We first heard about this when Stitch Kingdom reported the new shows for ABC, and because we're addicted to fairy tales, we were determined to watch it. Then they showed commercials on Disney XD, which made us want to watch it even more. But then they went and put it on Sunday night. We have nothing against watching TV on Sundays, but we've made it a personal policy not to watch live TV on Sundays. It's just as well anyway, because we never know if we're going to be home for it anyway, and in fact last week, we weren't.
So we determined to watch it on Hulu, and last night gave us the best chance to do just that without being utterly tired of sitting at the computer while we did.
But of course, it wasn't as simple as watching a TV show about fairy tales and being all ♥♥♥ the whole time. Despite all our squeeing over any anime or manga that has a fairy tale theme (except for Fairy Musketeers, which just wasn't interesting enough), we tend to be very critical when somebody tries to do a fairy tale thing in the United States. This probably has a lot to do with Shrek and Enchanted, as well as various other attitudes that tend to make us roll our eyes, the first of which being, "You think you know fairy tales, but let me tell you what." It's true that we unfairly assume that writers are taking this attitude when they aren't necessarily, like when Mom was telling us about the Sisters Grimm book series, and we're like, "Wow, it sounds like they did some research!" and we listened to a little more and were like, "Never mind." Again, unfair judgment based on not having actually read the books. Besides, fairy tale stuff isn't necessarily supposed to be based on research--it's supposed to be fun.
On the other hand, within seconds of starting, this show literally told the audience that that was the attitude it was going to take. It started with text on the screen saying stuff about a land with all the fairy tales you know...or thought you knew. And we were like, "Oh, show. No you didn't."
And then the prince kissed Snow White, and she said, "You found me!" and he said, "You didn't believe in our eternal love?" and she said, "The glass coffin gave me pause," and Athena was like "Unnngh..." (I didn't hear it. We're hoping the air purifier will take care of a bunch of allergens and unclog my ears. Plus, Hulu is really quiet.)
Now the sappy romance isn't what caused the groan--we read shojo manga; we're all about sappy romance. The problem was that "gave me pause" bit. It didn't help that the actress delivered the line such that it was obvious she wasn't used to the term (if she'd managed to say it like she talks like that everyday, it probably would have been fine, or at least a little better). But we've met people who are of the opinion that if X takes place in a fantasy world, it really ought to be written such that they talk differently than the normal, modern-day world. We've spoken with translators who feel the same way, and will tell us we're doing it wrong, even if the characters were speaking completely normal Japanese. And frankly, as people who grew up watching Disney, where all the fairy tale characters talk pretty much like normal people do in the time the movie was made, we don't see the point. Hence the groan.
Now, speaking of Disney movies. In this series, all the characters that didn't have names in the original version of their fairy tale are named what they were named in the Disney version. We never liked this practice, even though we adore Disney, because our opinion is that if you want to write something different, make it different for crying out loud. On the other hand, it's possible that, because none of the characters realize they're fairy tale characters, the one kid who does know just calls them the Disney names because those are what he's familiar with. In that case, it would make sense.
But back to what happened. There was the scene where the evil queen showed up, and Snow White was being all kick-butt and when she saw the queen, she pulled the prince's sword from its sheath and threatened her with it. Well, okay, if you want to have Snow White be a tough girl, that's fine, but be careful, because here's how I tend to read into scenes like that, in my overly-critical, slightly mocking attitude:
Evil queen: I'm here to ruin your lives!
Snow White: You're not welcome here! I will cut you!
Prince: Now, now, Snow White. As the superior, calmly thinking, rational Man, I have to tell you to calm down, because anyone who actually grew up watching Disney movies knows that only the weak resort to violence because it actually just messes everything up.
You see how trying to make your heroine overly feminist can actually undermine the cause?
It was especially silly because when she didn't know she was Snow White anymore, suddenly she's all, "I love animals and nature, and I'm so sweet and happy!" Only not happy, because apparently happiness doesn't exist in Storybrooke. We haven't really seen much of that, because they were still introducing the story. But before she reverted to the awesomeness that is Disney's Snow White, she was completely irrational and yet still bossy enough to make the prince let her mess everything up. Okay, maybe she didn't mess everything up by going to Rumpelstiltskin, but...we're kinda thinking she did. On the other hand, if she hadn't gone to Rumpelstiltskin, they might not have saved Emma, so I guess we'll just have to see how that goes. Incidentally, we're not really digging Emma as a fairy tale name, but what are you gonna do?
Last complaint: all the Enchanted Forest sequences were way melodramatic, like most people who direct fairy tales make a concerted effort to not treat them like a real story. It's kind of hard to describe, but it just seemed fake.
And now that I'm done whining, there were some things we liked. For example, it was the wicked queen who's obsessed with apples, while Snow White got a pear as a teacher, perhaps because she has an inexplicable aversion to apples? In Japanese stuff, Snow White is always eating apples. It makes sense before the whole thing happens with the poisoning, but afterwards, you'd think she'd kind of avoid them. I think their use of Rumpelstiltskin has potential, and I'm interested in seeing where that goes. And Henry is adorable. And of course, because we are addicted to fairy tales, we plan to keep watching. Maybe it will get better.
So we did get interrupted by the Pair of Kings vs. Kickin' It marathon. Pair of Kings won, which made us very happy.
Today I'm thankful for Pair of Kings winning the contest, getting to see Once Upon A Time, the fancy ice cream being on sale at Fresh & Easy, catching an adorable Chingling, and getting some of the clutter out of the piano corner.