Hi Sweetie. It’s Uncle August! You’re ready for your bedtime story? Your mommy tells me you love Frozen and it’s been over eight hours since you watched the DVD so you want to hear about it again. Now, I should warn you, I know the story a little differently than the way your mommy and daddy might tell it, okay? See, it turns out the real story of Frozen is actually a story about another story.
Once upon a time, there was a magical kingdom far away from here called “Los Angeles.” High up in a tower, there lived a group of powerful wizards known only as the Strategic Properties Marketing and Revenue Department. They had the power to predict the future, and what they enjoyed most of all was using their powers to figure out what people would like, and most importantly, what they would spend money on. Stop looking bored, dear, this story is important.
One day, one of the wizards was thinking about a movie they made called Tangled. It was a very popular movie, and made the wizards a lot of money. And I should point out that the wizards very much enjoyed lots of money. So one wizard said to the other wizards, “gentlemen. Tangled made us a shit-zillion dollars. Is there a way we can do that again?”
“Well, Sir,” said another wizard, “I’m just spitballing here, but, what if we made the exact same movie again?”
The first wizard sat back in his chair and furrowed his brow. After a long time, he sat up again and said “I like the way you’re thinking. But how can we just make the exact same movie again? Kids can be smart about this stuff.”
Well, yes, sweetie. I think you’re very smart. I mean you’ve already deduced that you shouldn’t tell your parents that I said “shit-zillion” to you because then I’d probably not be allowed to do storytime anymore. So yes. You are the smartest, prettiest niece in the world. What’s that? Do I think Elsa’s pretty? Well that’s a different story honey. And that one might be a bit too scary for a little girl like you, because it takes place in a terrifying land called DragonCon, where a man’s thoughts on the physical attractiveness of cartoon characters are both reinforced and terrifyingly shattered.
So where were we? Right, Tangled on ice. So one of the wizards says “okay, go with me on this. Tangled was a movie about a energetic, giant-eyed princess who goes on an adventure of self-discovery after a lifetime of both physical and emotional isolation. Another one of the heroes is betrayed by someone they instilled their trust in before learning what it really means to care about someone. Finally, the movie ends with the princess falling in love with the helpful non-threatening dude who previously only expressed any form of emotional connection to his horse. But here’s the thing and it’s really, really important. All that shit took place in a forest. What if we made a movie with exactly everything I just said… but there was snow everywhere?”
“But what about the wacky horse?” said another wizard. “Can horses do wacky stuff in snow?”
“They can if they’re a reindeer!”
And the head wizard said “you, sir, are a god damned genius.”
And the other wizards all agreed that this was a very good formula for a magical spell that would create a fantastic pile of money, and so they made a movie called Frozen, which they said was based on a fairy tale by Hans Christen Anderson called “The Snow Queen” because both of them had mentioned snow and used vowels.
Critics all across the land applauded Frozen, calling it the best movie the wizards ever made, mostly because three and a half minutes of the movie included a very enjoyable and popular song that had more character development and plot than the rest of the entire film. They praised how the song sent a powerful message to young girls about how being dangerously antisocial and shying your personality away from people is a terrible thing to do to yourself, unless you then step out and construct your own literal prison to hide from the world in, which makes it empowering. More importantly, it offered insightful commentary about the very outdated tropes of Disney movies themselves, when it clarified that falling in love with the first man you meet is actually a terrible idea, because falling in love with the second guy could be cool too.
Everything about Frozen was perfect, except that the story was too short, which made sense since there wasn’t one. Also, the wizards believed that little boys and most parents in the American heartland wouldn’t be interested in seeing two girls talk about important things without being interrupted by something that makes funny noises for no reason. They based this on “market research” which is a special term wizards use for their butts. So they took a Nut Brown Crown from Zesto’s and ran it through that Google app that turns everything into dog faces. And that’s where Olaf came from. Now let’s never speak of Olaf again.
Frozen made more money for the wizards than anything they had ever made before. Three million costumes of the main characters were sold in a single year, which, based on your mommy and daddy’s Facebook page, were all worn by your kindergarten class. It won two Academy Awards, and more importantly, won a record number of awards at the annual ceremony of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, including the coveted top prize of “Overall Best Licensed Merchandise Program” for its year-long integration with Kohl’s Department Stores, which, if theoretically I was saying not to you, my niece, alone here in her bed to whom I am reading a story, but rather a vast number of cynical and jaded adult readers in a public medium, I would emphasize is an absolutely true fact I am not making up at all.
And so even though Frozen ended, the wizards knew it would actually last forever. Because just like Elsa could create snow with her magic, they could create something magical too. They called it a “franchise.” It’s a powerful spell that lets them make toys and backpacks and fruit snacks and lunchboxes forever. Seriously. Honey. You’ve got six Frozen lunchboxes. I counted. You have more Frozen lunchboxes than you have lunch breaks during a school week.
But that’s what so wonderful about magic like that, sweetie. It means Frozen will be around forever. And you’ll grow up and have your own kids and they’ll get stories of their own, and if you’re really, really, lucky, you’ll be able to be incredibly cynical and dismissive of them to the alienation of those around you too.
What’s that? Why yes. Your uncle is single.
You are a very, very smart little girl. Now go to sleep.