The Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers gadget was the perfect model

With a live action/animation hybrid film version of the children’s classic from the late 80s and 90s Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers coming to Disney+, adults of a certain age are ready to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The film takes a satirical look at the show’s characters, imagining them in the real world, with human voices, Chip working as an insurance salesman and Dale having undergone CGI enhancement surgery, leaving fans intrigued but also wondering. scratching his head. It’s not the show they grew up with.

The series fans grew up with was something different. Premiered in 1989 as a companion series to air alongside the popular duck tales, Rescue Rangers became a major hit, airing in Disney Afternoon programming with duck tales, dark duckand StorySpin.

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While each show was fantastic and fun for its own reasons, Rescue Rangers a solid cast of characters and a clever premise set it apart. Designed as the story of a detective agency, the Rescue Rangers deal with petty crimes involving other animals. Chip and Dale, Disney’s classic duo of 1940s shorts, was the selling point, but it wasn’t their only show. He belonged to them and three new well-rounded characters, the other members of the Rescue Rangers, each with their own personalities.

There was Monterey Jack, an Australian mouse with a big mustache and an even larger waist. A world traveler, the only thing he loves more than adventure is his addiction to cheese. His sidekick is an adorable housefly named Zipper. You usually can’t understand a word he tries to say, but Zipper is brave and much stronger than his small size would lead you to believe.


The leader of the group is a mouse named Gadget. Dressed in a purple jumpsuit and sporting a pair of glasses over her long blonde hair, Gadget is the mastermind of the operation. As an inventor and mechanic, she builds and repairs all the contraptions the Rescue Rangers use on their adventures, including the flying vehicle that brings them to their suitcases.

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As logic, Gadget becomes the de facto den mother and leader of the Rescue Rangers. She must be. Chip is a bit full of himself and argues with Dale too much. Dale is a bit childish and mischievous, an airhead who just wants to have fun. Monterey Jack has good intentions, but he can get lost bringing up his past to everyone, and he has an Achilles heel with his hypnotic addiction to cheese. Zipper tries, but it’s too small and too unintelligible.


When Tic n’ Tac bickering or Monterey Jack getting distracted by a cheddar gets the team in trouble, as it often does, it’s up to Gadget to bail them out, sometimes. MacGyver style. Without Gadget, the boys in the group would be lost, just dreamers who want to change the world, but with no way to do so. Gadget makes it possible.

Many other cartoons of the time would have the symbolic character of the girl (duck tales and dark duck had little girls following), but Rescue Rangers was the rare series to challenge gender roles and show that the girl could be so much more than the supporting role, the one to confide in or the love interest. The whole series revolves around Gadget. Although she is kind and has a lovely smile, she is also tough and not afraid to tell it like it is. And while there are recurring scenes throughout that show just how smitten Tic and Tac are with Gadget, she’s too busy to notice.


Gadget has become the perfect model for girls. She showed the importance of being kind and being there for her friends. That’s what every children’s show strives to teach its audience. Rescue Rangers went further. Gadget showed that you can be kind but also strong. It was normal to be curious. It was good to take matters into your own hands. It was okay to be quirky and different and to make mistakes too. Gadget may have been the genius of the team, but she wasn’t above being socially awkward and a bit scatterbrained.

Gadget showed the girls that they could be an individual. So many girls of the 80s and 90s grew up with TV and movie models who gained their power through magic or strove to win a man’s love. Not here. Gadget is her own person… uh, mouse, and although she can sometimes doubt herself, she knows exactly who she wants to be and isn’t ashamed of it.


Equally important, Gadget has also become an ideal model for boys. Boys grew up on the same shows and movies as girls and were conditioned to believe they were smarter, things revolved around them, and were just that bit more important. Sure, the girls might be nice and cute, it wouldn’t even be that bad to have them with you, and it would be great to have one that loves you and takes care of you one day, but they couldn’t do what a boy could do. The boys were stronger. The boys were smarter. The girls were, well, they were girls.

Gadget was a great representation for the boys. She taught boys that girls are their equals, that they can do anything a boy can do and should not be dismissed as something lesser or less important. Gadget showed that girls are cool. It can be fun imagining yourself as a superhero like Darkwing Duck or being as rich as Scrooge McDuck, but what’s more fun than being a genius inventor who builds things and leads a group of detectives? . What boy wouldn’t want to be like Gadget?

Without the show becoming flattering, Gadget taught boys and girls all about individuality and expectations. She didn’t have to hit the audience over the head with the message, she just let it be herself. Not bad for a cartoon mouse.


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About the Author

Rebecca R. Santistevan