PattyCake Productions Launched a Disney Princess Web Series!

Princess Month is still going strong with movie anniversaries galore. Did you know that November 18th was National Princess Day? Creative fans have been getting in on the action this month as well. To that effect, PattyCake Productions, the team that brought us the Unexpected Musicals and Villains Lair series, introduced Princess Academy, their newest web series, last week. Not to be confused with an unproduced Fantasia short of the same name, Princess Academy is a live-action web series featuring original songs and stories about our favorite Disney Princesses. PattyCake Production had previously impressed me with their gorgeous Little Mermaid video, "The Grande Mermaid," so I was excited about their latest endeavor.

The premiere episode, "Happily Ever After," was launched on the release date of Wreck-It Ralph 2, though subscribers to their Patreon page gained early access to it. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The main character is a modern-day nerd who doesn't believe in fairy tales or true love, appropriately named Ted Pessiminsky. When he gets hit on the head with his own book about how fairy tales have a negative impact on children, called Happily Never After, he wakes up in an academy run by the Disney Princesses who wish to teach him about true love. They do this with a catchy but mostly uninspired song that sounds like it could have been a deleted track from the Disney Princess Tea Party album in the early 2000s. When he understandably tells them that the song isn't very convincing, they assume that they failed on their mission. Merida throws the book at him again, which sends him back to the real world where he immediately meets the girl of his dreams.

With such a simple concept, this video lacked the "wow" factor that their Unexpected Musicals series had with its impressive array of CGI, costumes, and sets. I thought the princesses could have given a much stronger argument against their negative stereotypes than by singing a fun but mostly meaningless song about how "Happily Ever After" is "not always a disaster." Moana, Elsa, and Merida even claimed that they were against trying to convince Ted to find love because they're happy on their own, but they were outnumbered by the other Disney Princesses whose happy endings included romantic relationships. I hate to be a pessiminskyst, but I was a lot more impressed with the story and song from the premiere episode of Villains Lair than Princess Academy. I know the group behind PattyCake Productions is extremely talented, so I'm anticipating stronger episodes of this series in the future. They've also teased a potential crossover between the two series, which would be pretty epic.

I don't want to be like Ted and ruin everyone's fun, so here are some things I liked about this episode. For one, the jokes were absolutely on point. When Ted sees a bunch of real-life women cosplaying as the Disney Princesses, he makes a rational assumption that he somehow ended up at the D23 Expo. It makes perfect sense to assume that upon seeing a bunch of Disney cosplayers, so it was fun to hear it referenced in something outside of Disney's own promotions for it. Another great joke occurred when the princesses began singing and Ted referenced Taylor Swift. Snow White asks if she's a princess, and he can't muster an answer. Taylor is a perfect example of a modern princess, but she isn't actually a princess. Many people have compared her early image to the Disney Princesses, so it was a great throwaway line. I also enjoyed the meet-cute at the end when Ted unexpectedly finds his dream girl after claiming that true love is a lie. Even though it was a rather unrealistic scenario, it was fun to see what a fairy tale romance would look like between two modern-day adults.

Overall, the first episode of Princess Academy was not quite as dazzling as the Unexpected Musicals series, but it was a lot of fun. It featured every Disney Princess from Snow White to Moana with some cutesy imagery, like Merida begrudgingly letting the other princesses put flowers in her hair and Belle giving Ted's book a negative review. The creators of the series claimed that they wanted to deconstruct the negative stereotypes about princesses with this short. I don't think they were quite successful in that respect, but since this is a series, they will have many more opportunities to do just that. I'm especially looking forward to an epic crossover with Villains Lair, where the princesses will have to go head to head with their mortal enemies!


Lisa Dawn said…
Yup, that's correct! You have a very good memory. :) They did the crossover some time after I created this post. They have also done several more wonderful episodes of Princess Academy since then, many of which I have also blogged about. Have a lovely week!

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