Well, folks, we’re getting very close here to a true winner of the Disney sidekicks/henchmen bracket. All four of the top seeds have survived to the Elite Eight, but I am fairly certain at least one of them will be toppled in this round.
But which sidekicks and henchmen would I choose? And does the header photo of the Genie here really signify what it appears to signify? Let’s go.
(1) The Genie vs. (2) Sebastian: Yes, really. I am voting for Sebastian here, and I will gladly tell you why. Now, both the Genie and Sebastian are early-era Disney Renaissance characters. They’re both very funny. They both sing multiple Ashman/Menken songs. And they are both sidekicks. (Some people, earlier in the bracket, argued that the Genie is a co-lead. While I absolutely agree that the Genie steals focus from Aladdin, I think that’s less a function of the script and more a function of Robin Williams being a force of nature. The Genie doesn’t appear for the first 30 minutes of the 90-minute Aladdin, a film whose lead character is identified in the title.)
So why Sebastian? For me, it comes down to two things: voice quality and range. And I specifically mean singing voice quality and singing range. I don’t need to tell you that Robin Williams had immense range and pitch-perfect quality. But if you were asking me whether he sang better than Samuel E. Wright…no, sadly, I wouldn’t go that far. The Genie is hilarious — and let’s be clear, when I implied above that one of the top seeds would lose in this round, I don’t mean this blue dude — but a huge part of the characters in this matchup are the songs they perform. And I prefer those performed by Wright, in no small part because he gets to do a ballad and a showstopper. Williams only gets the latter. Again, I expect the Genie to win but I am with Sebastian here.
(1) Jiminy Cricket vs. (3) Baloo: Jiminy Cricket is one of the most fascinating characters in Disney history. He’s close to being as iconic as Mickey Mouse or Tinker Bell — or he was for a long time — and he gets the greatest song in Disney history to perform as his opener. I love “The Bare Necessities”, but there’s no one quite like Jiminy in Disney history.
(1) Iago vs. (3) Kronk: So, I expect Kronk to win this one. And although I do think that Iago is hilarious, and I’m not the biggest Emperor’s New Groove fan, I will be siding with Kronk too.
(1) Smee vs. (6) Sir Hiss: Remember that episode of Arrested Development where Michael Bluth first meets his son’s girlfriend Ann? The one where he looks at his son George-Michael and says, “…Her?”
Regarding Sir Hiss, I can only say: …Him?
I vote for Smee.