Posted by: Trisha Leigh | January 17, 2012

Purse Dogs, Giant Bangs, and Fairytales

Fairytales are all the rage right now, like carrying a small dog in your purse was five years ago, or having really huge bangs was in 1985.

We’re seeing them everywhere. There are two Snow White movies being released in 2012, a boatload of books available that twist old tales and shine them until they sparkle almost like new, and on television we’ve been offered two new shows this year in Grimm and Once Upon a Time.

I’ve seen every episode of both shows, so that makes me an expert. Right? Isn’t that how it works?

The two series are completely different. Grimm is about a hard-nosed cop who learns that, after the death of his aunt, he’s inherited the legacy of the Grimm family – to fight the dark big bad’s that melt out of the fairy tale world into ours. Once Upon a Time is a whimsical, at times tragic story of Snow White’s evil queen selling her soul to Rumplestilskin in exchange for a curse that banishes all of the story book creatures to the real world – where there are no happy endings – and where none of them remember who they really are.

I prefer Once Upon a Time. It’s gorgeous, front to back, and I love the vaguely Lost format of doling out backstory bit by bit that changes and deepens our connection to every character, and makes us ponder the events that made them who they are. It makes you think about what it means to be good, or evil, and how no one is all one or the other. If they were, life (and stories!) wouldn’t be very interesting.

Recently, though, I realized the real difference between the two shows, and the reason I prefer one over the other.

Grimm is about accepting life the way it is, and battling the inevitable bad every single day, knowing good and well it’s never going to stop until you die.

Once Upon a Time is about hope. Hope that even in a different life, true love refuses to be forgotten. Hope in the belief that every person can be better. Hope that good will eventually triumph over evil. Hope that we can, in fact, go home again.

Each lesson is essential and true. But there aren’t enough shows on television, movies in theatres, or things in this life that encourage us to hope, and that’s why my Sunday nights are spent in Storybrooke.

Because real life teaches me that the fight against the bad things will never be over.

Storybrooke lets me believe, for an hour a week, that whether or not we get that happy ending is entirely up to our ability to believe it exists at all.

What about you? Do you watch either show? What do you like/not like about them?

Images courtesy of ABC and NBC.



  1. I haven’t seen either yet. Sounds like Once Upon a Time is more my cup of tea, so maybe I’ll give it a try. Though lately I do tend to wait until a series has been on a season or two before I start watching. I hate to commit to new characters until I know our relationship won’t be terminated prematurely by a network cancellation. 😉

    Plus, if I wait, I get to watch on my timetable, and without commercials. there’s something to be said for that.

  2. Dude, my bangs were, like, SO huge…
    I’ve watched a few episodes of Grimm, and I didn’t think it was too great. I liked the big bad wolf partner, but the rest was sort of blah. I’ll have to give Once Upon A Time a try. I loved the story-telling of Lost…just not the ending.

  3. There should always be hope. This is a beautiful post. Love you.

  4. I had no idea Grimm was about that. I live in Portland, so I feel a weird obligation to watch it… it’s fun to see locations that you live by! But, I’m yet to watch it. I also came in late to Once Upon a Time, so I’m yet to watch that too.

    Pointless comment… other than to say, I like that you like Hope.

  5. I do enjoy both shows, and I love that fairytales are a “thing” right now. I think its wonderful to see them come alive for children (as well as adults!) on the screen in new ways. I am definitely not caught up (ugh, the woes of being a Hulu watcher) but I intend to purchase both when they arrive on DVD. I am inclined much more towards Once Upon a Time, because of the message of hope (and because even 4 episodes in I was finding Grimm a bit redundant). I don’t think that is offered enough in modern entertainment… it kinda got lost as a “Disney thing” and while ABC is still Disney, it’s nice that they are disguising it as something-that-is-cool-for-grown-ups-too!

    Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, you may want to consider renting the Miniseries “The Tenth Kingdom”. It’s got so much of the Once Upon A Time-esque flair, even though it is, ahem, a few years old, it’s worth a watch for any fairytale fan. 🙂

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