Oct 25, 2014

Beefcake in "The Little Mermaid"

Of all the authors that teachers foisted upon me as a kid to embrace Rock Island's Scandinavian heritage, the absolute worst was Hans Christian Andersen. I hated fairy tales anyway -- who needs fairy godmothers, when there are rocket ships blasting off to Jupiter?  -- and these were grim, morbid, horrible:

"The Little Mermaid": A mermaid sacrifices her life to save a handsome prince.

"The Brave Tin Soldier."  Yeah, he's brave, until he gets too near a fire, and melts to death.

"The Snow Queen." A cold person keeps kidnapping children and freezing them to death.

"The Little Match-Seller."  A girl selling matches freezes to death.

"The Garden of Paradise."  A prince dies.

One or two of his cautionary tales were ok -- "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Ugly Duckling."  But really, who wouldn't rather be watching Fractured Fairy Tales on Rocky and Bullwinkle?

Later I discovered that Andersen was gay or bisexual in real life.  In fact, his psychiatrist invented the term homosexual from the Greek homo (the same) and the Latin sexualis in order to diagnose his condition.

Gay but depressed.  No wonder his characters keep dying.

I've never seen any of the film versions of Andersen's fairy tales, but I understand that Disney let The Little Mermaid, Ariel, live, in the 1989 animated version.

And displayed Prince Eric shirtless, although probably not as suggestively as this fan art from Lucien-Christophe on Deviant Art.com.

If you want to see beefcake in the Hans Christian Andersen oeuvre, you need to seek out the occasional stage version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" (above), or The Little Mermaid stage musical.

Eric doesn't display much, but King Triton, Ariel's father, is bare-chested.

Although sometimes the actor wears a ridiculous beard.

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