Friday, December 16, 2011

If I Were A Disney Princess

This is not my usual funny-fare. Feel free to skip along to the bottom if that's your thing.

Thank goodness for Yahoo!. Because even in Mexico, you can tell Yahoo! to pretend you're in the US, and therefore its news ticker will continue to inform you of the most important, up to the moment breaking stories.

You know, like who's doing what in the presidential campaign, the world's smallest woman is named, and all about that one time that a dude rode his horse through a grocery store.

Very important stuff. Also important: Disney has unveiled a new princess.

I had some serious ambitions to become a Disney animator back in the day. I studied the Lion King meticulously for how animators captures the way animals move, and for how well the lips actually look like they're making those sounds when they speak. (my first and only college roommate can attest that I drew... far, far too many lions to be not considered a bit... off).

But the older I got, the more realistic I got about my chances of really making animation a career. At the same time, I rationalized letting go of the dream by learning about the politics and eroding quality of Disney's business. While I am a very strong advocate for traditional 2-D, hand-drawn animation (which I fear is an art the next generation will not be privy to), Disney made a horrible play in its relationship with computer animation studio, and story-telling geniuses - Pixar. That partnership was marred by Disney buying Pixar in order to force the creation of more crappy sequels instead of leaving the creative part up to Pixar and Disney handling the marketing. The pursuit and the creation of more original story lines was slowed and not encouraged like it had been previously. Even without needing to find a reason besides my own mediocrity for not being a professional animator, I can say as of that BS move that I wouldn't WANT to work for Disney.

Disney's empire was built not just on beautiful artwork, but on its ability to tell a story. The unfortunate part is that they seemed to get stuck in a rut re-telling tales by the Brothers Grimm. You'd think, with the great successes that they found on the occasions they strayed from conventional Western European folklore - Mulan, Lion King, Aladdin... that instead of making Sleeping Beauty 45, they'd check out what other cultures have to offer more often.

But then... princesses.

I understand the motivation. Disney is, afterall, a business first and foremost, and they have done a fantastic job marketing the "Princess Franchise."

how is ariel standing?

Now, plenty of people have commented on the societal conventions of marketing ideals of beauty and lifestyle to such little, impressionable minds. I won't say I disagree with these criticisms - there is more to life than being perfectly pretty and finding a man who is rich and successful to keep you clad in the most perfect princess poofy gowns.

We as a culture drill beauty and a 'woman's role' into little girls from the second we first call them "princess," dress them solely in pink, or only converse with them about "how pretty they are." It is, to put it lightly, a bummer. But not being a mother, I have little to say on the subject. Others are much more eloquent in these thoughts.

I can tell you, however, that even as a tom boy I wasn't totally immune to dreaming of being a princess. I had a skirt. I called it my twirly-round skirt, and I wore it well past the point of it fitting my five year old waist, even when fastened with safety pins instead of the zipper that it came with. And when I watched my old VHS copies of Disney Movies, I would sing along with the princess parts in all the songs.

My gramps keeps an impressive movie collection, and while I had a wide world of cinematic adventures to watch in that cupboard under the stairs, I watched his copy of Disney's Robinhood until it ceased to play the happy whistle tune that the hamster dance is based upon. In my head, I was totally Maid Marian.

So, now instead of a new Belle or Ariel to aspire to, we've got Sophie the first. Hurrah, now little girls can idolize someone their own age and know that THEY are not as awesome as they SHOULD be already at the age of five instead of waiting and thinking they can achieve princess-dom by age 18. Guess its nice of Disney to rip that bandaid off early for them, eh?

Reading that article from Yahoo!, I started to wonder what I would be like if I WERE a Disney Princess... Walk with me, talk with me.

Well first off, we need another geographical location than England's shire to grab a plot. I've got a bit of Swedish blood, Nordic lands seem good.

Much as I think it would be AWESOME to be a viking... Dreamworks beat me to it.

I spose she's more Norweigan than Swedish anyway.

There is a folk tale from Sweden called "Faithful and Unfaithful," and I think it would make an interesting feature, without conventional "girl meets boy, girl falls in love, girl gets in trouble and is rescued by boy, the end" set up. You can read the real telling here.

But we gotta give this the Disney twist. First, while I think it would be possible to defy traditional "damsel in distress" norms, I acknowledge that there would still have to be a love story to be considered realistically.

Therefore, (seriously, read the story link so you know what the hell I'm talking about), I'd propose that I pull a gender switch, and be Faithful, a plucky young gal who would probably need to be blonde to pass as a cartoon Swede (unfortunate because... I'm not blonde. But go with me here).

What if Faithful (they'd probably go with some different name), as girl, went through with these missions, and slowly the king saw more and more that his queen wife did not love him and was evil and using him for his power?

How long did I spend on this? Way longer than I'm admitting.

By the end of the story, Faithful slays the Queen (who just for good measure, lets make her an evil sorceress too... and Unfaithful can be in cahoots with her as some crazy minion who's maybe not even really a person but an enchanted demon) the king realizes he really loves Faithful, and after she saves him from the queen in the aforementioned epic battle, they ride off into the sunset on the magic talking horse (who would of course, be the comedic sidekick to the tale, much like Mushu, or Baloo, or Flounder, or even the Genie. On that note, you think Louie CK would be his voice? 'Cause that would be amazing. Then I could do press junkets with him and we could be best friends and I would regularly pee my pants from laughing so hard as he undoubtably makes fun of me in the most crass way possible. That's real friendship you know.)

I know what you're thinking - Kp, that's not really the same story then. To that I say BFFFT - please reference your VHS copies of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and The Jungle Book. I win.

So there's my pitch for my rise to fame not as an Artist and Blogger, but as a Disney Princess. I'd send it to Disney, but I spent a awful lot of time dissing their recent decisions t the top of this whole spiel, so I'm betting I already know their answer.

What are your thoughts on the Disney Princess franchise?
And if you were a Disney Character, who would you be
(existing or a new story - I wanna know!)?

Random Section time? Random Section time.

1. WE PICKED A DATE. October 6th, 2012. Wedding planning is ON.

2. In writing this post, I am not ashamed to admit I watched way more Disney Vintage VHS than I should have. Observations from this marathon?
a. Why aren't the huns wearing shirts?! They've got to be freezing.

b. You'd think if Cobra Bubbles had so much previous alien experience, he would have been able to help out the Stitch situation a little better than taking a child away from her only living relative.

c. The fates are the fates because they're all knowing. ALL knowing. They wouldn't have ruined a perfectly good pair of scissors on a string they already knew was not gonna cut.

d. Shere Khan apparently has no vertebrae in his tail.

3. In an effort to break from the Disney movies, I watched Stranger than Fiction yesterday. And I have to say without an ounce of doubt, that to me this is the most swoon-worthy scene in a movie ever. Because it's not some sappy speech that can be repeated by any Joe Schmoe. It's specific to these characters, and well thought out, and situational. It's PERSONALIZED. That's the kind of grand gesture gals are looking for. Gents, take note, if you want to "crap romance," as a good friend of mine would say, this is how to do it.

4. With Fiance working long hours in the last few weeks, I've had a "really great diet." Excepting the last speech bubble, last week Johnny Wander told a true story about my life:


Anonymous said...

Hi KP- It's Meg, the first roommate referenced in this post. Since I have been reading these I figured I would confirm- there were an excessive number of lions, but I absolutely loved that for an entire month we had non-stop Disney movies playing.
Aside from that, your blog is hilarious and I'm glad to know that you are doing wel!!

Kp said...

Hey Meg! Haha, I'm glad I didn't creep you out too much making you watch cartoons all the time. And glad you like the blog - that's always super cool to hear. Hope you're doing well lady!