Netflix's Disenchantment Suggests the Messy Future of Princess Stories

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As time passes by, things change, and recently one thing that has begun to take a new direction are princess stories. Everybody will have heard numerous princess stories in the past, such as Beauty and the Beast for example, which went on to become a huge hit inspiring a range of merchandise -- and Yggdrasil Gaming even developed a slot game. In a way, stories about princesses have always revolved around romance and that’s been the way for some time. But things are changing, and fast.

Matt Groening is the man famous for creating The Simpsons, arguably one of the best TV Shows ever. This genius is the one behind the newly released Disenchantment on Netflix which, to put it very simply, is a princess cartoon, but with a difference. The protagonist of the show is a character called Princess Tiabeanie Mariabeanie De La Rochambeaux Drunkowitz, or Bean for short, and she’s unlike a traditional princess in many ways. For one, she isn’t the glamorous sort who people would expect; she’s a hard-drinker and quite unruly.

One thing that Bean has in common with every princess story ever told is that there’s a love interest, and this is what takes the story forward. However, what you have is a real conflict as there are parts that represent a traditional princess and princess story, while there are other factors that are sort of pulling things in a new direction--possibly in an attempt to modernise the whole princess thing after years of the same narrative.

Like every princess who has gone before her, Bean has that status and the chance to live a life of luxury, never wanting for anything. Viewers will see her presented with two potential husbands, and in normal circumstances a princess would choose one, marry him, and live happily ever after. However, in this case, Bean rejects both as she goes about trying to find her place in the world. There seems to be a lot more independence given to Bean than any other princess who has gone before her, who were waited on hand and foot.

Bean, for example, heads out into the world doing her own thing and you see her as an executioner and even a diplomat. What you kind of take away from this is the fact that as a character she’s stuck between being an actual princess, or a modern-day princess, but there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about the direction the story will take from the writers and this suggests a messy future for the genre itself.

There is a need to modernise princess stories to help fit the era they’re now being told in. But there’s also a need to retain traditional aspects too, as they have worked for many years and are still loved today. It will be interesting to see how Matt Groening and his team not only develop Bean, but Disenchantment as a whole, as it could turn out to be a truly wonderful piece of work.