The Horrible Ordeal of Prince Adam’s Servants
Now comes the time where I once again journey deep into the land of Disney and discuss how ultimately screwed up it all is. Today’s topic: the servants in Beauty and the Beast.
Have we ever paused for a moment to contemplate how utterly horrific their transformations are? I mean, sure, going from stuck-up boy prince to giant beast monster is bad for the self-esteem, but what the hell happens to you when you are (1) not guilty of any crime against any enchantress and (2) sentenced to ten years as a sentient teapot.
Holy shit, people. Think about it. TEN YEARS.
Ten years between the last time Mrs. Potts could hug her own kids and that hug on the balcony.
Ten years of Lumiere constantly, consistently burning away. How does he get a new face in a new candle? Does he even remember what his face looks like?
Ten years of Cogsworth having to constantly get someone to wind himself lest he run down and die.
I could go on. I wish this were even the worst of it. Because it’s not.
How Many of Them Are There?
Consider this: how many servants do you think were employed in the castle at the time of Prince Adam’s transformation? There are hundreds and hundreds of individual beings dancing around in that “Be Our Guest” number – could they plausibly be meant to each represent a transformed human individual? If not, then what are they? Who were they?
Some equally horrifying options:
Collective Consciousness: A few of the servants (notably the kitchen staff) were turned into entire sets of tableware or what-have-you. One second you’re the servant who sets out the knives and the next second you are all the knives. Or beer steins. Or whatever. How maddening would that be? What would happen if one plate – one part of yourself – were broken by the beast in the midst of one of his rages. When you changed back, what would be left? Would you be missing an arm? Would you be, instead, insane or somehow broken? Could you go back, or would the poor victim of such a mind-bending assault spend the rest of his or her days pursuing ever more ghoulish body-alterations to get back to the sublime state of being nothing but blades?
- Granted Sentience: So, maybe all those dishes and plates and stuff were just plain plates before the transformation. Maybe the enchantress granted them life. So, then, does that mean the reversal of the curse takes life away? Wouldn’t that mean Belle and Beast’s love-affair would have resulted in the “deaths” of hundreds of intelligent beings? Is that something to even celebrate?
- Not Just Servants: Maybe the enchantress didn’t just transform the servants. Maybe she transformed the entire kingdom. Maybe everybody from the countryside was also made into stuff for Prince Adam to use like things. Perhaps this was the enchantress’s little joke. But once you start snickering, you have to admit that now even people who hadn’t even met the prince were punished with a decade of object-hood for no reason at all except for the giggles.
And another thing: do they age? They must not, because that would mean Chip – who is obviously less than ten years old – would never have existed as a boy. OH MY GOD: did Mrs. Potts give teapot-birth to a teacup who was never a boy and now is a boy? How screwed up is that? Even if not – say they don’t age – what does that mean for Chip? Here he is, supposedly 17 years old, but he spent a decade as a teacup and is now a…what? Can he mature now? Will he? How much did that mess up his growth and development cycle?
All this just to teach some rich brat some manners? Wow, lady. Get some perspective. That is some really dark rage you’ve got bottled up. Some of these people are going to wind up in therapy for a long, long time because of you, and that’s the lucky ones.
Who knows how many footstools or slop buckets threw themselves from the castle walls over the years. Oh, wait, you know who knows?