The official trailer for Matt Groening’s new Netflix animated series has been released, and it’s the fairy tale of our feminist dreams.
When we heard Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons and Futurama) had teamed up with Netflix to create an animated fairy tale series with a feminist twist, our expectations were sky high. And after a look at the first official trailer for Disenchantment, we’re thinking it may well live up to them.
Disenchantment takes us back in time to the Middle Ages and follows Princess Bean (Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson), heir to the throne of the decaying and disastrous Dreamland. Far from another Disney Princess-eque character, destined to marry a Prince Charming who’ll whisk her away into the sunset, Princess Bean is way ahead of her time. With a penchant for hard liquor and a serious problem with the patriarchy, she’s certainly not your stereotypical lady of the royal court.
Although Netflix announced the news of this exciting collaboration earlier this summer, details have been pretty thin on the ground. That is, until Sunday (22 July), when the first official trailer was released.
At just under two minutes long, the clip gives us an insight into Princess Bean and her rebellious ways, as well as some of the progressive, female-focused themes that the show will be exploring.
The trailer begins with the wedding of Prince Bentwood (an overbearing poser) and our heroine Princess Bean, who looks less than happy about her marital match as she’s coerced down the aisle by her father, the king.
Standing at the end of the alter, facing the man who is about to become her husband, Princess Bean takes matters into her own hands. Refusing to be silenced, she flings the ring out of sight, before shouting a powerful “No” in the face of her betrothed.
At a time when movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up are pushing for women’s voices to be heard, the premise of Disenchantment feels particularly apt. Princess characters in TV and film have traditionally been painted as subservient and passive – so it’s powerful to see Princess Bean stand up for herself and forcefully object to an unwanted marriage.
As she breaks out of the castle, Princess Bean’s voiceover says: “I want to be in charge of my own destiny.” While the trailer rolls on, we see clips of her running away from her kingdom, downing shots in a tavern and exploring life beyond the castle walls.
Of course, like any fantasy world protagonist, she’s flanked by her considerably smaller sidekicks – who appear to represent both sides of her personality. Optimistic Elfo (Nat Faxon) is there to encourage the princess to be whoever she wants to be, while mini-demon Luci’s (Eric Andre) sarcasm and disdain for the world offers a darker perspective.
Together, these three misfit musketeers go on a journey of self-discovery, asking: “Isn’t there a point in everybody’s life where they need to go and figure out who they are?” Unlike many of the Disney Princesses we grew up watching, whose character development took somewhat of a hit, Princess Bean’s story is one of finding herself, a theme that many young women will welcome with open arms.
The ten-episode series will hit Netflix on 17 August. We’ll be watching to see if it really offers a different spin on the princess stereotype – fingers crossed.