Tag Archives: Television

And they lived happily ever after?

MEGHAN ORY, EMILIE DE RAVIN, ROBERT CARLYLE, JARED S. GILMORE, JENNIFER MORRISON, JOSH DALLAS, GINNIFER GOODWIN, LANA PARRILLA

With my posts so far, it shouldn’t be any surprise to any of you that I am a huge fan of fairy tales in all of their forms. That being said, when I heard about the show “Once Upon a Time” beginning I was ecstatic. Watching a show with all of my favorite characters brought to life? What could be better?

Well, now that the show is progressing through the end of it’s second season, there is a trend that I feel must be brought to light. Thus far the characters and the way the story is weaving itself together is refreshing and, although sometimes confusing, adds a new layer to the storytelling of these classic tales. However, addressing the more mundane, run-of-the-mill-TV-show aspects of Once, we can look at the main character, Emma Swan.

For those who haven’t seen the show, Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and she was the one who had to be there to break the curse that had been placed on the fairy tale characters. She grew up in the real world, never knowing about fairy tales, and until this show started, her biggest worry was more average-person drama. She dated a guy, he got her pregnant but then betrayed her, and Emma gave the kid up for adoption. The kid ten years later showed up on her doorstep and took her to Storybrooke, the town full of fairy tale characters, where she is destined to break the curse.

It’s a lot more complicated than that (like I said, kind of a confusing show to try and explain) but that’s all you really need to know for this post.

So as this show has gone on Emma has remained the main protagonist, and while she definitely has her faults, she’s a pretty strong female character overall. Which is great. Fairy tales could certainly use more of those. The thing is, it is a show about fairy tales, and so naturally, everyone is waiting for Emma to find her own “prince charming.”

The writers of the show clearly understand this, because thus far they seem to be sincerely enjoying teasing the fans of the show with possibilities. To date there have been 5 possible love interests introduced, each one a little more “dangerous” than the last. In order of appearance in Emma’s life (hopefully, the timeline is kind of hard to follow) we have Neal, Graham, Jefferson, August, and Captain Hook.  I’m going to briefly go into each love interest and say why they are either still a possibility, how likely they are to survive the series (because the odds aren’t good lately), and give my own person preference (because I wouldn’t be a fangirl if I didn’t.)

Neal

Neal– He was the love of Emma’s life for some time. He was there for her when no one else was, and they had an adorable relationship of stealing and living in a car (cause I mean, who doesn’t love that?) Neal got her pregnant, which wasn’t a huge problem, because she thought they’d get married and be together forever, except that then Neal mysteriously left. As it turns out, Neal left because August (another love interest) came up and showed him a slip of paper revealing that he knows who Neal REALLY is (Baelfire, Rumplestiltskin’s son. He’s running away from home… Still. He’s also probably Peter Pan in a weird twist of events.) So Neal’s plan was to never grow up and it was worth it to him to hide from his father over something that happened 300+ years ago rather than staying with Emma and his unborn son. Classy. For these reasons, I will be sorely disappointed if he’s a real love interest.

Graham

Graham–Wonderful, adorable, and also, the Huntsman from the Snow White tales. Really, all the issues I had with him have been explained and resolved, and he remains a lot of fan’s favorite love interest. Problem is, he died in the first season. Since then he’s only been in the show in flashbacks. For obvious reasons, he probably won’t end up being “the one.” RIP Graham.

Jefferson

Jefferson–The mad hatter, very crazy (in a pretty creepy way when he’s first introduced), but overall not necessarily a terrible guy. He’s got a sweet backstory about protecting his kid, and trying to find her, and it’s all very tragic. The thing is, Jefferson disappeared several episodes ago and hasn’t reappeared since. No one really knows where he went or why or if he ever found his kid and got her back (actually, last I checked he may have found her and we just never really saw past that), and it’s terrible. So as far as I’m concerned, I think Jefferson needs to resolve his own issues before he is ready to be the love interest of anyone, least of all Emma who has plenty of messed up life moments going on already.

August

August–Otherwise known as Pinnochio. I mean, really? What is up with Emma getting paired up with overgrown children? First Peter Pan, now him? I’ve never been a huge August fan, especially not after we found out August was the one who convinced Neal to leave Emma and so really, he also betrayed her. There’s some other stuff there I won’t get into as well, mostly because it doesn’t really matter at this point. You see, he’s not really an option anymore. Last episode he was turned into a child version of himself before he went off and did bad things in the real world. Because apparently that’s what redeeming yourself means on this show… Having your memory wiped and turning into a child. But it’s okay, I laughed for like 10 minutes after this happened and moved on. Because we’re finally getting to the love interest I support.

Kid<– August as a kid

???????????

Hook–Hook, or Captain Hook, is a villain on the show who is out to kill Rumplestiltskin for revenge. Other than that, he pretty much looks out for himself first. He and Emma flirt a lot on the show, and it’s adorable. I personally am the biggest HookxEmma fan out there, not because I think it’d be Emma’s real happily ever after, but because as far as an engaging story goes, Hook and Emma banter always beats out Neal moping around the set. Plus, since it’s pretty much down to Neal or Hook at this point, i think we all know which one is cooler.

So now you’re probably wondering–what does this fangirling have to do with stories? An excellent question, and I assure you I didn’t forget. I wanted to show that in a show about fairy tales the writers do fall into some usual show and fairy tale stereotypes, but they also continue to surprise. There is less emphasis on a female protagonist finding her prince charming, and much more on her finding her family and learning to be the hero she was born to be. Especially for a genre with such traditionally weak female characters, this is a huge step up in my eyes.

Sure, the creators continue introducing love interests (and for that matter, really attractive love interests) because it boosts views and caters to their primarily female audience. But isn’t that just a storyteller recognizing their audience? Isn’t that just a storyteller doing anything they can to keep someone watching? It may not be the classiest move, but it certainly does seem effective.

I’ll be interested to see where this show goes with it’s roller coaster of love interests for Emma. Perhaps eventually it will focus on one, and it’ll be about her “happily ever after,” but the way it’s going now, I think that it will be some time before this happens. Emma is the hero of this story, and the hero rarely has time for love until their quest is complete.

Thanks for reading!

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I’d like to end this post with another apology–with school as hectic as it has been I simply haven’t given this blog the time I was expecting to. Having said this, I will try to update once a week rather than twice, as I think that will work out better. Thanks for reading!

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The Catch of Being a Companion

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Today I’d like to spend a few moments on one of my favorite television shows–Doctor Who. This is one of those shows that has everything a really good story should. The characters are strong and rarely stereotypical, the dialogue is snappy, and the images and messages are important. While all of this is important, what ultimately drives the show is the plot.

It could be argued that because the entire show centers around The Doctor, the character is most important, but in the case of this show, I think The Doctor acts more as a plot element than as a character in what makes the story good and what makes the show popular. After all, the show is brief looks into a very long life of one extraordinary person. We laugh, we cry, we love him with all our hearts, but in the end, the personality of The Doctor changes often, almost as if he is another person (which, technically, he is to a certain extent when he regenerates). Additionally, the entire plot rests on him and drives every episode– “Will The Doctor save the day?”

An astonishing number of episodes later, and we’re still asking ourselves that. By this time in the show’s run all fans, new and old, know The Doctor does save the day. In fact, he does so every time. It’s like watching a Disney movie in the sense that whatever happens, when the day is over and done with, the world will be saved.

The biggest way Doctor Who differs from this disney-esque storyline is that unlike most children’s stories, any character is expendable. If The Doctor has a companion, there is a fairly good chance they will at some point die, lose their memories, be sent to an alternate dimension, or otherwise be semi-permanently separated from The Doctor. As heartbreaking as this is, the reason it happens is simple–to allow for a new companion.

And as sad as it can be, it really is necessary. Having a character be the driving force of a show is dangerous because it means that unless you want to end the show, that character is NEVER expendable. Harry couldn’t die in Harry Potter until the 7th book or there would be no book. We’d all be sitting around depressed because evil triumphed. Similarly, The Doctor cannot die in Doctor Who because there would be no show. Sure, he can have close calls, and he does, and they can tease us like they did recently with the notion that they could kill him if they wanted to, but it’s just not the same. There’s only so much suspense to be captured if the stakes can’t be high.

This is the role of the companions. They are disposable characters that are around just long enough for you to really identify with them–because you do, of course you do. They are, after all, the humans of the show. They are the ones you could dream of being. No matter how much you dream, you will never be a time lord–but then the characters disappear in awful ways. You know that at any moment during any season, the companion could die (although this predictably seems to happen at the end or mid-point of a season, but that’s television for you). This element of the plot raises the stakes. It invests you in the story. It’s no longer a story about a man who will never die–it’s a story about the man who continues living and tries to stop his friends’ inevitable endings.

That’s what this show is really about. It’s not really about “Will the Doctor save the day?” because we know that he will. The question really isn’t about The Doctor saving everyone, it’s about the characters we really know and love. It’s a question of whether he will save them. And what really keeps us on the edge of our seat is that sometimes the sad truth is that he won’t. Just like real life, things happen, and even if he saves the whole universe, losing his friends will never get easier. It will never be easier for him, or for us.

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