Mouse Madness is a podcast discussing every installment in the Disney Animated Canon, as well as pitting them against each other in a tournament-style fashion inspired by the NCAA Basketball tournament.
After the 2020 March Madness was cancelled amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Nicholas Huene got bored one day and watched a few Disney movies. After hearing there were almost enough films to fill all 64 spots, he made a tournament inspired by March Madness to fill the void. The idea received such great support, he and a few collaborators decided to make a podcast discussing these films and the matchup results.
Seeding was done combining the average of the film's scores on Metacritic and IMDB, to try and find a balance between popular and critical consensus. The #1 seeds were Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, Pinocchio, and The Lion King. Since there were not enough films to fill all sixty-four slots, those films plus the next highest ranked films (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Dumbo) all got automatic bids into the second round. Though the real fun began once the first round was over.
Ultimately, the Final Four ended up being the aforementioned The Lion King and Fantasia, along with #2 seeded Aladdin and, in a surprising run, the #9 seeded The Emperor's New Groove. Against all odds, Emperor's New Groove won in the Final by a score of 80-69.
The podcasts themselves are full of great humor and a revolving door of panelists recorded via Discord. This leads to great humor and surprising analysis of every film, which makes listening fun.
A second tournament, called PIXAR Panic covering PIXAR's filmography started in January 2021.
Mouse Madness contains examples of...
- Accentuate the Negative: Averted. Every commentator usually has one nice thing to say about every film, and even the more negative ones are still treated with a level of respect.
- Character Development: Carrick picks Frozen (2013) reluctantly at first in Round 2, but on hearing everyone else's arguments, he changes his vote to Cinderella. This led to the precedent for flip-flops and was even called a proper "redemption arc" by the other panelists.
- Commuting on a Bus: The commentators have a tendency to come and go from the podcast to face real-world commitments, sometimes within the episode.
- The only consistent hosts who have presented every episode are Nick and Wesley. Carrick comes close, having butted in at the end of Round 1, Week 1 and only being absent entirely for the following episode.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: In the opening round, six of the matchups were shutouts. Many more matchups were decided by more than ten points, but got rarer once the tournament continued. Though it became almost standard for Emperor's New Groove to win by that large a margin. Its closest victory was a tiebreaker with Mulan by a score of 11-10.
- Dark Horse Victory: While Treasure Planet and Fantasia 2000 were able to secure victories as #12 seeds, they can't hold a candle to #9 The Emperor's New Groove. Not only did it beat the #1 overall seed Beauty and the Beast, it did so by a score of 20-10. After that, there was no challenging as the film which had been overlooked by critics for years managed to win it all!
- Early Installment Weirdness: The podcast starts with just Nick and Wesley and just 45 minutes of audio. Later rounds expanded to as many as ten commentators and over two hours worth of audio at one point.
- The first round featured just conversations about that week's films. In the second round, to keep things from getting crowded and because the films had been introduced, the discussions switched to a roundtable format.
- Once per Episode: Someone always has to invoke Shrek on a Disney podcast for some reason.
- Cast introductions, theme music, and matchups are always discussed.
- Pungeon Master: Nick and Wesley are fond of puns.
- Quality by Popular Vote: Discussed in-universe. Since this is a poll, it is a literal example. But the hosts have often said just because a film is eliminated early doesn't mean it was bad or not worth watching. Many of the hosts even discussed how and why certain matches turned out the way they did.
- Rule of Three: Invoked in Round 1, Part Seven. Where exactly three references to Avatar: The Last Airbender are made.
- Running Gag: Every time anyone brings up Hercules, the common response is for one panelist to always say "Honey, you mean Hunk-ules" as a Shout-Out to the actual film.
- Something Completely Different: For the Halloween special, the hosts decided to take a break before the Final Four to discuss scary moments in kid's movies.
- The Finale episode had each panelist rank their personal Top 10 films from the canon before revealing the winner, meaning it did not follow the analysis of any one film this time.