I wanted to love “Once Upon a Time.” I think I did at one time. With such a large cast, there are characters we’re going to love and ones we’re going to hate. It’s inevitable. And while I did favor the villains (Regina, Mr. Gold, etc), I always had a soft spot for the “good guys.” That is, until this current season, when I came to a realization about this show: it’s really all about Emma.
And the worst part is, she knows it. I mean, most shows do gravitate around a particular character and the difficulties they encounter, the struggles they’ve endured. But a kind of “reset button” is pushed from week to week that sort of grounds said character. Not Emma. I’ve watched her character develop, and it’s amazing self absorbed she is!
Emma is the savior. She’s the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. She’s got magic, and she’s powerful. And recently we’ve learned that at one point she had a special relationship with Elsa and Anna’s aunt (bringing Frozen into “Once Upon a Time” this quickly? That’s a rant for another day). Is there anything this girl isn’t? Can we don her with the title, “Creator of the Universe?” Maybe she should be worshipped like a female deity – more than she already is now, of course. Hmmm…
Her narcissism is astounding, though. What I find particularly non-humbling about her is how prepared she is for everything to be about her. When something bad happens, she immediately thinks it has something to do with her even if that motive isn’t clear at all yet because that’s the way she is. It HAS to be about her. It just HAS to. Because Emma is the air we breathe, the ground we walk on. Emma is beyond human comprehension.
Most everyone around her is falling over backwards to help her with anything she needs, and she eats it up. Every villain that they encounter has SOMETHING to do with Emma. They want her because she’s super powerful, she’s the link to something else, she’s the freakin’ savior and they need to destroy her – like I said, it’s ALL about Emma.
And the sad part is, she’s not really that complex of a character. Ok, she had a rough childhood. That sucks. She’s what? 30-something now though, right? I mean, there comes a time when she has to stop whining. The recurring guilt trips on her parents makes her even more endearing (insert eye roll). So perhaps they shouldn’t have sent her through the portal, and taken the risk that she’d be slain. Whatever position you take on this issue, it’s becoming clear that Emma’s just a whiny wannabe teenager.
She actually brings very little to the table. She lacks maneuverability, and has very few talents. She’s brash, impulsive and her decision-making skills leave much to be desired. She has magic, yet cannot figure out how to master it yet. She makes a mess of her own life and everyone else’s around her. And everyone wants to destroy her because she’s the epicenter of the “Once Upon a Time” universe. And boohoo, her parents sent her through the portal as a baby, blah, blah, blah. Rinse and repeat.
And this constant Emma obsession has left other characters – ones like Regina and Gold who actually have layers to them – to be underexplored. My only hope is one day we’ll really get to delve into the characters a bit and give Emma some much needed rest. Or at least write her to be less self-absorbed. That’d be great.