Julia Gazdag
writer | producer | photographer
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The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Written and Also My Favorite

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.

The movie starts out so beautifully and then this happens. I cringe. All the time. So very much. Alan Menken phoned it in on this one. On a tin-cans-with-string phone.

The movie starts out so beautifully and then this happens. I cringe. All the time. So very much. Alan Menken phoned it in on this one. On a tin-cans-with-string phone.

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.

If you cry in a salt-water ocean do your tears really exist?

If you cry in a salt-water ocean do your tears really exist?

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.

Stalker alert.

Stalker alert.

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.

Leafing through pages underwater. I ask you.

Leafing through pages underwater. I ask you.

A ship passes overhead. Ariel's likes include shiny things and swimming at them, so here we are.

Wet bangs but always such volume. I ASK YOU.

Wet bangs but always such volume. I ASK YOU.

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.

What are the odds these dudes survived a hurricane in a rowboat?

What are the odds these dudes survived a hurricane in a rowboat?

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.

Singinʼ about fishes in bowls up on the land and how their owners eat them. Anyone ever eat their pet fish? No? Maybe itʼs just a merban myth.

Singinʼ about fishes in bowls up on the land and how their owners eat them. Anyone ever eat their pet fish? No? Maybe itʼs just a merban myth.

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.

Dumbledore is an angry fish king.

Dumbledore is an angry fish king.

Dad is not amused. He takes away Ariel’s toys with his laser spear.

Best episode of Hoarders ever!

Best episode of Hoarders ever!

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?

“If I become human Iʼll never be with my father or sisters again”    “Thatʼs right. But youʼll have your man.”    Prioritizing may not be this girl's strongest trait. She could make a killing selling this underwater writing technology if she stays human, though.

“If I become human Iʼll never be with my father or sisters again”

“Thatʼs right. But youʼll have your man.”

Prioritizing may not be this girl's strongest trait. She could make a killing selling this underwater writing technology if she stays human, though.

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.

I would be totes convinced to do this too after a song and dance about how “itʼs she who holds her tongue who gets the man.” Disney is full of important lessons, like to how to be seen and not heard.

I would be totes convinced to do this too after a song and dance about how “itʼs she who holds her tongue who gets the man.” Disney is full of important lessons, like to how to be seen and not heard.

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.

Someone please give this girl a sammich.

Someone please give this girl a sammich.

She explores the magical world of being bipedal. Update: her bangs still have unaccountable volume.

How I felt when I got my first iPod.

How I felt when I got my first iPod.

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:

K first of all, “poisson” means fish and this dude is making crab, so I’m not sure how French he really is. Second, he clearly has anger issues. And whereʼs his kitchen staff? Is he the only one in there? What kind of janky kingdom is Eric the prince of? Speaking of which, his parents are nowhere to be found, so I donʼt get why heʼs a prince and not a king.

K first of all, “poisson” means fish and this dude is making crab, so I’m not sure how French he really is. Second, he clearly has anger issues. And whereʼs his kitchen staff? Is he the only one in there? What kind of janky kingdom is Eric the prince of? Speaking of which, his parents are nowhere to be found, so I donʼt get why heʼs a prince and not a king.

 Ariel is crashing at Prince (King??) Erik’s for the night. If I were him, I’d lock my door.

Stalker alert.

Stalker alert.

Meanwhile, back downstairs, no one can find Ariel and dad is worried.

Abusive Dumbledore has regrets.

Abusive Dumbledore has regrets.

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.
 

Crazy eyes, you cannot drive my car. Beep beep, beep beep, no.

Crazy eyes, you cannot drive my car. Beep beep, beep beep, no.

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.

A ginger named Ariel? Gefilte fish alert!

A ginger named Ariel? Gefilte fish alert!

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.

Awkward.

Awkward.

Commence dramatic underwater battle scene with big storms and lots of evil laughter.

That’ll run them a lot in therapy bills later.

That’ll run them a lot in therapy bills later.

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.

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