This piece first appeared on The Siren, an online writing community created by Julia Gazdag and Shannon Robb 2014-2016
Fun With Disney: The Little Mermaid
Because watching a movie is no fun unless you share your every thought with the internet.
So we’ve all seen the movie, but let’s catch up: our heroine, Ariel, is a total flake and ditches this awful spectacle that was vitally important to all existence and also the worst thing ever. She gets in trouble because she went out of bounds, and her dad is kind of a control freak. He yells at her and she has a lot of feelings.
Dad decides to lojack Ariel, but since his GPS doesn’t work underwater, he sends his right hand crab to do it instead. Maybe she’ll just think he’s a cute accessory that matches her hair and not notice.
He stalks her to her underwater cave of wonders. This is one of the few things in the movie that isn’t a euphemism, unless you think of it as her very ornate, secret cave. Of wonders.
Cue random bout of singing. Kind of awkward for everyone, though I guess they’re probably used to it? It’s a good way to relieve the stress of a controlling father.
A ship passes overhead. Ariel's likes include shiny things and swimming at them, so here we are.
A freak storm puts a damper on the party and most of the crew probably died, but it’s cool because Ariel’s crush is fine, and that’s all that counts.
All is well post-storm and Ariel sings some more (though she's kind of a one hit wonder). Her crab-cessory tries to convince her to stay underwater, also through song. Everything in the ocean happens through song.
Dad finds out Ariel has been using her cave of wonders just as she gets a statue of her new obsession. It’s like 3-D facebook stalking! The technology of the future, I tell you. How Flounder hauled it in there, I have no idea.
Dad is not amused. He takes away Ariel’s toys with his laser spear.
Rebelling against a dad who is an inspiration to middle fingers everywhere, Ariel goes with some shady fish dudes to talk to a shady sea-witch and make some bad decisions, but who didn’t when they were 16?
Fun facts about Ursula: she’s large, has a butch haircut, a deep voice, and is a smart, sassy broad. Not sure what Disney is trying to tell me about what defines evil, I’m just sharing some fun facts.
Ariel gets legs, and probably a surprise with the whole lungs-underwater-situation. Because all it takes to be human is a pair of legs, said Hans Christan Andersen never.
She explores the magical world of being bipedal. Update: her bangs still have unaccountable volume.
Like the good stalker she is, Ariel gets straight into her prince crush’s house with an open invitation. Girl is good. It’s been a while since someone sang, so we head to the kitchen for Crabcessory’s misadventures:
Ariel is crashing at Prince (King??) Erik’s for the night. If I were him, I’d lock my door.
Meanwhile, back downstairs, no one can find Ariel and dad is worried.
Lesson is: reign it if you’re a single dad, especially if your daughter is a fairy tale heroine, because they don’t really get to have moms. How else would they develop intense male co-dependency and enough daddy issues to abandon home in pursuit of a man they don’t even know?
Ariel and Stalking Victim take a tour of his janky kingdom and really bond. It’s a special day for everyone.
He tries to guess her name (be seen and not heard!), and gets it right after only the eighteenth try with the help of Crabcessory. I bet he also copied someone else’s SATs. Starting to understand why his kingdom is so janky.
Everything is going really well, but story arcs do how they do, so conflict ensues. Ursula cheats, bla bla, Ariel swims to her and Stalk Boy's wedding to try and fix things. Well, Flounder pulls her on a barrel, which should be a piece of cake after hauling that statue underwater. She gets there late, though. Sad story.
Commence dramatic underwater battle scene with big storms and lots of evil laughter.
So in conclusion… girl abandons her family to stalk a man in the hopes of winning his heart, which she apparently only needs pretty eyes and hot legs for. In the end her dad lets her run off and marry this dude anyway, even though sheʼs 16. I’m guessing Hans Christian Andersen would have been thrilled with this interpretation. Raise your hand if you find any of this unsettling.