Monday, February 26, 2018

My Secret Inner Villain

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I have to preface this by saying it's not my fault I'm into Buzzfeed quizzes - the Smithie keeps texting me links to articles, and like a good mom, I read them, and then I'm on the site, and next thing you know, I'm answering questions on "What Cheese Would You Kill For?" (English sharp cheddar) or "Can You Identify All The Guest Stars from the 1980's TV Show A-Team?" (Yes.)

So I took a quiz titled "Everyone Has a Disney Villain Inside Them."  My inner villain? Jafar, the overly-ambitious Grand Vizier in ALADDIN. Now, I don't have a razor-sharp beard, but the more I thought about it, the more I could identify with the man. Jafar is a keenly intelligent guy surrounded by idiots, wide-eyed teen idealists and a parrot who talks like Gilbert Godfried. No wonder he cracked and went for evil magic. I can totally empathize - there's nothing that pushes me past the red line like dealing with people who Just. Don't. Get. It.

Not to mention you know Jafar has been keeping Agrabah running all these years (despite his difficulty hiring competent security guards.) And does anyone recognize his ceaseless labor? No. He gets an occasional "Oh, thanks, Mom" when dinner is on the table. (Not to compare my family to the sultan and people of Agrabah, but they're totally the sultan and people of Agrabah.) One month without Jafar and the entire place would fall apart. There would be no internet, no phone service, and thieving children would be running wild through the streets.

Plus - and let's think about this - why shouldn't he get possession of an all-powerful genie? He's the one who put the work in finding it. Years of reading through his library of Evil Books before putting all the pieces together - Jafar probably has the equivalent of several advanced degrees in folk history, sorcery and cartology. (You know who else has several advanced degrees? That's right, this gal.)

You think Aladdin reads? Nuh-uh. Jasmine, I'm picturing with sad YA novels where the heroine dies and a subscription to CATSTER magazine. Poor Jafar. Like me, he'd be perfectly happy if only the people around him would recognize his brilliance and put him in charge (for their own good.) Also, he's a very snappy dresser. Most villains are.

How about you, Reds? Do you have a Disney villain inside you? Or maybe someone from the world of literature? Lord Voldemort? Iago?

RHYS BOWEN: A villain? Me? Think Snow White, surrounded by forest animals, singing. I suppose I felt some sympathy for the wicked fairy in Sleeping Beauty because, after all, she wasn't invited to the christening or asked to give a gift like the three annoyingly simple fairies. But I do not have it in my nature to be a villain. My least favorite: Cruella Deville because she harms DOGS. One way trip to hell for her. Actually I wouldn't mind being the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland and shouting "Off with her head" to anyone who annoyed me. But no. I'm going back to being Snow White now....


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: So, I followed your link and took the test. (because of course I'm gonna take a test! Any time!) And I got Jafar, too. It said: ,
"You got: Jafar. An evil sorcerer with the badass clothes to match. You’re definitely Jafar."
 Okay, fine, but I never saw ALADDIN.  So, um, is he really bad-bad, or just, you know, annoyed?  Misunderstood? Overworked? Under too much pressure?  This is understandable, totally. I mean--if everyone would just do what I say, this whole thing would be SO much easier and more efficient and successful. You'd all be HAPPIER, trust me.
What villain would I pick out of books? Ah, maybe.....Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada? She's understandable, too. Plus, the clothes.
I'm really really trying to think what villain I have in me. Claire Underwood? AH. Maybe not. This is so difficult, and I guess that's a good thing!



JULIA: Hank, Jafar does try to take over the kingdom and gets carried away - think Edmund in King Lear. His saving grace is a wicked wit. Watch the movie - that way you'll be prepped for the live actor version coming out next year (with an incredibly hunky guy playing Jafar.)


LUCY BURDETTE: I thought we weren't supposed to take those quizzes because then the Russians can hack our computers or take over our social media or something? Anyway, I'm going to go with the evil queen in Snow White, and that is because of the poisoned apple. What else could a writer of culinary mysteries possibly be? But on a serious note, I find villains very very hard, because the motivation for murder has to be so intensely felt, or the act makes no sense at all. Right?


HALLIE EPHRON: Well, I come up Ursula from The Little Mermaid, the evil octopus lady slash sea witch who persuades our girl to give up her voice to become human. In the fairy tale by Andersen, there's no happy ending. I've seen the Disney movie, and I have a granddaughter who is seriously into mermaids. But I confess don't remember Ursula. She's purple. I think I'd rather be Captain Hook. The clothes! The swagger! And I do love to order people about and get to do it so little these days.




INGRID THOFT: Hallie, I knew we were kindred spirits!  I’m an Ursula, too, and this makes sense given my love of the ocean.  Maybe some people see her as power-hungry and manipulative, but there’s another way to look at her:  She’s just an ambitious business woman making her way in the treacherous depths of the ocean.  I would take Ursula any day over Ariel, the heroine of “The Little Mermaid.”  Ursula’s got flair, and her edge makes her interesting.  Not to mention her story arc, which is a battle for reign of the sea, not a quest for Prince Charming.



JENN McKINLAY: I got Hades! What? The description: You relate most to a villain who's evil (YIKES!), but also has a good sense of humour (Oh, well, now it's coming into focus). After all, what's the point of being vengeful if you can't have a little fun? I had to look up what Disney film Hades was in because I didn't remember him. Turns out he's in Hercules, which I've never seen, so now I have a Disney film to watch to see if I like my evil alter ego or not.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I got the QUEEN OF HEARTS. Which makes total sense, because I've been having a lot of "Off with their heads!!!" moments lately. And it's totally funny, because I am pathologically non-confrontational. So this must be the inner me coming out. And the queen, after all, is not really all that BAD. (Don't worry about those few headless courtiers...) She just wants people to listen to her, and follow the rules. I totally get it.


JULIA: Jenn, Hades is hilarious. His entire appearance is a stand-up comedy act. In the movie, he's voiced by James Wood, so you can just imagine. How about you, Dear Readers? Who is your inner Disney villain? Or are you all sweetness and light like Rhys? Hmmm....


Art by cuson, Deviant Art

47 comments:

  1. I have to agree with Rhys about vile Cruella De Vil harming dogs . . . no redeeming qualities there.
    Considering that I’d never given a moment’s thought to this question, I had to go take the test. According to the wise folks who developed this little quiz, my inner villain is Jafar . . . .

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  2. I too got Jafar - not having seen a Disney movie since my own childhood (no kiddies or grandkiddies), I'm going to have to check this out.

    Left to my own devices - I'd have gone with the Red Queen. Then I could shout "Off with her head" at Cruella De Vil, and make it happen. Ah, revenge. Wasn't there a question about that in the quiz?

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  3. Aladdin came out when my boys were young and we watched it repeatedly. Robin Williams was brilliant, and there were so many lines that went way over kids' heads -but made the movie a blast for the parents. That said, I'll go with the Queen of Hearts, too!

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  4. I'll be off to the library later today to borrow Hercules because, like Jenn, I got Hades. And I must know what he and I have in common!

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    1. Yay, it must be our wicked sense of humor! :)

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  5. I'm a sucker for click-bait, too, Julia, and I love your description of why you can identify with Jafar.

    Hilariously, I took the quiz and I also got Jafar! There are two characters I actually identify with. First, Belle. She's smart (because she reads all the time), loyal to her family, and kind enough to save The Beast. Second, Merida. She has my hair (except hers is red instead of brown) and she's brave, not to mention a good shot. I love princesses who don't need rescuing.

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  6. At the moment I'd like to be the Queen of Hearts, too, 'cuz there's this song-n-dance team, T&P, in the White House. What I wouldn't give to be able to say: "Off with their heads!!" Sigh.

    Mostly, though, Robin Williams as the genie--inspired casting!

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  7. With each of these villains, there's so much to love! tangentially... it's so interesting with Frozen that little girls seem to adore the older frozen sister, not the sweet younger one. Of course neither of them are villains.

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    1. Disney princesses have taken a turn lately--somewhere around Brave, I think--to saving their community from an evil influence, rather than being saved by some handsome prince. Prince Hans is the nominal villain in Frozen, but the film is definitely "sisters over misters" as one of my friends put it. In Moana, Maui is more or less the villain, but you love him anyway. The real "bad guy" in that film is the stodgy limitations we, and society, put on ourselves.

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    2. Good observation, Gigi. There really were no bad guys in Moana - more like various entities who were mistaken, or selfish, or short-sighted. Maybe the glittery giant crab, but who could really hate him after that amazing David-Bowie-vibe song in an Aussie accent?

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    3. Loved the crab! Did you catch the little post-credit scene with him?

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  8. What does illustrate what they tell you about making a believable antagonist, doesn’t it? They have to believe in themselves, and have a goal that they have a reason for, And can articulate, and one they truly believe is for everyone else’s good.,They can be attractive, and have some redeeming qualities, and have some explanations for their faults. Very revealing!

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  9. I'm a big fan of animation from way back, so I have a ton of Disney DVDs on my shelf. I adore Captain Hook. Did you know, in the Barrie book he was a history teacher who got fed up with his students and took to the high seas? Jafar is okay, but Ursula is awesome! Voiced by Pat Carroll, with great sarcasm. I really dug Maleficent as a kid. She was scary, but she could turn into a dragon, and that was very cool. Plus, that Tchaikovsky score. What's not to love there? Can you tell I'm over-thinking it? Buzzfeed thinks I'm Jafar, just like everybody else.

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  10. No, you're not really supposed to take these quizzes. But for you, Julia, I'd do it.

    I also came up with Jafar.

    That said, I most identify with Ursula. Yes. She has swagger and attitude. And I'll go along with Hades as one long stand-up act for the entire movie. I love it.

    Mary/Liz

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  11. Queen of Hearts for me, though Ursula has the best body language.

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  12. I ended up with Captain Hook. Possibly because of my poor typing skills. Now I'm trying to decide whether I'm willing to sit through some of these movies to see Ursula and Hades, who sound like a good bit of fun.

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    1. Jim, as a parent who has seen EVERY modern-era Disney animated film, I can promise you, they're great fun. Disney gets the best voice actors, and they pack enough jokes and references that go over the kiddies' heads to keep adults well amused.

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  13. I'm pretty sure that Disney and all his products are the antiChrist, but I'm a sucker for quizes too. Somehow I don't think the Russians are all that interested in an old lady in upstate New York, although if they could read my mind about current events, they should be.

    Anyway, like our Deb, I got Queen of Hearts, and even more like our Deb, I've been into an off with their heads" mode/mood lately. Flora, we need to talk.

    As for all the rest, unless I read about them in a book, I have no idea who they are. My two childhood favorites were The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, not to mention Lewis Carroll. Yes, I know now that he's a suspected pedophile, but that will give me mre fodder when I go chopping off heads.

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    1. To be fair, there's no scholarly evidence the Rev. Dodgson ACTED on any impulses he might have had. He certainly felt much more comfortable around prepubescent girls than he ever did around grown-up women.

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  14. So many Jafars! I wonder if it's because he's an intellectual villain who has no patience for fools. I suspect a lot of Jungle Red readers are very similar!

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  15. Debs, I can see you as the Queen of Hearts only if you can be the Helena Bonham Carter version! She's way more attractive.

    I'm not taking the quiz this morning, but I also identify with Ursula because of her entrepreneurial spirit. Pat Carroll was brilliant, and her voice was in fine fettle. Plus, her makeup skills remind me of one of my best friends, whose actual face no one has ever seen, and I love her to death for her flair, and her individuality.

    Rhys, I can totally see you as Snow White! There's a reason those deer keep hanging out behind your house. I'm sure of it.

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    1. And several rabbits and a fox! Maybe you've got something there. I'll have to try signing at them!

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    2. Did you ever see that wonderful movie ENCHANTED? I love it--and the NYC "SnowWhite/Cinderella/Disney princess" sings to the creatures, and it is rats and roaches and pigeons. it is SO great. xoox

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    3. Hank, I have three daughters. Of course I've seen Enchanted! :-) (Having kids--and grandkids--equals the best excuse for going to see kids' movies.)

      Amy Adams was aDORable in that movie.

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    4. Gigi (who is right up there with Julia as our resident Disney expert, has been telling me for years that I MUST see Enchanted. So I really should.

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    5. I loved Enchanted and recently purchased the DVD so I can see it again!

      No plans to take the Buzzfeed quiz but I'm intrigued with the results!

      DebRo

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    6. I have no daughters, but Enchanted rocks anyway!

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  16. Did anyone get Gaston or Scar? Those are two memorable Disney villains. There definitely seems to be a majority of Jafars. I think you're right, Julia: JRW readers have little patience for incompetence or tomfoolery!

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    1. Gaston is far too lumpish and brutish for this crowd. Plus, he is ANTI books and reading!

      Hmm, who does he remind me of?

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  17. Jenn -- thanks for doing the research! I am HADES too. Does it mean that I have a lot of deceased friends who are in hell?

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  18. I've got style! I've got grace! I'm Jafar! But my heart is with Captain Hook, putting up with those annoying children.

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    1. Ah, but do you prefer the Disney version? Or the Cyril Richard version in Mary Martin's Peter Pan? I'm with Cyril, myself.

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  19. Captain Hook!! Moi? Hmm, could be since I look forward to "talk like a pirate day" every fall.

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  20. Julia, you are giving Jafar too much credit. He's evil, pure and simple.

    Hank and Jenn, you are seriously letting me down. I won't read another of your books until you have caught up on your Disney movie watching. (And Jenn, since you have a book coming out in a month, you'd better really get cracking.)

    So I guess this makes me a demanding villain.

    I took this test many years ago, and I think I got Gaston. It's funny because I'm not that vain, but I love Belle. She's definitely my favorite Disney princess. Why? Because she loves to read. Is there a better quality in a woman?

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    1. I know, I can't figure out how I missed hercules. I am such an animated film lover. Seriously, I want to volunteer at the children's hospital because they stream these movies all day long, well, that and because I want to help--really! No priority issues here! LOL.

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    2. Mark? You're on. Give us a quiz. xoxoo

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  21. I'm seriously behind on my Disney movies. I guess my daughter is just in the age bracket where we missed all the "modern" ones. I can see a lot of catching up in my future, lol.

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  22. I feel the same way as Rhys. I do empathize with the wicked fairy in Sleeping Beauty who was not invited.

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  23. I got the Evil Queen -- I can't resist a quiz! Fun post!

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  24. Curiosity question, Julia: this topic fits so perfectly with today being “Fairy Tale Day.” Was this planned?

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  25. Wow, was there a fire sale on Jafars? The cheese stands alone...I’m Madam Medusa from The Rescuers. It is one of my favorite Disney movies due to the perfect casting of Bob Newhart as the mouse, Bernard. Geraldine Page voices the Madam. Can you imagine calling Geraldine Page to offer her that job?

    For those of you who haven’t seen Aladdin...Seriously? I don’t know what’s better, Robin Williams or the music. No, it’s definitely Robin Williams, but I can’t think how many times I’ve found myself singing (badly) You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me. Fun movie!

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  26. I loved this blog! What a fun way to end a productive day. So yes,I took the quiz an dyes, I got Jafar. Is there a theme here? Something about writers and manipulation,perhaps? I certainly agree with Julia in her take on him. Or how about this? There are versions of Robin Hood which show the evil Sheriff as the only thinking person surrounded by idiots. Yeah.

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