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I'm the star... Stupid, stupid cat... (inhale) I SHOULD'VE DROWNED YOU ALL WHEN I FLOODED THE STAGE!
~ Darla inadvertently exposing her crime to everyone.
Darleen "Darla" Dimple, also publicly known to her fans as Darla Dimple, is the main antagonist of Warner Bros' 1997 animated film Cats Don't Dance.
She is an egotistical child star who takes delight in animal bashing. She also has a colossal butler named Max, serving as her enforcer. She is Danny, Sawyer, Pudge, Tilly, Woolley, Cranston, and Frances's main archnemesis.
She was voiced by Ashley Peldon, and her singing voice was provided by Lindsay Ridgeway. In the Albanian dub, she was voiced by Esmeralda Kame. In the French dub, she was voiced by Aline Pinsonneault.
Darla Dimple makes an effort to appear talkative, enthusiastic, beautiful, sweet and kind when in public, and has a good reputation for being "America's Sweetheart, lover of children and animals."
However, this is just a ruse. Her true personality is a spoiled, vengeful, heartless, selfish, unpleasant, vindictive, manipulative, and sociopathic child star who has no qualms about ruining the lives, dreams and careers of anyone she feels is inferior to her.
She is also shown to be a traitorous menace to her staff and subordinates, although they try to appease her due to her talent and her imposing henchman, Max. She is also shown to have a terrible temper, and while she does love other children, per part of her reputation (and this is possibly her one redeeming quality), she possesses a burning hatred of animals and will stop at nothing to get rid of them if it helps her get what she wants.
Darla is a small, slightly obese young girl. She has fair skin, blonde hair (which her hair styled in ringlets), and baby blue eyes. She wears a light pink dress, a hot pink hair bow, white socks, and pink shoes.
A young orange tomcat by the name of Danny (the protagonist of the film), accidentally offends Darla by attempting to sing onstage during a production Darla is starring in. She becomes jealous and infuriated and throws an ugly temper tantrum in front of the entire film crew without any regret. She then calls in Max, who grabs Danny and intimidates him as a warning for what will happen the next time he crosses Darla's path. Later, Darla has seemingly forgotten her anger and even offers Danny advice on how to succeed in show business; this is meant to get him to drop his guard, as after this Danny is convinced that Darla wants to help all animals.
However, Darla's plan has unforeseen consequences, as her advice only results in him inspiring other animals to try to perform. Darla becomes worried that the animals will be successful, and hatches a plot: she has Max flood Mammoth Studios while the head of Mammoth Studios, L.B. Mammoth, and the film's director Flanagan are giving an interview, then frames the animals for the incident in the hopes of getting them all fired.
Her plan works as L.B. Mammoth and Flanagan are furious over the damage and, foolishly believing the animals were at fault, vow that they will never work in Hollywood again. The animals are all fired from acting at Mammoth Studios, and when Darla appears to offer Danny mock sympathy, Sawyer and the other animals are devastated that Danny trusted Darla, abandoning him in disgust and disbelief. While Darla, believing her plan is a success, attends the debut of Li'l Ark Angel at Grauman's Chinese Theater with Max, L.B. Mammoth, and Flanagan, she's unaware when Max vanishes to pursue Danny and Pudge when he sensed their presence and doesn't return, so when Danny appears on the stage after the film to ask the audience to stay for a encore presentation by him and the animals that he says is Darla's idea, with Max nowhere to be found to stop the animals (unaware that Danny already defeated him), Darla is forced to deal with them herself, but causes them to end up putting on an impressive production anyway. She goes backstage in an attempt at sabotage, but her meddling only enhances the show and makes it more impressive while injuring herself in different ways; this ends with her pulling a large switch in a desperate fit of rage, which causes a fabulous fireworks display to end the show, earning the animals a standing ovation from the audience.
Now covered in wires, props, and bruises, she yells at Danny that she should have drowned him and the rest of the animals when she flooded the stage, unaware that a boom microphone was over her head in the commotion and her confession has been broadcasted to the entire audience, as well as Flanagan and L.B. Mammoth, who are all horrified to learn that the animals were not responsible for the damage to Mammoth Studios and were wrongly fired, while Darla had gotten away scot free just to protect her fame and reputation. All finally knowing now she was truly responsible.
Darla foolisly tries to save face by hugging Danny but it was already too late, Pudge then pulls a trapdoor lever and Darla falls through the stage, shouting one final time for Max, who was still floating across the planet on the Darla balloon he fought Danny on earlier, who is passing through Paris when he is able to hear her call and reply "Oui, Miss Dimple". With her reputation and stardom destroyed for her reckless actions and self centered behaviour, Darla is demoted to janitor to pay for her mistakes. She is last seen putting up posters for films with animals in the starring roles.
When Darla is in her sweet and loving personality, her hairbow is normal; however, whenever she loses her temper or begins scheming, her bow becomes pointed which gives her the appearance of devil-like horns. This ironically comes into conflict with her claims of being an angel.
Darla bears a physical resemblance to (but does not have the same personality as) the late Shirley Temple during her days as a child actress in the 1930s. However, Shirley was a brunette while Darla is blonde.
Darla is also stated to be a parody of the young Shirley Temple.
Although she is the main antagonist, Darla does not compete with Danny physically, her butler, Max, does. Because of this, Max turned out to be more dangerous than she. Darla's true villainy is in her behavior, words, and influence.
Her actual name, Darleen, is a play on the word "darling," meaning "a precious and adorable person." This is ironic, considering her true nature.
Her curls are made by electrocuting her hair. In real life, this would have killed her.
Her real age is unknown, but the actress providing her singing voice was around 12 years old at the time. However, Darla would likely be in kid years.
It is unknown if she genuinely cares about her fans or is just giving out autographs to make herself look better. Given her ugly temper, it is probably the latter.
She's possibly an orphan as she has no parents that are present in the film. Her vast wealth could indicate her parents are wealthy and either they died or left, leaving Max to be her caretaker. Therefore, her villainous nature stems from a lack of any parental discipline and Max can't do anything about it because it's not his place to do so. That and Max seems to be enjoy following Darla's orders to a sadistic degree.
Darla has committed the Seven Deadly Sins.
Wrath: She is extremely short-tempered and will lash out at others when she didn't get in her way.
Gluttony: Eating a lot of sweets, as shown when she met Danny.
Lust: An attention-seeker who tries to act cute to manipulate others into doing whatever she wants.
Pride: Sees herself better than anyone else.
Greed: Wants all fame to herself.
Sloth: Has Max to do all the work while she watched him to do so, as shown when he flood the stage to ruin Danny and the animals' act.
Envy: Gets jealous if anyone upstage her and even tried to stop anyone from doing so, as shown when she sees Danny and the other animals performing onstage after her movie is played.