The Atlantic

Disenchantment Subverts the Cartoon Fairy Tale

Matt Groening’s new Netflix series pushes the envelope, but not far enough.
Source: Netflix

’s biggest middle finger to fairy-tale tropes comes midway through the first episode, when Princess “Bean” Tiabeanie (Abbi Jacobson) refuses to marry the prince she’s been contracted to by her father. But the subtler subversions are more satisfying. Bean’s getting-ready routine involves not bluebirds and singing mice, but leeches, one for each cheek to give her a healthy glow (“Whores rouge, ladies leech,” Bean’s maid says, cheerily). Hansel and Gretel aren’t innocent orphans, but sadistic wretches who do much worse than eat an old lady’s dream house. Bean’s magical companion isn’t a

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
It’s Time to Hold American Elites Accountable for Their Abuses
Normally, a scandal centered on how rich parents used bribes to win their children’s admittance into elite colleges wouldn’t play so heavily in the national news. No one much cared when Donald Trump promised large donations as his children enrolled a
The Atlantic5 min readPsychology
Why Celebrities Are So Susceptible to Grifters
Human history is riddled with people whose limited credentials have not stopped them from successfully hawking miracle cures and religious salvation, but Grigori Rasputin stands out as a talented wellness grifter even now. After arriving in St. Peter
The Atlantic4 min read
Game of Thrones Is Over. Now What About the Books?
George R. R. Martin insists that the final entries in his fantasy series are still coming—even though HBO has finished telling his story first.