Edutainment Strategies: Sesame Street’s Story Book Community School

The first of four case study posts about my presentation for Western States Folklore Society’s Annual Meeting in April 2018. Introduced here, the presentation was titled Princess and the Letter P: Fairy Tales and Edutainment in Preschool Television. The other case studies can be found here. Sesame Street started in 1969 as one of the most groundbreaking shows in preschool television, originating the form of the pedagogical, publicly funded children’s show. The creators of Sesame Street had everything from a “pedagogical […]

Preschool Edutainment and Fairy Tales: The Groundwork

My last big project was about fairy tale mashup episodes in children’s television, and took a large-scale data approach. In choosing a new research topic, I remained interested in the phenomenon that, currently, fairy tales are marketed as “kid stuff.” If marketers want adults to watch their content, they usually sell it as either “gritty” or as nostalgic. TV uses fairy tales because the audience is familiar with the plots and motifs, but what about a child’s possibly first interaction […]

Unbirthday Tea Party: “We’re All Mad Here” Event Recap

Our 4th annual Unbirthday Tea Party brought in a wide variety of Alice fans and fairy tale fans alike. Everyone knows that our research team is mad about fairy tales, and we wanted to share that passion by discussing the portrayal of madness in Alice in Wonderland adaptations across time. As the audience enjoyed tea and cookies, Erica and Lauren tag-teamed their way through a discussion of the original novel and early film adaptations, then followed up with an overview […]

Prince Harry to Marry Former Sleeping Beauty

Five years before Prince Harry proposed, Meghan Markle was already a fairy tale princess. The American actress, best known for her role as Rachel Zane on the legal drama Suits, guest starred as Sleeping Beauty in a 2012 episode of the crime drama Castle. In the episode “Once Upon A Crime,” (season 4, episode 17), Markle’s character kills a man in a hit-and-run while leaving a fairy tale-themed costume party. She then kills two witnesses to her crime, leaving them […]

From the Page to the Screen: Why We Study Fairy Tales on Television

Just as Scheherazade spun tales for the king that kept his interest for 1001 nights, so do the shows we watch spin tales that entrance and delight us until we’ve binge-watched our way through an entire series. From the oldest listed fairy tale based television program in our database, a Disney Animated Short on Cinderella that was released in 1922, to Toyota’s latest C-HR ad, also based on Cinderella, TV audiences have been treated to a wide variety of shows, […]

Henry Mills, Child in Distress

Written by Erica Smith, one of our new team members! The traditional fairy tales which Once Upon A Time adapts often cast women in the role of damsel-in-distress. Since Once Upon A Time is structured around empowering the adult woman, Henry, a male child, steps in whenever the story calls for a “damsel” character. Targeted at older viewers, the show’s core cast is built mostly of adults in their thirties. Snow White and Belle (Beauty), vaguely youthful in storybooks and […]

The Brothers Winchester: Supernatural as a Modern American Fairy Tale Collection

The final guest post from Dr. Rudy’s 394r Applied English class is from Shana Pickett. We hope you enjoy this one and the others that preceded it! Mysterious murders, man-eating monsters, and magic spells. Damsels in distress, demons, and dashing dudes. It’s a guns-blazing, hair-raising, monster-slaying good time. What’s not to love about CW’s Supernatural? It’s an immensely popular show that started in 2005 and is currently in it’s 12th season, and going strong, still consistently drawing 2 million US […]

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: The Fairy Tale Inspired Show You Should Be Watching

Sarah Thompson brings us the guest post this week from the Winter 2017 Applied English class. Enjoy! The CW’s critical darling, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, was recently renewed for a third season despite being the least viewed network television show two years in a row. The program follows a tradition of fairy tale-esque musical programs, like Once Upon A Tune and Galavant. But what makes the show so loved by critics and the few who watch it religiously (as opposed to Galavant, whose […]

Once Upon a Time and the Fairy Tale Stereotype

Once more, here is a guest post from Dr Rudy’s 394r Applied English class, this time from Cortlyn Mckay.   In contrast to many fairy tale adaptations being made today, the TV show Once Upon a Time begins with the happily ever after: the pilot episode opens with Prince Charming kissing Snow White, awakening her from her sleeping curse. The couple is then married, an event that usually ends the fairy tale rather than beginning it, breaking a stereotype that […]

Who am I?: Anime in Wonderland

This guest post is by Monica Allen of the Winter 2017 394r class.   We all love fairy tales, whether they be old or new, and one fairy tale that is fairly easy to find within TV is Alice in Wonderland, which is especially prominent in Japanese anime. It appears in single episodes and “omakes” (extra non-canon episodes) to complete series. Just a few examples can be seen in the screenshot of the FTTV Database. One series is Pandora Hearts. Pandora […]