The Disney Dating Game
Welcome to another episode of the Disney dating game. What is the Disney dating game? Well, I’m glad you asked. It is the game where you get to pick your Disney hero to sweep you off your feet and take you off to your happily ever after. Pick a good Disney prince and you could end up with a life times supply of money, wealth and an all expenses paid trip to your local dentist because of all of the syrupy sweetness you will be receiving from said prince. Select the wrong prince and . . . I will let the undertaker explain to you the ramifications. I mean, if you didn’t have Prince Ferdinand in Snow White show up, Miss White may have had a long sleep with the fishes. Even Dory might not have been able to find her. Thankfully we didn’t have to worry about that.
And hopefully, neither will you once you play this game. You just have to choose between the three available princes and have yourself an eternity of love and happiness. But we here at Happily Ever After Studios found that the game wasn’t challenging enough if you could see the picture of your prince. We wanted you to select your Disney prince from the descriptions that we give you. Having a picture would be cheating. Because you know that even Jafar deserves some love too. OK! Maybe I mean that Jay (Descendants), his son deserves his love. Someone deserves love anyway. So you gotta accept your prince, sight unseen. It’s kind of like the Dating Game, without Arnold Schwarzenegger behind any door.
So without any further ado, welcome to The Single Dad’s Guide to Life’s Disney Dating Game. Meet your match, or go and meet Hades from Hercules. It’s one of those two, I think.
Meet The Princes
Hello, Princess! Welcome to The Guide’s Disney Dating Game sponsored by Happily Ever After Studios. Here you will get to choose between a prince and two pretenders. Select the prince and you will get an all-expenses paid trip to the castle of your choice and your happily ever after. Select one of the pretenders and win a trip to your own personal nightmare and a lifetime of hurt. Ready princess? All right! Would you like to know who’s behind door number one? Yes?
Prince Number One
Well, the Prince behind door number one some might call a crook. He’s basically a thief, and quite a good one while he’s not horsing around. He’s gone by a never ending series of aliases but just cannot seem to get the look right. He seems to have something against kitchenware, although he might warm up to it after a time. Just don’t expect him to cook anything. And if he runs afoul of the law, he often reverts to childish tendencies, holding on to his ducky. His vision sucks and probably won’t be able to protect you as he is easily overpowered in a fight. He will never be confused with a hero, but he could light up your world.
Does that sound good? Yes? No? Heck no? Well, let’s move on to “Prince” number two. You look a little bit stressed after that last prince. So I’m hoping this one will blow your socks off! Ready Princess? All right!
Prince Number Two
Behind door number two this prince is the proverbial ladies man. It would seem that he can’t stop chasing a skirt. And what’s more, his parents have cut him off without a dime. So what does this prince decide to do? Nothing! Because he doesn’t have any talent! Well, that’s not quite true. His talent exists in the fact that he is a prince. So he runs away from his family and his responsibilities to chase after some beautiful American women. And how is he going to get them? He’s going to name drop and hope that some woman is stupid enough to follow after him. And when he arrives on the shores of America, he figures that the first thing he should do is get involved with the occult. He might not be bright as a star, but he does not how to help in the kitchen.
I know. I know. The choices here are overwhelming. You aren’t sure who you will choose? Well, maybe you won’t have to choose between these two princes. Let’s look at the prince behind door number three.
Prince Number Three
Behind door number three princess, sits a man who has had to pick himself by his own bootstraps. He has applied himself well and had to study chemistry and biology. This has taken him to the very heights of power. His ambition may be limitless but love is never very far from his mind. In addition to his knowledge and hard working nature, he has an amazing way with birds. So if you love birds and you need to have help in training, he is the guy. He has gone through a recent job change, but it’s even more powerful than the job he had before. He may not be your idea of tall, dark and handsome, but he will make sure your every wish is fulfilled.
So princess . . . does that make the decision any easier? Will you select prince number one? Prince number two? Or prince number three? Do we need to go to commercial break? OK! Let’s go to commercial break and then come back and you will give us your answer.
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The Davidnator: you know you want it. (The Davidnator is not to be sold in the contiguous United States, 7 of its colonies, any of the seven continents, the planet Earth, the planet Mars, or the mythical kingdom of Andalusia. We cannot be held responsible for a loss of friends, loss of dignity, loss of life, loss of children, loss of love and hair loss.) The Davidnator. Use only as directed.
***End of Commercial Break***
So Princess . . . Will you choose Prince number one, the cosmically inept and food challenged thief? Or will you choose Prince number two, the ladies man with no talent except with a knife who thinks cults are cool? Or will you choose Prince number three, the hard working wish giver who dabbles in magic tricks and Ornithology? What’s that? Prince number three? Well, let me tell you who you have missed.
Meet The Princes
He’s no gang member, but he has discovered a good group of friends, and he has finally decided to go by his real name. He’s self-sacrificing and can light your world. Meet Eugene Fitzherbert. (Flynn Rider) **Applause**
Prince number two may have been a bum, but he cleaned up his act and may become a head chef someday soon. He left the cult before it was too late before the leader and his followers croaked. He may not be a star, but he has a best friend who is one. Meet Prince Naveen. **Applause**
So are you excited to meet your prince? Yes? Well . . . prince number three is a fighter and will go after everything that is in his path. There is nothing that will stop him, except his living conditions. He may grant your every wish, but he’s certainly no diamond in the rough. Meet your prince . . . Jafar!
Wait! No? You do not like your selection? Do you want to take it back? Did you read the fine print before joining the game? That is no excuse. I’m sorry but you will have to accept your choice . . . for all eternity. Bwahahaha!
Thankfully this Disney Dating game isn’t real. But I think it does reveal one thing that I think we do not consider too much about Disney. And that’s the nature of a Disney Prince. We are told about Disney Princesses all the time. They must be strong and powerful. We have to know that they make good decisions and that those decisions are good and right. What about Disney Princes? I think, far too often, they are animals or afterthoughts. Like much of society, Disney princes are like how we picture men. They are either lovable buffoons or furniture, good to look at and use, but not particularly useful.
What Is A Good Disney Prince?
I want to change that. When I came up with the idea for this post I wanted to qualify what a good Disney prince was; and, in turn, make a list of my top ten Disney Princes. I think boys need good role models in the world, and mostly they are non-existent. Cinema is littered with far too many Archie Bunkers and not enough Captian Americas. I hear you saying, “but what about Captian America and all the superhero movies?” Don’t they count? I’d say they too are emotionally stunted idiots. (I love Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), but you cannot tell me that he’s not an emotionally stunted idiot at the beginning of that picture.) Even when they are not, those movies are the exception and not the rule. And Disney’s game, until late, was not about those superheroes. There were Disney Princesses and Disney Princes and no superheroes.
For that reason, I am leaving the superheroes off the list and focusing just on the Princes in films. A good prince has to have a good personality and mean something. This makes Prince Ferdinand rank lower on the list. Kissing the girl does not mean you have personality. Even Jafar has lips and wanted to kiss Jasmine. You have to actually do something of moral worth to be higher on the list. And as Disney has many films with limited Princes (Snow White) or none of any worth at all (Brave), I am going to extend the definition of a Disney Prince to any leading male (whether human or animal), who makes moral decisions in a film.
So without further ado, here are my top ten Disney Prince role models:
Top Ten Disney Princes
10) Kristoff (Frozen)-
I really like Kristoff. I really do. He is a good guy with a good heart. If he were not, he would not be on this list. He just arrives on this list at number 10 and not higher for a few reasons. First, he is slightly more buffoonish than I would prefer. (Sharing carrots with his reindeer is weird. Just saying.) But secondly, and more importantly, he doesn’t really grow as a character. Anna Grows. Elsa Grows. Even Olaf grows in understanding. Not Kristoff. He’s a nice guy. And nothing more.
9) Prince Charming (Live Action Cinderella)-
While it is true, Prince Charming in the animated Cinderella isn’t strictly window dressing, he isn’t much more. Prince Charming in that piece equates to Alfred Hitchcock’s MacGuffin. He is merely the plot device to move the action forward. In the live action movie, he is much more than that. Yes, the prince doesn’t want to marry just anyone. He wants to marry for love. But the moral decision making extends beyond a yearning for freedom to make one’s own decisions. It’s how you treat a woman, how you treat someone of lower station than you, and what it means to help other people. This prince actually grows as the movie progresses. It may have been at the prodding of Cinderella, but it is growth nevertheless. And for that, he is to be admired.
8) Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)-
Yes, he may be a toy, but he is the kind of toy that you wish your children could have. He may be a little over the top as a space ranger, but you cannot fault him for being dedicated to what he believes about himself. And, when he is finally confronted with the truth of who he is, he does not allow himself to sink into such a state of depression that he withers away. He does deal with it, but he is able to come to a place of acceptance quickly and move on. Furthermore, he has a strong sense of friendship and love for his fellow toys that continues throughout the rest of the piece.
7) Mr. Frederickson (Up)-
Also, not a classic Disney Prince. But here is a man who loved his wife. From seeing something amazing and beautiful in her to making memories and a life together. He is both self-sacrificing and courageous, albeit a little bit nutty. You may not want your kids to grow up and tie balloons to the house in hopes that they will raise it into the sky. I am not sure the world has enough balloons for that. But you do want your child to be able to learn to love in the small ways. Love is not always the big gestures. Love is the small things that you do every day. And Mr. Frederickson loved Ellie every day of his life.
6) Emperor Kuzco (The Emperor’s New Groove)-
I suppose he is also strictly not a prince as well. But he is the main character. And he is an eligible bachelor. Although maybe he is a bit scrawny. The truth about this groove he gets on is that he realizes that the world is not about himself. And he doesn’t just realize that, but he does something about it. He can be annoying and petulant, but what makes him higher on the list than some is the extent of his growth and the reasons for his growth. He is not changing for a woman. And he grows way more in his love of his fellow man than a Mr. Frederickson. In the end, he becomes a good guy.
5) Prince Naveen (The Princess and the Frog) –
Prince Naveen is pretty much a selfish brat at the beginning of the film. He is dragging his manservant around with him. He only cares about living the high life. But we see depth in the character as he grows. He lived the crazy lifestyle because it was all he new. He just needed someone to show him that hard work does produce benefits, and satisfaction in a way that listless partying never does. I might be a little annoyed with the obvious plot device showing all Naveen needed was a good woman to straighten him out. But what makes his transformation acceptable is that the woman is flawed as well. She cannot see the beauty of life around her because she is so performance driven. They need to see the beauty in the other in order to produce growth.
4) Simba (The Lion King) –
Simba, at the beginning of the Lion King, is a selfish petulant child. He cannot see the machinations of his uncle. And his recklessness ultimately costs him his father’s life. For that, he buries himself in the wilderness with two sidekicks that bring him back to himself. Through friendship, Simba sees past the pain and the guilt and begins to create a life for himself again. If that were all you could say that he grew. But we aren’t left there. Simba must confront Scar and the pain and guilt of his past to reestablish dominance of his pride. The fact that he can do that and face up to family shows guts. We should all hope our children have more of those.
3) Aladdin (Aladdin)-
From the outset, we know that when we meet Aladdin that he represents a diamond in the rough. And he is most certainly rough around the edges. He steals. He cheats. And he always gets into trouble. But he also helps people who are in need. When he sees children starving, he cannot help but give them his food. He’s kind of the male version of the hooker with a heart of gold. But he’s more than that. Because he’s still trapped in the belief that appearance is everything. The realization that it is not is what makes Aladdin a better man, and worth emulating. We don’t want to raise thieves. But we do want to raise men that understand the importance of a man comes from the inner being and not the temporary outer shell.
2) The Beast (Beauty and the Beast)-
I did really struggle with where I was going to place the last two. It’s really a tossup. But up until a few months ago, I would have easily put The Beast much further back. What happened? I read a piece talking about how Alan Mencken viewed The Beast as the pivotal role as he was the non-static character. Even Belle was static in his estimation. What do I mean by that? I mean that Mencken didn’t believe that Belle grew throughout the movie. And truthfully, she didn’t. Belle may have come to love a beast. But that ability was always within her or it was Stockholm syndrome. She didn’t really change. The Beasts character is transformed by love. Seeing that totally changed my view of him as a prince. And this is why he is my number two.
1) Eugene Fitzherbert (Tangled)-
There is no Disney Prince that has to go through more difficulties in life and a greater transformation than Flynn Rider. Ahem! I mean Eugene Fitzherbert. He lost his parents; was sent to an orphanage; lived a life of crime; and got himself in trouble among his prison compatriots. And then he meets Rapunzel. I suppose you could say that the woman transformed him. But truthfully he grew up. And then he did the one thing that no character ever did. He sacrificed his life for his friend. Instead of allowing Rapunzel to heal him when he was on the verge of death, he set her free. Obviously, we don’t want our kids to be crooks. Or sing in saloons with unsavory people who have rubber ducks as their symbol. But if we want to teach our men that love means sacrifice, there is no better Prince than Eugene.
Continue The Conversation –
So what are your favorite Disney Princes? Who would you have chosen to be on this list? And who would you have chosen to throw off this list and why? And what story do you think Disney should do to highlight a male prince? I would love to hear from you.
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Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life