Saturday, July 06, 2013

'ONCE UPON A TIME...' ONE OF THE BEST SHOWS OF OUR TIME


'And Snow White was kind and went with him (The Prince) and their wedding was held with with pomp and great splendour'- excerpt from Snow White, Grimm's Fairy Tales


 While this is not my favorite fairy tale, I have read it over and over for many years and watched the various versions. Disney's Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs gave the dwarfs their humorous names; Doc, Bashful, Happy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy and Dopey and followed the Evil Queen's basic problem with Snow White described by Wilheim & Jakob Grimm - the need to be the fairest in the land and Snow White was robbing her of that glory hence attempting to kill her with a poisoned apple( in the original story her prior weapons included lacing her too tight and a poisoned comb) and Snow White was awaken by true love's first kiss by her prince.











 
 2001's Snow White: The Fairest of Them All; the Evil Queen Elspeth's (who was actually changed from an old crone to her beautiful state) beef with Snow was that Snow was fast becoming a woman and this was making her feel older and the fact that the visiting prince she was trying to seduce was far more interested in Snow White, which aroused her jealousy and fear that she was losing her beauty; so she sends one of her guards to kill Snow White and turned Prince Alfred into a bear when he rebuffed her advances. Snow White meets seven little men named after the days of the week of all things (actually Wednesday is the only tall one and one of the little men is a woman) and the Evil Queen disguises herself as Snow White's dead mother in order to get her to eat the poisoned apple.






In ONCE UPON A TIME; a show I am now hopelessly addicted to(thanks to my favorite twitter friend Jesi's recommendation); the story goes beyond Snow White and her prince's blissful happy ending; for their happy ending was denied to them... by the apparently undefeated Evil Queen; Snow White's stepmother. Although majority of the fairy tale characters we know are featured in the show; the story line's focus is on the vendetta The Evil Queen has against Snow White. Thanks to an innocent blunder on Snow White's part, The Evil Queen's true love was killed right before her eyes, hence was forced to marry a man she didn't love- Snow White's father.The beef here is not jealousy, or insecurity but the Evil Queen's thirst for revenge against Snow and making sure she, her husband James and everyone who sided with Snow White never get the happy ending she and her love  were denied. So, she obtained a curse from the ever dealing Rumplestiltskin which transported everyone to the modern world  with no memories of their prior lives; only the Queen  being aware of her real origins.Conveniently, the Evil Queen rules the town of Storybrook as Mayor Regina Mills and is the mother of an adopted son Henry (the son of Snow and James' daughter Emma who was locked in a magic wardrobe when the curse came to the land) and gets the shock of her life when Henry brought his birth mother to Storybrook, as she is the one who can lift the curse.
I have only watched 9 episodes but really; the creators came up with such a brilliant idea. Although I'm sorry about Regina losing her darling Daniel, I loath the character because I see her as a ruthless, vengeful murderer with no conscience. The episodes that got me upset was the one where she did all she could to squash  the undeniable attraction between Snow and James (Mary Margaret and David in the real world) and killing Sheriff Graham (the huntsman sent to kill Snow White) when he started getting flashes of his past life after kissing Emma. It was bad enough that Regina was using him as a plaything and puppet but then to kill him so cold bloodedly was more than I could bear!
The cause of The Evil Queen's vendetta against Snow White is very interesting;  I suppose the creators wanted to give a plausible reason behind the Queen's hatred for Snow White; even though Snow White did not exactly mean to ruin her life. Two  versions I'd watched long before ONCE UPON A TIME had to do with jealousy and insecurity but one in particular, the 1997 horror version  SNOW WHITE: A TALE OF TERROR  did not; at least the jealousy was not over Snow's beauty.


Set in the time of The Crusades; Snow White's name is actually Lilli; daughter of Lord Fredrick Hoffman and Lady Lilliana(who died giving birth to her via an emergency C- birth). She's resentful of her father's remarriage to another woman years later, Lady Claudia; refusing to make friends with her even though she was given a pup as a present. But don't think Claudia was a complete innocent either; one of the maids mysteriously died after viewing Claudia's magic mirror and for some reason Claudia kept on dressing Lilli in child clothes even when she's a grown young woman. Anyhow, Lilli decided to dress more 'grown up' and found one of her mother's old gowns to wear for the ball. In the gown, Lilli looked exactly like her mother which her father commented on and triggered off Claudia's jealousy... and miscarriage.Claudia is told she can never have any more children and she blames Lilli for her misfortune thus the revenge begins.




ONCE UPON A TIME is a very good show. Although the main focus is Snow White; I like the clever  twists in the story arcs of the other characters and the brilliant performance of Lara Parrilla as Regina the evil queen, Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow and Jennifer Morrison as Emma. How the series will end I don't know but what I do want is a long series run; the finale being the long awaited happy ending for all the characters.

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