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Courtesy of Netflix

October 15, 2019

‘Disenchantment’ Finds Redemption in Season Two

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p class=”p1″>How do you get an audience to watch a season of a show in one sitting? Create relatable characters and an engaging plot! Unfortunately, the first season of Disenchantment fails to do this. I was not emotionally invested and could not watch the whole first season in one sitting. A predictable cartoon princess who doesn’t want to be a princess, a demon with little motivation other than the wreaking of suffering and a half-elf creature with a shrill voice are all overly one-dimensional and float through overly simple plots. However, I decided to give the second season another chance with the success of the show’s predecessor Futurama in mind, and I urge that you do the same. Season two of Disenchantment avoids the previous season’s tedium with believable character development, multiple mysterious plotlines, colorful new settings and punchier humor.

The second season begins with the Princess Tiabeanie, Bean for short, traveling with her recently resurrected mother, Queen Dagmar, to their ancestral homeland of Maru which resembles an alternate universe ancient Egyptian city. The setting alone caught my interest; the city seems it is past its prime with a glowering pyramid slowly descending into ruins, the citizens are misshapen and goblin-like, and its rulers (Dagmar’s siblings) socially awkward sorcerers. Bean soon realizes that her family is hiding something from her, and learns not to trust them before they attempt to screw a crown into her skull as part of a magical initiation. This first episode sets the precedent for a season of suspense and expansion of the show’s world.

As the season continues, Bean’s step-mother, who Bean once thought to be lame, divorces Bean’s dad and becomes a pirate captain. This leaves the king without a wife, and an entire episode is devoted to an actually heart-wrenching tragedy about the king falling in love with a shape-shifting bear-nymph whom he keeps in his castle out of love. He eventually lets her go back to the forest, losing his love; this Homerian story reminded me of Futurama’s better episodes, when the writers get the audience to truly care for the characters by giving them distinctly human flaws.

Despite the new emotional depths of Disenchantment, its humor is even cheekier than that of the previous season. We learn that Bean enjoys the company of mermaids (LGBT representation!) from olives falling from her friend’s ears the next morning, primitive ogres speak in a sophisticated way, underground secret society orgies are revealed and an executioner turns out to be a sweetheart. As the characters walk through their town, certain missable punny storefront signs read “Soot Locker” or “Ditchweed Dispensary,” which will elicit a chuckle.

This season also addresses the hilarious misogyny of the land. Bean is never let into court meetings and the misogyny strikes the right chords within the modern audience by exaggerating familiar attitudes of some real-life men.

Disenchantment is no Futurama, but if you can stomach a monotonous first season, you can lose yourself in a bingeable and amusing second season.

Emma Plowe is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at edp52@cornell.edu.