So I have yet to report on our Gaston encounter at Disneyland, and we just watched the video again for a refresher, because it really wasn't that memorable an experience. But it's Gaston, and since Gaston is kind of a thing for us and especially our Disneyland group, it would be wrong to just say nothing about it.
It seems that what they've done with Gaston is they've given him a bit of a script to follow, so he puts on a miniature show and doesn't have to branch out too much with the improv. I'm sure this reduces the likelihood of unsavory questions, like the one I asked a character host just this week when we ran into Belle and the Beast. Belle was in her blue peasant dress and the Beast was in full formal attire, so, since I didn't want to create too much of a disturbance, I asked why this was the case. The answer was, "Because the Beast wants to look his best and Belle always looks her best." I feel like that answer doesn't really work, and yet I can't really come up with a rebuttal, so I suppose it serves its purpose. I don't think it would be devaluing the magic to say, "Because Belle agreed to help Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones with a show later, and she needs to be ready," but that might be a little too complicated, since they'd have to explain that she starts out the show in the peasant dress etc. etc. Still, I can't help raising an eyebrow.
But I'm supposed to be talking about Gaston. We ran into him by the Matterhorn, just outside the Alice in Wonderland attraction, and he had a big crowd of people. He started out by pulling a couple from the crowd and saying something about how the woman was the man's Belle, and then I think asking the man to help him write a love poem to Belle? I didn't get that part in the video, so I don't know for sure. With our friend Gaston (I'll call him Gaston' (that's pronounced "Gaston Prime")), we discussed the likelihood of the real Gaston ever referring to another man's woman as his "Belle." It seems unlikely that he would bother talking about another man's woman at all, for one thing, and for another, Gaston didn't like Belle for who she was, so why would he care about her name? Also, the park Gaston seems especially attached to Belle in particular, which does and does not make sense at the same time. Gaston only cares about Belle because she's the most beautiful girl in town, which makes her the best trophy. ...And it feels really weird being hung up on character integrity for a character who is so incredibly misogynist... And then the male version of Belle is Beau, which has been used to mean "boyfriend" for decades now.
Okay, so let's go ahead and say that if we're going to make Gaston a character worth visiting, it's probably okay to tone down the misogyny, but that doesn't mean it's good to play up the Belle-worship. (I could also maybe make a case for Gaston as the goofy villain, whose misogyny is there to be mocked and belittled, but on the other hand, mocking and belittling people is not really something we want to encourage, either, because you saw what happened when Gaston was mocked in the movie (the real one--the animated one from 1991 (maybe the wannabe, too, but we haven't seen it, so I couldn't say)).)
Anyway. Gaston' pointed out that love poems are kind of the opposite of Gaston's thing--he doesn't read books that don't have pictures, so he's clearly not a very literary type. I would almost believe that somebody convinced Gaston that he could win Belle over with words if I didn't know enough people who aren't even as arrogant as Gaston who are impossible to convince of anything.
After the love poem, Park Gaston pulled up some more men from the crowd so he could teach them some of his manly poses. In retrospect, this, too, makes very little sense. Why would Gaston be passing his secrets on to others? He's not exactly the, "Hey, let's ALL be awesome together!" type. But anyway, he taught them poses--one based on archery, one called the "ox hold," and one called "curls for the girls." The first and last make sense, but that second one gets me. A Google search on "ox hold pose" doesn't get me anything resembling what he did, and Gaston's not a rancher anyway; he's a hunter. But I don't know, maybe he keeps livestock. Belle and Maurice had chickens, which you really only remember when you're playing "Belle (Reprise)" in your head (or watching the movie).
As expected, the poses are designed to show off muscles, and Park Gaston was good at that. But he used an odd voice with a kind of odd accent. It made me think that maybe this Gaston was Baby Thor (that's my name for Park Thor, since every time I've seen him, he seemed like a little miniature Thor) in another life. I tried to replay some of Gaston's movie dialogue in my head to compare it, and it's true that he has more of a theatre voice than a regular standard-American accent, so I can definitely see where Park Gaston got the idea, but I think he could use some more practice. He also had a kind of a Baby Gaston voice...by which I mean, if you think of the timbre, it sounded more like a teenager than the rich voice you get from Gaston. If you think of Gaston's voice and compare it to the Beast's voice when he's human again, you might hear what I mean. (Incidentally, it was also clear that Park Gaston was naturally blond, so maybe he would have made a pretty darn good prince...)
After passing on his posing secrets to the crowd, he demonstrated and told everyone to get their devices ready. He asked someone if their phone was made by Maurice, and when they said no he said then it might not work, and I was like, "Uuuuuuuugh..." Sorry, dude, you're cute, you really are, but Gaston has no respect for Maurice. A more in-character thing to say would be, "Oh, then maybe it'll work!"
So overall, our opinion was, "We can see you thought about it for a few minutes ("you" being Park Gaston and all the people involved in writing the demonstration, etc.), but we're not really buying it." And of course, Gaston' noticed right away that there were several inches of Park Gaston that were not covered in hair. (To give him the benefit of the doubt, he was clearly a natural blond, and either the sternum bush was removed to keep that a secret or it just didn't show up because blond hair is very fine.) So yeah. Not even really close enough to say, "Close but no cigar." But he did have a very pretty face.
Right now our ideal version is for them to also cast a LeFou, and have LeFou telling stories about Gaston's heroic feats while Gaston stands around looking pretty, and smacking LeFou when he gets too honest. (This idea came from the fact that Park Gaston would reprimand the crowd for not cheering. I thought, "Gaston doesn't really do that...because LeFou does it for him.")
Morbid curiosity has me wanting to follow Park Gaston around and see if we can heckle him, but fortunately for everyone, we're too shy. Gaston' wanted nothing to do with Park Gaston anymore after our first encounter, but Athena informs me that after another helping of Gaston's famous brew (apple mango juice with
Today I'm thankful for getting to see Park Gaston even if we didn't like it in the end, getting some relaxation today, having some ice cream to look forward to, getting to try some Reese's crunchy big cups, and the beautiful weather we had today.