Timon and Pumbaa (with added Shakespeare – yes Katie is writing this one!)
No Disney friendship has been more powerful in my life than that of Timon and Pumbaa, a perfect example of outcasts finding each other and sticking together. Timon, the meerkat who (we learn in Lion King 1 ½ ) was terrible at all things meerkat and Pumbaa who has a gas issue. Their friendship seems unlikely, but often those are the best and strongest.
Without Pumbaa Timon would be a very small very vulnerable meerkat. And without Timon Pumbaa would be…. lonely. The typical balance of power where Timon believes he is in charge and Pumbaa lets him because it’s an easier life. Pumbaa is not without his dim moments but of the two he’s accurate about more things, for example the stars. He’s also a fierce warrior charging into battle but always with Timon by his side.
If Lion King is taken as a parallel of Hamlet then these two are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern but are nothing like their Shakespearean counterparts who were summoned by the King to spy on Hamlet and find out if his madness was legitimate. Timon and Pumbaa save Simba’s life, they bring him up with their Hakuna Matata ethos and then they fight by his side. It puts are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to shame and for the first time I realise that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern probably deserve their eventual demise.
Timon of course also a Shakespearean name, the play Timon of Athens is about a weathly generous man who is loved by people who just want his money. It’s not a happy play, or a well-known one! Pumbaa is Swahili for foolish, silly, weakminded, careless. A little harsh but quite possibly not his real name, maybe a name given to him we all know that Scar isn’t his real name either.
What do Timon and Pumbaa teach us about friendship? That it doesn’t matter what your friend looks like, that you chose them because they make you a better person and that you can do things with them you’re not brave enough to do alone including raising a baby lion, defeating a tyrannical King and living happily ever after.