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Timon is a comical meerkat and a supporting character in Disney’s 1994 feature film, The Lion King. He is also the protagonist of the 2004 film, The Lion King 1½.
Timon is the best friend of Pumbaa, friend and guardian (when he was little) of Simba, son of Ma, and nephew of Uncle Max. Inspired by the idea of having a major predator on their side in The Lion King, he and Pumbaa took Simba in when he collapsed of heat exhaustion and guilt after his father’s death. In The Lion King 1½, Timon is primarily shown as the every-man meerkat of his colony, who longs for a better life and according to him: “…where we don’t have to dig tunnels and live with our heads stuck in the sand.”
In the The Lion King films, Timon can be self-centered and thoughtless at times. One example is proven when they decided to take Simba in, he robs Pumbaa of the credit Pumbaa rightfully deserves. But in the end, he has a good heart, and is loyal to his friends and family. Unlike most meerkats, who work constantly, Timon is a daydreamer which results in him being an outcast of his colony. His status at the bottom of the food chain means he relies on stronger animals to protect him once he’s on his own, and as such, he usually looks out for himself, but nonetheless, never abandons his friends and family in times of trouble and is willing to risk himself for them. He is also shown to be self-absorbed and not as clever as he’d like to think he is, such as sometimes claiming Pumbaa’s good ideas as his own. Timon is not incapable of thinking up his own plans though, as shown by one of his greatest moments being the “Tunnels” plan in The Lion King 1½.
He is also a bit of a coward, but with some amount of ability to be a bit of a daredevil, as evidenced by the part of The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride where he tried to intimidate Zira by sarcastically introducing himself and Pumbaa to her and yelling at her to get out of their Pride Lands, but it backfired when Zira instantly replied, “YOUR Pride Lands?!” and roared, and Timon hid behind Pumbaa.
In The Lion King 1½, Timon is shown to have a very good heart in this film and is loving in some scenes between him and Ma, and shares a strong bond with her. He is also shown to have unique heroic characteristics in this film not seen in other appearances, such as having exceptional bravery in the part where he risks his own life to fix a failed hyena trap that Ma and Uncle Max create. However, Timon also shows a selfish side when he refuses to help Simba challenge Scar and prefers to stay alone in the jungle rather than going to Pride Rock with Pumbaa (though he regrets what he has done after encountering Rafiki a second time and decides to make up with his friends and help Simba).
Timon is also iconic for being best friends with Pumbaa, the warthog. The two are nearly inseparable, and are shown together constantly. Being extremely close, they share interests such as sleeping, fun-filled activities, and most of all, eating bugs, which they mostly refer to as grubs. The duo are also known to argue time and time again, mostly because of Timon’s selfishness and Pumbaa’s ultimate nobility causing their personalities to clash. Even so, they never separate for long, and soon enough, their bond is tightened once again. Also, while Pumbaa is generally the true brains of the outfit, he is still very childish, with Timon shown to be rather protective of the warthog when the latter is in some kind of unfortunate event due to his naivety. This is an example of Timon’s ultimate loyalty towards his friends and family. Despite his self-absorbed nature, he will eventually come around to do what’s right, despite the sacrifices he has to make.
On very rare occasions, particularly in the Timon and Pumbaa television series, Timon has demonstrated a rather selfish side. Notable examples are in “To Kilimanjaro Bird”, where Timon callously steals a bowlful of bugs from a baby eagle and is initially reluctantly about babysitting the eagle in retribution; in “You Ghana Join the Club”, he needlessly steals a watch from a lion when retrieving a set of jingle bells; in “How to Beat the High Costa Rica”, after Timon and Pumbaa retrieve a case full of stolen money from Criminal Quint, Timon squanders it all on himself instead of taking it to the police; in “Kenya Be My Friend?”, Timon forgets “Bestest Best Friend Day” and outright prefers to end his friendship with Pumbaa instead of admitting that he forgot (although they reconcile and he continues to deny forgetting it to avoid breaking Pumbaa’s heart), among others. In these instances, it is usually Pumbaa who is the voice of reason and helps Timon to make the right decision. Other than those times, Timon is also shown to be caring towards his friends and is still shown to have heroic characteristics. Some examples are in “Timon’s Time Togo”, where he rescues Pumbaa from falling off a cliff, “French Fried”, where he and Pumbaa rescue Speedy the Snail from getting cooked by Culinary Quint, and “Once Upon a Timon”, where he and Pumbaa rescue Tatiana from a cobra.
Timon is a hyperactive meerkat with a motor mouth. Whether he’s making good-natured jokes at Pumbaa’s expense or pitching his free-wheeling lifestyle to Simba, Timon always has a fast line. But behind the patter is a loyal little guy who’d give his last wisecrack to help a friend. — © 1994 Skybox
Voice: Nathan Lane
Animators: Michael Surrey (supervisor)
Once a member of a large and thriving colony of meerkats far from Pride Rock, Timon was never in his element digging and guarding the holes as a unit with his fellow meerkats. One too many incidents in which his daydreaming and misplaced ingenuity brought real danger down upon the colony caused his Uncle Max to kick him out from the clan. Despite protests from his Ma, Timon set out to seek adventure and fulfillment out in the greater world. After a chance meeting with the mystic mandrill Rafiki, who taught him the feel-good philosophy of hakuna matata, Timon met an unlikely partner in the blundering warthog Pumbaa, with whom he sought for the perfect responsibility-free home. They found it in the jungle that lies across the desert from the Pride Lands, and a steady diet of multicolored bugs kept him and Pumbaa well-fed with no need to hunt or forage.
When Simba is exiled from the Pride Lands following his father’s murder, he is rescued from near death from exhaustion by the carefree duo, who pass on to him their “put your behind in your past” philosophy (which fits in perfectly with his need to forget about the ghosts of guilt that haunt him). Simba grows into a kingly lion on the same diet of bugs that Timon and Pumbaa eat, but only the unlooked-for arrival of Nala threatens to bring to an end the fellowship of the three outcasts. Timon refuses to believe there’s anything more to life than hakuna matata, but eventually his loyalty to his friends wins him over and he plays an instrumental role in the retaking of Pride Rock.
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