Archive for the ‘disney’ Tag

It’s time to come clean   Leave a comment

One of the most unique aspects of humanity is our ability to talk. Almost all lifeforms above the ocean are capable of making some sort of sound, but humanity’s sounds are more complex, and are able to broach a much wider variety of topics. Cornelius, for instance, is only able to communicate two things:

1) I want food
2) You are making me into food

When James picks up Cornelius’ two front legs and makes him dance, Cornelius feels as if he is a larger predator who is merely playing with him before being eaten. So as soon as James drops Cornelius’ legs, Cornelius runs away. James, for all his humanity, cannot communicate to Cornelius that he’s playing for the simple act of playing.

And yet in the wild, cats don’t really meow past kittenhood. Yet Cornelius meows to us all the time, to say that he’s hungry, or to say that he’s annoyed, or to say that he’s hungry, or to say that he’s pleased that we’ve woken up so that we can feed him, or to say that he’s pleased that we’re home, because humans tend to feed Cornelius as soon as they come home. Feed him. He’s adorable. Feed the adorable kitty.

Part of the reason humans are able to get across more complex ideas than “food now” is because our breathing and our swallowing tubes are connected. A simple flap covers our breathing tubes while we swallow. But humanity developed this eons ago. We slowly develop, from an early age, the instinct to hold our breath while we chew and swallow, so as to protect our basic breathing.

Except me, apparently. In February 2015 Lacey and I went to celebrate our birthday at E Street Cinema’s Oscar Shorts marathon. As we headed out of town, we started making fun of President Obama. Lacey did a fantastic imitation of Obama’s stuttering, as I questioned his choice of flag-themed boxer shorts. She said something that make me laugh right as I swallowed some water, and then I nearly choked to death, and threw up twice all over my winter coat, and Lacey drove me straight to the hospital because I was going to die right there on our 28th birthday.

As far as I’m aware that didn’t happen, although who knows? A month later James proposed and then a little after that I got a full-time job with a company I love working for.

This morning I was watching Gravity Falls and drinking my usual morning coffee. I’m on the episode The Love God, which is not the strongest episode but certainly has a really good opening. Mabel discovers that Wendy’s ex-boyfriend, Robbie, is not getting over the break-up very well, so she takes it upon herself to find him a new girlfriend. She visits his house and meets his parents, the world’s most cheerful funeral directors.

mr and mrs valentino

They ask Mabel to bring Robbie his lunch, a plate of spaghetti that uses the meatballs and the sauce to make a smiley face.

lady i like your style

“Lady, I like your style,” says Mabel. Then she goes upstairs.

“You know who would look good in a sweater like that?” asks Mrs. Valentino after Mabel leaves. “Mrs. Grabbelson’s remains!”

Mr. Valentino laughs. “Oh, absolutely!”

We are then treated to a montage of Robbie growing up.

robbie 1

robbie 2

robbie 3

At that last picture, the overdramatic angst of 15-year-old Robbie combined with the random idea that what if Robbie and Mabel got married caused me to laugh right as I was taking a sip of coffee, and some water started going down the wrong pipe and, in a desperate attempt to not die, I threw up all over the carpet in our half-bath (and in the sink, but throwing up on the carpet sounds more dramatic and I will always go with the more dramatic-sounding option in the narrative of my life).

Obviously I did not die, as far as I’m aware, but I’m kind of left feeling embarrassed. That’s twice in 18 months where I’ve nearly choked to death. Liquid keeps going down the wrong pipe. A basic human function is the ability to put liquid down one pipe and air down the other, and yet somehow I keep failing.

Birthday Trip   1 comment

I was in DC for a few days! I didn’t get to see a lot of people. But that’s okay! It was for my birthday, and for my birthday I wanted to see my family, especially my favorite twin sister.

I took the train up, and let me tell you: I love traveling via train. Like plane rides, someone else is driving (score one over cars). However, the seats are bigger, you have a little bit more legroom, and it’s easier/less annoying to fellow passengers if you get up and walk around. You also have somewhere to walk to! It’s the dining car. Which is great: you don’t have to sit and wait for a flight attendant. You are your own master.

Plus, for some reason the actual act of flying always leaves my body stressed. I can’t relax or sleep on a plane, no matter how comfortable I get or how much I read or distract myself. There’s something about the pressure your body is under that stresses me out. I remember going to Europe with Lacey and Beth. We were on an overnight flight from New York to Heathrow to Berlin. I was awake the whole time. As soon as we got on the train to go to Paris? I was out like a light. I remember another time, flying from London to New York to Dulles. I was absolutely, devastatingly exhausted, but I could not fall asleep on the plane. I started hallucinating.

Anyway! So I took the train to DC which was very convenient. I carried my sister’s present onto the train with me; the ticket person warned me that the conductor might not let me (it’s a painting with a glass cover, the ticket person was worried it would break in a crash and make things worse). I had already started texting Lacey about back-up plans in case I wasn’t able to bring her present with me, but the conductor didn’t even glance at it as I walked onto the train. Thankfully, because of the awkward size of the painting, absolutely no one sat next to me the entire trip. I tried to make room as best I could, but no one sat with me. I could spread out, leave my stuff on the extra seat, and stretch out my legs. I finished the first half of translations for Chapter Seven in my Latin textbook. After I had done all my translations, I carried my Julius Caesar biography (given to me by the handsome James Meyers) into the dining car to have lunch. Another passenger and I waited together while the dining car attendant worked with the microwave.

“Where are you heading?” we both asked, as is the usual opener on trains.

Then she asked, “What school do you go to?”

It was the first of…well of a few times that I was mistaken for a college student. I suppose it made sense. I look young for my age, I had been doing work out of a textbook, and I was carrying around a biography. All common signs of a college student.

Lacey met me at the train station, helped me get my bags, and lead me through the metro system to Ballston, where we met Mom and headed to Tysons. Lacey is more comfortable with the metro than I am. I was convinced that I hadn’t entered the system legally (perhaps jumping on her open entry?) but apparently I did enter legally. All was well.

The food at Tysons was excellent and the company was even better (the parents and the twin sister!). After dinner Dad headed home, but Mom, Lacey, and I explored Barnes and Noble. I bought two new biographies to add to my collection, and Mom bought a birthday present for me.

It’s called Wreck This Journal and look what I’ve done to it:

It’s not every day that you want to call up your mother and say “you know that present you got for me less than a week ago? I wiped my dirty shoes on it and broke it nearly in two.” I am so happy.

But of course I cannot call up my mother. Lacey drove over my phone. It was an accident, of course: I dropped my phone unknowingly by her car and so she drove over my cell phone with absolutely no idea that it was there. It is absolutely gone, dying alone and broken in the cold Arlington snow. It was a jerk anyway.

Moving on to Saturday, Lacey and I worked out for a bit. First we (probably) annoyed her neighbors by dancing to the music we were playing too loud (Uptown Funk, Shake It Off, Bie Mir Bist du Schoen, Come With Me Now), and then actually going to a gym and working out (featuring an attendant who laughed too hard at Lacey’s joke).

Then we went and got ourselves cultured like red wine and gruyere. First we attended Taffety Punk’s annual Riot Grrls. A few years ago, Shakespeare Theater Company in DC did an all-male version of Romeo and Juliet. Annoyed that women were once again being denied good acting roles, Taffety Punk threw together a quick all-female version of Romeo and Juliet, which turned out so successful that every year they do an all-female production of a Shakespeare show under the name Riot Grrrls.

This year’s flavor was the Tempest.


From Lacey’s facebook feed.

All but one of the principle actresses had been in last year’s Titus Andronicus, so it was interesting, this year, to see them play new roles. Only one of them (the woman playing Miranda) played a really similar role to last year. Last year’s Lavinia was this year’s Miranda. Both roles clearly are girly-girl types, but Lavinia is a mostly silent role dealing with death, despair, frustration, fear, anger, and sadness, while Miranda is a blithe spirit who loves everything all the time and is so happy. The actress was clearly more comfortable playing the sailor Trinculo, who was drunk and petty. Lacey, meanwhile, found it interesting to watch the quality of performances diverge between actors playing multiple roles: Ferdinand and Sebastian were played by the same person, which works with clever staging. She played Ferdinand straight and dull (to Lacey’s annoyance) but found her Sebastian to be sardonic and hilarious.

After The Tempest, we went and ate at Ted’s Bulletin, because it was right around the corner and obviously.


Ted’s Bulletin liked this on instagram

Our super-serious discussion about Acting was interrupted when several people from Taffety Punk walked into the restaurant!!!!! I didn’t say anything but OH MAN.

Then we rushed off to E Street Cinema to watch the Oscar Nominated Shorts (both live-action and animated). Obviously the awards have been given out so we know who won, but here are my thoughts anyway.

You can skip them if you want, I noted in all-caps when it ends.

[in order of how they’re listed on the Oscar website]

Animated Shorts

The Bigger Picture

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I absolutely loved the Bigger Picture, which is how I knew it wasn’t going to win. I always go for the animated shorts that have a unique or fanciful art style, while Oscars tend to be given to the animated short with the cutest or most comfortable story. That being said, I loved this film. I loved how simple the story was; I loved how the art style and fantasy sequences helped to tell the story, or rather the emotion. The emotion that two brothers feel as their mother is slowly dying. Their mother’s friend would insult the caretaker brother as he was filling her teacup; he would imagine the room filling up with water and drowning her. But despite his annoyance, he was ultimately able to keep his head up as his more-successful brother lost it, because he was able to focus on…the bigger picture I love this film you guys I love it.

The Dam Keeper

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Neither Lacey nor I were particularly impressed by The Dam Keeper. In a city full of anthropomorphic creatures, a small pig is put in charge of the windmill that keeps the Darkness at bay (if a movie calls a vague thing to be feared “the Darkness” you know it’s going to be stupid). He also goes to school, where he is bullied frequently for being a pig. Then he makes a friend. Then that friends turns out to be false. So he decides to let the windmill wind down, which would kill everyone.

Here’s where Lacey and I disagree: I think they should have ended it there. Just let the pig sit there with his gas mask on and let the darkness come and kill everyone. The last shot should have just been the gas mask. Lacey disagreed. I don’t remember exactly where she thought the movie should have ended (or maybe she thought the story should have gone in a different direction?).

In any case, the pig saves everyone and it’s a happy ending for everyone, which doesn’t make sense, in the same way that Frozen’s ending doesn’t make sense. I’ll elaborate later. This entry is already pretty long.

Feast (winner)

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Feast is a decent-looking piece with an easy-to-swallow story (hah!). Of course it was going to win. Unlike last time Disney won Animated Short, I’m not angry. I hated Paperman. Feast was good. There were better entries. But Feast was fine. It told a story from a unique perspective. It had a good metaphor. It made me want a Boston Terrier. All good things.

Me and my Moulton

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This was Lacey’s pick for Best Animated Short, and I can’t say I blame her. It was probably my #2. It’s a story about a quirky family and accepting that family or happiness or normalcy or whatever is…what you make of it? What no one has? What looks weird from the outside is in fact normal? That supporting or loving someone takes a big effort? Don’t be embarrassed by your family? It didn’t have one, simple message, which is something that Lacey tends to go for. And certainly that was a big bonus. It was a slice-of-life about growing up, about accepting…maturity? I don’t really know what it was about, exactly. But it was funny and sweet and the art style was simple and quirky, and it tells a story that will stick with you. It’s a good film and it should have won, really.

A Single Life

It’s all on youtube guys! Go get yourselves some culture.

A Single Life starts with a woman sitting down to eat a delicious pizza in a comfortable apartment like it’s the only thing anyone would ever want. It is the most relatable thing ever. The art is really weird though. I don’t think it served the story very well at all. She looks like a giant white cucumber with a wig. Considering the theme of the story, she should have been more human-shaped, not less. It had a good punchline and excellent pacing, but overall it wasn’t a very good film.

Live Action Shorts

Aya

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Look at those two. Look how happy they are. Look how thrilled they are to be alive, to enjoy all of life’s greatest splendors.

At 39 minutes, this film was the longest entry in the Live Action Shorts, and boy did it feel like it. The whole movie was filled with long, awkward pauses of silence. I joked to James that 30/39 minutes of the movie was awkward silence. The thing is, I’m not sure I was exaggerating.

Aya, the driver there, is at the airport to pick up someone (a lover, presumably) when through a weird series of circumstances she gets mistaken for a professional driver and she just goes along with it. It’s a good set-up…if the characters were interesting, if the final plot twist hadn’t been given away the first time we saw her hands on the wheel, if the characters had anything interesting to say, if the actors had had any chemistry, if there had been any sense of danger, if they had gotten lost and had to find their way, if they had talked about anything deeper than “what do you do for a living?” The film is actually about the car drive from the airport to the hotel.

Lacey visited the facilities in the middle of the film. When she came back, she asked if she had missed anything important. After giving it a moment’s thought, I realized that no, no she hadn’t. Absolutely nothing had happened in the five minutes or so she had been gone. That’s forgiveable in a feature-length film, but this is a short film. Every second should count. A few minutes after that, I went and bought a bottle of water (this is a relevant plot point for this entry — remember that I bought a bottle of water). When I came back, I asked Lacey if I had missed anything — and nope. Nada. The whole film was an exercise in patience.

We went online to see if there was any explanation for why Aya scored a nomination, only to discover that the very things we hated about it were the things people loved about it. Critics raved about the “tense periods of sexual tension” or whatever. They loved the long silent pauses. They loved…the fact that no one said anything? They loved the “twist” at the end. They said that it was “a story exploring what would happen if you gave in to your impulses” (or something). Except that Aya did the opposite of that in the end. Also, one critic said that if you hate this movie you’re an anti-semite. I guess I’m an anti-semite now.

Boogaloo and Graham

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Boogaloo and Graham was never going to win. Unlike the Animated Shorts’ tendency towards heart-warming stories, Live Action Shorts goes for art and Feelings. If it had been animated, Boogaloo and Graham would have had a chance to win. It’s about a Northern Irish family that adopts two chickens, set against the backdrop of the Troubles. It was adorable. I thought for a second the chickens were going to die. It toyed a bit with my emotions. It’s what you want in a kid-friendly film. The only thing Lacey and I didn’t like was that the one black character in the film was the one who killed a dude in the end? Was given scary framing and everything? What the double-hey racism?

Butter Lamp

Source Watch it here!

Butter Lamp was also never going to win, but you really, really wanted it to. It was a story about modernity forcing its way into a small Tibetan village and — back up, Hancher, back way way up. It’s about a whole bunch of Tibetan families getting their picture taken. Everyone is cute and charming and it tells each family’s story in its own way. The underlying theme is — stop it, Hancher. Watching the movie for the message takes away from the story.

Parveneh

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This was Lacey’s choice. She has a weakness for stories about female friendship. It’s a story about unlikely friendship between an Iranian immigrant and a Swiss teenager. They beat up a dude. There’s casual racism. They bond. Unlike Aya, this film really did explore two characters dropping boundaries and seeing what happens next. Both Lacey and I loved this film. Lacey just loved it more than I did. I would have been happy if it had won.

The Phone Call (winner)

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I absolutely adored The Phone Call. It follows a woman at a crisis center as she handles her first phone call of the shift. It is absolutely intense and nerve-wracking. The vast majority of the film is just a wide variety of angles of her sitting at her desk and talking and writing, but every single frame is filled to the brim with intensity as a man’s life is on the line. I could hear the sad voice of every old man I have ever met on the other end of that phone call. I cried along with Heather. I loved this movie and it absolutely deserved to win.

And it did! Yay!

AND HERE ENDS THE OSCAR TALK IF YOU JUST DECIDED TO SCROLL PAST IT OR WHATEVER

After the movies we headed back to the car and mostly just bad-mouth Aya. We tried to shove as much praise for Parveneh and The Phone Call in as we could, but we just could not get our minds around how awful Aya was.

As we drove past the White House, Lacey made a left turn that may or may not have been legal, the lights were changing. So Lacey made a joke about President Obama coming out in his boxers to arrest her. I put on my best President Obama voice. Lacey and President Obama began discussing government-issued patriotic boxer shorts and laughing. I was only about halfway done with the water I had bought during Aya. I raised up the bottle to take a sip as Lacey was saying something funny.

The next thing I knew I couldn’t stop coughing. I could feel the water going down my throat and I was coughing, coughing, coughing, my whole world was just me and coughing. Suddenly there was banana milkshake and cole slaw all over my lap and I couldn’t stop it and it wasn’t enough and I couldn’t stop coughing and I couldn’t breathe, I realized I couldn’t breathe and everything was getting dark.

We drove all the way down Constitution Avenue before I could breathe again. It was the shallowest breath I had every managed. But it was new air, enough that my vision began clearing up. I still couldn’t stop coughing. But I could suddenly gasp. I realized that Lacey was freaking out next to me, shouting and screaming. We were well onto 66 before I was even able to get out a few words. Lacey asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I said either “no” or “I don’t know”, I honestly don’t remember. She refused to take no for an answer. My brain was too addled to really say anything sensible, and I was still coughing a lot. Lacey finally pulled out her phone and called her insurance company’s 24-hour hotline and asked if she should take me to the hospital. The nurse said yes.

So we arrived at Virginia Hospital Center at midnight. I nearly slipped on the ice outside the emergency room. Lacey said that it was bad luck to break your leg outside the hospital. I said, “*cough* I woul *cough* wouldn’t have t *cough* to go very fa *cough* *cough*” I’m sure it was very annoying.

There was only one other person in the waiting area. The person at the desk took in my basic symptoms and gave me a bucket in case I vomited again. Lacey gave me a bunch of paper towels and I wiped off my jacket and coughed into the bucket.

The one other person waiting was there for his wife. We were shown in within ten minutes. A nurse took my vitals and I said that really my cough was a lot better than before. I’m pretty certain that my strained, weak voice combined with frequent cough breaks didn’t help. But I really was feeling better. I was literally no longer dying.

We were given a room to wait in. I changed into a hospital gown. The doctor and trainee doctor walked into the room and checked my breathing. They asked me a few other questions about how I felt. The doctor told me that the worst was over. I might still have some water in my lungs, but I would be coughing it out over the next few days. My chest was sore, but it was just inflamed from all the coughing. I could take some ibuprofen to help. It had been a good idea to come to the hospital, just to make sure the worst was over. I mean, I had just almost died.

They left and an administrator immediately came in, saying that everything had been cleared by my insurance company. I wouldn’t have to pay a dime. Lacey commented on how amazing it was — we had been cleared to leave before the insurance paperwork had even finished processing! Modern technology!

In the car ride back Lacey told me how relieved she was that I hadn’t died. If I had died in her car, Mom would have killed her. She asked me several times if I was feeling okay. If I died on her couch, Mom would kill her.

I discovered going up the stairs that I could not handle stairs anymore. I had to stop twice, but only briefly. I tried to make sure Lacey didn’t notice.

On the hill waiting for Dad to pick us up the next day, I noticed that I couldn’t handle hills very well either. I lagged behind Lacey. Apparently five minutes of coughing completely destroyed my lung capacity. I’ll have to work on cardio…when the weather gets better.

At brunch, Dad teased me about the fact that I was drinking water. Even though twelve hours had gone by, my body was still reeling from the whole thing. By evening, I would feel completely over it, except for the very rare hacking cough (and even that has gone away). But during brunch, my body still felt like it was processing what had happened. I feel like I didn’t say much; I feel like I couldn’t be as involved in the conversation as I normally was. Maybe it was in my head.

But still. I left Cary Station in one piece. When I came back, I had a broken toe, no cell phone, and had nearly died. One heck of a weekend.

Posted February 25, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Eugene Fitzherbert   Leave a comment

So there’s this assumption on tumblr that this guy–

–Is the son of these two–

Only one problem though. Road to El Dorado pretty clearly takes place in–

Now, Tangled is a lot less specific about its setting, but there are clues. The biggest clue is this one:

Mozart wasn’t even born until 1756, 237 years after the events of Road to El Dorado. Mozart was a child performer, yes, and began composing tunes at 5, according to his sister Nannerl; his first well-remembered compositions weren’t even produced until 1770. Normally, I wouldn’t rule out time travel for Miguel and Tulio. However, there is another small detail:

The fitz- prefix was invented in the 11th century; it just means “son of”. Bernard Fitzgerald is literally Gerald’s son, Bernard. Kind of like Sasha Ivanof is Ivan’s son Sasha, or Said ibn Muhammed ibn Asif al-Fulan is Muhammed’s son Said. By the 18th century, however, fitz- referred almost exclusively to illegitimate, bastard, or natural sons of the gentry. Eugene’s name literally means “Lord Herbert’s bastard son Eugene.”

This fits with Eugene growing up in an orphanage (abandoned) and becoming a thief whose exploits were so well-known that his wanted poster littered the walls of the kingdom even before he stole the Crown of the Lost Princess.



What did he do, exactly, that made the kingdom want him dead so badly? They were literally moments away from killing him when the Snuggly Duckling brigands and Maximus managed to break him out. It’s implied he wasn’t even there an entire day — he wasn’t even told he was going to be executed until they were just about to do it. I could go on another essay about the political system of Corona, but the point here is Eugene Fitzherbert’s parentage. Eugene goes from nearly being executed by the state to marrying the beloved Lost Princess herself — how does one pull that one off? Perhaps, say, a certain Lord Herbert suddenly decides to make a claim on his suddenly-politically-relevant bastard son.

Lord Herbert must be a powerful lord indeed, if his issue would make a politically good marriage for the only child of the King and Queen. Keep in mind that princesses tend to get married out to create better alliances for family. I would bet that the King and Queen would be interested in keeping Rapunzel at home out of pure affection, but that doesn’t mean they would marry her off to any lowly gentleman, and especially not to a well-known thief. Rapunzel’s marriage needed to still be politically convenient. How Lord Herbert (Duke of something) and Eugene would fit that bill is all speculation, but the point is this:

Eugene is not Miguel and Tulio’s son. He could, via time travel, be a temporary compatriot of Miguel and Tulio; he could be a descendent of one or both of them. But he is not their son. Eugene’s place in society is very much a natural part of the society he lives in.

Middle of October 2014   2 comments

I realized something about myself tonight. When required to answer something I have been trained in, I stumble over words.

Customer: Hey, are you able to give me cash back?
Kelsey: Yes, you can get the…the things when you do the thing, with the swiping, the cashing, with the debit card. You have to have a debit card to get the thing. The cash.

But when I improvise…

Kelsey: Oh, I like the teddy bear mask. Very scary. Is it for Halloween?
Customer: No, I just want it wear it every day.
Kelsey: I respect that.
Customer: *laughs hysterically*

Or alternatively:

Kelsey: I see you got skeleton-themed paper plates and towels. Are you preparing for the Skeleton War?
Customer: No, I’ve never heard of that.
Kelsey: On Halloween, the skeletons are going to rise up and make war on us all. It’s all over the internet.
Customer: I didn’t know. We’ll be completely unprepared.
Kelsey: Oh, don’t worry! Now that you know, you’ll be able to prepare.
Customer: Good.
Kelsey: Although, since we all have skeletons inside us, will we not be fighting ourselves?
Customer: That got deep.
Supervisor: That got creepy.

Anyway, when I made my last post, I expected to update later that day with a most important post about how I spent my weekend. Alas, my weekend was so much fun and so exhausting that I ended up passing out instead of writing the blog entry. I am now going to fix that.

Kelsey and Lacey’s Excellent Adventure

Lacey came down to visit me for the weekend! Not only was it the first time I saw family in like two months (how did I go that long??? I’m not used to that!) but also it was the first time I had time off in like ever.

She drove down on Friday night for the long Columbus Day Indigenous People’s Day weekend. I made lettuce wraps and she, James, and I played Robo Rally. I chose Robo Rally because it’s the least board-game-like board game we own. You navigate a bunch of robots around a map, as they crash into things (such as other robots) and get caught on conveyor belts and shoot at things and it’s a lot of fun, 10/10 would recommend. Lacey loved it.

The next day, we knew I had to close Petsmart in the evening, and I really wanted to go to a corn maze, so we chose a corn maze just down the road from Food Lion to go to. It really amazes me about North Carolina; we’re in the middle of suburbia, and you turn down a road you always turn down, and then you go like two minutes farther and suddenly you’re in farm country? Or maybe there’s a large working farm smack in the middle of suburbia? Like there’s apartments right across the street from a working farm?

Most of the activities were for families with little kids. There was a moon bounce, farm equipment to climb on, pony rides, a fenced-in area with a few things for kids to climb on but mostly a place for them to run around and scream. There were activities for older kids — a strongman game, a mechanical bull, a trail ride. Lacey and I started with the corn maze, because that had been the main attraction for me.

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They had given us a map and shown us where the entrance was on the map. We hewed very closely to the map, and so getting through the maze was a breeze. We were supposed to find ten checkpoints. That was not so easy.

After an hour, we had found seven checkpoints and decided to call it quits. The sun was hot in the sky. The ground was muddy. We had both dressed in long, dark jeans for some insane reason. We knew where the exit was. So we left and sat in the shaded eating area and drank water and checked facebook and chatted for a bit.

We decided to do the trail ride next, although they were in the middle of a trail ride, so we decided to do the strongman game in the meantime. You guys know what a strongman game is. I’m not going to explain it.

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Lacey was able to get “Minor Blast” while I couldn’t get past “Fizzle Out”. I fumed at my lack of strength. Lacey explained how my swinging technique was wrong, and I tried again, this time scoring “Low Power.” And that was great! But it was time to get on our high horse and ride.

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Uh oh, she’s figured out I’m taking pictures.

They gave the horse that I wanted to a little boy, I guess because that particular horse was calm and easy. Why couldn’t I get the calm and easy horse? Instead, I got a generic brown horse who had decided that he was sick of walking the same loop around the property every day. Didn’t anyone ever bother to ask the horse what he wanted to do? He was the one actually doing the walking, and what he wanted to do was eat some delicious, delicious grass.

Yes, while I was feeling trepidatious because the last time I rode a horse I nearly fell off, the horse was just feeling hungry and bored. We started walking, and the horse immediately veered to the left to get some grass next to the entrance. Fortunately, I guided the horse roughly back to the group. I muttered to the horse, “Don’t you want to be with the other horses? Aren’t you a herd animal?” He chose not to reply.

For a moment we walked on the trail and all was peaceful and well. The sun warmed my skin. I gained an appreciation for all those comments about riders being “saddle-sore” in all those fantasy books. I didn’t hurt, but my skin was being rubbed, and I could see it getting worse if you rode for several hours. I also thought it was pretty cool, you know, sitting on something and having it go without you pressing on an accelerator or something.

The trail was a big loop around a big grassy field. The horse went for the grass. But he was smart; he acted like he wanted to stay on the road, but just not next to those other horses. But slowly, we started angling more and more onto the grass and less and less onto the gravel. Then he stopped. He straight up stopped, and bent down, and started eating grass.

“No,” I said. “No, horse. No.” I tried kicking his belly, but the horse continued to munch away. I weakly flicked the reins. I wondered whose idea it had been to let me operate a horse. I looked around. Lacey was riding next to the ride leader, laughing, making friends like she’s so good at doing. Behind them was the little boy on the pretty horse. I couldn’t see anyone else. The horse pulled at a particularly tough piece of grassing, rocking me from side to side.

From behind me, someone said, “Pull hard on the reins. Show him who’s boss.”

“Won’t that hurt?” I asked.

“Not if you only do it briefly. He won’t want you to do it again.”

I trusted his expert advice and yanked on the reins. Then I yanked again. And a third time. Finally, the horse’s head went up, and he walked along, chewing. Then he swallowed, and stopped, bent down, and started plucking at the grass again.

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Here are some random pictures that I took on the farm. That is the King of All Goats in case you are wondering.

Lacey and I picked out our pumpkins and headed home. We watched Nightmare Before Christmas before I had to leave for work. She was out with some Raleigh friends of hers when I got home.

The next day, we went to downtown Raleigh. I had never been to downtown Raleigh before. It was a cold and misty day, completely the opposite of the day before; I had wore cloth shoes even though it was clearly going to rain any second. We were going for the Raleigh Museum of History, but we stumbled upon the Food Truck Rodeo, which I had completely forgotten about even though it had been advertised pretty much everywhere in the Raleigh area constantly, including on our toilet paper probably.

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I like how few food trucks are featured in these images, despite them literally lining the streets.

Lacey bought a shirt and a cupcake. I bought some crab rangoon and veggie rolls, some cupcakes, and a whoopie pie. Then we headed to the museum.

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Now admittedly I have been spoiled rotten by growing up near DC. I compare all museums to the Smithsonian Institution. Those are huge, grand Neo-Classical buildings. The Raleigh Museum of History was small compared to that. Not super small — not Bath Historical Society small — but small. There was only one gallery on the bottom floor, along with a theater and a gift shop. Upstairs, there were four more galleries. The one on the bottom was a rundown of North Carolinian history from the indigenous inhabitants to the 1990s. The section on pirates was smaller than I would have preferred, just a small exhibit with a model ship, Blackbeard’s flag, and a few signs about Blackbeard. The section on the Civil War was large, as you would expect in a former Confederate state, I guess. Lacey and I found each other in there, and we discussed women in the Civil War for a bit before wandering off separately again. I sat down and watched a video on the hostile takeover of Wilmington. I was sort of shaken by the whole thing and had trouble concentrating for the rest of the tour. I was surprised by how strong my reaction was. It felt sort of like that moment when I learned that Napoleon Bonaparte sold the Louisiana Territory to Thomas Jefferson. History suddenly felt real to me. It suddenly had real-world consequences. Oddly enough, I feel uncomfortable researching modern-day history, precisely because it is so close to me. Wilmington was very much that to me, and yet I found myself wanting to know more.

Then we went home and played board games with James and his friends. We played Robo Rally again (it’s very zany with seven players), and introduced Lacey to Resistance. It’s difficult enough playing that game, but Lacey was playing against six veteran Resistance players, and the final round came down to her. The spies kicked our asses.

After we cleaned up from board game night, Lacey and I watched Princess and the Frog, determined that the lack of direction and ill-thought-out characters (particularly the female characters) meant that we didn’t like the movie.

On Monday, we carved pumpkins:

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Combined Starbucks and smokey barbecue:

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And visited a lumber yard, and basically had a very North Carolina sort of day. We watched Brave (we both enjoyed that film more — Pixar just really knows how to write well-rounded characters, you know?) and then played Arabian Nights (in just a few rounds, Lacey’s character was a depressed talking ape on the run from the law). Then Lacey had to go home. I started missing her about two minutes after she left.

Ah well. December then.

Get on with it!   Leave a comment

All day long I’ve had various songs from Tangled stuck in my head, so during dinner I sat down and watched it. I wasn’t even sure why I wanted to see it so badly. Then we got to the famous lantern scene.

Rapunzel: Hmm.
Flynn: You okay?
Rapunzel: I’m terrified.
Flynn: Why?
Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what it might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?
Flynn: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn: Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

And then a minute later he eye-fucks the hell out of her.

flynn eyes her

Thank you, Flynn Rider, for existing. You are precisely what I need for the next few days.

Posted August 16, 2014 by agentksilver in animation

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A dangerous pasttime I know   Leave a comment

We interrupt IMPORTANT VESTING ACTIVITIES to bring you this — this — horrendous atrocity known as 12 Questions Disney Forgot to Answer About Beauty and the Beast. AS A HISTORY MAJOR AND NERD and apparently a caps-locking user I must answer these questions immediately!

1) Who in the actual hell is this?

That’s Beast/Prince Adam, losers. He’s not the heir to the throne. He wouldn’t be called “prince” if he was the heir to the throne. He’s a younger son. They probably thought he died.

2) Who punishes an 11-year-old for not letting a stranger in the house?

Fairies! Enchantresses! Witches! Basically if anything is supernatural, they will do evil things to you! This is a basic testament of supernatural things. They are evil and mean you harm. As soon as that enchantess set her sights on Prince Adam he was doomed. If he had let her in, she would have found another excuse to curse him.

3) Why did Belle open the door here?

Because xenophilia. In the old days, if someone came a’knockin’, you let them in. Even if you hated them. Or else bad things would happen. Prince Adam followed the Enlightened class and didn’t need to follow xenophilia, but Belle, a working-class girl, was raised on it.

4) Who are the faceless bastards in the background?

I don’t know. Good point. Maybe they’re not servants but the other servants are shooting them off anyway? Maybe all the servants got turned into inanimate objects, and all the inanimate objects got turned into servants? Great equalizer, that witch.

5) What is going on with this time-traveling portrait?

Well it’s in terrible shape, but it’s entirely possible that it’s a commissioned portrait that made Prince Adam look a little older anyway.

6) What would have happened if Belle touched the rose?

I don’t know. I’ve been wondering that myself.

7) How did Belle get his unconscious ass onto a horse?

Maybe Phillipe helped? He’s a smart horse.

8) How does Chip even exist?

He was a baby when the enchantment happened. Years of malnutrition and magic kept him from growing properly, but now he’s ten-years-old.

9) Is Belle stupid?

Bitch, I sing foreshadowing songs all the time. It never amounts to anything. Stop.

10) Whose clothes are they wearing?

His parent’s. Duh. The castle is a country villa for the royalty. They let Prince Adam take over the residency, but they still kept some clothing there.

11) Why didn’t Belle just say she’d be back?

She didn’t know if she was coming back or not. Her father was very sick and might need some help recovering, after all. She wasn’t just going to dump him at home and say, “Bye! Off to shag an animal!”

12) How did these people not know there was a cursed monster within walking distance?

Because the castle had shut down all communication with the outside world per the Beast’s orders. Nobody in or out. As far as they were aware that was just a few less taxes they had to pay. “A monster took over the old villa!” is pretty understandable logic.

2013 animated Oscar winners   Leave a comment

So, weird thing, right? I tried to update my blog on Sunday, and for some reason, it wouldn’t load. I’m convinced there was too much Oscar traffic. Do people liveblog on wordpress? Do they I thought that was what Twitter was for! So anyway I did my taxes so I can apply for FAFSA.

I'm not sure why I take so many pictures of myself eating.

I’m not sure why I take so many pictures of myself eating.

My philosophy about the whole of Sunday can probably be best summed up by this video:

Well not really. I was also paying attention to the Oscar results. Well, the Oscar results that mattered.

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HELL YES BRAVE WON. I know, I know, I know Wreck-It Ralph won the Annies. Both movies feature sumptious scenery, and the characters both grow and change to find that their chosen place in society is where they actually belong. And they learn to find happiness and acceptance there. So I guess they’re kind of the same movie? But really, when has the Academy not voted for Pixar? Other than 2001 and 2006? (wait, seriously, Shrek beat Monsters, Inc.?)

Also I feel like that’s a really awkward shot. Mostly because Angus is so gigantic and That Triplet There is so tiny.

Hosting pictures is like free hits to your site!

Hosting pictures is like free hits to your site!


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The real drama, to me, is in the animated shorts. Some people might disagree with that. Also, some people probably disagree with me in general about who should have won.

I’ve actually seen all the Oscar nominated shorts — all of them. On Sunday 10 my twin sister, her boyfriend, and I went to go see them. It was in celebration of my twin and my’s twenty-sixth birthday.

The nominated shorts were, in order that we were shown them- (all pictures are courtesty of Oscar.com)

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare- which had the feeling of an also-ran.

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Although it featured classic Simpsons characters, it didn’t have classic Simpsons gags. Instead, it was just trying to save a butterfly from the Unibrow Baby. It had a few cute gags, but the 3D CGI was really awkward (especially in crowd shots, such as when Maggie was trying desperately to get to the window). The Simpsons has occasional shorts in the Ayn Rand Daycare Center, but they tend to be parodies. This one has a nod towards its Objectionist-mocking roots in its establishing shots (see the picture above), but then a dull plot.

Fresh Guacamole- which also has the feeling of an also-ran.

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This one is just so creative, featuring visual puns and a zesty plot. It felt worth a nomination, but not a win, you know? It was short and adorable and it made me laugh. It just didn’t feel like an Oscar winner, I guess.

Adam and Dog- which I thought was going to win

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I thought this was a surefire win. It was so obvious that I thought it couldn’t, because that would be too easy. The art is gorgeous. It has the feel of a series of paintings with just a few pieces of animation in there. The dog really moves like a dog. You can feel the dog’s energy. There’s a certain feel to this movie, and the dog moves too fast for it, and the man moves too slow for it. You can feel the connection there.

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Head Over Heels- I thought was going to be a come-from-behind winner.

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“If Adam and Dog isn’t going to win,” I thought, “Then surely Head Over Heels will.” Maybe it’s just because I have a soft spot for claymation, or maybe because this is such an unusual story, about such an unusual period in life. It’s a visual metaphor for a married couple late in life, where they’re so settled into their routine and each other that they take each other for granted. They have their own space and they’re really comfortable, but there’s a separation, you know? And you have to reach out to that person — but they might not even know you’re doing it.

Or it’s about a couple whose gravity is completely whacky and the silly/depressing reality of that situation. In either case, a really good story with nice visuals.

Paperman- it’s not that I hate it, but…

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This movie is actually really cute. It does deserve love. Did it deserve to win? It doesn’t cover the same interesting ground that Adam and Dog or Head Over Heels does. There is something very really about the characters. The 3D is much more ground and real than in The Longest Daycare. It tells its story simply and visually. It makes you laugh in the right places, gasp in the right places. You want George and Meg to get together. You can immediately feel the world it shows. It is a very animation short. It’s just that Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels were better! That’s all it is, really. Paperman was interesting to look at; Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels more so. Head Over Heels had a deeper and more ambiguous love story. They were just better, that’s all.

The Mediocre Mouse Detective (ahaha I’m so clever)   4 comments

The Great Mouse Detective was released by Walt Disney Productions in 1986, a year before I was born. Fortunately my childhood was spent in the heyday of VHS, so before every movie I watched at home, I got to see this trailer. So growing up, I saw this trailer and thought that I wanted to see it. But I never have. For 25 (almost 26!) years now, I have been wanting to see this film, and I finally got a chance to watch it.

Here is what I learned: all the good parts of this movie are in this trailer. I had already seen the good parts. Over. And over. And over again.

Basil, the Sherlockian mouse, isn’t really a detective so much as a forensic scientist. Well, that didn’t really disappoint me. It was cute. They tried to make it cute. And…I think that’s where they failed? They tried so, so hard to make this a good movie, a movie anything other than mediocre.


“This is Art,” they 1980s animators are desperately trying to say. “Animation is good and can be taken seriously by anyone!” I’m not hating on the animation. Did you see that bit where they’re running from the giant wheel…bell…thing? It’s from that scene where Our Heroes are hunting for clues in the toy store. Certainly the issues aren’t with the animation — the animation is bouncy, fun, and tip-top. Characters are put in dynamic poses, always moving, always suited for their characters. The actors do a good job with the material they’re given. The problem, I think, is with the scriptwriters.


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Here are our Heroes. I normally start out by introducing these guys, don’t I? The movie is based on a children’s book series, Basil of Baker Street, which is about the Sherlock Holmes of Victorian London. In that vein, these characters fit the Sherlockian tropes just fine. Basil (Holmes), Olivia (client), and Dawson (Watson). Notice that Basil is long and lean, and leaning back on his knees, bent forward slightly, in a dynamic pose. You can almost imagine that he is shifting his weight back and forth, full of energy. Dawson, by contrast, is short and round. His stomach takes up most of his body. His limbs are shortened severely. He has hardly anything in the way of a snout, resembling more of a friendly, kindly human face. He has little in the way of body posture, and yet he oozes geniality. Olivia in the middle is the archetypal child character, a central character entirely to pull children into the movie (she spends much of the movie playing with a big friendly dog). She, too, has reduced mouse features; her eyes are even larger than the adult’s, and she’s in the middle of a turn. Clearly meant to be adorable. (By the way, Dawson for Watson? Really?)

Olivia’s father is kidnapped, and she wants Basil to help find her father. To make a long story short, this leads Basil and Dawson to uncover a plot where Professor Ratigan is going to replace the Queen of Mouse England with an automaton. And here’s my first issue: two-thirds of the movie is taken up with trying to hide this plot, as if this plot would be a shocking twist. And it kind of is, because the announcement of this plan is the first time we hear about the existence of Queen Mousetoria (yes, really). This can be pretty fitting. The audience’s surprise can match the character’s surprise, and help the audience feel more involved with the story.


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Actually my issue with the plot is this: that is not a big enough plot. The idea of the plot is well-executed, with the stealing of uniforms and the need for gears for an automaton. The foundation is there. The idea has just been done dozens of times before. And it’s done on such a small scale — Ratigan switches out two guards with his own. Only two! What happened to the other uniforms the weird bat-dude stole? You could say that the other guards were switched out, too, but how come we don’t see them when the guard turns on Ratigan? Certainly Ratigan would have been more impressive with an army of guards backing him up, rather than just looking like this:


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And just expecting everyone to just go by the Queen announcing that he’s in charge. Ratigan walks in with the authority of only a single person’s single statement, then announces that he will get rid of every old, sick, and child person in the country (“Item 96: A heavy tax shall be levied against all parasites and spongers, such as the elderly, the infirm, and especially little children”). Which doesn’t work: the crowd is ready to throttle him before Basil shows up to save the day.

Moriarty, Ratigan’s inspiration, is scary because he works behind the scenes, orchestrating small schemes to work out his larger, better scheme. There’s no series of small schemes leading to a bigger one. Olivia’s case leads straight to Ratigan, which leads straight to the Queen of Mouse England. The scale of Ratigan’s operations are more on par with a small-time thug.

I had hopes for this plan, I really did. The plot really takes off when Fidget the bat-minion:


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loses his errand list, revealing that Ratigan’s plan and also Ratigan’s location (through forensic magic).


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At first Ratigan intends to feed the bat to his cat as punishment for losing the list, but changes his mind when he realizes he can use this opportunity. The wording of this scene leads one to believe that he is going to trick Basil into somehow helping him take over England, but no. He instead locks Basil and Dawson into an easily-escapable death machine that takes a while to go off, then says “tootles!” and scoots out the door.


Seriously, Basil, you can just scootch your butt a bit and you’re free.
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So we wandered away from the plot for no reason other than to buy time for the whole of England to against Ratigan?

The whole villainous plot is thoroughly disappointing. The final climax, in the Tower of Big Ben, is fantastic and worth the price of a monthly subscription to Netflix Instant. The problem is, that scene has very little dialogue. It allows the animators to go nuts on the story-telling, really involving the audience as you become scared for the characters. Ratigan loses any resemblance to Moriarty and instead becomes a pseudo-Gaston.


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In that way, I can see how this movie helped spur the Animation Renaissance that has lead to the assortment of available features today. The animation did it though. Not the writing, not the characterization.


Let the art do the talking
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Posted December 31, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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A Modern Cinderella   Leave a comment

So my swing club has a favorite dance hall, and they’re having an anniversary party. At first I thought I shouldn’t go — I have three papers due in the next week.

Then I remembered that one of my papers is on the folklore of neo-swing dance, so I told myself that it was “research” and decided to go. But!

Stepmother: Well, I see no reason why you can’t go… if you get all your work done.
Cinderella: Oh, I will. I promise.
Stepmother: And, if you can find something suitable to wear.
Cinderella: I’m sure I can. Oh, thank you, Stepmother.
[she exits]
Drizella: Mother, do you realize what you just said?
Stepmother: Of course. I said, “If.”

Obviously a crucial part of the scheme was buying a ticket to go to the party. But what if, for some insane reason, the website wouldn’t accept my card, despite the fact that there was plenty of money on the card?

But we all have our own little fairy godmothers, and so I managed to find a way to get to the ball. Despite the fact that I bare an odd resemblance to Drizella.

Final Blog Specimen: The Politics of Marriage in Disney Princesses (combined)   Leave a comment

There is, in fact, a canonical list of Disney Princesses, a who’s-who of Disney characters as it were:

Snow White (Snow White)
Cinderella (Cinderella)
Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty)
Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
Jasmine (Aladdin)
Pocahontas (Pocahontas)
Mulan (Mulan)
Tiana (Princess and the Frog)
Rapunzel (Tangled)

Clearly the superior princesses managed to get their movies named after themselves! Heck, Jazmine’s movie was named for her love interest! For shame, Jazmine. This entry is dedicated to analyzing their marriage in a historical and political context.

As a note, I won’t be covering Tangled, as I have not seen that film and have no idea if she even gets married in it.

Snow White (1937)

Blatant lack of nose aside, Snow White is Disney’s take on the old German Fairy Tale, Sneewitchen, or “Little Snow White”, not to be confused with Schneeweißchen of Snow White and Rose Red, obviously. Rather annoyingly, the Disney version skips over the interesting part, where her mother pricks herself on a needle and wishes for a beautiful baby girl. Then she dies after giving birth to the baby. Then her father, for some insane reason, marries this woman:

The movie doesn’t say whether or not the father dies. Certainly if the woman can go scurrying off into the woods selling poisoned apples, she’s probably not running a kingdom, so I’d say, probably he is still alive. This is where the movie picks up. Snow White is forced to be a scullery maid and dress in rags, but she somehow manages to win the heart of…somebody good-looking.

I would like to say that, for the Record, we never find out how Snow White knows he’s a prince. We just assume, because we all know the fairy tale. And Snow White just assumes he’s a prince, because he’s a good-looking guy, and good-looking people back then tended to be either nobility (or demonically possessed). Snow and the Prince never actually talk. She’s singing about how much she wants to meet her true love; then he shows up and talks about how he has one song for her (creatively entitled “One Song“). She runs away before they have a chance to do something as simple as tell each other their names.

Skipping forward to the end,

People talk about the Prince like he’s a necrophile, but actually this was a common thing to do at funerals, as a way to say goodbye to the dead. The ritual was practiced up into the 20th century. It…it very rarely ended in the princess waking up and marrying you though.

So that’s the situation. We have a young man, who may or may not be a prince, marrying a young woman, who may or may not be a scullery maid. Now, she’s definitely a princess. And he’s a prince. The story appears to take place in medieval-era Germany, judging by the outfits the characters are wearing. This would mean that the story takes place during the days of the Holy Roman Empire (962-1802), which was when Germany was a loose confederation of princedoms under the nominal rule of an elected Emperor.

What is an almost-king doing running around the backwater provinces, checking out scullery maids and attending funerals? That’s what I want to know.

Cinderella (1950)

Not to be outdone in the swishy dress department, Cinderella came roaring along in 1950, to prove that you could be a princess AND maintain a nose.

The opening narration of Cinderella merely states that Cinderella father was wealthy and devoted to Cinderella. He remarries, in order to give Cinderella a “mother’s touch”, and then dies an untimely death. Her stepmother then squanders the family fortune and forces her to be a slave in her own house. At least this time we got to see some of the action, even if only in a brief montage!

Also this time, we know the person she ends up with is definitely a prince. He’s in a palace and has a nose and everything! In fact, his father is a king sort of king, and is looking to marry him off! So he arranges a ball in the big fancy palace, and whoever the prince sets his eye on, he’s going to marry!

Excellent point, Agatha Heterodyne! How does Disney justify this complete lack of political brains? Why, by making the King absolutely baby crazy!

If you read Disney’s version of “Extended Edition” or “Word of God” or “Behind the Scene Notes” you know that the stepmother’s name is Duchess Tremaine, implying that Cinderella herself is probably some manner of Duchess as well. This would make her fairly high up in the nobility. GOOD SAVE THERE, DISNEY. Of course, given that Cindy herself has very little to her name — her stepmother probably fired all the servants so she could save a little money to spend on her daughters, which is probably what led her to force Cinderella to do all the chores. The house is therefore a wreck, and she has no money, or clothes, and probably a horrible upbringing. Cinderella needs a little bit of princess school, and a lot of luck, to keep this marriage politically convenient.

She needs to have a boy. That’s what I’m saying.


A horrid, horrid little boy.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

What can I say about Sleeping Beauty? They cover all the angles here. The marriage between an actual prince and princess was politically arranged between two friendly kingdoms. Or is it princedoms? Both Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty seem to take place in a weird French/German nation. Cinderella’s home is described as a “chateau” and the Duchess’ name is “Tremaine”, yet that castle is totally Neuschwanstein, in Bulgaria.

At least we get a sense of geography from Cinderella: southern Germany somewhere, or possibly France. Heck, people in France didn’t speak French until nationalism was invented in the mid-1800s! So either way works. But Sleeping Beauty manages to be really really vague: “Aurora” is actually a Spanish/Italian/Portuguese name. But those kingdoms weren’t really unified in any sort of manner until Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon hooked up in the mid-late 1500s. Philip specifically says, “Now, father, you’re living in the past. This is the 14th century!”

It’s the 1300s, so IT DOESN’T MATTER. PRINCESS AURORA COMES FROM NOWHERE. HER MARRIAGE IS FINE.


It’s the 14th century, so teenagers can make out in the forest now!

I know it feels like I’m giving Princess Aurora a short shrift in this analysis, but honestly, everything is perfect to start out with. There’s so little conflict that I feel that it kind of ruins the story somewhat. A lot of other analysis going into the movie has noted that the true heroes of the story are not Aurora and her Prince, but the three fairies, who are working to defeat Maleficent. Aurora and her beau act as mere props for the true story in that case.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Disney’s The Little Mermaid is pretty much the cover page for “bowlderization” or “Disneyfication.” Their Snow White tossed the evil stepmother off the cliff rather than forcing her to dance to death, and had Cinderella burst into the room before the stepsisters could cauterize their feet into submission. In the original Hans Christian Andersen tail tale of The Little Mermaid, it pretty much opens with Ariel and her sisters celebrating Ariel’s new womanhood by singing bawdy songs while watching storms sink ships, the Prince is in love with a Beautiful Land Princess, and it ends with either mermaid suicide or a heavy Christian parable, depending on your interpretation.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid has the story end happily. The Beautiful Princess is the (now evil) sea witch in disguise. Eric (the first Prince with an actual name!) murders the Sea Witch, King Triton sees that Eric is not a Bad Dude, and grants Ariel her legs for reals now, and everyone lives happily every after until the sequel.

I actually have no idea what Eric is the Prince of. I’m pretty certain his parents are still alive, although that’s based on a foggy memory of a line early in the film, before his ship sinks. He lives in a castle by the sea, with an alarming amount of windows.

Not that I can even tell what the time period is. Puppets are the height of entertainment, so that’s probably a hint. Ariel’s decked-out dress is a little too decked-out for me to figure. However, Grimsby’s cravat screams the first quarter of the 1800s. So probably, the story takes place in the early 19th century. What country had its own prince in the early 1800s, and had a castle by the sea?

I have no idea, but any kingdom by the sea could probably use all the sea help it could get.


We got it all worked out. In exchange for never eating fish again, and having to take on the burden of importing all their protein and the loss of their fishing industry, we’ll give them safe passage through the seas. I think the sea kind of won out in this venture. Thanks, sweet tits! I mean, daughter.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

There are so many things wrong with Beauty and the Beast. So. Many. Things.

1) The Prince is cursed at eleven. He’s freed from his spell at twenty-one. This guy?

No one has ever seen this person before, ever, because this person did not exist before.

2) Stockholm syndrome. Everyone mentions it. Yes. That is probably what is going on. However, there’s a theory going around that the story was invented to help girls get used to the idea that they’re not all going to marry handsome, charming princes. Why, they may marry men who are downright beastly!

3) This story takes place in, like, provincial France. Sometime in the 1700s, according to the Internet. Assuming that this takes place before the revolutions of the last quarter century of France, that means that people have completely forgotten about a direct relation to the King of Absolute France. King Louis isn’t demanding that he attend court? Where are his tributes? Where do the dancing dishes get the food to dance with?

I find all of that more weird than the fact that Prince Adam (he has a name btw) married a fricking peasant girl. I think the only reason he’s getting away with it is because everyone important assumes he’s dead.

Aladdin (1992)

I know that Jasmine ends up with the Hero, Aladdin, and that is all well and good because it’s True Love, and also Aladdin is an actual Prince. Think about it: his wish is “Make me a Prince”, not “Make me look like a Prince”. So all those dancers and singers in the show-stopping “Prince Ali” actually exist, and are actually Aladdin’s loyal subjects.

Jafar is obviously a creepy bad guy (“so old”) who is up to no good, but I imagine that, in most cases, marrying off royal daughters is a politically savvy move.

Apparently Jazmine is the Sultan’s only child — out of a harem? Really? One child, and a daughter at that? Did some wife get smother-happy or something? Or maybe he only married once, and then never bothered with any mistresses, because he loved his wife so much. Maybe.

Anyway, if you only have one child, therefore one heir, do you really want to set your country’s future on the whims of that one person, with no sense for the politics? “Only a Prince can marry a Princess” doesn’t mean a whole lot, considering that Prince Hypothetical would be getting all of the Princess’ asset, namely your entire kingdom. What if that prince’s country wants to ruin your country, or enslave your people? What if the prince she chooses is in a country that is at war with an ally? Do you ruin your alliance and risk war? What if there aren’t any princes available? What if you need to tie yourself to a local, powerful family?


Let’s not ruin this with words.

Or…you could marry her off to your grand vizier, who’s had you and your country’s back for so many years. A trusted advisor, with links to your country and its people. You know. A princess is a pawn, whose purpose to marry well enough to raise the family’s fortunes without risking the loss of the family fortunes. Marrying her to a grand vizier to ensure his loyalty is a good way to do that.

Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas holds the record for Disney Princess with the most publicity photos of her hair blowing randomly, the most geometrical face, and also the least amount of marriages. She does, however, follow a long Disney tradition of not having a nose.

She gets married in the sequel, to the man she married in real life, John Rolfe.

I’m not going to lie: the only Disney sequel I’ve ever seen was a sequel to The Little Mermaid, which I think was called The Littler Mermaid but I’m probably wrong (it was Return to the Sea). According to the Wikipedia synopsis, John Rolfe and Pocahontas fall in love while she acts as ambassador to England, trying to prevent a war between the Powhatan tribe and England; hijinx ensue, lessons are learned, Ratcliffe is a jerk, etc. The love story between John Smith and Pocahontas is not forgotten, but apparently the story ends with Pocahontas saying that it’s time to move on.

In real life, Pocahontas and John Rolfe met on April 5, 1614, when she was about 19, and he was 39. He was a tobacco farmer, looking to introduce Spanish tobacco into the area. She was a Powhatan princess. They were married (his second marriage), she was baptized, given the Christian name “Rebecca”, and eventually had a son, Thomas. Unlike in the Direct-to-Video sequel, she was received as royalty on her trip to England. So she was viewed as a princess, and she married a tobacco farmer? Hm.

Mulan (1998)

Now wait a second! Mulan also doesn’t get married at the end of her movie! Did Disney go through a weird period of deciding that marriage does not, in fact, make one a happy and complete person? No wait, according to Wikipedia, she and Shang got married at the end of the second movie. Hey, that’s faster than Jazmine, who waited three movies to get married.

Hijinx ensued before Mulan and Shang got married. Not just the cross-dressing part, or the extremely short war against the Hun/Xiongnu, but also in the sequel, where they have to escort three princesses to their arranged politcally-advantageous marriages. Unfortunately, the three princesses fall in love with Moe, Larry, and Curly on their way to the wedding.


Oops.

Mulan and Shang make sense. In that time period in China, the gentry was split between military families and gentleman scholars, who pursued painting and calligraphy. Mulan and Shang are both from prominent military families; it makes sense for them to marry. But Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po are conscripted men — peasants, most likely, whose military service is a form of taxation. While it’s noble to marry for love, it’s hard to stay in love when you’re so far down the totem pole your father-in-law could have you executed in the square, and no one would care. Their lady loves can read, write, maintain family accounts, and have been trained as international ambassadors and diplomats since they could talk. The three stooges can bring in a crop, maintain mulberry trees, and count on their fingers. They come from such opposite worlds, I can’t even see their love lasting, much less being allowed in the first place.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Disney covered all their bases with this one. Yes, a poor black girl from New Orleans married a prince, like a real prince kind of prince. It’s stated in the movie that Prince Naveen such a hopeless layabout, constantly spending his cash and causing political scandals, that his parents have cut him off from money and political interests, in favor of his little brother.


Who may be starting on some scandals of his own pretty soon

So essentially he’s royalty enough to magically make poor girls frogs into princesses when they get married, but not royal enough for the secular world, so he can kick back and help Tiana run her restaurant without worrying about the rate of taxation in Maldovia. A princess in name only, in other words.

Posted May 7, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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