Nineteen ninety-five was a wild year. The OJ murder trial. The Oklahoma City bombing. And, most significantly, my very first celebrity crush.
It wasn’t on my own attractive teacher or even on Veronica Vaughn, the object of Billy Madison’s affection. No, I was into weirder love interests, like Roxanne—Max Goof’s love interest in the 1995 Disney cartoon, A Goofy Movie.
To a certain degree, I understand why this happened. When you’re young, you’re not digesting the latest celebrity news via tabloids or watching Entertainment Tonight. You watch cartoons. Cartoon characters are your celebrities. In the same way adults see Jennifer Lawrence at a grocery store and say, “She’s just like me,” kids see Tommy Pickles and say “Oh cool, he also wears a diaper!”
But Roxanne is not only a cartoon character. She’s a cartoon dog, like everybody in the Goofy world. Is this bestiality? It can’t be, can it? I mean, to my credit, all that actually made her look like a dog was her nose. Regardless, there’s a lot to unpack here.
Discovering that your first crush is an anthropomorphized dog is pretty disappointing, but even more disappointing is realizing that she’s in like three scenes throughout the whole movie, a couple of which turn out to just be Max’s dreams. In A Goofy Movie, the audience doesn’t get to know Roxanne. She’s really just this idea for Max—a character representing all he’s missing back home to go on this inconvenient fishing trip with his Dad, Goofy. It’s not like there’s a scene where Roxanne is in her room working on her art or at a soup kitchen feeding the local homeless dogs. I have no sense of whether or not Roxanne was even a good person or if we shared common interests. Nope. I was just physically attracted to this cartoon dog-human.
The downward spiral continues, as I realize this isn’t a stand-alone incident. A year later, in 1996, Space Jam came out. And with it, Michael Jordan and Warner Brothers introduced Lola Bunny to the world. And though she wore her ears tied up in a ponytail, she may as well have just been Bugs Bunny with accentuated eyelashes. And yet, I was all over it, even though, I didn’t give a shit about basketball.
In case that’s not enough, three years later and Pokémon premiered in the U.S. So Hilary Duff, the real-life human being, would have to wait two more years before I’d take interest in her because here’s Misty, runaway heir to the Cerulean Gym. She had cute red hair, wore a crop-top, and WAS STILL JUST A FUCKING CARTOON.
Writing about this celebrity crush has been a real whirlwind. To be honest, I’m not sure how to move forward with this information having rushed back into my brain.
I’m engaged, and soon I’ll be married. Eventually we’ll have kids. How do I watch cartoons with my children knowing what I know now? Will they have these same strange feelings toward cartoons? If they do, is that normal? Or will I have somehow supplanted what would have been their typical attractions with my weird fascinations for ink and stop-motion? Am I damaged?
In any case, it’s something we all have to accept. My first celebrity crush was Roxanne from A Goofy Movie. And I’ll understand if you’d no longer like to be friends.