Sofia the First : the Pain Continues

I sat through Sofia the First : Once Upon a Princess, because I “collect” princesses from Western animated movies by drawing them, and I heard Sofia’s movie would give me two of them. The experience was very unpleasant, but at least I got my princesses.

Now I’ve ended up in a situation where I’ve used up the most obvious princesses, and searching for more has become more difficult. Then during a walk through the Disney Wiki I noticed that Sofia’s two princess friends had pretty good reference art, which begged to be drawn, and that there were plenty of other named princess characters. Since my policy is that I won’t draw a character who I don’t know, what I predicted in the last post came true and the only solution was watching more of Sofia’s adventures. Luckily the Wiki was with me, so I could check a couple of episodes that would feature various side characters and thus keep the required amount of episodes to a minimum.

My Sofia experience wasn’t any better this time, but at least I knew what was coming. Episodes I watched were “The Shy Princess“, “The Princess Test” and “Tri-Kingdom Picnic“. I also watched “Sofia the First : the Floating Palace” for the mermaid princesses, but being a longer story it probably deserves its own post. For those unfamiliar with Sofia, she’s a little girl who became a princess when her mom married a king, and now she’s studying at a princess school with her stepsiblings to become a good princess.

Pictures from the Disney Wiki.

The Shy Princess

In this episode Sofia is paired with a (surprise surprise) shy princess for a class project. The shy princess has a bad reputation, but (surprise surprise) first Sofia and then the others learn that she’s really a great person. Also the shy princess learns (surprise surprise) to be a bit more open.

This was a pretty harmless episode in that it was mostly just boring and dumb, but I don’t remember any serious facepalm-worthy moments or morals with which I can’t agree. The moral was pretty heavy-handed though and watching 20 minutes of DON’T JUDGE THE BOOK BY ITS COVER, THE WEIRDO MAY TURN OUT TO BE A SUPER COOL PERSON bored me fast. Even the talking pets got their sub-plot to parallel Sofia’s, the shy princess’s obnoxious dragon pet turned out to be a super fun friend, who would have thought!

theShyPrincess

I’ve never liked hyper-shy characters, but this time it’s a bit more justified because of the character’s young age. Maybe the target audience can relate to her  better.

The school assignment about planning a dream castle in pairs was pretty fun I guess.

The Princess Test

The Princess school is about to have a princess test, and Sofia is insecure about passing it. Just before the test the local librarian asks the princesses for help for carrying heavy books to her home. The other princesses refuse, because the test is about to start, but (surprise surprise) the sickeningly sweet Sofia agrees to help her. The trip takes a lot longer than it was supposed to, and Sofia misses her test. But -who would have guessed- it was a secret test of character, and Sofia passes the test due to her kindness.

With this one I had more problems, because I can’t agree with the message (or at least the way it’s presented). Helping people even when it means you could lose something important to you is a cool moral, but the reason the other people needs help and the importance of what you could lose should be somehow in proportion. The princess test was touted as a very important thing, while the librarian didn’t seem to be in any hurry. Why couldn’t the ‘correct’ answer be that the librarian waits for a while, and then someone helps her with the books? Or if it really was important that the princesses should choose to skip the test, at least give us a reason for it, like the librarian’s niece is getting married and she absolutely has to leave before noon or something.

Sofia is rewarded for skipping the test, and even if the librarian’s problem wasn’t too urgent I don’t really have a problem with that. However, what I do find problematic is that every other princess passes with a silver star, while Sofia gets a massive gold trophy. If helping the librarian was just one way to pass the test with a silver star I’d be fine with it, but this feels just unfair. Some of the other princesses really looked like they wanted to help, but they decided to follow their responsibilities and apologised for that, and I don’t find it fair that they were ‘penalised’ for it.

thePrincessTest

Tri-Kingdom Picnic

In this episode Sofia and family participate in a picnic with royal families from two other kingdoms. Two kids from each family take part in some traditional game event, where the team with most wins gets the challenge cup. Sofia’s stepbrother James a bit too eager to win, and his bad sportsmanship results in everyone else quitting. Sofia convinces him to change his behaviour by showing that the adults are playing their own games too, and they’re simply having fun.

Out of the Sofia episodes I’ve watched, this was the one I disliked the least, mostly because it focused more on the side characters and not on Sofia herself. And the games the kids played looked pretty fun.

sofia_sports

The moral of the story, ‘don’t be a bad sport’ was ok, but as per norm for Sofia episodes it was REALLY heavy-handed. Are kids so stupid that they don’t get if unless the characters spell it out like three times? Or was it even more, I can’t remember any more.

The adults playing their own games was a fun idea, but fell flat when the adults acted like little children. One of the emperors doesn’t want to play, and it turns out that he was afraid his clumsiness would ruin the fun. So Sofia’s stepfather starts playing badly on purpose and yelling out very much not subtly how HO-HO, I’M SUCH A KLUTZ BUT THIS IS STILL SO MUCH FUN, TEE-HEE! His acting was incredibly bad and only a very very young kid could fall for it, so naturally the emperor falls for it, and then everyone has fun!

I also didn’t like how the show demonised the emperor who didn’t want to play. Why did he need some reason about not wanting to fail in the first place? Some adults love games, okay, but is it so bad if some old, potentially weary man isn’t crazy about suddenly being forced to play kindergarten games? In the same episode Amber didn’t want to play either, because outdoor games aren’t her thing, and the narrative simply allowed her to decorate her parasol or whatever instead without making a point how wrong she was about not jumping at the chance to join the other kids.

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