Dad Criticism: Beauty And The Beast

My daughter, God bless her, has become obsessed with Beauty and the Beast. It joins the ranks of Elmo, Paw PatrolFrozen, Princess Sophia, Moana, Sing and Tangled. It should feel honored. That’s quite the list. And apologies to Trolls. You never really made the cut. You tried. Kudos to you. But eh, you’ll always be a bench player. We all appreciate your soundtrack though. It features a wonderful array of classic rap songs rapped by self-proclaimed awkward white gals. Where else are you going to get that? Yeah, nowhere.

But for the past couple weeks it’s been all about Beauty and the Beast. There’s the cartoon version. There’s the live version. There’s the book that is just long enough to be annoying and a nuisance at bed time that tells the entire story of Beauty and the Beast. And there’s the soundtrack to the most recent live version, which follows us around with the persistence of our dog when we have peanut butter on our fingers. It’s in the car. It’s on the deck. It’s in the bathroom when we brush our teeth. Kids, it’s the soundtrack to our lives. Currently. Might not be the case by this time next week (fingers crossed,) but it most certainly is now.

Given the amount of time I’ve spent immersed in this lovely story about a dude who was an asshole and as a result was turned into a beast and the gal from the next town over who really wants to do a semester abroad and how they fall in love, I’ve unwittingly found bones to pick with it. I don’t know how many bones, but enough. Enough bones.

I mean for starters, this enchantress rolls up, obviously with some kind of grievance with the 1% and doesn’t just punish the prince for being terrible, she wallops his whole crew, including a little kid and a (expletive deleted) dog. What did the dog ever do? What did the little kid ever do? I understand if you want to punish the prince for being absolutely the worst, but why the good people who worked for him? The enchantress even made their families forget about them!

Oh, what happened to that dude Lumiere? Who? You know, the dude who liked fire. Hmm, don’t know, but whatever, we’re in France. Life is dope.

No. Life is not dope because there’s an enchantress roaming the countryside unfairly punishing people solely because of their guilt by association. If you thought a life sentence for stealing a rose was some baloney, than what about being turned into to an inanimate object because your boss was a son of a gun? So no, life is not dope in this particular section of France. Life is actually pretty terrible if you ask me.

This particular section of France also includes the village where Belle is from. You know, the village where a gal is touched and peculiar because she…wait for it…reads books. Yeah. She read books. Like, a lot of them.

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Yeah, totally insane. What a weirdo. Her books don’t even have pictures. They have words. Big words. Shakespeare words. Yuck. What a wack job. Stay away everyone. This lady reads books! She can’t be trusted. If this whole beast thing hadn’t happened, they probably would have convinced themselves Belle was a witch and then you know, things tend to get heated once allegations of witch craft come into play.

Given the village’s stance on learned women, it would then make sense that a village that looks at someone the way they look at Belle would then be so willing to follow the lead of a dude like Gaston. Gaston is terrible. What’s that Gaston? You’ve felt like you’re missing something since the war? Cool. Maybe get a hobby. Forcing a woman into marriage is not the answer. I mean, it kind of never is. But it definitely isn’t in this case.

Gaston is also a shit wedding planner. He planned a wedding, but the part where he actually asked Belle was an after thought. That’s in the cartoon. I don’t think it’s in the live version, which is probably a good thing if for some reason you’re pro-Gaston. Oh and if you are, we can’t be friends. You probably like Trump too. Definitely some similarities there between the two: loud, arrogant, ignorant as all hell, super subpar when it comes to views on women, excels at inciting mobs, totally willing to throw those that stick by him under the bus (or piano) when the time comes. Also, both are terrible human beings. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Well wait, how is okay for Gaston to just straight up decide that Belle’s dad is nuts and needs to be committed? Is he actually in a position to do that, to make that call, or is it just because he’s a good-looking war hero he can make these decisions? No wonder Belle wants out of the village. Public policy and such are dictated by the whims of a madman. No community can live like that.

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Yeah, that one hits a little too close too home. I get it.

And I get the appeal of Beauty of the Beast. I do. I can’t wait for it’s appeal to wain some for my daughter and we move on to whatever is next, but I guess it’s one of things where the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t and who knows what she’ll be obsessed with next. I’m working on making her a Red Sox fan, but I don’t think that’s fully realized yet.

Only time will tell I guess.

Oh, one last thing.

Belle totally had some Stockholm Syndrome, right?

Ryan harbors a constant fear of losing his keys, prefers flip flops, and will always choose cereal if it’s an option. He maintains his own blog, Giddy Up America, and has previously contributed work to UPROXX & Heavy. Ryan is on Twitter: @ryanoconnell79

This article first appeared August 21, 2018

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