Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Serving Sidekicks

I discovered this guy who does really cute Disney illustrations! Check out his flickr site!

I've always felt that if I were ever in a story, I'd most likely be a sidekick and not the heroine. Blame it on my middle child complex.

In Beauty & the Beast, the entire household of sidekicks runs the gamut of personalities. There's Cogsworth the clock, tightly wound and controlling, and the suave and charming candlestick, Lumière. Mrs. Potts is warm and comforting like teapots usually are, and her son Chip is naive yet adorable. (Does anyone else find it a bit disturbing that Mrs. Potts, a plump gray-haired woman, has a son who looks like he's about 6? Not to mention the two dozen other "brothers and sisters" sleeping in the cupboard!)

As I watched the movie this time around, I was intrigued by how these castle servants cope with being turned into household items. The Beast, as ugly and scary as he is, remains at least a living breathing being. But the others are transformed into pieces of furniture and appliances! I wonder if they missed simple things like, well, having arms, legs or fingers. Or being able to taste food. I think that would be a biggie for me.

While the Beast responds to his curse with anger and despair, the servants remain surprisingly patient and optimistic. They gently encourage the Beast to extend hospitality towards Belle when she first arrives. They coach him in behaving less like an animal and more like a man. They never mention that they too, suffer from the Beast's actions.

Despite having every reason to resent the Beast, they genuinely seem to be on his side, trying their best to help him in a bad situation. They believe that there's still something good in him.

We take this for granted because they're "official Disney sidekicks"--by definition they are supposed to be supportive and helpful. But,when I think about the hand they have been dealt (or uh, lack thereof I guess), I'm astonished by how caring they really are throughout the story.

If I ever do find myself in the sidekick role of someone else's story, I hope that my attitude will be like that of Cogsworth, Lumière, Mrs. Potts and the rest of the enchanted servants. I hope that I will let go of my own selfish wants and do all I can to be an optimistic cheerleader, a thoughtful giver of advice, and a selfless friend.

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