Modern Characterizations on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”


SC Staff Writer


ABC’s Disney inspired show, “Once Upon a Time,” took a gutsy turn when it showed the world that Mulan, the female soldier who saved China from the Huns, is bisexual.

The show, which is based on beloved fairy tales such as Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and more, centers on a curse cast by the Evil Queen in Snow White, who ripped the characters from their beloved enchanted forest and transported them to a modern magic-free town in Maine, known as Storybrook.

Besides living in a new place and time, the heroes also have new real-life identities—their old ones completely forgotten, thanks to Evil Queen Regina, keeping the characters from their happily ever after endings.

At the end of the first season, Emma Swan, the daughter of Snow White  and Prince Charming, breaks the curse and brings magic and memories back to the heroes and villains.

This season, the protagonists and antagonists have moved to the mystical island of Neverland to rescue Emma’s son Henry from the dastardly Peter Pan, who isn’t the happy-go-lucky boy who doesn’t want to grow up, but a demon who kidnaps boys.  Through twists and surprises, the show provides new insights into the stories we all thought we knew.

One of the “twists” that we discover is that Mulan, who stays in the Enchanted Forest after the curse, finds Prince Philip from the Sleeping Beauty story searching for a way to cure his beloved princess Aurora from the sleeping curse inflicted on her.

Along the way, the young soldier begins to develop feelings for his majesty, but because Sleeping Beauty eventually awakens from “True Love’s Kiss,” Mulan’s feelings were not returned.

After Philip’s “death,” Mulan and Aurora get closer as they go on their adventures and tribulations.

Unbeknownst to the viewers, the duo manages to bring Philip back to life, and when we meet up with them again, we find that Neal, Henry’s father and Emma’s lost love, gets wounded and transported back to Mulan’s neck of the woods.

To help him be reunited with his family, Mulan and Neal enlist Robin Hood’s help, and after Neal gets to Neverland, Robin Hood offers Mulan a place in his Band of Merry Men.

Mulan declines at first saying she has to tell someone about how she feels. When she gets back to Aurora, it is evident that this person is Sleeping Beauty, but once again her feelings are quelled by the announcement of a child.

This astonishing announcement has really made it evident that “Once Upon a Time” will not stop until every character is repainted in a completely new light.

Though the writers and producers have taken numerous amounts of liberties, such as making Rumpelstiltskin the notorious crocodile who took Captain’s arm, this one is probably the most shocking.  Perhaps Disney will take this idea and run with it, giving us our first bisexual animated character, but such a discovery is still an impressive leap forward for LGBT rights.

Although a little stereotypical that the strong independent woman be cast as the bisexual, it is a relevant message to put out and make outdated stories more modern.

As the story moves on, the writers reveal more of their tricks.  As the quest to rescue Henry continues, the adventurers will be put through their paces against their most devious villain yet.

To watch the story unfold, tune into ABC every Sunday at 8 PM  and catch the new spin-off series, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” every Thursday at 8 PM.


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