Once Upon a Time:
Updated Well-Rooted FairyTales for the Modern Badass Princess
During my second year of university I enjoyed an enlightening class about Children’s Literature in which we read a good amount of original stories from which my beloved favourite fairytales of Disney were derived. My favourite was Beauty and the Beast, BlueBeard and Peter Pan, and learning about the origins, the violence, the sexism and the various versions that have developed over the years has been such a pull for me. I love the ability interpretation can take on a story, and this brings me to my new favourite show, Once Upon a Time.
It’s been a long journey since I began this show late 2013, and just recently catching up to the televised fourth season this past week, and I want to just say GO WATCH IT instead of telling you the recap, my favourite characters (Obviously Hook, Belle and Rumplestiltskin to name a few) but I want to suggest that the best part of this show is the ability to interpret villains, storylines, and plotlines and melding them into a melting pot of feminist witches and princesses saving themselves, and throwing a new kick-ass twist to a Damzel searching for her Prince.
Once focuses heavily on family in the original storylines depicted as well as the story of Emma Swan and her own family, and understanding identity within those storylines as well as the original fairytales that are fully developed which most characters are aware of. They compare themselves to the storybook that essentially defines their subjectivity and their relationship with their own self. I wish I could seriously go into a Masters of Literature just to compare this show to real literature. IT is THAT kick ass.
The second season sucked, I admit, it was slow, but the third season picked up with a plotline in Neverland and also an Oz interjection that not only re-ignites the idea of “witch,” but also reaffirms the familial bond within any story. It is so staged in some places, but in others it subverts the plotlines, challenges character flaws and is of course entertaining.
Maybe it is because I grew up dreaming of meeting my Prince Eric who would defeat the evil stepmother with my pet tiger and we would get married in Belle’s finale gown, but I have always had a soft spot for fairytales. The princess being hard-headed, driven, and intelligent and in the business of saving herself, all of these things are massive themes within this television show. The two main villains are a man (Rumplestiltskin, who also doubles as various other villains from stories such as the Crocodile from Peter Pan and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast,) and Regina the evil Queen/Stepmother from Snow White. Regina is brilliant, cunning, feare and extremely driven. She runs from true love, trusts her own instincts, and finds her own happiness as a single mother. Is this not compelling to anyone else?
So if you’re looking for a riveting story about love, family, badass bitches and modern (and ancient) twists on fairytales then I’d check Once Upon a Time out, and give it until the beginning of the third season to pan itself out. I’ve found myself daydreaming I had a red leather jacket and a pirate pining after me for weeks now.