Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre: Thumbelina

Thumbelina is a messed up story. It has always bothered me. Also I think that's why I like it.

So I give Faerie Tale Theatre major props for their retelling of Thumbelina, for managing to cut out two of the major problems I have with the story.

Carrie Fisher stars at the title character. Golly, she is cute. And she goes through all the trials and tribulations of being Thumbelina with spunk. The writing in this episode isn't as funny as in some, but the performances gel together really well, making this overall a strong episode.

And as she goes from being kidnapped to be a bride for the frog, to rescued by the fieldmouse only to become a bride for the mole (and hello heavy patriarchic, female helplessness symbolism), out comes one of my favorite lines in all of FTT history:

"It's just that I'm... always the bride, never the bridesmaid...."

Then onto the fairy prince... err, flower angel. I don't know why the fairies were renamed for this story. It's one of the only fairy tales with actual fairies already in it... so why change the name? But we still get the idea.

And Thumbelina says she cannot marry anyone without her mother's consent, and the... flower-angel prince agrees to find her mother. Thereby neatly solving two of the bothersome issues of the story: Thumbelina and the prince actually get to know each other, making it NOT yet another forced marriage proposition, and she gets reunited with the discarded mother. (Not that the mother-figure in a fairy tale is necessarily as important as a real mother, but that has always bothered me.)

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