- Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Magoo's nephew Waldo an idiot, or is he an ordinary high school or college student who isn't allowed to get a word in edgewise. In The Mr. Magoo Show, when Waldo is cast as sidekick to scheming Presley, the former's definitely the case. The original theatrical shorts, and especially the movie, tend toward the latter.
- Fair for Its Day: Magoo blindly stumbling through the world was originally created as a comment on old-world men who were "blind to progress." Nowadays, he's simply remembered as being a cheap excuse to make blindness jokes.
- He Really Can Act:
- In universe Magoo is actually an accomplished actor despite his visual problems.
- Out of universe, Jim Backus sings a truly heartwrenching song in the Christmas Carol.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Mr. Magoo was the star character of UPA, an animation studio that was founded by animators who left the Walt Disney studio in the aftermath of the 1941 strike. He was later adapted into a live-action movie... by Disney.
- It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Fans of UPA cite Magoo's popularity as the beginning of the end for the studio, the point when they transitioned from the "artisy" alternative to Disney and Warner Bros. to just another cartoon studio pumping out formulaic gag-based shorts with stock characters.
- Never Live It Down: The live-action Disney adaptation did not do the character or the cartoon's legacy any favors; drawing considerable ire was the ending disclaimer stating the film was never meant as an accurate portrayal of blind individuals, an accusation that has stayed with the character among modern viewers.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- In Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol, there are some truly frightening scenes when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows up, such as when Scrooge sees the undertaker, the charwoman, and the maid selling his wretched goods off to the pawnbroker with much twisted glee all around.
- There were some even nastier moments in The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo. For instance, in the ones (very loosely) adapting Frankenstein and Gunga Din, they actually kill Magoonote at the end — on screen!
- Overshadowed by Controversy: The Disney live-action adaptation, which attracted the wrath of many blindness advocacy groups who found the film to be insensitive towards those with such visual impairments. The closing disclaimer addressing this didn't convince them otherwise, and the film was eventually pulled from theaters.
- Snark Bait: Its modern day reputation as noted above has made it an easy target of this, not at all helped by the failure of the live-action adaptation that only served to reinforce the poor taste some find in the character's main schtick.
- From the live-action movie itself, the ending disclaimer that explained that the film was not meant to be an accurate representation of blindness did nothing to soothe the complaints of critics and viewers, and was thoroughly mocked by Roger Ebert in his negative review of the movie.
- Tear Jerker: Young Ebenezer's song in Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, which gets an equally — if not more — heartbreaking reprise by adult Ebenezer later.Where is the voice to answer mine back?Where are two shoes that click to my clack?I'm all alone in the world.
- Winter Was Warm is a sad song too. Video
- WTH, Casting Agency?: Leslie Nielsen in the live-action movie, where he's clearly giving it his all and while he looks the part, it's quite painful to see such a respected actor given such mediocre material.
YMMV / Mr. Magoo