Watching it again recently, I noticed how many of the characters are representations of being neurodivergent. Hank Humberfloob is an explicit caricature of OCD, Sally’s attentive list-making is close to my own ASD, and the primal nature of Conrad and Cat is pure ADHD. How do these personalities resonate with you?
Caleb: I’m diagnosed with a panic disorder and generalized anxiety, so seeing the fish freak out during the entire movie truthfully made me feel a bit seen. I, too, would be a bit apprehensive of a six foot tall talking cat ruining my rainy day inside.
Sophie: Watching this movie 52 times really just provided the perfect diagnostic case study for me. For the first half of our journey, I was in a mental-health diagnosis class and being able to have my DSM and analyze every character made it feel a little less like a waste of time. It also gave some great conversation between my classmates and I; when we needed to come up with examples for different symptoms or diagnoses, I always had a character I could pull out and describe. Yet again, The Cat in the Hat proved to be a blessing and a curse.
We’ve seen ratings for maligned movies rise as the community has matured around Gen Z growing up. You’re not alone in keeping The Cat in the Hat alive, too; there’s tongue-in-cheek TikTok lip-sync parodies still making the rounds. What do you think fuels this overcompensating reclamation of rejected 2000s movies?
Sophie: People love bad things sometimes.
Caleb: I believe wholeheartedly that nostalgia is one of the most powerful elements that make up this stupid little universe that all of us share. It permeates my life, frankly. Sophie and I are avid VHS watchers and collectors, and it’s solely to reclaim that dwindling spark of childlike wonder you only get when you watch a movie at age eight in your pajamas while eating only the fun-shaped marshmallows out of a bowl of dry cereal. I feel like all early 2000s flicks—the good and the bad—are such a specific time capsule of filmmaking that brings so many warm memories of simpler times to any Gen Zer. I say we reclaim anything that brings us comfort, even if stupid. Bring back Pogs! Bring back Silly Bandz, damn it!