Because of a personality flaw which makes me susceptible to various (mostly harmless) addictions, I’ve been lost in the enchanted forest and the town of Storybrooke, Maine for days and days. I’m blaming it on Netflix. I rarely watch television because of all the wasted minutes in life which are spent enduring commercials, but put a good series of shows together back to back with no interruptions, and I am hooked.
Once Upon a Time is a jumbled up mess of worlds and fairy tales and elusive happy endings. The best stories always start with those four words, don’t you think? That was my absolute favourite beginning to any narrative when I was a child, and I loved to add more details and adventures and complications to make the bed time story go on and on. They lived happily ever after was always put off for as long as I could keep my eyes open. And then after that on into my dreams. I don’t think I’ve entirely grown up yet.
It started off with mild curiosity and pressing play on episode one. Then on to the next episode and the next and the next, until suddenly it was midnight and my head had turned into a pumpkin full of magic beans and I did not want this amazing fairy tale to end. It is well written and it is well-played. A lot of the casting seems magically inspired.
By sitting glued to my I-Pad lately, (that is every waking moment I’m not interrupted by tiresome things like going to work), I have managed to make it well into the middle of season two. For every resolved problem there are inevitably two or three new ones that pop up, and now ‘happily ever after’ appears to be everyone’s never-ending quest. Kind of like real life when you think about it. Eventually you realize happiness is all in the joy of the hunt and the experiences, and not in the outcome you thought you wanted after all.
It’s never time wasted if you learn something, right? So here’s what I’ve learned so far.
1. Sometimes you do the right thing for the wrong reason, and sometimes you do the wrong thing for the right reason. Either way, shit is bound to happen.
2. Magic beans create portals to different worlds. You can also use wishing wells, magic top hats and enchanted wardrobes. And possibly various other things as long as they’re sprinkled with sufficient amounts of fairy dust.
3. Not everyone who is bad is bad to the bone. If you look deep enough you will discover their redeeming qualities.
4. Powerful curses can be broken.
5. Always be careful what you wish for and how you wish for it. When you get it, you might discover that what you said wasn’t really what you meant at all.
6. Magic always comes with a price.
7. Snow White was not just another pretty face.
8. People who mean well can generally screw things up just about as fast as those who wish you harm.
9. When Snow White and Prince Charming are your grandparents on your mother’s side, your other grandfather is a powerful wizard of dark magic and you’ve been adopted by the wicked queen, guess what. Your life is going to be pretty weird.
10. Everyone has a story.
Be warned, once you start watching this series it may be very difficult to stop. It sucks the real life ambition right out of you and glues you to your couch where you will sit mesmerized as if time is standing still. Chances are, you won’t even try to escape until the story ends.