Once Upon a Time

It wasn’t that long ago here on the SheHeroes blog that I posted a blog post about different ways we can take the traditional princess fairy tales and spin them into something… well, something more. I talked about ways can spin them to present the moral lesson we want our Heroes and SheHeroes to get out of them. And how we can spin them to downplay or completely remove the parts of the fairy tales that we feel serve no purpose or give girls a wrong impression of what a woman or princess is.

You can head over to check out the post now, it’s okay I’ll wait.

Now that you’re up to speed I have to say that since I wrote that post I discovered there was more to this idea of spinning fairy tales into something different than I had ever even imagined. There is a new show that I had yet to discover at the time of that previous post, Once Upon a Time. Though I had heard of the show when I wrote the post for SheHeroes I had yet to see it and certainly didn’t expect the princesses of Storybrook, Maine and the Enchanted Forest (the fictional places in which the show takes place) to be… well full of awesome.

The show is not entirely easy to describe, but I’ll give it a try. In the fairy tale world Snow White and Prince Charming have exchanged "I Dos” and are prepared to enjoy their happily ever after, but before they can the evil queen sets off a curse that sends everyone in the fairy tale world to our world here in modern day, to a town where time stands still called Storybrook, Maine. The catch? None of them remember their former identity and are forced to live in this town never able to reach their happily ever afters.

But one boy, Henry, through the use of a fairy tale book that chronicles the events leading to the curse, has figured out what’s happened and seeks the help of the one person who can break the curse, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming who they sent away when she was an infant right before the curse came.

The show flashes back between modern day and the fairy tale characters before the curse hit in the fairy tale world. The best thing about this show is that the female characters are great!

Emma Swann, the daughter of Snow White & Prince charming (who has yet to believe her true identity) is strong unattached woman who makes her living as a bail bondsperson. She’s smart, savvy, and according to the “prophecy" on the show is destined to save the entire kingdom. No prince required. The only relationships we see her focusing on are the one she shares with young Henry, the son she gave up for adoption, and modern day Snow White (who is actually her mother).

The plot may seem a bit confusing, but it certainly presents a different spin on the traditional fairy tales and some pretty amazing characters and storylines that will forever change the way you look at fairy tale princesses.

Snow White’s story, one of the main storylines of the shows, shows her as a tough independent woman who makes her living stealing from the rich in order to save enough money to get out of the enchanted forest and out of the watchful eye of the evil queen who is still out to get her. Her rough riding and swashbuckling skills make her mistaken for a man when robbing a group of royals in the forest one day, which is how she meets Prince Charming.

When the two meet up again they set out to retrieve the ring she had stolen from him and subsequently sold to the trolls. During this adventure she saves his life. THIS Snow White feels much more like Xena than a Disney princess.

In another episode we meet Cinderella. Now her story falls generally within line of the original, except her means to get to the ball are slightly darker than simply dealing with her fairy godmother. And after marrying the prince she is commended by Snow white not for landing a man, but for changing her life and controlling her own destiny. Girls pushing away the circumstances that bind them to an unhappy life and controlling their destiny turns out to be the theme of this empowering retelling of Cinderella.

I watched all of the episodes that have aired so far over the course of the weekend on demand with both my 6 year old daughter and 8-year-old son. And they LOVED it. Yes, sometimes they got a little lost from time to time keeping up with who is who in both worlds, but the action was more than enough to keep my own swashbuckling loving son watching. And my daughter. What can I say? The moment she looked at me and said, “I didn’t know Snow White wore pants and could fight like that!”  I knew that we would be watching this show for as long as it’s on.

If you’re looking for a show that will excite the whole family, and give your SheHero a whole new picture of what a fairy tale princess can be check out Once Upon a Time on ABC.

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