The Animated Grief Support Group

This is a quick sketch I did for my own amusement a few years back and I thought I might as well share it in the hopes of giving a few laughs:

“Thank you for that very nice share, Simba,” said Bambi, clapping with his front hooves. “I’m sure we all can relate to your sense of alienation following the death of your father.”

The regal stag looked benignly around the room for affirmation. Littlefoot nodded thoughtfully, Applejack looked as if she had her mind on other things, Samus’s face was hidden by her helmet as usual, and Batman just glowered.

“Now, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, we have a new member tonight,” Bambi went on. “Candace, why don’t you stand up and introduce yourself?”

The red-haired teenager stood up awkwardly. She had really expected more humans in this group, truth be told.

“Uh, hi, I’m Candace,” she said.

“Hi, Candace,” they chanted.

“And, well, I’m here because I lost my father at a young age. I love my step-dad a lot; he’s great, but lately I’ve sort of been thinking the loss of my biological father might have contributed to certain…unhealthy urges and I wanted to see what you all had to say about it.”

“We’re very glad to have you, Candace,” said Bambi, beaming on her. “To make her feel more at home, why don’t we all go around and share our own stories of grief?”

He stood up.

“My name is Bambi, and when I was a fawn, my mother was shot by a poacher, leaving me to be raised by my stern and distant father. But I overcame that grief and forged a new life and new family for myself.”

He sat back down and nodded to Simba. The lion cleared his throat.

“My name is Simba, and when I was a cub my father was trampled to death by wildebeasts before my eyes. My uncle said it was my fault, so I ran away and completely shirked my duties for years until my girlfriend told me to man up, but I blew her off. Then a mystical monkey gave me a vision of my father also telling me to man up, so I went back and found out that my uncle murdered my father, so I actually didn’t have anything to feel guilty about after all.”

“That’s…not at all helpful,” said Applejack.

“Applejack, you’ll get your turn,” said Bambi reproachfully, waving for Littlefoot to proceed. The adolescent brontosaurus began in a rather hollow voice:

“My name is Littlefoot, and my mother was killed trying to protect me from a sharptooth. He ripped a huge chunk out of her back and she bled to death before my eyes.”

There was an unpleasant pause.

“Wow,” said Simba. “That’s a lot worse than mine.”

“It’s not a competition, Simba,” said Bambi gently. “How did you deal with that grief, Littlefoot?

“I killed the sharptooth by dropping a boulder on his head and drowning him,” Littlefoot said. “It felt so satisfying to watch him die, sinking helplessly into the inky depths…”

“Okay, moving on!” said Bambi hastily. “Batman, would you care to share?

Batman got to his feet. Littlefoot seemed to come back to reality slightly and sat down to listen.

“When I was eight years old, my parents were murdered in front of me by a mugger,” he said. “In response, I swore vengeance against all criminals and became that which they most fear. I am vengeance, I am the night, I – am – Batman!”

He swept his cape across his face in a dramatic gesture.

“He does that every meeting,” Applejack muttered to Candace.

“Thank you, Batman,” said Bambi. “We’ll talk more about your…unique approach to handling grief later.”

Batman sat down and Samus stood up.

“My name is Samus Aran,” said the bounty hunter. “When I was three years old, my mother, father, and entire planet were brutally slaughtered by space pirates. I was taken in by the Chozo: an advanced alien race that taught me how to survive and provided me with the technology I needed to enact justice. Ever since then I’ve made my lonely way across the galaxy, taking my revenge on the Space Pirates.”

“Well, I think we can all agree that’s not a bad approach,” said Bambi, smiling. “Channeling your anger into trying to benefit others, though I think you might benefit from a little more social interaction…”

“I’ve blown up three planets.”

“Okay, let’s come back to that,” said Bambi. “Applejack, you’re next.”

“Well, I’m Applejack,” said the orange pony in turn. “And after my folks died, I dealt with it by drawing closer to my remaining family and friends and throwing myself into my work.”

The others shifted awkwardly.

“But…what about ‘no worries for the rest of your days’?” asked Simba. “You know, letting it all go?”

“I got a farm, a little sister, and an old grandmother to worry about,” said Applejack. “I didn’t have time for your ‘hunka munka,’ or whatever it was.”

“Hakuna Matata!” Simba replied hotly. “And I had a mother, girlfriend, and entire kingdom relying on me, but I still was able to take time to myself.”

“Uh huh; and how did that kingdom do while you were gone?”

Simba opened his mouth, closed it again, and growled.

“Bambi, she’s badgering me again.”

“Applejack,” said Bambi reproachfully. “I think your method was very sound, but not everyone deals with grief the same way…”

“Yeah, at least I didn’t go crazy and start beating people to death for fun,” Simba put in.

“I don’t do it for fun, but for justice!” Batman snapped. “Besides, I don’t kill.”

“Why not?” asked Littlefoot. “Death is ever present; why try to fight it? Satisfaction for loss is only found in the shedding of blood…”

“I think we’re getting a little off topic here,” said Bambi. “Candace, why don’t you share your story?”

“Okay,” she said. “I’m Candace, like I just said, and I dealt with the loss of my father by developing a one-sided rivalry with my little brothers where I drove myself half-insane and past the limits of human endurance trying to get them in trouble with my mom.”

There was another awkward pause.

“Dang, and I thought Batman was nuts!” said Applejack.

“Applejack!” said Bambi firmly.

“All my brothers and sisters were eaten before they even hatched,” said Littlefoot musingly.

“Littlefoot, what have we said about those kinds of thoughts?”

“I should tear them from my head the way a bird tears the flesh from…”

“We also said no metaphors!” Bambi snapped, beginning to lose his calm demeanor.

“You know, I could have just stayed in the jungle!” Simba snapped. “I didn’t have to go back! It took guts to go back and face my uncle!”

“Guts and a magic monkey,” Applejack muttered.

“I’m with the horse,” said Batman. “When I ran off, it was to train for my mission of vengeance; not to lose myself in eating bugs and lounging around.”

“Oh, you want to start, pal?” Simba snarled, showing his fangs. “You’d better have some anti-lion spray in that belt of yours if you keep it up!”

“I do,” said Batman. “Industrial-grade pepper-spray: rated for lions, tigers, and grizzly bears.”

“Oh my!” said Candace.

“Everyone calm down!” Bambi shouted, rearing onto his hind legs. “No one’s fighting! We’re all friends here!”

“I don’t do friends,” said Samus.

“Neither do I,” said Batman.

“What about your butler, and the kid in the red costume, and the police commissioner, and the girl in the bat costume, and the cat lady…” Samus began.

“I mean besides them!”

“Y’all wouldn’t know friendship if it bit you in the rump,” Applejack muttered.

“That’s enough everyone!” Bambi shouted, standing on his chair. “We are all going to take a break and calm down! Now I want you all to take a deep breath and count to ten, then we’ll repeat the affirmation and maybe call it an early night…”

4 thoughts on “The Animated Grief Support Group

  1. I’ve always thought that if Samus’s backstory were what they said it was (not that anyone knew from playing the original trilogy), she’d be a lot more dysfunctional.

    …Also that such a version of Samus, if written by somebody who’d actually known a girl who grew up without good parents and with trauma rather than by some anxious millenial romanticising depression or by someone who just didn’t really grok relationships and grief in the first place, would be more interesting than what we ended up getting in subsequent sequels.

    (And thanks for the laughs!)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s