April 17th, 2011
It’s easy to go after Disney princesses; fairytale princesses in a general kind of way are easy targets for our modern day criticism. My son, Mr. Adorablepants, is in love with Disney movies right now, and as a result, we have watched Tangled about 500 times. Before Tangled, it was Beauty and the Beast, before that it was a tie between The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. I don’t actually mind, don’t worry, this isn’t a blog focused on bagging on Disney for encouraging rampant commercialism, or creating a water-downed, easily digestible version of history told through animation and singing forest creatures. It’s not. I actually like Disney, for a lot of reasons, Pixar being up there on the top of the list.
I’m not even going to bag on the princesses. Too easy. We all know the faults of the princesses. Ariel is so desperate to catch herself a man that she nearly kills herself, then marries the first guy she ever kissed at the tender age of sixteen. Belle, a walking example of Stockholm Syndrome, falls in love with her captor and the only force that can make her leave is her desire to take care of another man – daddy. And even Jasmine, who has the moxy to shoot down countless suitors, still gets all starry eyed over the Eiffel Tower and marries the first guy to take her on a magic carpet ride. Way too easy.
No. I’m not here to criticize the girls. I’m simply wondering what they see in these men. Seriously, there must have been some pretty low standards or a serious lack of marriageable men back in the fairy tale writing days to make these guys look like good choices.
In no particular order:
Prince Eric – The Little Mermaid: Okay, so here’s Eric, prince of an island nation. Sure, he’s cute, he likes dogs, he can play a mean fluglehopper – but the guy hears a mysterious girl sing to him for thirty seconds and he’s ready to spend eternity with her. Plus, he’s incredibly dense not to notice all the singing swamp birds accompanied by the frog and fish band. How exactly do you not see that? One might also question his judgment when, after Vanessa (sea-witch in disguise) shows up and sings, that he demands the wedding be that very night. I won’t even go into the fact that if he’d really wanted to know who Ariel was, he could have given her a pen and paper and asked her to write out an explanation.
Aladdin: Let’s ignore the fact that Aladdin missed out on a golden opportunity on wishes. I know, you can’t wish for anyone to fall in love, anyone to die or more wishes. But nowhere does Genie state that you can’t wish for more Genies. Sigh. That aside, he meets Jasmine for about an hour give or take and he’s in love. Okay, I’ll bite. But…then he’s perfectly happy to deceive her for the rest of their lives. If circumstances hadn’t made his ‘fess up, he’d happily spent the rest of his life with a pocket Genie providing him with a never-ending supply of princely robes.
Beast – Beauty and the Beast: A man of few social skills, but in a captor/kidnapper/overlord sort of way….I suppose you could do worse. Okay, so he’s mad that Belle’s father trespassed in his house, even though the poor guy was totally set up by the singing furniture. Instead of kicking him out and sending him packing – he makes the entirely illogical move to make him a prisoner? Huh? If he didn’t want people around, logic would demand that he do the opposite. Then when he sees Belle, he trades her father for her and sends him packing, proving that it wasn’t really a matter of not wanting the townsfolk to know about him. Beast has some control issues, not to mention a serious anger management problem.
Prince Charming – Cinderella: Disney actually makes this guy look good, at least compared to the original Grimm’s Brothers Fairy Tale version. In the original, Charming was so oblivious that he didn’t even notice the evil stepsisters hacking off chunks of their feet to fit them into the glass slipper. He happily rode off with his slightly mutilated bride, not noticing the trail of blood that was following behind. It took a raven to count the drops before Charming was clued into the fact that something was up.
So compared to that…the Disney Prince Charming who silently dances with Cinderella for about ten minutes, falls in love and spends the rest of the story madly searching for her, looks pretty darn good. But Disney Charming isn’t off the hook either. C’mon buddy, you have to have a better way to look for someone than just seeing if her shoe fits. Don’t you have some kind of royal directory? A medieval version of 411? Something?
There are definitely more I have issue with. That being said, my favorite has to be the newest – Tangled. I do love me some Flynn Ryder. Finally, a prince who has a sense of humor, doesn’t seem overly eager to rush into marriage and actually displays some genuine affection for his lady.
Too bad they all can’t be Flynn Ryder.