Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Extremely Strange Story of Snow White

While Disneyland was closed for the pandemic, they made some changes to the Snow White ride that apparently some people are outraged about. I don't know what the complaints are about and honestly I don't care enough to find out. But it DID get me thinking about how deeply weird the story of Snow White is.

I've only seen the Disney animated classic one time, during my junior year of high school in 1995. (I had a two-hour Electronics class, and Disney let Snow White out of the Vault that year so the teacher brought it in and played it in lieu of us doing any work one day. We spent most of the movie trying to convince our classmate who had recently immigrated from India that there was actually an eighth dwarf named Horny, but you never see him because he's in the bathroom the whole time. This was not the only time we watched stuff unrelated to our Electronics curriculum in that class; we also occasionally watched the OJ Simpson trial. Another fun fact related to that class: I don't remember what the teacher's name was, but I remember that we called him Al because he kind of looked like Al Borland from Home Improvement. This annoyed the crap out of him, so naturally we did it all the time.)

My point is that  I may be a bit fuzzy on the details of the movie. But as I recall the driving force of the plot is this evil queen who's worried that her stepdaughter is prettier than her. Oh, and the ultimate judge of female beauty is apparently this magic mirror that the queen has hanging on a random wall of her castle. The way it works is, every day instead of taking care of important queen business, the queen goes up to this mirror and says "Hey, I'm still the hottest lady in the world, right?" and the mirror always replies "You know it, girl." Until one day when it says "Actually, your stepdaughter's looking pretty good these days." 

The stepdaughter's name is Snow White, which strikes me as kind of odd. Is "Snow White" her whole first name, and nobody ever uses her last name because she's a royal? Or is her last name actually "White" and her parents were attention-hungry celebrities and they named her "Snow"? I don't think the movie ever addresses it.

But back to the magic mirror for a second. I have some questions about it being the sole arbiter of female beauty. For years the woman in whose house the mirror is hanging has been asking it who the prettiest lady is and it's been like "It's you! The person standing in front of me who owns the wall I'm suspended on!" And then when it finally says that the prettiest lady is someone other than the Queen, the person it names is the only other lady who lives in that castle? A lady, I should mention, who has an old-person hairstyle and a nose so unnaturally small it makes post-surgery Michael Jackson look like Jamie Farr? Really? The mirror never says something like "Now don't get mad, but there's this woman in Brazil named Carmelita who's really got it going on." I don't buy it!

So anyway, the Queen is all upset over losing the title of "Most Attractive Woman as Decided By a Talking Mirror", and then to make things worse some random prince happens to see Snow White and immediately falls in love with her strange noseless face and unnaturally-squeaky singing voice, which makes the Queen even more jealous for some reason. Why? He's young enough to be her son! You'd think she'd prefer the company of a guy closer to her age who has more in common with her and knows what the heck he's doing. But anyway, this is the last straw and the Queen decides that Snow White must die. So how does she do it? Poison her food? Maybe hire a hit man? No! Instead she calls up the royal huntsman and tells him to take Snow White out into the woods, cut out her heart, and bring it back to her in a box. But since the huntsman's job doesn't involve murdering human beings he can't go through with it. He tells Snow White to run away, and she ends up moving in with the Seven Dwarfs.

But the magic mirror rats Snow White out, so the Queen goes to plan B. First, this beauty-obsessed supreme monarch drinks a magic potion that turns her into Emperor Palpatine's hemorrhoid. Then she dips an apple in an evil potion that makes it poison. Only the poison isn't deadly; it just puts the victim in a coma that can be broken by true love's first kiss. And her plan is to find Snow White somewhere in this huge forest and trick her into eating the apple. Even if this plan works, and the Queen drinks another magic potion to restore her original appearance, she will have accomplished nothing because Snow White won't be dead! She'll be like "OK, magic mirror, who's the hottest lady now, huh?" and the mirror will reply. "Snow White, who's now in a coma for some reason." It makes no sense!

And yet, somehow the Queen's plan works. She finds the Dwarf's cottage. Because Snow White is extremely gullible, she believes it when the Queen tells her that the poison apple is actually a magical wish-granting apple. And like any vacuous rich kid, Snow White is naturally selfish, so she immediately takes the apple instead of considering that the horribly deformed person that the woodland creatures flee from in terror because she looks (and probably smells) like something that crawled out of Nosferatu's butthole probably needs a magical wish granted a lot more than Snow herself does.

So Snow White takes a bite of the apple and collapses. The Queen's ridiculous plan worked. Only not really, because the Dwarves and the woodland animals chase her off a cliff and she dies. And then that prince who met Snow White exactly once comes along and is really attracted to her comatose state. (His last name must be Cosby.) So he kisses her, she marries him instead of pressing charges, and they live happily ever after. Later, Snow White becomes a panelist on the medieval version of The View along with Cinderella and Princess Aurora, but because there was no TV back then nobody ever sees it.


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