. They are all happily living in their little corner of the reef. Marlin and Nemo enjoy their little anemone and Dory lives next door in a brain coral.

Randomly, one day Dory’s memory starts to come back and she remembers she has a family and she lost them and then other pieces start to come back to her as she starts piecing together where she came from.

Setting aside glaring plot holes that I, personally, would have handled differently, this story line works and is pretty cute. And sets everything in motion as Dory asks Marlin and Nemo to join her in her trek across the ocean to find her parents.

So far, so good.

In fact, so far, pretty darned cute and funny.

Honestly, the entire movie was pretty darned cute and funny. Except for one little problem…

So Dory figures out that she’s from the Jewel of Morro Bay, California. Which turns out to be the Marine Life Institute. Which doesn’t exactly exist, but is a mixture of the Monterey Bay and San Francisco Aquariums. And it’s beautiful and incredibly detailed.

Anyway, just outside the walls of the MLI, Marlin and Nemo, who have lost track of Dory, run into two sea lions snoozing on a rock. The sea lions are Fluke and Rudder, voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West respectively. They’re lazy and funny, and surprisingly helpful to Marlin and Nemo.

And then, along comes Gerald.

Gerald is another sea lion who wants to hang out on the same cozy rock as Fluke and Rudder. And they don’t want to share. So they chase him off in a scene that elicited a lot of laughs from the audience. Which sort of makes sense because it’s intended to be funny.

But…what do you notice about Gerald?

Does he look a little unusual to you?

Yeah…so Gerald is non-verbal and quite obviously has some sort of mental disability. It’s never directly addressed, but I am absolutely not jumping to conclusions here. It is very clear that the intention was for Gerald to be not quite all there.

And Fluke and Rudder completely bully him and make fun of him and it’s supposed to be funny and the large majority of the audience obviously DID find it funny.

But, surely I couldn’t be the only one bothered by this. Could I?

Well, as of right now, it seems like I am.

I did a quick Google search of variations on “bullying in Finding Dory” and ALL I could find besides generally glowing reviews were people upset about the possibility of a lesbian couple making an appearance. Well, really, some people were upset about it and some people were praising it and, frankly, it’s so inconsequential to the story and so subtle and SO open to interpretation that people on BOTH sides are making much ado about nothing.

Which, as soon as I wrote that I realized that I just summarized humanity in one sentence.

Anyway, I REALLY don’t understand why no one seems bothered by the treatment Gerald receives. Why Ellen DeGeneres, who ends EVERY EPISODE of her show with the words, “Be kind to one another,” would possibly find this acceptable.

It is NOT funny, it is a problem, and it is unacceptable.

So, basically, I either need someone to agree with me, or I need someone to explain why I’m seeing this all wrong.

Because I honestly feel like I’m taking crazy pills here.


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