Beauty and the Bitches

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FROM: Beauty and the Bitch A Disney Dispatch Feature

Chattin' and Cookin' with Belle

Belle, as originally written, was a French girl, smart and sharp, but in her ascent to Disney Princess she lost the accent and much of her charm, becoming Disney's poster girl for Stockholm Syndrome. Bob and Dennis ring this Belle loudly.

Can you be a beauty - and a bitch? Absolutely! (And often, quite likely.) The fairy tale princesses are no exception. In fact, they are the perfect examples, contend award-winning playwright Dennis Giacino and non-award-winning non-playwright Bob McLain, who each week will do a princess/counter-princess take on their royal majesties.

Bob has the beauty; Dennis, the bitch. From Bob, you'll read the traditional princess story; from Dennis, you'll read a modern interpretation, as the princess in question dishes on what pop culture has done to her fairy tale prospects.

This week, Bob walks with Belle uphill to the Beast's ball, basket of bones in hand, while Dennis presents a recipe for a not-so-tasty dish he calls the Belle Complex.

Chatting with Belle [by Bob]

"Well, Belle - fancy meeting you trudging uphill one of the Beast's Balls. Carriage lose an axle?"

Belle shot me a murderous look, then remembered she was a Disney princess and smiled sweetly.

"The Beast has use of the carriage today. One of his hunting parties."

"Don't you find it odd that a beast has gone hunting? Does he hunt other beasts?"

"Don't ask, don't tell", replied Belle.

"Here, let me carry that basket for you. What's inside?"

"Bones. For the ball. The Beast likes to suck out the marrow whilst sipping his port."

"May I ask, Belle, what you see in this Beast?"

"Well put, sir - because indeed it's what inside the Beast, not his furry face, that endears me to him. He is noble and kind, the perfect prince."

"Did Disney write that for you?"

"Sir, Ariel warned me of you, and your impertinent questions."

"Ariel! Her Prince hung her out to dry one day, while he went hunting, either with the Beast or for a beast, and we had quite a nice talk."

"Not how she tells it."

"Why don't you tell it - your tale, I mean."

"Oh, wonderful! Would you like an autograph, as well?"

"Only if you have the Beast's checkbook at hand."

"My tale is simply told. The Beast threw my father into a dank dungeon. I begged for his release, which the Beast granted on condition I stay with him forever. I fell madly in love with him!"

"Charming tale! And quite natural you'd feel such attraction toward a hairy brute who had imprisoned your father and then enslaved you. But..."


"Is that as far as your story has gone?"

"Whatever do you mean?"

"The Beast hasn't yet died and then returned to life in human form, whereupon the two of you live happily ever after, Belle and the Ghoul?"

"What silliness! The Beast is the Beast!"

"And Gaston..."

"You know him?"

"By reputation. Do you suppose he'll ever lead a mob of villagers to the Beast's castle and then fall off the roof after mortally stabbing your hirsute hero?"

"Oh, such a vivid imagination you have!"

I stared at Belle with wide but knowing eyes. She smiled sweetly: "I am so looking forward to this ball, aren't you?"

"Yes, of course. How lucky you are to love one so generous and fair as the Beast."

Belle's smile didn't slip, not even a bit. She knew her role well.

"How kind of you to say. Now... to arms?"

Cooking with Belle [by Dennis]

How does a girl like me go from smart and witty and completely French to an insane objectophile with an American accent who just so happens to have a penchant for dating zoo animals? Well, it's a recipe for a dish I call 'The Total Dumbing Down of An Otherwise Smart Woman', better known as 'The Belle Complex.' You can find it in practically every animated fairytale on the market.

Let's get cooking!

Recipe for Total Dumbing Down of An Otherwise Smart Woman


  • 1 piece of classic literature featuring at least 1 damsel in distress
  • 1 PC or Mac with 1 screenwriting software installed (Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter will do)
  • 1 writing team consisting of 80% men
  • 90 minutes of animation film stock
  • A budget of $25 million
  1. Reheat a classic storybook, in this specific case, my 1740 French tale entitled La Belle et la Bette'written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (yes, a woman).
  2. Grease the language of the story so, instead of sounding innocent and all French-countryside-ish, the voice comes across as completely American-Connecticut WASPY and Stepford Wife-like. (See Martha Stewart) This immediately takes away the intelligent charm of the original tome, leaving only the bitter taste of literary falseness. Literary falseness - Americans eat that stuff up! Yummy!
  3. Stir in a heaping tablespoon of talking inanimate objects that don't seem to mind their own business and never shut the hell up! A meddling Brit teapot here, a flamboyant French candelabra there - and don't forget to toss into the mix a curmudgeonly grandfather clock for comic relief. The laughter will take the focus off the bastardization of the well-tailored source story on which the movie was based.

    By the by, this whole cutesy talking object thing - it makes me look crazy! I'm a smart, intelligent girl - graduated summa cum laude, I'll have you know! In my movie, I'm relegated to chattering on with the dishes, an armoire, and a jello mold! Makes a girl lose her appetite. Perhaps that's why in the movie my waist is thinner than my own neck.

  4. For lack of taste, make sure you add in a handful of Stockholm Syndrome and a pinch of bestiality to completely wipe away any semblance of a brainy heroine with a good head on her shoulders. Hollywood likes its animated princesses to not only suffer the indignities of a mean-spirited, selfish, violent man who throws a girl in prison (the prince, in this case) but to go back for seconds and thirds! And if he's actually inhuman (the prince now as the Beast), even better!

Note: A smidge of the spice "A tale as old as 'thyme' (pun intended)" will make this story seem sweeter than it actually is.

Now bake this horrid concoction under the piping hot lights of La La Land and it's sure to taste like $377 million box office receipts world-wide.

Serving Size:

This recipe is great for a party of young, impressionable girls who will want every plush doll party favor they can get their hands on. Cha-ching!

Disclaimer: The recipe detailed above does not represent me, La Belle, a studious girl from the original French storybook. I mean, c'mon - do you really think I'm that stupid?