Disney: ‘Once Upon A Time’ Couples

Screenshot of Emilie de Ravin and Robert Carlyle in ‘Once Upon A Time’. Copyright goes to Disney and ABC.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I once again am going to apologize for the sporadic posting schedule. Everything is really hectic right now, but we’re still going to post whenever we can! This blog is a sense of normalcy for us with everything happening right now. So I’m really glad to be back! Recently I’ve been looking for some easy watching to relax to after my busy schedule, and somehow ‘Once Upon A Time’ came back onto my radar. This was one of my favorite shows until it wasn’t. That is to say, this was an absolutely excellent show until it really wasn’t. I actually really loved the first three seasons and still return to them sometimes, but everything after that was pretty bad. But just because the entire series took a nosedive, doesn’t mean the first three seasons are any less good. And it feels like this is a realization that a lot of people have come to recently. The Halloween costume planning for the Evil Queen, or Regina Mills, has upped significantly in the past few years. But what caught my eye upon my rewatch of some of my favorite episodes, were the depictions of some of the couples in ‘Once Upon A Time’ and how different they are from their Disney counterparts. So I’m going to go through some of them and talk about why I like (or dislike) their depiction of their counterparts.

Snow White and Prince Charming:

I feel like even people who didn’t watch this show, knew about this couple. That’s because Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas, the actors who played these roles, fell in love on set and actually got married. Their marriage upped ratings, because people wanted to see the footage of them actually falling in love. And that’s exactly what you feel like you’re watching. There have been very few television couples with as much chemistry. I always prefer the adaptations of Snow White where Snow is some sort of badass huntress and has much more agency than the original material implied. This is definitely one of those adaptations. In fact, when she meets Charming it’s more on fighting terms than anything else. I find it really interesting that this version of the Prince from Snow White is referred to as Charming. Usually that’s a Cinderella thing, but I digress. Either way their relationship is a pretty slow build to one of the strongest relationships in the entire series. If not the strongest. And the slow build gives it an equally as strong foundation.

Belle and Rumplestiltskin:

This is probably the most interesting couple in the series to me. That’s because of how much I absolutely love ‘Beauty and the Beast’. It’s one of my favorite stories of all time, not to mention that it’s my favorite Disney film. It’s one of the only original fairytales written by a woman and it was written by her for the purpose of imagining a world where women weren’t subjected to arranged marriages. In that vein, this couple could be seen either way. On one hand it gives Belle a lot more agency in her choice to go and live with the Beast (or in this case, Rumplestiltskin) in his castle forever. Belle doesn’t have much in the way of prior connections. Her father is a King who has forced her into an arranged marriage and is far too controlling and Gaston is the husband she’s expected to marry. When she hears Rumplestiltskin’s offer of peace for her kingdom in return for her becoming the caretaker of his castle, she willingly decides to go. Somewhat out of heroism but somewhat out of wanting to get out of her situation. On the other hand, the relationship can be rather manipulative and toxic. I actually really liked the marrying of the stories between Rumplestiltskin and the Beast. The Crocodile thing that came later wasn’t necessarily my favorite. Rumple shouldn’t be four different characters. I did like this one though. It made sense in the context of the show and actually created a fresh and interesting take on the tale that I wasn’t expecting. And for a while they were fairly cute. Some people have argued that the age gap looks awful. I would argue that there’s actually a similar age gap between Killian and Emma, the major issue for people here is more appearance based and the age gaps between the actors; which does get to me at some points. Either way, I actually liked this couple for maybe the first season. And then it became incredibly toxic and kind of annoying. Both Rumple and Belle were some of my favorite characters for a while and it’s a shame that the show treated them in this way. But I at least liked some of the beginning of their relationship. “Skin Deep” is still one of my favorite episodes of the entire series.

Killian and Emma:

Making the pirate character extremely attractive has been a thing since the release of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies. And Killian has become one of the best examples of this. Considering the way we’ve all seen Captain Hook before, I don’t think any of us ever thought that we would ever consider him attractive. Killian Jones changes that. And Emma has the most agency in the entire show. But I think what’s best about this couple, is that it feels the most realistic. Killian and Emma both try to ignore specific feelings or they’re unsure of what the other feels for much of the series. And I think the way they get together comes off extremely organically. The show makes a point to build trust between them first. And it’s adorable to see Killian finally realize that he can be happy with just this. In a way he becomes the anti-Rumple. Of course, the Dark One storyline with him and Emma completely messed things up. But this is another couple I liked for a while before everything took a nosedive.

Aladdin and Jasmine:

They don’t come in until later, but there was a portion of time of me watching this series where this portrayal of Aladdin was the only thing keeping me watching. I love the sarcastic and nonchalant depiction of Aladdin. Jasmine, however, was completely botched. Every time she approached Aladdin it was because she wanted something from him. When Aladdin finally reunites with Jasmine, because he believes that she loves him, she briefly hugs him before telling him that she needs him to do something for her. She even tells him that the entire reason she was looking for him was so that he could help save her kingdom. Ouch. Imagine not seeing someone very close to you for years and the minute you see them again they greet you for a couple seconds and then immediately ask for a favor. This couple was done so horrifically it’s insane. At least they didn’t do what they did to Meg from ‘Hercules’. Like completely strip this character of any and all personality. But this depiction is still pretty awful. I really feel bad for Aladdin. He deserves better.

I actually mostly liked the couples in this show for a long while. But I feel like this show also messed up literally everything at one point. I don’t think there’s a single character that they didn’t run into the ground. So, personally, I prefer to see them all as I thought of them when I liked the series. And you can bet that if I start actually rewatching instead of episode hopping, I’m stopping after season three. But some of this is really cute and there’s a reason I return to it every once in a while.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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