Flotsam and Jetsam were the moray eel minions of the sea witch Ursula. They appear as the secondary antagonists in the film The Little Mermaid and the prequel television series. They were both voiced by the late Paddi Edwards in the film.
Flotsam and Jetsam speak in unison, finish each other's sentences, and entwine their bodies. The concept of their linkage is further heightened when their white eyes combine to form a single crystal ball, a portal through which Ursula can view the outside world. Ursula would remain in her lair, working from behind the scenes, and watching everything from the crystal ball.
The eels serve as Ursula's minions and spies, often sneaking around Atlantica, spotting out Ursula's next potential victim. They are excessively beloved by Ursula who refers to them as her own children. They are also incredibly intelligent and known to complete any of Ursula's tasks with complete success. Unlike most Disney Villain henchman who are portrayed as rather comical and bubbly compared to their boss, Flotsam and Jetsam are portrayed as dark and mysterious lackeys, matching well with Ursula's wickedness.
The Little MermaidFlotsam and Jetsam are the first to notice Ariel's infatuation with the world above. Upon witnessing the mermaid fall in love with a human, Prince Eric, Ursula sends Flotsam and Jetsam to propose a deal to Ariel. In addition, in order to ensure that Ariel accept the proposal, they also made sure they visited Ariel while she was in a grief-stricken state, specifically after King Triton destroyed her grotto in rage, and also flicked a remain of Eric's statue at Ariel in case she attempted to refuse. In making sure that Ursula wins the deal, Flotsam and Jetsam sabotage what would have been a successful kiss between Ariel and Eric. In the climax, Flotsam and Jetsam are accidentally killed by the trident when Ariel grabs Ursula's hair just as the sea witch fires a killing shot intended for Eric. Flotsam and Jetsam are notable for their efficiency (which is something not to take lightly- usually- especially in Disney movies, the henchmen, are clumsy and botch up every plan). Until they were killed, they succeeded at every task Ursula gave them, and due to that, Ursula, shocked that she killed her eels, sadly mourns for them, right before turning her attention and rage towards Ariel and Eric. In an original draft for the ending, they also tried to capture Ariel when she tried to escape, and when Ursula killed them, she barely seemed to notice.
The Little Mermaid (TV series)
Flotsam and Jetsam appear in the television series taking place before the events of the film. Like the original film, the two are Ursula's pets and familiars, often seen accompanying her in her latest quest for conquest.
Interesting enough, the eels are rather different from their film counterparts, along with their overall relationship with Ursula. In the series, they are shown many times to be meek and incompetent, whereas in the film they are shown to be deadly and intelligent. Further more, Ursula is far more hostile and brutal towards her pets, constantly shown berating them and so fourth. Examples of these facts can be greatly seen in Against the Tide, especially during the scene in which Flotsam and Jetsam openly take notice of Ursula's recent misfortune, and during the climax where King Triton retracts Ursula's poison ink storm to hit Flotsam and Jetsam instead. When they passed out due to the poisoning, Ursula didn't seem to care.
In the same episode, Flotsam and Jetsam also went through a few transformations, via Ursula magic stolen from King Triton's trident. However, this would not become a recurring ability in any form of media after the episode.
Kingdom Hearts series
The two play a similar role in the game as the movie. They taunted Ariel into thinking that Ursula will let her venture to other worlds if she traded the trident for her dream to come reality. Ursula sent Flotsam and Jetsam off to search Triton's palace for the Keyhole, but they were unable to find it. They later fought Sora and co. in Ursula's lair. After the fight, they curled up and died in a mist of ink.
Kingdom Hearts II
In Kingdom Hearts II, Flotsam and Jetsam have returned probably the same way Ursula did. They only briefly appear in the song-battle 'Ursula's Revenge'. During the song, the two eels tried to suffocate Sora, but were destroyed when Donald and Goofy pull them off of Sora, allowing him to finally destroy them with a blast of magic from his keyblade.
The Little Mermaid on Broadway
Flotsam and Jetsam appear in the 2007 stage musical adaptation of The Little Mermaid, but unlike the film, they are electric eels instead of moray eels. Their eyes are not magically used for Ursula's spying of others, as this role has been taken over by Ursula's magic Nautilus shell. Flotsam and Jetsam provide supporting vocals in Ursula's introduction song "I Want the Good Times Back" number, and have their own duet song, "Sweet Child", which also has a reprise. Unlike the first film, in which the eels are accidentally killed by Ursula, they swim away in fright after Ariel snatches Ursula's sea shell away, leaving their final fate unknown. Also, in the Kiss the Girl musical number, they electrically shock Ariel and Eric in the boat, rather than tipping the boat over. Tyler Maynard and Derrick Baskin originated Flotsam and Jetsam respectively.
Disney ParksFlotsam and Jetsam appear on a daily basis in parades and shows. In 2010, one of the two were seen in a promo for Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach in Walt Disney World.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Along with Ursula, Flotsam and Jetsam are revived from the dead by Hades to assist Ursula in her plot to submerge the Magic Kingdom under the sea for Ursula to control. They are also ordered to help find the crystal of the Magic Kingdom. They search in a sunken ship where they run into the park guests. They fight the guests but are defeated. They then swim away in pain.
In the Disneyland version of Fantasmic!, Flotsam and Jetsam were added to the show in 2009, where they join Ursula in her mission to destroy Mickey Mouse, slithering along the Rivers of America. They also appear in the Tokyo DisneySea version of the show playing a similar role, though on the Mediterranean Harbor.
They are portrayed using large puppets on jet-skis designed by Michael Curry, who has worked on numerous projects with Disney. A 34 foot long aluminum pontoon frame holds up the water-resistant fabric covering and is capable of pivoting similarly to a toy wooden snake to give it a slithering motion.
Mickey and his Magic Halloween Night
Flotsam and Jetsam accompany Ursula during her attack on Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Flotsam and Jetsam receive a small cameo in the live stage show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Flotsam & Jetsam make a brief appearance in this dark ride, talking to the riders as they enter Ursula's lair.
- To this date, the eels are often cited as Disney's darkest henchmen.
- In one scene of the movie, when Ursula is telling them to keep an eye out on Ariel, one of them hits his head on the top, causing the other to look at him for a little bit. This might be known that they might be twins, in which it is unknown which of them is the older of the two.
- Flotsam and Jetsam were briefly mentioned by Captain Hook in the Jake and the Never Land Pirates episode "The Sword and the Stone".
- Flotsam and Jetsam are apparently the only henchmen from The Little Mermaid franchise to actually die at the end of their film.
- Flotsam and Jetsam are unique among most Disney villain minions, as they seem to be competent at everything they do (though in the TV show, they are considerably less competent). Though Diablo from Sleeping Beauty and Sour Bill from Wreck-It Ralph are shown to be just as competent.
- Paddi Edwards, who voiced Flotsam and Jetsam, was also the voice of Gozer, the villain of the first Ghostbusters film, who is portrayed as an evil Sumerian god who in that film's climax, becomes a giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man to attack the titular Ghostbusters.
- Ursula's reaction to Flotsam and Jetsam's deaths, prompting her to attack Ariel and Eric was probably inspired by a similar scene near the end of Sleeping Beauty where Maleficent attacks Prince Philip and the Three Good Fairies after the latter turns Diablo the raven to stone.