Rumpelstitskin, Belle, and the Bachelorette: Fairy Tales and True Love

Now that Once Upon a Time is over for the season, what is there to live for, really? I cried excessively as Prince Charming and Snow White were reunited in Storybrooke (just thinking about the moment he cried “Snow!” is making me teary-eyed), yet I was disappointed that Rumpelstiltskin did not react as much to Belle. I thought that after years of missing her, he would have given up his magical pursuits to be with her.

I supposed that would have been too much like a fairy tale. As much as he loves Belle, it’s just not enough.  The moment the curse was lifted and she remembered him, we didn’t get a beautiful, sweet, romantic moment full of “I’m sorry” and “I love you.” He was too absorbed in his own power to live happily ever after with Belle. I wonder if that will be a significant part of next season’s story line.

In other fairy tale news, the Bachelorette is quickly turning into an obsession. I love Emily Maynard; she’s so sweet. Hopefully, as a single mom, she’ll bring a bit more class to the show. Still though, you wonder why a single mom who’s been engaged twice would trust reality television to find a good husband. I hope it works out for her.

Why is it that we all love fairy tales, no matter how old we are? Maybe it’s because in today’s world, true love is often a rare, elusive dream. I wonder if the reason it’s so rare in the 21st century is the lax sexual morals of the last 50 years. “Free love” is one of those instances where you get what you pay for. Real, true, Corinthians 13 love comes from total selflessness and giving. It comes from a philosophy in which the love between a husband and wife is one of the most beautiful and sacred of gifts. Love is patient. Love is kind. And when people do their best to live beautiful, honest, selfless lives, they find the truest love the world has ever seen.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13

Will Rumpelstiltskin and Belle have their Happily Ever After?

First of all, I just want to say that making Rumpelstiltskin the Beast was GENIUS. I’ve been re-watching Sunday’s episode “Skin Deep” all week. Rumpelstiltskin as the Beast made the fairy tale become so much more real. Beauty and the Beast (Disney version) is a beautiful story, but severely flawed in the sense that you’re teaching little girls that controlling men with severe temper issues can change overnight if you love them enough: so not true in real life. Once Upon a Time’s version, though, gave the Beast a whole deeper dimension. He’s been through  a lot in his life, and is currently cursed with a deep dark power. Though he loves Belle, he doesn’t believe that she can’t truly love him back. In order to love her, he has to give up his power, a sacrifice that he was not willing to make.

Now we have a very interesting turn of events. Regina and Mr. Gold now officially know that each other are in fact Rumpelstiltskin and the Evil Queen. Mr.Gold/Rumpel is severely angry with the Queen/Regina, as it was his distrust of her that led him to assume that Belle was working for Regina. He let Belle go, and then the Queen told him that Belle committed suicide. Rumpel is severely hurt, damaged, grieving over Belle and harboring seething anger towards the Queen. The Queen/Regina now knows for sure that Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin remembers everything, and she is keeping Belle (who is alive) hidden in an underground psych ward.

So what’s next? I really hope that Belle and Rumpelstiltskin have another chance at the end. I’m sure Regina will bring them face to face again to try to undo Rumpelstiltskin’s power. In a surprising turn of events, Rumpelstiltskin is starting to become a character that we feel for, now that we know he was a normal man once and that all his anger and craziness stems from the many horrible things that happened to him.

Does loving the Beast ever work out?

In this episode, the Queen says, “I would never tell a woman to kiss the man who’s holding her captive! What kind of message is that?” This brings us back to the whole issue with the message of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. It’s true, emotionally  or physically abusive men almost never change, and a woman should never stick around to find out. That being said, is there anything positive that we can glean from this? Is it ever possible for someone to change?

Magic and fairy tales aside, true love changes people. When someone is truly loved, and truly loves someone else, they change into a better person. Sometimes it’s not so obvious, and sometimes it takes a while, but it happens. I remember once, when I met a cousin of mine’s girlfriend, I knew immediately that he would marry her. For the first time in his life he seemed completely grown-up, mature, strong and stable. It’s not that he wasn’t a good person before, it’s just that once he met her, he started to shine. They’ve been married almost 3 years.

When you know you are loved, you want to be better, at least for that person. You stop thinking about “me” and start thinking about “you”. True love can transform people. It’s what we were designed for. Maybe that’s why, in the fairy tales, true love’s kiss solves all the problems. In the real world, it’s not an instant change, but it can be just as real.

What’s happening with Sheriff Graham? ABC’s Once Upon a Time Continues…

Last night’s episode of Once Upon a Time was all about Sheriff Graham. It revealed that yes, he was the huntsman who saved Snow White’s life. When the Evil Queen found out the truth, she stole the huntsman’s heart right out of his chest and put it in her vault. Later in the real world, Sheriff Graham figures out the truth, decided to find his heart, and discovers he loves Emma. 5 minutes later when he dumps Regina (Evil Queen), she goes to her vault and crushes Graham’s heart, thereby killing him.

So now we know the Evil Queen/Regina has access to her vault from the fairy tale world. If she can go back to her world, can anyone else? And if Graham figured out the truth before he died, will anyone else? How did the curse weaken for him? Henry said it’s because of his connection with Emma. If that were the case, wouldnt Snow White (Mary Margaret) have figured it out now too, since Emma is her daughter?

Graham’s story was beautiful and sad all at once. He had a strong conscience, a free spirit, and a loving heart. I really hope they find a way to bring him back. Maybe his death won’t count in the fairy tale world, since it happened in the real world. Or maybe he’s really gone for good. I see how his death gave a lot of depth to the story, but killing someone so beloved so early on is really upsetting. My mom and James were both really ticked off and said the show was really disappointing.

What do you think? Was Graham’s death an exciting twist or needless and upsetting? Is he coming back? Also… what’s going to happen to his wolf friend? The wolf was there the night Emma crashed, and lead them to Regina’s vault. What’s the significance here?

Once Upon a Time Dec. 4 2011

If you missed last night’s show and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading. But basically, we saw Prince James’s story, found out that the original Prince James died long ago in the Fairy Tale world, and OUR Prince James was his secret twin brother who grew up on a farm and only became the prince about a day or so before the episode where he meets Snow White. And of course it was all Rumpelstiltskin’s doing. I seriously think this guy is the real mastermind behind everything and the queen is just one of his pawns.

Exciting news, Prince James leaves his “real world” wife Katherine to be with Snow White… then remembers Katherine and ditches Snow to go work on his marriage. Usually I’m pro-marriage but that episode I found myself yelling at the screen when he left Snow “Mary Margaret Blanchard” by the creek.

Next week, we find out the identity of Sheriff Graham. Based on the trailers, it looks like he really was the queen’s guard who let Snow White go free after he was ordered to kill her. That’s what I’ve had my money on from the beginning. I can’t wait to find out!! May I just also add that I am completely bummed that after next Sunday, a new episode won’t air until January? Please ABC, you’re killing me!

In other news, Ben F is coming back in the Bachelor. I’m so excited to see what happens to they guy, he seems so sweet (and a little naive). Hopefully he doesn’t disappoint the way Jake did.

TLC’s Virgin Diaries: Really?

So while I was indulging in my guilty pleasure of watching Sister Wives on TLC on demand (yes, I’m that engrossed in it that I watch it on demand), I saw the trailer for Virgin Diaries, a 1-hour special on next sunday about adult virgins.
There has been a lot of buzz online about whether TLC is making fun of virgins or just simply providing a documentary type piece. Here’s my big problem with it: the trailer itself makes fun of virgins, and the fact that there is a show about it on TLC insinuates that it is something abnormal.
What in the world has happened? Yes, I’m not an idiot. I’ve been alive long enough to know that premarital sex is extremely common. But denigrating people who live by a higher moral standard? That’s terrible. And actually, if you look at the statistics, couples who wait until marriage to have sex have a much lower divorce rate than those that do not wait.

Why is that? There are probably a million reasons, and I have a guess. Let me just preface this by saying that my conjecture is NOT based on research, but simply my own observations from my own life and the lives of my friends and acquaintances. My guess is that couples who are committed to waiting until marriage to have sex probably develop a deeper bond while dating and have a deeper commitment in their marriage. This probably stems from having a stronger moral background to begin with and putting more value on the sanctity of marriage. If you deeply believe that sex is a gift from God meant only for the sacred intimacy between a husband and wife, then your view of marriage is faith-centered, and you’re probably going to put more work into keeping your marriage forever. I don’t know if my reasoning is 100% accurate, but the fact remains that couples who wait until marriage to have sex report higher marital satisfaction and lower divorce rates. Go figure.

Maybe part of it to is that if you are dating without the pressure of a sexual relationship, you have more freedom to choose. You have freedom to choose to be with each other, freedom to choose to deepen your relationship on a non-sexual level, freedom to love each other without trying to gain anything, and more freedom to walk away if you must.

Again, it’s all simply my thoughts on my own observations. I’ll welcome anyone else’s thoughts as well as long as they are respectful and thoughtful.

Jake and Vienna, Seriously?

The big news tonight was that Jake and Vienna are together. (Ouch, right?) They announced after the show that, after 3 months of living in separate states to keep their relationship a secret, she’s moving in with him ASAP.

Moving in with a guy that she hasn’t even dated? That’s a little crazy. Think about it, they had a few “dates” on the show, then were long distance for 3 months, and now moving in together? Can anyone say looney-bin?

I liked Tenley better, though after watching tonight’s episode, I’ve decided that she deserves someone better than Jake. She’s right, she needs someone who will love her with everything he has. It takes a little heartache to learn what that really means, and I’m glad she knows what she wants. That’s not unrealistic standards, that’s respect for yourself.

Ali the Bachelorette? Not bad. She did have the most personality. I liked Gia and Tenley better, but Ali seems to be the most well-adjusted and ready for the challenge. I just hope she’s not the b-word that she seemed to be at points this season.

I wouldn’t have picked Vienna for Jake, but I wouldn’t have picked Ed for Jillian either. I guess whatever floats your boat, right? I mean how much should other people’s opinions matter, especially the opinions of people who only know you from watching you on TV?

The other big news was that Jake will be on Dancing with the Stars. I LOVE that show. I don’t really like Jake much anymore. I really do think he’s just a “good-looking dork.” And have you noticed that he walks exactly like George W. Bush? Some how I can’t picture either of them as good dancers. Must be a Texas thang.

Who Does Jake Pick?

All the spoilers (which have been correct to this point) say it’s Vienna. I’m pretty ticked about that, but I’ve had time to get over it. Tenley seems WAY better, but still pretty lousy. She’s very nice and sweet, but she has a ton of baggage. The girl talks about her divorce all the time. Jumping back into marriage after only a few months seems pretty stupid.

Good lord I hate Vienna. She gives 23-year-olds a bad name, seriously. I know plenty of 23-year-olds who could handle marriage and all that goes with it… but Vienna? Miss “my daddy bought me 5 cars because I kept wrecking them”???

My personal guess… looks like Jake doesn’t pick anyone. Maybe asks Ali back on the After the Final Rose show, ala Jason + Molly. At least that’s what the previews seem to allude to. We’ll see. Can’t wait til Monday night!!

P.S. Does anyone else think American Idol has gotten extremely stupid? Honestly, I stopped watching religiously after Jordan Sparks’ season. I do think this season will probably be the last one though. Simon’s throwing it to the wolves by leaving.

My Problem with Jersey Shore

How much TV actually affects people

I was substituting for an art teacher at  local high school recently. The kids had to turn in their homework- an assignment to design and draw their own superhero. I was sifting through the pictures, having a laugh, when I noticed that one kid had chosen to design “Super Guido”, complete with green, white, and red spandex, greased black hair, and a big “G” on his chest.

Growing up Italian-American, I’ve been taught to be proud of my heritage. I was raised on stories about my ancestors- Roman conquerors and engineers, Medieval writers, Renaissance sculptors and thinkers, Baroque architects, and hard-working immigrants who built new lives from nothing in a foreign land. Not to mention our fabulous cooks, and my personal family history that includes bakers in Roseto Valfortore, a policeman in Penne, and a connection to St. Gabriel Possenti, who was buried in my great-grandmother’s town of Isola del Gran Sasso, Provincia di Teramo, in Abruzzo.

Every Italian-American family has stories like this. Every Italian-American has a history to be proud of. It’s true, we are different from native Italians, as the most recent chapters of our history are different. Still, we share the same proud heritage stretching back thousands of years.

Italian-Americans, like all ethnic immigrant groups in America, have the right to be proud of their culture. They have the right to be respected for the work they have done to help build this country, and the contributions they will make in the future.

Racial slurs and negative stereotypes have NO place in this country. I don’t care what color you are, what ethnicity, when you came here, or what state you’re from. If America is going to succeed, we each have treat each other with respect. Non-WASP groups have had to work extra hard for CENTURIES in order to get the equal respect they deserve. Our society isn’t perfect yet, but our progress to this point should not be discounted.

Calling an Italian-American a “giudo” is wrong for the same reason that it is wrong to use any racial slur. My grandfather’s name was Giudo. He was a hard-working family man who gave this life everything he had. The cast members of Jersey Shore disgrace themselves and the culture they claim to represent when they use words like that. It’s as bad as when African-Americans call each other the n-word. It’s degrading and disrespectful. It has no place in our society.

The worst part of this whole thing is that MTV is influencing a whole generation of people to think that it is ok, acceptable even, to refer to Italians as “guidos”. If there were a show on TV that encouraged people to use the N-word, it would be off the air in a matter of minutes.

Back to the classroom…

After considering the situation for a while, I decided to privately explain to the student that their design was offensive. Sure enough, as I expected, the kid was a fan of Jersey Shore and had absolutely no idea that calling an Italian a “Guido” was offensive. The student offered to change the design, but I told them not to worry about it. It was just homework and I’m not against freedom of artistic expression. I just think that people should be made aware of what’s offensive. If they want to be offensive, that’s another issue.

Thank you Jersey Shore, for teaching kids that racial slurs are cool.

The Bachelor – Jake’s in the wrong league.

At the beginning of this season’s “The Bachelor”, everyone was asking themselves, why is this guy who is smart, sweet, has a great job, a great personality, rippling abs and a gosh-darn-cute-as-a-button smile STILL SINGLE at the ripe old age of 31?

Now we get it. It was just too good to be true, really. But I see it now. The guy doesn’t understand women. He’s a little too trusting, naïve, innocent, whatever you want to call it. He expects too much in the beginning. He picks the wrong girls. He’s way too easily deceived by a pretty smile. And the saddest part of all is, he really is genuinely sweet. Maybe a bit too idealistic and expecting, but truly a nice man.

It doesn’t help that they gave him a house of seriously wacked-out girls.

He does seem to be wising up a little now in week 3. Thank GOD he dumped Michelle. I hope they rip her to shreds on SNL. Really, I’d like to see Tina Fey do an impression of her.

As for Vienna, wake up Jake. True, she’s not quite the Paris Hilton clone I pegged her as, but she’s still too young for you. She’s nicer and sweeter than I originally thought, but still too immature. Her main problem now it seems is that, like Jake, she’s too trusting of the other girls. I like that she apologized for all the bragging, and I think she’s sincere. I still think she’s wrong for Jake.

Ali, oh my gosh, what happened. I thought she was nice and sweet and fun. Turns out anyone can put up that face for Jake. She’s doing exactly what she accuses Vienna of – putting up one face for Jake and a totally different one in the house. The way she treated Vienna was disgusting.

Corrie- I like her now. I think that comedy routine ripping Vienna was actually a smart thing to do. It let Jake in on the truth in an indirect way. It came off as showing concern, without making herself look like a jealous, self-centered rhymes-with-itch. It was very clever and she deserves some credit.

Ella- LOVE her. She’s a great woman. She seems much more mature than Jake, which could become a real problem. Or, it could be just what Jake needs. He seemed very good with her kid. I hope he’s smart enough to see how great she is. Given his track record… it’s iffy.

I’m glad Elizabeth is gone. She was WEIRD. From the moment we met her on TV, I thought she was way too aggressive in a weird way. Jake doesn’t need her. And she really was a tease. Poor Jake had no idea what to think, and she didn’t explain herself very well. Even ignoring everything else, the way they communicated was bad. They didn’t connect well verbally. The would have had a hard time in a real relationship together.

Poor Jake’s in over his cute little head.