Category Archives: Geek Analysis

The Case for the Modern-Day Prince Charming

Once Upon a Time there was a girl who’s not-so-guilty pleasure was a show where there are actually eight dwarfs with Snow White and the Evil
Queen has mommy issues…

There are so many things that I enjoy about the show.  There are also quite a few that make me want to

Disney's first Prince Charming had as much facial expression as Keanu Reeves

Disney’s first Prince Charming had as much facial expression as Keanu Reeves

grab a sword and smash my television to pieces.  There’s only one character that makes me want to do both. Prince Charming. As something of a fairy tale connoisseur (Yes, I am counting watching all three Cinderella Stories as expertise), I know a thing or two about the whole love-hate thing that is Prince Charming, but never have the two extremes been so, well, extreme in one manifestation of the characters.  I don’t understand how someone who’s such a badass in fantasyland can be such a pain in one in the real world.That’s when it hit me.Prince Charming’s failure to materialize in the real world mirrors the clichéd belief that real men can’t measure up to a modern day woman’s expectations.Oh you clever little buggers at ABC, I see what you did there.In the fairy tale world, Charming is this BAMF who’s only trying to 1) do his duty, 2) make sure most of the people stay alive, and maybe 3) make out a bit with Snow.  It’s not that he doesn’t have his own conflicts or moments of doubt, but his decisions are all based off options 1-3, with sometimes a little more emphasis on option 3.Charming’s real-world counterpart, David, is an idiot by comparison.  He is still trying to protect the women he cares for, but he does it in an incredibly stupid fashion.  He lacks the insight and direction of Charming, which leads him to act as cluelessly as a newly hatched dwarf-egg-thing (speaking of: what kind of drugs were the writers on during that development? I know it’s called Mother Goose, but come on guys).

How many times have we heard women complain that men lack insight?  How many times are men forced to measure up to this Disney ideal and are found wanting?  In spite of how annoying it is, David’s confusion is in tune with real-world issues.  His uncertainty is incredibly real, compounded by the fact that he was in a comma for godmother knows how many years.

Charming Snow

In fact, it is because David is trying so hard to live up to this ideal of a perfect husband, a caring lover, and the bloodless breakup, that he fails miserably as an upright character in reality.  Prince Charming, out of all the characters, is the most out of place in the real world.  Why?  Because there is no room for perfection in the real world.  Whereas other characters are seen as victims of their modern-day situations, Prince Charming is reviled for his inability to maintain his impeccability in no-win scenarios.

At this point, the real moral of this story is not so much about Prince Charming being a jerk, but that women’s expectations of men are unrealistic.  Everyone is allowed their mistakes, especially after being kept locked away by the evil queen in a comma.  Obviously, both the idea that real men are never princes and that real women have unrealistic expectations are a bit ham handed, but it certainly strikes a chord for those of us who’ve been dealing with the fallout of less-than happily ever afters.

I’m not saying that I’m going to stop yelling profanities at my screen when David mixes up the Valentine’s Day cards for his wife and his mistress, but I will give him more credit for attempting to face the truth that most of the characters are too busy in their real-world fantasies to wake up and see.

*I apologize if the colors of this post are a little too taste the rainbow right now.  I’m being indecisive about font/color schemes.

A Bone to Pick With The Hunger Games

*This article has spoilers through the third book. In fact, it even has a spoiler in the first sentence. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Hunger Games Series

I will spoil all the things. Beware.

In spite of how much I love The Hunger Games, I will say that the series pulls a Fox Face—that is, it chokes right at the end. My issue? By the end of the third book, Katniss actually becomes a part of the cycle that she’s fighting, pretty much making all of her fighting for three whole books pointless. 

BAMF Beginnings

When Katniss is launched into the world of the Hunger Games, it’s actually right up her alley. Katniss, the hero of the week (as in, she might not outlast the week) is what you get when you mix Disney Princess hair with Buffy’s combat skills. She understands when to be prey and hide and when to transform into the predator and brave the initial dangers for the ultimate prize. These instincts, combined with her impatience with political games sets her up to be the perfect opponent to the media-driven control of the Capital.

This works like a charm for her in the first book. Katniss is a master at bending rules (such as her demonstration for the level ranking, and of course her stunt with the berries) and though she has to do some schmoozing, she’s pretty terrific at hitting the Capital without getting dinged.

Downward Spiral

Katniss seems to have lost her mojo during book two and spends it acting like a deer in the headlights until she forced back into action in the arena. It doesn’t make for the most dynamic  of plots, but I’m used to the second book being slow.

But then we go onto the third book…

…where I want to gnaw my foot off—and not because I’m starving.

Katniss spends almost the entire third book in a coma. No, not an actual coma, though she is as drugged out as an ‘80s pop star. She shuts down completely—which is exactly what she blames her mother for back in the first book.

Gone is the girl driving the action–which is particularly unfortunate as she is the catalyst for the whole revolution. Instead of truly taking up the

Mocking Jay

The Mockingjay is almost as pissed as I am.

mantle or shooting down the flawed revolutionaries, Katniss simply puts off reacting unless somebody is getting blown up.

The real kicker comes when Prim is killed to prevent Katniss from taking a more active role in the new government (which is even more pointless because, as I’ve stated, Katniss is already pretty much in a coma at this point). Prim’s death proves that all of Katniss’ sacrifices were ultimately useless.  What was the point of saving Prim in the first place, only to die just as pointlessly, a pawn in the ultimate Hunger Game?

But wait, it gets more frustrating…

Some may think that Katniss’ act of killing the President is noble, but it is fueled by the need for revenge and prevention of another such catastrophe. These are the exact two causes for the Hunger Games—revenge on the uprising districts, and a supposed prevention of it ever happening again.

By killing the President, Katniss is actually coming full circle with the motives she was supposedly fighting against. These deaths are the product of the incoming government, hinting that the new system is already set in the same cycle born of violence.

Katniss does nothing to prevent the continuation of this cycle as she is back in hibernation mode immediately after killing the President Coin. At the end of the book, we are left with two resounding messages: that noble sacrifice changes nothing, and that governments are ultimately powered through the deaths of the innocent.

I can admit that these ideas can be valid—but it’s freakin’ annoying that you’ve spent three books following a story of righteous revolution to realize that the whole thing was just a mockery of it and that your kickbutt heroine becomes a sleepwalker halfway through.

That being said: when does the second movie come out?

Images via WeeLittlePiggy and  SymenGT.