Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 1: Favorite Character

A few years ago, I worked for the Disney Store at the Fashion Place mall in Las Vegas. My interviewer asked which character I was most like. At the time, I think I either mentioned Flick - because he was willing to help others, even if they weren't sure they needed the help, and he was a quick thinker - or Stitch (Lilo and Stitch had just been released) because he knew how to have fun. However, I wasn't entirely truthful, because my favorite character wouldn't fit into a retail position, as he was a little too beastly . . .

Beauty and the Beast was released November 21, 1991. I was a junior in high school who, honestly, felt very out of place and insecure, especially when it came to girls. Upon my first viewing, I felt a connection with the Beast. He was unsure of who he was. He had accepted what he had become and convinced himself that no one could love him. Like the Beast, I was wrong about myself.

An interesting aspect I've only just come to realize, is that this is the first Disney film in which the lead male character was saved by the lead female. It was the Beast who was in need of rescuing, not Belle (okay, yeah, she wanted to escape her provincial life, but she didn't need a prince to do so, and there was that whole wolf attack thing).

As time went on, I found myself feeling more like the Beast. The broadway musical added a song to those from the film, "If I Can't Love Her," in which the Beast loses hope of Belle ever loving him. The song is very melancholy, and echoed how I felt entering the fall of 2002. One late October night, I got a call from a friend who wanted to set me up on a blind date. Before I could decline, I then got a call from the blind date, who was expecting me to pick her up the following morning. I couldn't say no, and found myself looking forward to meeting this impetuous girl. Six months later we were married. Finding my wife evoked a transformation within myself, like the Beast, only unlocked once I truly loved another, and knew they loved me in return.

Nearly eight years later, as I watch Beauty and the Beast from the perspective of a husband and parent, the film takes on a different meaning. But the Beast remains my favorite character. He reminds me of where I've been, and of the joy I've found in love.

1 comment:

Meileah said...

Thank you for sharing this. Beauty and the Beast is my most cherished love story. Everyone focuses on Belle and say that it's Belles story, but it's not, it's the Beasts. He is the one who undergoes the greatest change and lets go of who he was to become who he is capable of being.
I've always wanted a Beast over a Prince Charming because Beast is real. He's flawed. And he's rough around the edges. But inside he has a heart of Gold. Beast was always my "Disney Fairy tale Prince."
Now, many years later I've found my "Beast" And Love him just the same. We've grown and changed together. He figured himself the same as the Beast and lost hope of finding someone that would Love him for who he was. But to me, I Loved him as he is, and still do, and he was a lot like the Beast.
But he's My Beast. My Prince Adam. A flawed but perfect man with a fierce heart of Gold.