Blame Shelley Long

Thanks to The Walking Dead, I now know a lot about how to survive during the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

(Note to self: buy a crowbar and a crossbow. They probably sell both items at Canadian Tire. I can pick up some ice skates for the kids and a new bread maker while I’m there.)

…Just joking! I don’t REALLY think the zombie apocalypse is inevitable…that’s ridiculous! Hah! During my last Costco trip I stocked up on water and canned goods because…I REALLY LIKE WATER AND NON-PERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS.

Ahem.

Let’s put a pin in that whole zombie apocalypse business and talk about the princess apocalypse, which happens to be upon us right now.

I know many of you believe that Disney is solely responsible for the overwhelming princess culture eating the brains of our young ones today, but I am here to tell you that isn’t the case.

As the Joseph de Maistre quote goes, “people get the leaders they deserve,” and we, the children of the 80’s, have made our own princess beds. We’ve painted our own princess decals on our princess pink walls. We have put on our own plastic princess heels and princess tiaras with faux pearls.

It all began a long time ago, with a trope that was a favourite of our generation.

THE SPOILED, BEAUTIFUL RICH GIRL WHO STILL HAS PLENTY OF REDEEMING QUALITIES SO SHE ISN’T ALL BAD 

It was during this time that at some point during the run of a show/course of a movie, a female character had to pout and make some comment about “breaking a nail.” This trope, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is the seed that beget the apocalypse. Here are some of my favourite examples of that trope:

Phyllis Nefler (Troop Beverly Hills)

To be fair, most of the cast qualifies, but Phyllis is our Queen Bee. Our Fashionista Tsarina. Our inspiration. She encompassed everything we yearned for in the 80’s: money, a mansion, and a killer wardrobe.
Blair Warner (The Facts of Life)

I applaud those of you who best loved Jo or Tootie. Watching today, my favourite character would have been Natalie. Back in my impressionable years, however, Blair was the bomb. Connie Britton’s mane may hold my heart now, but as a child, BLAIR’S HAIR. Oh my follicles. Blair’s hair.

Daphne (A Pup Named Scooby-Doo)

In the original series from the 70’s, Hanna-Barbara forgot to give Daphne a personality or any distinguishing characteristics (apart from that gorgeous lime scarf). In the late 80’s, the reboot/prequel that was A Pup Named Scooby-Doo fixed all that and made Daphne the resident spoiled, self-centred rich girl.


Lisa Turtle (Saved by the Bell)

Her mom was a doctor. She had an eye for fashion that was off the charts. She and Zack Morris once had a great little fling. She was Lisa Turtle. And she invented The Sprain (go ahead and watch that episode on YouTube. It’s totally worth it–Casey Kasem has a cameo. I’ll wait).


Jessica Wakefield (Sweet Valley High)

The television show may not have come into existence until the mid-nineties, but a gaggle of us were reading the books in the 80’s. My sisters and I had to do so secretly as our mother didn’t approve of them. Nevertheless, Jessica was my favourite character. And I’m still really bummed that MLC would not agree to name our second baby Lila.

Cindy Mancini (Can’t Buy Me Love)

Raise your hand if you really wanted that white suede outfit she spills red wine on.

…You should ALL be raising your hands right now.

Claire Standish (The Breakfast Club)

Yes, Claire most certainly is a precursor to all things princess. I also blame her for exacerbating our obsession with the Bad Boy. YOU CAN’T CHANGE HIM, CLAIRE.

You know these women. You know this trope. Our celebration of these characters dug their way into our hearts, laying little princess eggs that Disney would later hatch and dress in crinoline dresses that go for $35 a pop (and that doesn’t include accessories).

And, hey, like their stories taught us, they’ve got some great qualities. Just like a little princess-ness here and there isn’t a bad thing. When I first tried on my wedding dress, you better believe I channeled Grace Kelly. But we need some balance. We need to infuse our princesses with the bravery of warriors, the humour of comediennes, the smarts of geniuses. We need to branch out.

Let’s be Phyllis Nefler after she digs deep and finds some gumption. Let us remember there were several other cast members in The Fact of Life–and one of them was a mullet-sporting George Clooney.

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