5 unanswered questions everyone who loves Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” still has

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t waiting for the moment I got to write this column on The Little Mermaid: the first film in Disney’s Renaissance period. The most amazing Disney animated films were released during the years 1989-1999, and I’m proud to say this was the exact decade of my childhood.

And while The Little Mermaid is not my favorite film of the era, it is obviously groundbreaking and — despite how many may argue — it is actually very feminist.

But regardless of its near-perfection, there are still some questions I need answers for, y’all.

Why is Ariel named so differently from her sisters?

We already know Ariel is King Triton’s favorite child. Right before his daughters perform at the very beginning of the movie, King Triton tells Sebastian that he’s most excited about seeing his youngest daughter. This is messed up on a lot of levels, but regardless of my side-eyeing about that, I’m asking why all of Triton’s other daughters – Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, and Alana – were given names starting and ending with an A. Ariel was the only one bestowed with a different-sounding name.


It’s not like Triton knew she’d be different right off the bat, nor did he know that he’d unfairly like Ariel more than her siblings when he first named her. P.S. How the hell are merbabies born?

WTF is Prince Eric even the prince of?

So, Prince Eric is royalty, and he has a dog, and he lives in a huge house, and he knows how to man a sailboat. And he’s apparently dreamy enough for some people that they’ll change their anatomy on the off chance he’ll go for it. Whatever. I’m more of an Aladdin girl, so I never really *got* Prince Eric.


But where does he even live? And we never see his parents, or even find out what he’s the prince of. Prince of boats? Prince of passing out? Prince of creepily white teeth? Prince of meeting a girl who can’t talk and not running to grab a pen and paper since she’s probably literate but CAN’T TELL YOU WITH HER MOUTH?

To be fair to Eric, we never find out what the Beast of Beauty and the Beast is prince of either — but at least the Beast has a personality (yeah, I said it).

No, but seriously: Explain the “Why didn’t she write it down?” thing.

SPEAKING OF. I realize this is a popular question to have about the movie, but I don’t care because no Little Mermaid question list is complete without it. SERIOUSLY, SIS, you know how to write. I saw you do it in the middle of the movie when you sold your soul to Ursula for legs.


But fine, Ariel was really distracted. Fine. Legs can do that to you. But how was NO ONE ELSE like, “Omg loophole! After we find your clothes, let’s grab paper and a pen, and write this guy a letter about what’s going on.” Not even the super-smart Sebastian thought of this, which is ridiculous. Maybe she thought no one would believe her? Or maybe it’s just really lazy writing on Disney’s part? I’m gonna go with that.

What products does Ariel use to not only keep her hair dry, but also PERFECT immediately after swimming?

I don’t know if the whole ocean is magic in the Disney universe or if King Triton put a charm on all his daughters, ensuring they look like models 24/7, but even when Ariel bursts out of the water after first getting her legs, her hair is legitimately perfect and dry even though water is splashing/glittering everywhere.


I know Disney wants us to focus on the story, and that magic is vaguely involved throughout the whole thing, and la la la who cares about hair when there’s true love at first sight happening, but like… they rub it in: “Haha this girl only needs a fork to tame her hair, isn’t that crazy?” Ugh.

The penises. What was the deal with the penises?

Y’all know what I’m talking about. Sure, we could chalk up the VHS box snafu to an innocent mistake or coincidence. But then the minister marrying Vanessa and a hypnotized Prince Eric of Kingdom Passing Out has an extremely noticeable… well, problem.


Now, I’m no subliminal-message expert, but given these two incidents and similar claims about The Lion King and The Rescuers – the latter of which proved to be 100% true and deliberate – I really want to know the true story behind these phallic inclusions, and whatever inside joke inspired them. Because there HAS to be one.

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