Once Upon a Time tells the tale of a town called Storybrooke filled with fairytale characters who were cursed to live in our real-world without any recollection of the past. Among the familiar characters is Snow White, Prince Charming, Red Riding Hood, Rumplestiltskin, and last and least an Evil Queen.
The show progresses quickly; but, of course, I continue to watch for strictly educational and academic purposes. And the escapism. And Rumplestiltskin, he’s too cool.
One of the reoccurring stories in the series is the constant tension and struggle for Snow White and Prince Charming to find each other in this cursed real-world. They have no memories of their love at first sight, marriage, or even their child. We see various flashbacks of the past fairytale world while we progress through their relationship in the real-world.
Honey, it’s not going to work. Give up, Snow.
But whyyy nottttt?
Hush down, me on my bed hugging my pillow episode after episode even though people are telling me to go outside and get some fresh air.
If we were to read past the “happily ever after” in the fairytales, I guarantee most marriages would fail. They should end the stories with, “happily ever after…for now.”
First of all, in the Fairytale universe, physical obstacles get in the way of Snow White and Prince Charming, the manipulative King, an Evil Queen, an apple. Well, in the real-world, we have to deal with all that and then some. The two struggle through these obstacles in the fairytale to be with the one they love after only meeting each other a couple times. If I told my mom I’m going to risk my life in an enchanted forest for some dude I just met, she’d be like, “girl, you crazy, let’s go to Paradise Bakery instead.”
Fairytale land represents idealism. In the real-world, it’s a “honeymoon” phase where everything is perfect, and you fall in love with the idea of someone filling in the blanks with things that appeal to your desires. However, sometimes people will hear the phrase, “I don’t know you anymore”, “You’re not the person I married”, or “I always thought you liked Twilight!” This is because it takes time to get to know the real person. In order to truly know and love a person, you must first see them at their weak moments, their strong moments, their ashamed moments, and understand their reactions to obstacles in their life.
Let’s now imagine Snow White and Prince Charming in an argument over differing opinions on same-sex marriage or what to do when the toothpaste is nearing empty. These things matter, and you need to experience them before you marry. That’s why Mary Margaret and David Nolan are struggling so much in the real-world with no physical barriers. The only thing in the way of them being together is themselves. It can’t always be love at first sight.
One other item that makes fairytale world so easy to throw around “I love you”s is the very romanticized environment they live in. Sure, it’s easy to not get so irritated with your love interest when that’s the only thing you have to worry about. You live in a castle with maids and gold goblets. There is literally nothing to worry about when it comes to princesses and princes. The prince needs to see his wife without make-up. Or better yet, see her the next morning when she fell asleep in her make-up.
However, in the real-world, it’s more difficult for us because we have priorities, responsibilities, and a desire to develop ourselves into more productive individuals rather than marrying someone so we can combine our kingdom’s resources. Well, sometimes we marry for resources; but we certainly do not live as luxurious as fairytale characters.
These fairytales are dangerous to our worldview, giving us false hope of a “meant to be” or “true love” ending. The truth is, my television friends can’t seem to get it right in the real-world because they’ve never had to actually think about getting to know the other person while dealing with actual hardships.