My Wife Can’t Stand ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on CW [OPINION]
Last night, the CW show “Beauty and the Beast” won two People’s Choice Awards, Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show and Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress. As many know, I’m highly critical of, and over analyze, movies and television. And apparently that’s a trait that has rubbed off on my wife Lindsey, who is a fan of the long-standing fairytale, but thinks the new fan favorite series is horrible.
We were both a little concerned when we heard the CW would be remaking the classic CBS show starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. A favorite series of my wife’s, a series she regularly watches on DVD and Netflix, the fear was that the CW would do the same butchering job they did with the Superman lore in “Smallville”, which also starred the new Catherine in “Beauty and the Beast”, Kristen Kreuk (They aren’t off to a good start). After giving the show a chance my wife finally snapped and couldn’t stop ranting about her disappointment, very similar to her epiphany about “Twilight”, so I wanted to give her this opportunity to express her opinion about the series.
Where do I begin? Originally I didn’t even want to give the show a chance because it was blasphemy next to the love story that was realized in the original series created by Ron Koslow that premiered in September of 1987. I later decided that I couldn’t judge without actually seeing the show….I made it through four episodes. I couldn’t get past how Catherine Chandler, played by Linda Hamilton, went from a classy lawyer, an investigator for the District Attorney’s office who learns what it means to have to take care of herself after a vicious attack, to just another homicide detective (Kristen Kreuk) who’s a badass just to prove that a woman can be. It’s been done. She went from one-in-a-million to a-dime-a-dozen. Then there is the case of Vincent. In the original, played by Ron Perlman, he was, as the title states, a beast. With lion-like features he could never walk in the light, forever secluded to the darkness. The only way for him to truly see the world being through books, he is suave, sophisticated and well educated. With an empathic connection to Catherine he is able to run to her aid when he feels her fear. Now the new Vincent (Jay Ryan) might as well be named “Bruce Banner” as he’s more like the Incredible Hulk than the Beast. Granted, he’s well educated, a doctor at a New York City hospital, he joined the military after 9/11 and volunteered for “super soldier” experiments. The result being when his adrenaline spikes he hulks out, or as they call it, “code yellow”. Instead of an empathic connection he stalks Catherine and intervenes when she’s in trouble. The only other thing to make him beastly is a huge scar on the right side of his face, which is miraculously gone at the beginning of season two. Beyond the “code yellow” he’s a hottie 90% of the time. So we’ve gone from two somewhat original ideas to two cases of, “hey, let’s rip this off”.
When the first season was put on Netflix I decided to try again. A fanatic for the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, I’m a glutton for punishment. I made it through thinking, “This might work.” It was winning me over and I was ashamed. It didn’t matter that Vincent left Catherine for his ex-fiancée, who believes Vincent is in witness protection and that Catherine is his “handler”, or that Vincent caused Catherine to put her job on the line during that time. I was even able to look past the parts that prove the writers believe the audience to be complete idiots with lines like, “Autopsy wouldn’t have caught it if it was early enough,” when referencing a pregnancy test found in a victims office. So, a home pregnancy test is more sophisticated than forensic equipment? But I digress. The story was becoming more compelling. Who is Muirfield? What was Catherine’s father trying to tell her? I must know the answers!
I start watching season two and immediately found myself being drawn in until I started to realize that Kreuk’s Catherine Chandler has become the Bella Swan of the small screen. Vincent, when losing his temper, strikes out at Catherine, sending her flying several yards. When she tells a colleague, who shows immediate concern, Catherine responds with (raise your hand if you’ve heard this one), “But it wasn’t his fault.” Later she catches him playing tonsil hockey with another girl and, rightfully, gets angry only, in the next episode, to say they can make it work because they’re meant to be.
Whereas Catherine used to be a strong willed woman with a heart of gold and nerves of steel, now she’s a walking cliché who defends a disrespectful and abusive boyfriend. And Vincent, whose beauty once shined through his abnormality and because of it, is now ugly and disdainful even through his physical beauty.