Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why Mrs. Potts deserves more credit

Alright so Disney is rather all encompassing, as in you probably watched multiple of their creations during your childhood.  Or if you're me, almost all of them even into my adulthood...  Given that knowledge about me you probably are not surprised to learn that I have a lot of opinions about Disney.  Today we're going to stick to Beauty and the Beast.

In the Disney canon almost all main characters don't have a full set of parents.  Even the ones that do, etc. Rapunzel, the parents don't really have an affect on the film.  This has everything to do with the fact that Disney likes to adapt fairy tales/fairy tale styled pieces.

For whatever reason there was a huge trope in the 1600's within the folklore of having the protagonist of the tale be orphans.  I think it actually entirely has to do with the guilt of the time period for what happened to orphans.  There wasn't really any sort of structure in place so either the orphans found a way to work for food/money, if their family was well connected it was possibly that they would become a ward to another family, or possibly would just end up begging on the street.  With all three possibilities there was never a guarantee that any said situation would be pleasant.  I think because of this cultural knowledge people displaced their guilt by telling these phantasmagorical story about orphans that did extremely well.  

Despite that lack of parents being overly common in Disney's inspiration source they still managed create an awesome maternal character in Mrs. Potts.  She and her child is turned into china, I can't imagine not having a break down if that happened to me.  Mrs. Potts however just continues on being a parent because that's what she had to do for her child.  She provides the feminine mature adult voice in the story.  Belle's father occasionally provides the counter part of the masculine mature adult voice but isn't as active as Mrs. Potts is.  It's an important voice to note because such females are rare in Disney.  Most older females, aka not princesses, in Disney's canon are evil.  Mrs. Potts breaks this rule.

She also actually looks old.  Another truly unique trait in the Disney canon.  Check out Rapunzel's mother, she doesn't actually look like she could have 18 year old daughter does she?  On top of all that she has a body type that is not common in the positive characters database over at Disney.  Most of individual who are not stereotypical attractive are evil or stupid.  Mrs. Potts is neither, she's friendly and very competent.

If you haven't watched Beauty and the Beast since you were a kid, give another view.  It's beautifully animated, has a story worth watching, and the cherry on top one of the best representations of a female that Disney has ever done.


  1. Do you ever wonder about when Beast was smashing the furniture in his room if maybe one of those pieces of furniture was Mrs. Potts's spouse and when everyone turns back into humans if Chip and Mrs. Potts ran in that room, in hopes of finding Chip's other parent maybe locked away somewhere, but instead found a corpse destroyed by the Beast in rage? I get so upset thinking about that. I like to think that was non-enchanted furniture, from before the change happened. Still...

    1. Definitely a macabre thought. I just kind of always assumed Beast knew who was alive and who wasn't... but then again he is presented as awfully cruel and fairly dumb in the beginning. Disney seems to always have dark undertones. I figure it's their way for making up for how sugary sweet the over tones are.