Aah, what a lovely day. I might spend this particular evening watching a movie, or maybe play a game. Maybe I’ll watch a few episodes of M*A*S*H, or I could watch some DS9, or-
Dave:I have a theory about How I Met Your Mother!
Great… Well, no point delaying it. Let’s get this over with…
Dave:Robin is a transsexual!
Let me think about this… No, she isn’t.
Dave:No, come on! Just hear me out on this! Think about it! She can’t have children, her father raised her like a boy, she was part of a hockey team where all the other members were guys and her second name is “Charles”. It all adds up! I defy you to contradict those arguments!
Dave:But what abo- wait, what?
You’re absolutely right. All of your arguments are true. I cannot disagree with a single one of them
Dave: What? Seriously!? You mean I win? I actually, finally got a good theory!? This is the greatest day of my life! I’m so happy.
You have, yet again, forgotten a couple of very important details.
You see, the reason her father raised her like a boy is because he always WANTED a boy. And when he got a girl, he decided to try and work around that by flat out ignoring that she IS a girl! That is the reason she was in an all male hockey team, why her father was outraged about her falling in love with another player and why her second name is Charles, while her first name is the more androgynous “Robin”.
And then there’s the part where you need to be of legal age to go through a sex change, and we KNOW Robin was a female pop idol in her teens!
Dave:Well, she could’ve gone through hormone treatment! You can do that with a parents consent.
Oh, you mean the same parent that wanted her desperately to be a boy? The parent behind the aforementioned attempts to make her a boy?
Dave:But what about the fact she can’t have children! If she’s a transsexual, it makes perfect sense!
Yes, because a woman being naturally infertile is completely impossible, right? There’s no way that could happen. I mean, if it did, that would mean that argument might be considered horribly offensive to those women, wouldn’t it?
And then there’s the small issue of how Robin reacted to being told she wasn’t able to become pregnant. Do you remember what happened?
Dave: Well, She moped a bit and-
Moped?! She became depressed, lashed out at her friends and sat down on a park bench and had a imaginary talk to the children she would never have! That is not called “moping”! That’s called “HAVING A FUCKING BREAKDOWN”!
Tell me, doesn’t that seem a bit odd, considering she is supposedly a transsexual?
Now, I don’t fancy myself an expert on the details about having a sex change, but you know what? Call me a bluff old naïve fool, but I’m pretty sure you’re told one or two details!
I know next to nothing about canadian healthcare, but I’m pretty sure doctors don’t just make the change and then let you go out to explore the specifics for yourself! Having a sex change is kind of a big decision to make! There are very few doctors who have a “Cross that bridge when we get to it” approach to this kind of thing! Especially to fairly important details like “Will I have a fucking womb!”.
I’m sorry if I’m offending anyone here. I’m just saying that medicine can only do so much. Again, correct me if I’m wrong, but there are some things about the human anatomy no amount of hormones or surgery on earth can change.
Not yet, anyway.
Not to mention Robin is portrayed as a very intelligent woman! If she really was a transsexual, and assuming (wrongly) that the doctors never told her about the details, you mean to tell me she never put it together herself?
In other words, Dave, you’re confusing Robin Sherbatsky with Mr. Garrison!
It’s time to take another look into Drug Theories. This time, we’re going way back, all the way to the 1960’s!
Dave, bring on the stupid.
Dave:The theory is that “Puff, The Magic Dragon”by Peter, Paul and Mary is about marijuana.
Aah, you gotta love the classics… So, what are the arguments?
Dave:Well, come on. they weren’t even trying with that! The kids name is Jackie PAPER, and “Puff the Magic Dragon” is a well known euphemism for smoking pot. The Paper is clearly a reference to rolling papers, for rolling joints.
That’s all? In that case, let’s start with the euphemism. While you’re right about it being a well known euphemism, the problem is that the euphemism is NAMED AFTER THE SONG, not the other way around!
The confusion might have arisen since, before this song, there was another drug related slang term referring to dragons. “Chasing the Dragon“. But that was a reference to smoking OPIUM, not Marijuana.
As for the name of the kid… isn’t it as bit strange that the character supposedly doing drugs is himself named after drug paraphernalia? It doesn’t really work, does it?
And where do strings and sealing wax fit into the idea?
Dave: Well, bongs, obviously!
Right…. what kind of crappy excuse for a bong can you make out of string?! Sealing wax, MAYBE, but string?!
Don’t get me wrong. I admit it might be possible to make a bong out of string… But somehow, I doubt that McGuyver ever smoked pot.
Dave:But it’s so obvious! The song is about someone smoking pot! It’s all metaphorical.
Is it? What about this verse?
Together they would travel on a boat with a billowed sail.
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail.
Noble kings and Princes would bow wherever they came,
pirate ships would lower their flags when Puff roared out his name.
Dave:Well, it’s clearly a drug induced hallucination!
An interesting idea, but the problem with that is, as we’ve established, Marijuana doesn’t have that effect! It doesn’t create such vivid hallucinations. You are, once again, confusing Cannabis with LSD, Salvia or a similar hallucinogenic.
Dave:Well, maybe it’s a song about one of those…
Oh no, you don’t get to switch drugs now. And like you said, the term “Puff the magic dragon” is specifically a reference to smoking pot.
You know what the song is really about? It’s about growing up, losing the innocence of your childhood, and it’s inspired by a poem called “The Tale of Custard the Dragon” from 1936.
Dave:Where did you get that from?
Peter Yarrow, the guy who wrote the song.
Dave:Oh, you take his word for it? You’re so naïve! They just said that to be allowed to sell the song.
And they would keep up the lie for more than 50 years because….?
But yes, I take his word for it, along with the fact that, as we’ve established, the drug it’s supposedly about doesn’t have the effects the song describes.
Oh, and there is another thing… The song was marketed at children!
Do you know how Peter, Paul and Mary reacted when they heard of this supposed “subtext”?
They were fucking horrified!
One of them was quoted as saying “What kind of mean spirited SOB would make a childrens song with a covert drug message?!”
And as “for just saying it to be allowed to sell the song”, here’s a quick history lesson for you.
Peter, Paul and Mary was one of the most popular folk bands of the 1960’s, and remain so to this day. Do you seriously think that if they wrote a song about Marijuana, they would have to hide it in subtext and be metaphorical in order to sell it? conversely, listen to Sugarman or Purple Haze. They sure as hell didn’t need to HIDE the drug references to be allowed to sell the song, with sugarman having lines like this
Silver majik ships, you carry Jumpers, coke, sweet MaryJane
Really, the reason people think this song is about drugs, is because it was a folk song in the 1960’s, and people assumed it HAD to be about drugs.
Dave:Yeah, can you blame them! All bands wrote about drugs back then!
Really? Name five other songs by Peter, Paul and Mary that were secretely about drugs. In fact, name five songs that were OVERTLY about drugs.
Guess what. I’d be stunned if you found ONE.
And even then, I can almost guarantee that I could explain exactly why it doesn’t make sense.
Today, we’re going to discuss a particular niche of fan theories. Drug Theories.
And we’ll start with one of the most popular. Dave?
Dave: Shaggy in Scooby-Doo is actually a stoner.
This particular theory has been around for some 30 years. I’d say the time is right to take a look at it and explain why it doesn’t add up.
So, what are the arguments?
Dave:Shaggy talks to his dog and he constantly has the munchies! He sees monsters and ghosts. He’s clearly hallucinating!
Dave:He’s also dressed like a hippie!
Oh, you mean brown pants and a green shirt? I guess we’re ignoring that hippies usually grow their hair and beard long, rather than short hair and a small soul patch…
Dave:Well, clothing aside, he still talks to his dog and eats a lot! Clearly he’s stoned off his ass!
Really? Is that your argument here? He’s a stoner, because he thinks his dog can talk and he eats a lot? How about we examine this for a bit?
Smoking cannabis can make you hungry, but it does NOT cause you to think dogs are talking to you. You are confusing Cannabis with LSD!
Oh, and you know what Shaggy is known for, beyond eating a lot? He’s a coward. He’s easily scared. For someone who’s supposed to be constantly high on a drug that has the prominent effect of MELLOWING YOU OUT, he’s very nervous and prone to panic, constantly being worried about the spooky places they go to. And also, for someone who’s apparently high as a kite, Shaggy is sure running around a lot and being PERFECTLY LUCID.
But the part with Shaggy talking to Scooby is a good point… or it would be, if not the same went for EVERYONE ELSE IN THE GROUP!
None of the members of the gang are at all surprised when Scooby does human things! He clearly understands english, and by this point, it is well established that they all understand him as well.
At worst, he has a speech impediment.
And if that’s not enough, what about Scrappy-Doo? Everyone understands him perfectly, and he’s just as much a dog as Scooby. The only difference is that Scrappy doesn’t speak broken english and walks on two legs.
Dave:But Scrappy was silly.
Irrelevant. He was still part of the fucking show! If they all understand him, why would they not then also understand Scooby?
And it is true that Shaggy sees monsters. But again, SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE!
Dave:Maybe they’re all on drugs? Maybe they’re all hallucinating, and think the criminals are actually ghosts?
Oh sure. I guess we’re ignoring that the whole premise of the show is that they SOLVE MYSTERIES! They find some asshole who’s trying to scare people away with old legends for their own ends. The gang collect clues, use abductive reasoning to figure out the motive and then capture the “monster”, UNMASKS them, and explain the entire plan.
Guess what! That is something that’s a BIT FUCKING HARD if you’re taking mind altering drugs!
Oh, and what is the most famous line from the show?
And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!
That’s the villain-of-the-week ADMITTING THAT THE GANG IS RIGHT!
Are you suggesting that’s just an extension of the hallucination? Because if so, why stop there? Why not just assume that the entire show is just a lucid dream at that point?
Dave:Well, what about Scooby Snacks?
What? What about them?
Dave:What are they?
What do you mean? They’re dog treats.
Dave:Why do they give Shaggy dog treats?
They don’t! It’s an incentive offered to SCOOBY! Shaggy steals them on occasion, but that’s just a reversal on the joke of Scooby stealing Shaggy’s food!
Dave:But when they eat the scooby snacks, they go superfocused and they’re not scared at all!
WHAT FUCKING SHOW ARE YOU WATCHING!? They’re just as scared as earlier! All the scooby snacks do is motivate them to do something they don’t want to do!
Dave:But that could be a proxy for a drug!
Whoah, hang on a moment! We are debating the possibility of Shaggy smoking marijuana. We established that he’s doesn’t. And now you’re trying to change the drug? Are you kidding me?! You can’t change the drug just because the original idea doesn’t work!
Also, you base this new assumption on… what? That Shaggy likes scooby snacks? William Hannah imagined the Scooby Snacks being a kind of peanut flavoured cookie. Is it so unthinkable that a human, especially someone who likes eating as much as Shaggy, would find that appealing?
Now, I am of course aware of the futility of arguing this fan theory.
Dave:Because you know it’s true?
No, because this theory has become so ingrained in popular culture that it has become widely accepted. People have decided that this theory is true, regardless of how little sense it makes. I’ve decided to name the phenomenon “Scoobification” after this particular theory.
It is what happens when stupid fan theories are left to fester in the minds of stupid people.
Dave:So why write about it then, if you yourself admit it is is widely accepted?
Because accepted or not, it’s still a stupid fan theory. The arguments don’t add up. That is why I’m writing about it. And if someone reads this and realizes that the theory doesn’t work, then that’s just a bonus, altough the odds for that aren’t great.
Dave:Well, duh! The whole premise is weird!
Yes, because Hannah-Barbera cartoons were always completely sensible and rational, weren’t they? The Flintstones is basically a fucking historical documentary!
Dave:Actually, I have a theory about that too. Can we talk about it?
Only if I can rip your spine out and beat you to death with it.
Dave: Oh, would you look at the time! How about we call it a day?
That’s the first intelligent thing you’ve said in a very long time…
Ok, let’s make one thing absolutely clear. I love Disney.
Now, I know that’s a given. As a citizen of the world, I am contractually obligated to like Disney, just like everyone else. To say that you don’t like Disney is like saying “I don’t breathe”. You can insist upon it as much as you want, but we all know you’re lying.
But taking that aside, I have a deep love for Disney movies, fueled by almost two decades of nostalgia. I was born and grew up in what is known as the Disney Renaissance, a period between 1989 and 1999, when Disney released some of their most beloved movies, like Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, the latter which, to this day, remains my favorite movie of all time. (Yes, I’m childish. Fuck off.)
Which is why with todays subject, the 1991 movie Beauty and the Beast, I find it neccesary to preface that I love this movie. I love it, and I have loved it my entire life.
It is (if you pardon the expression) a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl, Boy keeps girl prisoner in his evil castle of doom, girl is comforted by boy’s animate furniture, boy stops being an asshole, girl falls in love with boy, violence ensues from jealous guy with cleft chin and everyone, who has a talent for it, live happily ever after.
We’ve heard it a thousand times.
The movie, based on an old French fairytale, remains one of the most beloved animated movies in Disney history. The sweeping shot with the two main characters dancing is still shown alongside the image of Ariel bursting out of the sea or the image of Rafiki holding up Simba, whenever Disney wants to show off.
And rightly so, might I add.
And now, I’m about to do the unthinkable… I’m about to nitpick a classic Disney movie…
To quote David Tennant:
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…
If you, like me, love Disney with a passion, I suggest you stop reading… or I would, if it didn’t mean nobody on the planet would read past that suggestion…
Instead, I will just say that I don’t mean to diminish the movie in any way. I just want to talk about some observations I’ve made on it, confident that the movie is good enough to survive some nitpicking.
That said, there is one particular issue with it I will not discuss here, that I’m saving for a future project. With that, I’m done covering my ass. let’s begin.
So, the opening of the movie tells us that once upon a time, in a far away land (which is just a needlessly dramatic way of saying “France”) a young Prince was cursed by a witch for being a horrible person.
Now, right away, I’ve got one simple question.
Prince of what?
And don’t tell me that this is just some non-specific european-ish country, like Arrendale from Frozen. They speak French in the movie, and Lumiere flat out says “This is France”, complete with an image of the Eiffel Tower!
Quick history lesson: The Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889. France, meanwhile, hasn’t been a monarchy since 1870.
So what the hell was he Prince of!? I guess it could be “Prince” in the same way that Vlad III Dracula or Prospero from “The Masque of the Red Death” was a prince, with it being another word for “lord” or similar sub-royal title… but I’m not sure I buy that as an explanation. He has a crown. Basic iconography and symbolism dictates Crown = Royalty.
And even then, what kind of crap prince, royal or otherwise, has a castle in the ass end of fucking nowhere!? Is the idea just that he’s some unknown heir to Napoleon III who lived in a distant summer palace during the whole “Monarchy to Republic” transition, and he doesn’t know he doesn’t actually rule over anything anymore?
Or maybe he does know, which is why he’s such an asshole to old ladies.
Another thing that bothers me is Lumiére, or rather, all of the servants. We know that all the furniture in the house is actually the servants, cursed by the Enchantress.
But where did all the normal furniture go?
I mean, they didn’t fuse with the furniture, since when the spell is lifted, they all just turn into humans.
Also, considering just how MUCH furniture there is, you have to wonder how many people worked in this castle. Just count the things in the dinner scene alone. I know, it’s a castle, but still… That’s an insane amount of people.
Which reminds me… Is it just me who finds it a bit hypocritical of the Enchantress to curse all the servants for the Prince being a dick?
I mean, she’s punishing him for being callous and coldhearted… and in the process punishes all the INNOCENT SERVANTS to join in the torment!?
Actually, not only servants, but several CHILDREN, (we’ll get to them later).
Way to come across as a champion for justice, you spellcasting asshole!
By the way, why was the enchantress there in the first place, and why did she have to disguise herself as a hag? If she just wanted a room for the night, why didn’t she just look like a normal person? Did she know that the prince was a dick, and decided to judge him, by making sure he acted like a dick? Again, we’re dealing with a severely self-righteous asshole here, and she decides to pass judgement on others because…
Because she does magic, I suppose….
Thanks to her, hundreds of people are now forced to place all their faith in one horrible human being finding love, because of her misguided sense of right and wrong, by not only making him monstrously hideous, but in the process causing him to develop intense self-loathing, which (since that’s a bit of a turn-off) makes him even LESS likely to find someone to love him!
I’d call it draconian, but even Draco would go “fuck me, that’s a bit harsh“.
Sure, it worked, but still! Did she know that would happen?! If she didn’t, that’s a pretty big gamble that might have forced a lot of people to spend the rest of their lives sentenced for a crime THEY DID NOT COMMIT!
Now, let’s be a bit more specific, servant-wise. I’m wondering about Lumiére and Cogsworth… first of all, it’s really lucky that the guy who’s literally named “light” or “glow” turned into a candlestick, isn’t it? Imagine if he was called something like Pinceau. Would he then become a paintbrush?
(Also, you have to feel sorry for him… 10 years, having a fire on his head… I wonder if it hurts…)
Or is it just that you become an object relating to your job? After all, Mrs. Potts served tea, so she became a teapot, the cook became a stove, the maid became a feather duster… But then, what did Lumiere and Cogsworth do?
I suppose the Prince might have been a bit eccentric and decided to give everyone ironic jobs based on their names.
By that reasoning, Lumiere would be in charge of all the candles, making sure they were lit, and Cogsworth made certain all the clocks in the castle ran properly.
I suppose it makes sense, and I’m not opposed to the idea, of course. I’m just a bit puzzled that they are the Beasts most trusted confidants.
That sounds a bit like if the White House suddenly fell under a similar spell, and the president picked the guy who cleaned the windows as his second-in-command. I guess it’s his choice, but it just seems a bit odd to me…
Speaking of Lumiére, here’s less of a nitpick and more of an interesting question.
Is Lumiere actually english?
I’m asking, because, as I’ve said, this story takes place in France. It’s safe to assume that all the characters in the movie are French.
And yet, Lumiére is the only one who speaks with a french accent. With that in mind, I’d like to share a little theory of mine. Suppose Lumiére isn’t french? Maybe he’s actually speaking with a pronounced british accent, but in a weird linguistic reversal, it sounds like french? After all, If french is english, that means, quid pro quo, that english must then be french, right?
Now let’s move onto another servant of the house. Chip.
Chip is a teacup. He’s also the son of Mrs. Potts, since he calls her “Mama” and “Mom” several times. You following me so far?
But then, shortly before the dinner scene, we see Mrs. Potts putting Chip to bed, telling him to get into the cupboard with his “brothers and sisters”.
Whoah, pull the fucking brake!
Brothers and Sisters?!
I looked at that scene again! I counted 22 cups apart from chip! Are they all his siblings?! And Mrs. Potts is their mother?! I’m not judging anyone for having many kids, but doesn’t that seem odd to you? I know we never are told that Chip is the oldest, but he’s still the only one that follows Mrs. Potts around. She doesn’t seem to single any of the cups out as his siblings, so I can only assume she’s referring to all of them. Then again, there are only six of them helping her in the climax of the movie…
But then, that raises the perfectly valid question: where did the other children come from? Are they actually the children of the other servants, with Mrs. Potts acting as a surrogate because… she’s a pot and they’re cups? I’m not an expert on maternal instincts, but I’m doubtful any mother would go “My child has been stricken by a spell! I must leave him with this strange woman, to maintain the symmetry.” I know they look like furniture, but they’re not actually furniture! Nobody is going to be upset if you stroll through the castle with your son or daughter, just because you’re a hat stand and they’re a teacup!
The only other explanation is that they’re orphans, and the Prince took them in… which seems unlikely, seeing as the whole reason he was turned into a beast was because he was “spoiled, selfish and unkind”… taking in orphans isn’t really what I’d call “unkind”, unless he put them to slave labor in the kitchen…
Sticking with the subject of servants… Do the servants age? Or are they stuck in the same age they were when the enchantress came along? I mean, either they are, in which case the enchantress may well have doomed them to spend not the rest of their lives, but the rest of ETERNITY as living furniture even after the Beast has died… Or they’re not , which means there are a whole lot of questions in this… Let’s ignore the other cups for the moment, and just answer me this….
How old is Chip?
It’s a bit hard to tell from the brief moment we see his human form, but he doesn’t look older than six or seven….
which would mean he was born AFTER the spell was cast….
For the sake of our collective childhoods, I’m going to stop right there, because otherwise, we’re going into some serious rule-34-fan-fiction territory….
So let’s instead move on from hypothetical temporal anomalies to ACTUAL temporal anomalies.
See, the Beast has to find true love by a set date, or he will spend the rest of his life in his beast form… and the rest of the servants will remain behind after he’s died, with nothing but the heat death of the universe to look forward to for the end of their torment… (Again, nice fucking job, Enchantress…)
This date is his 21’st birthday, when the rose stops blooming. Then, in the movie, we’re told that the inhabitants of the castle have been cursed for 10 years. That would make the Prince 11 years old when he was cursed. And yet, we see, in that very opening, a portrait of the Prince, as well as stained glass windows retelling the story.
He doesn’t really look like a young boy to me… In fact, he looks exactly the same as he does when he turns human again. So apparently, the Prince was either very tall for his age, or decided to have a portrait painted by someone who could see into the future.
But hey, that’s just a small issue, compared to what we’ll be finishing up with.
Like I said, the rose will bloom until his 21’st birthday, and it has been ten years since the spell was cast.
However, now that you’ve realized this, it puts the whole opening in a new perspective, doesn’t it?
Think about it. The Enchantress cursed an 11 year old boy for being “spoiled, selfish and unkind”, and who had no parents that we know of, no family, and an entire castle of people who serve his EVERY WHIM!
While you let that sink in, let’s play a little game. Think back, if you will, to when you were 11 years old. Were you a paragon of kindness and love? Were you never selfish? Were you never unkind? Now imagine that your parents were dead, missing or had abandoned you (it’s Disney, so I’m guessing it’s option A), and everyone else you know live to serve your every desire.
Don’t you think that would warp your view of the world in some way?
Let’s take this into account, and look over the opening narration again.
Some ugly old woman stops by, asks to be given room and board, and offers you a flower as payment. Now, prepubescent you is disgusted by the old woman, you don’t want her flower, and tell her to go away.
Then she tells you that you “shouldn’t be deceived by appearances, because beauty is found within”.
At this point, you’re probably screaming for guards, since a creepy pensioner is asking to stay the night, offering you a flower in return and goes on about how she’s “beautiful on the inside”.
Now, if all she wanted was a room for the night, she could’ve gone round the back and asked one of the servants for a small room with a bed in this ENORMOUS CASTLE. Hell, even if the prince knew she was there, he wouldn’t find her, since the place is so fucking huge!
But no! Instead she clearly did this specifically in order to pass judgement on this child, telling him that he has no love in his heart (because she can somehow tell that from a 30 second conversation) and decides to turn him into a man-beast and impose some demented time table for him to find love, lest he be cursed forever.
I will repeat! She put a curse on a child. A spoiled child, a selfish child, an unkind child, I agree…. but in the end he is ultimately, fundamentally, A CHILD!
A child who doesn’t know any better, because he has literally been raised to believe HE IS ALWAYS RIGHT!
This is Disney, not fucking Struwwelpeter!
Of course, you can argue back and forth about what punishment is appropriate for misbehaving children, but any and all possible justification flies out the window when she decided to also punish everyone else in the castle for JUST BEING THERE!
Including (again) at least 23 other INNOCENT children and a DOG!
Am I the only one who’s starting to think Gaston might not be the real villain in this movie?!
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got.
Now, please don’t take this as an excuse not to like the movie. It’s still one of the most beloved movies Disney ever made, and for very good reason. The music, the acting, the characters, the visuals… all of them are great.
Really, if there’s anything I want to accomplish with this, it’d be to shed light upon what might be the most underrated and simultaneously the most horrible villain in a Disney movie.
Well… Apart from Frollo… Nobody out-evil’s Frollo….