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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.

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