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Dream TV

October 11, 2020
Elizabeth Lail as Anna, having just pounced on David, then realizing he is not an attacker.

It’s unusual for me to dream about a TV show or film immediately upon watching it, but I did last night.

I just received the fourth and fifth seasons of Once Upon a Time in Friday’s mail, which I ordered from Deep Discount, which I’ve been consistently finding among the best television series I’ve ever seen. I saw all but two episodes of the first season when they originally aired–one of the ones I missed, “True North” aired as I was on the bus to Jacksonville, and the season finale, which changed everything aired the night before I returned, when I was treated to a final dinner before leaving with Donna Toms-Jones and her family, whom I met singing in the choir at unity of Jacksonville.  I bought the first two seasons in a two-pack from Best Buy for $13 and got seriously engaged.

Elsa from Frozen was in the final teaser at the end of season three, and the first episode begins with the King and Queen of Arendelle’s shipwreck and the revelation that they were on a voyage to learn more about Elsa’s powers, which is consistent with Frozen II, which was released five years later, but the similarity soon deviates as Elsa without Anna does a bit of a retread of the first film, only in Storybrooke. The brilliance of the episodes is how they compare and contrast elements of Frozen, which had been released only a year before, both in terms of narrative and theme as well as shot compositions, with the main characters of the series. The casting is absolutely brilliant. While I never got to see the Broadway show, which it was announced would not be returning after the COVID-19 shutdown, I did see TV promotions and so forth. Casting-wise, probably because singing voices were not an issue, the actors chosen to play Elsa and Anna, Georgina Haig and Elizabeth Lail, are about as good as could possibly be hoped for in a live action translation, something I did not feel the Broadway actors, for all their virtues, captured. Series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis wrote the season premiere, and Jane Espenson, writer of some of the very best episodes, including “Skin Deep,” which introduced Belle, who went from a guest role to a regular role, wrote the second, did not follow what I’ve seen people on the internet say about Anna, interpreting her as dumb (I saw one person say that they thought that the line, “Why have a ballroom with no balls?” meant that she didn’t understand why balls, as in the objects, were not in the ballroom), but rather naïve and impulsive (words actually used to describe her by other characters), as well as someone who changed the life of David, whom Kristoff knew and advised her to ask for help. Elsa is portrayed as being unable to control her powers without Anna’s love, support, and confidence. While I still haven’t seen the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure short (Olaf was my least favorite part of Frozen–I found his humor groan-worthy, but thought he was much funnier and more lovable in Frozen II, which seems to reference a plot point in it), this doesn’t seem to be something emphasized in the actual Frozen series–in Frozen II, she appeared to be in full command of her powers regardless of whether Anna was present, and in Frozen Fever, she lost control of her powers with Anna present because she was temporarily ill. Nevertheless, Frozen, with so much of the conflict happening at an internal level, is one of the most maturely handled of Disney fairy tale franchises, and a perfect fit for a series that seeks to humanize the iconic characters of fairy tales, as well as to continue to populate the show with strong women characters in ways they were not in many of the earlier tales, but without making the men look weak.

I mentioned at the beginning that these episodes inspired my dreams last night. I know I dreamed more than I can remember, but first I remember being in a common area of a big wooden lodge with Elsa and showing her around as if it were a place with which I was familiar. At a later point in the dream I was driving east on 86th street in Indianapolis toward home–or what was home before my mother passed away and we had to sell it–loss of parents was a big theme of the episodes, and Anna was in the passenger seat (Elsa adapts pretty quickly to using a walkie-talkie in the episode even though the season finale made clear that she had not previously left the Enchanted Forest, having been trapped by Rumplestiltskin). As we passed by Nora Plaza, Anna, who probably distracted me with her beauty, noticed before I did a line of cops in the road blocking traffic (which shows you how dumb I think cops are that they used their bodies instead of barricades), and Anna leaned over to help me make a left turn in time to avoid hitting them, pulling into the Burger King parking lot (which is no longer a Burger King, but I remember when they built it). Much more so than in real life, the Burger King lot, which was at the southeast corner of Nora Plaza, was surrounded by bushes, but also a retaining pond. Further emphasizing my belief that cops are stupid, Anna and I, having gotten out of the car, found a dead man floating face down in the retaining pond that the cops were apparently doing nothing about, and Anna walked back toward the street to ask them if they knew about it, because they apparently were dealing with something else a little way farther down the road that I probably never found out, because that’s all I can remember.

I would have loved to have been on the writing team for a show like Once Upon a Time, but apparently degrees in cinema and media are not what employers in the business are looking for, because any query letter regarding my scripts that has gotten a response was greeted by a form letter saying that they were not looking for new writers at the time. This is just in general–I never tried to contact Kitsis/Horowitz Productions.

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