Every now and then, a television show comes into your life that makes you say, “I’m so excited to watch this!” And then you watch the first four or five episodes and you say, “Why am I still watching this?” And then four seasons later you’re like, “Oh, I am *still* watching this, huh?” And then you look back at all your time spent watching and you think to yourself, “What the hell did I just watch?”
That’s basically my love story with Once Upon a Time. Seven years ago, I saw that the show — spearheaded by two guys who used to work on Lost, the best television show ever made and don’t you dare @ me on that — was coming to ABC. And it was going to be about all these classic Disney characters living in the real world! Plus, Ginnifer Goodwin, an actress I admire the hell out of for her roles and the fact that she has a clause in her contracts to wear wigs because she doesn’t like people messing with her hair. All of that is a recipe for something I’m going to LOVE, so yes, I started watching Once Upon a Time.
Now, seven seasons later and with 155 episodes cleared off my watch list, I look back at my time spent in Storybrooke and I’m trying to figure what exactly just happened.
For those who are still kinda confused about Once Upon a Time (and honestly, sometimes I am confused about it, too), here’s the quick gist: A bunch of storybook characters – ranging from Disney to classic literature and even some Disney attractions — are stuck in the real world, thanks to a curse, brought on by Snow White’s Evil Queen. In casting this curse, Snow White and Prince Charming had to give up their baby daughter, Emma, and send her away from the “Enchanted” world, where she’s now going to grow up an orphan. Also, sometime in the future, she’s the only one who can break this curse. Thanks to the meddling of Emma’s long-lost son (who she had to give up for adoption because she was in prison, this is not a story we have time to dive into because it involves Neal, my favorite character on the show, and if I start talking about Neal I will NOT STOP), she has to come back and save her parents and also everyone else in the town of Storybrooke, Maine.
Also, thanks to this curse, Emma and her parents Snow White and Prince Charming — aka Mary Margaret and David — they’re all the same age. It is kinda weird! But after a while you’re just used to Adult Emma calling Adult Snow White “mom.”
If you think that’s a little bit bizarre, you don’t even KNOW. Once Upon a Time brought so many characters to life, from all the Disney Princesses, to Peter Pan, to Jiminy Cricket, to Anna and Elsa, and I turned on an episode the other week to watch and Madame Leota from the Haunted Mansion was there and I was like, “Seriously, what the hell am I watching?”
But that’s the thing: I have watched every episode of Once Upon a Time. And willingly! I knew it was insane, and I knew the plots made no sense, and it’s downright cuckoo bananas that Emma’s son, Henry, is the grandson of both Snow White and Prince Charming and Peter Pan’s great-grandson and now his step-dad is Captain Hook, and now Adult Henry has a thing with Cinderella, but I accepted all of this. And I eagerly kept watching.
And now, just like all bonkers things in life, Once Upon a Time has to come to an end. We’re finally at the end of the weird and windy road and…I think I’m going to miss it?
I look back at all my time in Storybrooke, and think, “Why did I ride this train for so long?” — but it’s because I loved it. I loved OUAT with every fiber of my being, and I loved it so much I hated myself for loving it. The show almost immediately jumped the shark and I loved every second of it. Like, there was an entire plot line about the Wizard of Oz, and it made NO SENSE, and the Evil Queen and the Wicked Witch of the West are long-lost sisters (????????) and it was odd, but I loved it so goddamn much. Don’t even get me started on the Emma-Neal-Hook love triangle, because we will be here all day since I have lots of FEELINGS about it — and clearly, I loved that too.
It’s not every day that an absolutely absurd show comes into your life and you fall so deeply into it. I sometimes used to joke that I was hate-watching Once Upon a Time because I didn’t necessarily want others to know I was obsessed with it. But I was. I still am. I’ll go back to Storybrooke any day of the week.
However, now I have to say goodbye. Goodbye, my sweet Once Upon a Time. I’m going to miss you so much. See you in another life, brotha — oh shoot, no, that’s a Lost reference. Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, if you are reading this: you can revive OUAT at literally any time, but don’t you dare touch Lost.