I wish I could begin this article with an apology for I have very heartbreaking news: happy ever after doesn’t exist.”
So the classic story we all know begins, the most beautiful of girls is in some kind of peril or distress. Now cue the gorgeous prince, for goodness sakes, his only role is to be hot and loaded. He comes in and sweeps her off her feet and solves all her struggles and then carriers her off to his castle to be his trophy wife. I just legit summed up four famous movies: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid and we all know there are a dozen more like them. Do you notice the trend? These girls have more in common than being extraordinarily beautiful; which is, of course, the main requirement of being a Disney Princess. They all also barely know the man they marry. Yet at the first sight of the ‘princesses’ these men become consumed with the desire to save the damsel in distress. Then at the conclusion, there is an epilogue in which the prince and the unfortunate model get married and they live happily ever after.
Although, I must admit that this does sound like a wondrous prospect to a dreaming child, but do these happy endings actually happen? Discounting all the numerous holes in the plot, could two people who married as strangers and were only drawn to one another by aristocratic position and outward appearance live happily ever after together? The divorce rate would skyrocket.
On the other hand, Once Upon a Time presents plots that are likely and reasonable scenarios, when you live in a world with magic. The plot appears even sounder, when you consider the absurdity of the Disney versions actually taking place, even in a fantastical world.
For example, I don’t think I’m the only doubter when it comes to the implausibility of the tale of Snow White. Let’s think back to the fourteen year old who is the fairest of all, like where was her acne? I’d like to know. This princess sadly sets an example when it comes to sickeningly sweet pretty girls. Moving on, her stepmother was jealous of the young teenager, sounds realistic already, eh? As it continued the Evil Queen tries to kill her and of course fails. For the prince, who doesn’t even know Snow, kisses her which triggers all magical things to awaken Snow from her slumber.
Something I’m wondering is where were the dwarves did Charming send them to his white van to get candy as he kissed a young dead girl? Which let’s think about the fact that he’s travelling alone which means he would have to be in twenties at least. Now, let’s take a look at the Once Upon A Time version: Regina a. k. a. the Evil Queen Teenage Version is in love and she attempts to run away in order to escape marrying the king. She trusts Snow, who in turn rats her out, and Regina ends up with a dead fiancé and a marriage to a man who could more than easily be her father. Literally, he had a thing with her mother before she was born. Talk about awkward.
Fifteen plus years later, after learning magic and disposing of her husband, Regina attempts to kill Snow, and in turn Snow becomes a bandit. After robbing a royal carriage Snow meets Prince James, who she later sarcastically dubs ‘Prince Charming’. Then over a few years she falls in love with him.
Therefore, in view of these facts, I’m pretty sure anyone would agree that the Once Upon A Time version seems the more reasonable plot line. Seeing that, Snow indirectly caused the death of Regina’s fiancé, seems the more valid reason to kill someone, then jealousy of a young girl’s appearance. For Snow is young; one must think of it in a historical sense. Since in the 1800s, the age girls started puberty at was fourteen to seventeen, six years before the modern eight to twelve range. (Staff, 1995) for Snow White’s era was long before the 1800s. Therefore it is ridiculous to assume, that a woman would be jealous of a child’s beauty.
On the other hand, Once Upon A Time is not merely ‘realistic’ in a fantasy sense, but the show writers have a vendetta against people having their ‘happy ending.’ If they are generous, the characters will get one episode of gleeful happiness. But most of the time no such luck arises. Just like real life, the show creators understand that after the honeymoon, things aren’t always as picturesque as we hoped.
For the Charmings are a prime example, they don’t get the opportunity to rest from the ‘real world.’ Their happy ever after is always up in the air. Seeing that on their first date, they fought trolls; during their rehearsal, Charming’s mother died; then their wedding was interrupted with threats of damnation; and during their honeymoon, they hunted Medusa: real romantic eh?
|“Their newborn is taken from them to spend her young life in between foster homes, crime, creepy older men, teen pregnancy and finally jail. “|
Nevertheless somehow between these events, Snow managed to get pregnant and their newborn is taken from them to spend her young life in between foster homes, crime, creepy older men, teen pregnancy and finally jail.
Yet Charming sacrificed his life in order to give Emma ‘her best chance’ and ended up in a twenty-eight year coma. Emma’s luck doesn’t change even when she reconnects with her parents. For at the age of thirty every guy Emma has dated has come to his demise by homicide.
Furthermore, the most famous line in Once Upon A Time is “Magic always comes with a price” most often stated by Robert Carlyle’s character of Mr. Gold/ Rumplestiltskin. He normally says this accompanied with an offer to strike a deal, for a price. Rumple is the ‘fairy godmother’ who you can claim on your income tax. He doesn’t do things simply out of the kindness of his heart. But let’s face it who does?
Rumplestiltskin requires a payment, whether it is a favour, or information, or a child, or you know, eternal servitude. Rumplestiltskin illustrates that one can’t be born pretty and be rescued by a sexy prince; that’s illogical. Happy endings, though temporary, come at a cost.
Currently, season four of Once Upon A Time is in its early stages with four episodes released to date. It explores the former Evil Queen, Regina on a quest to find the author of the Storybook, in order to get a happy ending. Thus explaining that the author sees her as a villain, and as stated various times throughout the series, “Villains don’t get happy endings.” They must be ugly, deformed, and never succeed. It is cited as such under the Disney Villain Association requirements. Yet those assumptions are so elementary in concept; it supposes that people are one dimensional, which is ludicrous.
However to the contrary, people are complicated and back stories are messy, there is no black and white, and there are no definite lines between good and evil. For there are always grey areas, and people decline slowly and do not simply go from one to the other in a moment. Sometimes even the villain might win the princess’ heart, and that doesn’t mean he will become magically good at the feeling of love. This happens in the case of Rumpelstiltskin, who is the ‘beast’ in tale of Belle.
Moreover, villains also aren’t always ugly in appearance in Once Upon a Time; they actually for the most part are quite attractive. For Hook is gorgeous, the ugly stepsisters are also quite pretty, well at least Anastasia is; Maleficent isn’t green,and although the Wicked Witch is, that doesn’t hinder her looks. Ursula is not fat, Rumplestiltskin is not an imp but instead a good looking middle aged man and the Evil Queen could be a serious candidate for the fairest of them all.
Yet, shouldn’t the villains be hideous? How could attractive people ever be cruel or evil? These questions arise because we’ve always have been taught that beauty is associated with ‘good’ and ugliness is associated with ‘evil.’ We must remove this from our minds, these illogical stereotypes that are so corrupted.
To summarize, it can be seen that Once Upon A Time demonstrates the depth Disney was never able to attain. It focuses on realistic challenges and characters, but with a magical and dramatic twist. Yet Once Upon A Time also manages to question notions and concepts we assume are correct, because they are the ones that have been presented to us since childhood.