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Little My Moves In is the first episode in the first series of the 2019 television series Moominvalley.

Synopsis

When Mymble arrives unannounced at Moominhouse with all of her unruly children, the Moomin family's renowned tolerance is tested to breaking point.

Plot

Moomintroll looks out of his bedroom window and enjoys the scenic view of the forest surrounding Moominhouse. He opens the window and leans out to find Snorkmaiden sat on a floating pink cloud and Moomintroll jumps onto the cloud and joins her as it travels above Moominvalley. Moominpappa and Moominmamma are seen dancing together on top of a hill, and Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden wave down at them from atop their cloud. A hole appears in the bottom of the cloud, which Moomintroll peers through, and he looks up to find Snorkmaiden has disappeared, and the cloud disappears bit by bit with a popping sound, before Moomintroll falls and then wakes up in bed and falls out of it, having been dreaming about his cloud journey. He looks at a family photo of himself, Moominmamma and Moominpappa, and says that he needs to learn to stand up for himself.

The popping sound is revealed to actually be a knocking sound, as somebody is knocking on the door to the Moominhouse. Moominpappa and Moominmamma are awoken by the knocking too, and woken from their hibernation, as Moominpappa looks at their seasonal clock and remarks that it's "only a quarter-past winter". Moomintroll comes to tell his parents about the knocking, and Moominpappa gets "dressed" by removing his pyjamas. As he travels downstairs to answer the door, Moomimamma wishes her son a happy new year, to which he replies "I hope so".

The visitor is Mymble, who heartily greets Moominpappa, and then Moominmamma and Moomintroll, before making her way into the house with her many children in tow. The children run amok around the house as Moominmamma and Mymble have a cup of tea, and Moomintroll and his father hide behind a couch and discuss how they may be able to distract the children or get them to sleep. Moominpappa suggests that Moomintroll should show the children some of his toys, however Moomintroll is unhappy with the suggestion and insists that he is a "fully grown Moomin" and not a child anymore. They are interrupted when Moominpappa has a rope tied around his waist by some of the children and is winched up to the ceiling, helplessly dangling as he cries "treachery!"

Moomintroll crawls away from the remaining children, however they follow him and corner him in a room. The door bursts open, and a large shadow is cast across the room before the small Little My jumps out. She tells Moomintroll that she speaks for all of her siblings, and then bites him when he calls her little. Moomintroll edges out of the room and escapes back to his bedroom, but Little My instructs the children to "hunt him", and they appear in all of his various hiding spots: under the bed, in a cupboard, and jumping on him when he attempts to hide behind a picture frame.

Later, Moomintroll cries into a cushion as him and Moominpappa lament their current situation, with Moominpappa still hanging from the ceiling until Moominmamma lets him down. Moominmamma reassures them that Mymble is a very busy person and will surely be leaving their house soon.

Mymble tells them that she must be going "by Midsummer at the very latest", much to Moomintroll and Moominpappa's displeasure. Moominmamma assures the two that they can work together if they try, tackling the situation with her usual optimism and saying that Little My has been "thoughtful" when she finds her handbag full of homemade chocolate pudding.

Moominpappa and Moomintroll decide to try and trick Mymble into thinking that Midsummer has come already, so that she will leave early. Moominmamma joins in, although she seems unhappy with the idea, and is most likely humouring her son and husband rather than agreeing with their plans. They change the season on their clock to summer, open all their windows, and even put on bathing suits and try to bathe in a freezing cold pool of water, waving up at Mymble before hurrying to leave the water once she is out of sight. Mymble walks outside to find the ground outside is decorated with fake grass and cutouts of of birds and flowered bushes, despite snow still residing on the trees and ground. Moominmamma and Moominpappa rest in deckchairs in their swimsuits, and Mymble seems entertained. Moomintroll offers her an ice cream, however Little My appears and offers her a warm hot chocolate instead, which she takes. Moomintroll complains about Little My ruining their plans.

The Moomin family set up a Midsummer bonfire in order to fool Mymble, and Little My finds Moomintroll and tells him that she knows they're trying to trick her mother into leaving. Little My stares him down until he admits it, then asks why his family doesn't just tell her mother to go. Moomintroll says that it wouldn't be polite, but Little My says that they are avoiding it because it's not easy, and remarks: "you don't have to be big to stand up for yourself". However, she promises to Moomintroll not to tell her mother about their tricks, much to his pleasant surprise.

Mymble and the Moomins sit down in front of the lit bonfire, and Mymble decides that she should be going, finally believing that Midsummer has already arrived. She begins to count her children in preparation for leaving, however a Hemulen fire-officer arrives and puts out the bonfire with a hose, chastising them for lighting a bonfire so early in the year, and ruins their act. The Hemulen thanks a "responsible young lady" who notified him about the fire, revealing Little My, who steps out from behind him and joins her family. Moomintroll is unhappy with her, reminding her about their promise, however she points out that she didn't tell her mother, and didn't break their promise by telling the fireman.

That night, Little My surprises Moomintroll when he is getting ready to go to sleep, and kicks him out of his bedroom. Moomintroll packs up some of his belongings in a picnic hamper and leaves the house. Moominmamma worriedly asks him where he is going, and he dramatically replies that he is going "to start anew". Moominpappa appears and remarks that they got rid of "the wrong one".

The next morning, Moomintroll wakes up in the forest and sets to work building his own house. The sun shines down on him as he works hard at sawing wood and building a frame, and he accepts a nice cool drink from Little My, before being snapped out of his daydream and realising that he was actually about to drink from a can of paint. Little My invites him back to the house, however he refuses, looking proudly onto his new house, which is still a wooden frame, and not as neat and well-built as it appeared in his daydream. Little My warns him that building a house on sand isn't a good idea, however he ignores her. Moomintroll stands within his 'house' for a moment, however he has to run away as it collapses and sinks into the sand, while Little My watches, laughing.

Moomintroll gets annoyed at Little My for teasing him, though he then realises that My is not in his room at that moment, and traps her in a paint can before running home to reclaim his bedroom. Little My escapes and chases after him. They fight amongst themselves as they try to be the first to enter the room, however, once they fall over each other into the bedroom, they find that Mymble has placed the rest of her children there to play and run riot. Little My grumbles at the loss of her own room, telling Moomintroll that he should be glad he had a room all to himself at all, as she has always had to share with her many siblings and has never had much peace.

Moomintroll has an idea to build another house, this time for Little My and her family. Little My agrees that it would be a good idea, and helps him as he builds another house, deciding that they should build atop a large rock this time, instead of on the soft sand. Mymble and her children join Moominmamma and Moominpappa for the unveiling of the new building. Moominpappa comments on the house being a little lopsided and wonky, and Moominmamma tells him "it's not perfect, so it's not boring" just like her husband. Moomintroll presents the home to Mymble and her family, and they settle inside, finding it very spacious.

The Moomin family watch on as the rock beneath the house starts to move and reveals itself to be a giant sea turtle. Mymble is unpeturbed, happy with her "mobile home" and saying that she always wanted to see the world. Moomintroll and his parents wave Mymble and her children goodbye as they float off into the sea on top of the turtle's back.

Back at the Moominhouse, Moomintroll tells his parents that he thinks he might miss Mymble and her family. Moominpappa bids him goodnight and says he will see them in the Spring, and Moomintroll looks thoughtful. As he settles into bed, he jumps up in shock to find Little My already lying there, and she tells him that she thought she'd stay. Little My tells Moomintroll that it will be officially Spring the next day, and says that a little bird told her that "someone special" visits in the Spring. She pretends to forget his name, teasing Moomintroll, and Moomintroll sits down and looks wistful as he says "Snufkin".

Themes

This episode deals with how the Moomins are known for their hospitality, and how it can result in their open-heartedness being taken advantage of, even unintentionally. Moomintroll struggles with standing up for himself and his family, and finds a different way of getting Mymble and her children to leave Moominhouse by helping them find somewhere else to stay, instead of tricking them into leaving, which he realises is cruel. However, he doesn't learn to be more assertive, although he figures out his own way to stand up for himself, and his family.

Moominmamma tries to teach her husband and son to work with Mymble and her differences, and to make peace with their new situation, however Moominpappa and Moomintroll continue to seek for a way out of it instead. Moominmamma shows her signature patience and care when dealing with the arrival of Mymble and her children, and shows them all kindness, even when they negatively impact her. Each member of the Moomin family shows a different way to deal with unwanted situations, whether running away, resigning themselves to the changes, trying to put things back to the way they were, or merely accepting them and welcoming them.

Little My offers logical answers and reasoning, often being straight-forward, however Moomintroll has a more empathetic approach, finding it hard to simply be direct when emotions are involved. For Little My, it is easy to say exactly what she thinks and feels, perhaps because she is unafraid of the consequences, however Moomintroll offers a more emotional approach, finding himself caught up with anxieties about hurting the feelings of his friends and family, and so searches for another way to handle the situation instead of being direct.

Mymble is a complex character, who seems to be so used to Moominmamma's hospitality that she takes advantage of it, whether intentionally or not, and seems unaware of the difficulties she causes the family. She does care about her children, however also seeks to find time away from them, perhaps seeing the Moomins as an ideal family and the Moominhouse as a place to seek peace. Mymble teaches her children good manners and forgiveness after she realises the Moomin family was attempting to trick them, however she often loses control over them and lets them run amok wherever they please, seeming not to notice the disruption this causes for others. Mymble's carelessness is a direct contrast to the care and attention that the Moomin family, especially Moominmamma and Moomintroll, put into everything they do.

This episode has some of the common themes in Tove Jansson's stories, such as that often everything comes with a price, and that we all find ourselves in less than ideal situations from time to time. It is left to the viewer to decide what they think may have been the best way to handle the situation, and whether the Moomin family was right to let Mymble and her family sail off into the sea. As in the Moomin books and comic strips, Moomintroll struggles with his self confidence and accepting new things that threaten his familiar way of life, which are things that many people can relate to with his character.

Trivia

  • In this episode we find out that Moomintroll can't blink, despite trying to copy Little My when she winks at him.
  • This episode is based on the 1956 Moomin comic strip by Tove Jansson "Moomin builds a house", in which the Moomin family adopt Little My when she stays behind, after Mymble and her family have visited Moominhouse. In Moominvalley it is unclear whether Little My is adopted as part of their family or simply staying with them long term, however she lives in Moominhouse with them from this point on in the television series.
MoominBuildsHouse

Moomin builds a house (1956)

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