Anyone who knows me knows of my love of Ursula - the tentacled, magic-weaving sea-witch from Disney's The Little Mermaid. She is, without a doubt, my favorite villain to ever come from the House of Mouse. And ever since Pat Carroll told Jodi Benson that to cross the bridge, she need pay the toll, no other evil-doer has come close to encapsulating the larger than life evilness of the would-be usurper.
So when I heard Ursula was returning to Once Upon a Time, I was ecstatic; I even did a little happy-dance. This time, she'd be more than a CGI'd statue cussin' The Evil Queen out. No, she'd be real, flesh and blood.
Why, oh, friggin' why would you thinnify her? Can we call this sort of thing thinwashing? Remeber Khan from Star Trek: Into Darkness? Remember how he was played by the brilliant but in-no-way-does-he-resemble-Ricardo Montalban Benedict Cumberbatch? Yea, this is kinda the same thing here, except with thin and fat.
It's rather upsetting to see this as there really aren't that many roles out there for big people, when you think about it. Just as with whitewashing, by taking fat characters and shaving, oh, say, two hundred pounds off, you're still dictating beauty standards. Stop that! Just... stop.
And it'd be good.
Then they announced casting.
Merrin Dungey was brought on to play the fiendish sea-witch. But there was a problem. See, Ursula's a big girl - and damn proud of every curve. Ms Dungey, though, is not a big girl. And while I have no doubts about her acting ability, I do wonder why OUAT's casting department would hire someone so not built like the iconic villain. Honestly, are there not enough thin people in Storybrooke? Can't we have on bootyous maximus hanging out with Belle, Regina and that irritatingly goody-goody killer Snow White?
This isn't the first time Ursula's been downsized. Remember that whole Disney Villain Designer Collection? The holy what was that about? Ursula is perfect as is and needs no one telling her to shrink her figure. And whenever I see it done, I cringe.
I've even refused to see The Little Mermaid n stage because every time I look, Ursula's half the size she should be. On friggin' Broadway! Really, we can't find a big, talented broad there?
Of course, I'll still watch and even enjoy Ursula's run in Storybrooke. And I might even love Ms Dungey's version of her. But that doesn't change the fact that Ursula, rolls and all, needs to be presented, respected and admired as the full-figured cecaelia that she is.
I want to say I am not attacking the ability of the actress cast as Ursula Sunday nights on ABC in any way. She's very talented as anyone who has watched her knows. And no, her skin color has absolutely nothing to do with it, either, so don't go thinking that. This is purely about the weight difference.
UPDATE: She was awesome. And with a much happier ending :)