I think the most amazing thing about Walt Disney’s legacy (apart from two giant theme parks that bring in a bazillion dollars a year) is the cornerstone his cartoons have become for future relationships. I don’t really know how it was for guys growing up, but I know that for me and my sister, we were put in front of the VCR to watch the classics: Beauty and the Beast, Mulan (my personal favorite), Hercules (second personal favorite), Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, and several others. These were the stories that would later mold my perceptions of adult romances: guy and girl meet for one day. Weird and evil thing separates them. Man rescues woman (generally with a kiss). Boom. Love. That’s how it happens, right?
It doesn't take a long time to realize it: all of the Disney stories are increibly dysfunctional. I have decided to write an (unoriginal) expose on some of the relationships of Disney Avenue. It seems like these princes and princesses were meant for each other if they were willing to settle for these crazy shenanigans that sent them riding off into the sunset together.
The girl grows up alternating between singing to wildlife and cleaning up her stepmother’s and stepsisters’ filth. (Or was it cinders? Yes. She was cleaning their cinders. How do people accumulate those, anyway? Do I have cinders? Must check this). On the one night she’s able to sneak away, girl goes and loses a shoe that some crazy old flying lady gave her. The man of her dreams, Prince Charming of royal pedigree who falls in love with her at first sight, only seems to be able to remember her after putting a shoe on every wedding-crazy girl in the land. Oh yes, that seems like true love to me. I wonder how the rest of that marriage plays out. Is it 50 First Dates style? Does he need to wake up every morning and tenderly place her Ugg slipper on her foot, just to realize he’s not sleeping next to some one-night stand? I’d say good old Elly deserves better, but anyone who chooses to settle with the first male contact they ever have might not be ready for more.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves:
This is a combination of everything our parents have ever warned us about: Stranger Danger, roofies, and the danger of living with more than one man. Snow White goes to live with 7 men (ummmm, how was that even a good idea? What is that bathroom situation even like? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU VOLUNTARILY PUT YOURSELF THROUGH THAT) after being cast out of her home by her wench-like stepmother (who also tried to have her killed). (Hey Walt Gisney, by the way: thanks for making sure that any future woman who marries a man with kids is doomed from the start). Snow White goes about her daily routine: singing at wildlife and delighting in cleaning up after about half a Baker's dozen of men. Snow White then eats an apple that some decrepit traveling old lady gives her (Take note, little girls, you should always take candy from strangers). She falls, almost predictably, into a coma. The prince, who previously fell in love with Snow White post-seeing her sing by a Wishing Well (OBVIOUSLY), revives her with true love's kiss (DOUBLE DUH). That must have been some kiss. I imagine the man must have marinated his tongue in Listerine Mouthwash for about 3 days prior to such a kiss. This movie would eventually lead all girls born after 1940 to believe that THE KISS would be SUCH a meeting of lips that wildlife would rejoice, people would be awoken from comas, and a wedding veil would immediately sprout out of one's head. (P.S. Snow White and Prince Charming were then married based on a strong foundation of one day together in the woods and one soul-shaking kiss. Seems legit).
This one had a slightly different formula than the stepmother-casts-her-out-to-
At this point, the Gisney crew seems to have woken up a little bit and has at least moved on from the normal girl/guy/true love's kiss formula to something a bit different. In this movie, Stranger Danger is yet again thrown to the wind, and this time we're riding magic carpets (I'm assuming this is some sort of metaphor for 'getting high') and playing with tigers. Jasmine, the Kim Kardashian-look alike cartoon, has thwarted her father's wishes and disappeared outside the palace walls to show her dad just what she thinks of his plan for her arranged marriage. While living big and hanging out in the market place (all girls just wanna have fun...and hang out in open-air markets), she encounters a thief. Not just any thief, but a good-looking one. (Girls, this makes it okay to hang out with a guy who lies/cheats/steals). Jasmine is dazzled, and Aladdin eventually realizes that he has to lie to keep Jasmine's attention. (Men, take note: if you've already attracted a girl with your actual attributes, really seal the deal with elaborate lies regarding your background and financial income). In the end, after battling evil members of the royal staff and singing some dazzling musical numbers with a hilarious blue genie in harem pants, Jasmine and Aladdin are wed. Apart from the lies and the strong use of magic to court the girl, I can stand behind this relationship, because at least they knew each other for more than 10 minutes. Also, as my friend Erica pointed out, the most unbelievable part of the story was really that a girl and a tiger lived in such close quarters so comfortably. Hasn't the girl ever heard of Siegfried and Roy?
In the end, the lesson we learn from Disney is that when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you (likely in the woods, after you've been magically tranced into a coma that requires true love's first kiss to awaken you). With these expectations, best of luck in the dating world, friends.