Disney romances have long been critiqued for being, well, entirely unrealistic. Not only have animated cartoons set some seriously unobtainable romantic standards for us all, but there are some pretty concerning themes presented in classic children’s movies. Falling in love with a literal vendetta-driven Beast aside—ehm, Belle—consent and logic are often missing from the fictional relationships, not to mention a fairly standard period of getting to know each other before going all in.
So what does a relationship therapist have to say about all this?
In a recent YouTube video, relationship therapist Jonathan Decker analyzed a random assortment of Disney romantic relationships to see which are most problematic and which actually have a solid basis. Testing their partnerships in the battle-royal are animated couples Alladin and Jasmine, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Fix-It Felix and Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph, Rapunzel and Eugene from Tangled, Simba and Nala from The Lion King, and Snow White and Prince Florian.
Out of the selected couples, Decker ranks Snow White and Prince Florian (yes, the prince as a name — and it apparently is that) as the most problematic pairing. After all, the two meet only once (without talking!) before betrothing themselves to one another with Snow White becoming so scared during that meeting that she literally runs away.
So this is love? Well, maybe not.
“Snow White, you are experiencing a chemical rush that is probably a combination of responding to his pheromones and being physically attracted to him, and the adrenaline of absolute terror,” Decker says. “So those things combined can be kind of potent. Doesn’t mean it’s love.”
That’s all not to mention the little (or, rather, absolutely blatantly massive) issue of consent in their relationship — or lack thereof.
Decker says, “[Snow White] eats the poison apple, she gets knocked out, and then he sees her and is like, ‘I should totally kiss that.'”
Now, remember, Prince Florian has absolutely no idea a kiss will save Snow White from the poison. As Decker says, he just stumbles upon her unconscious and thinks “now’s my window.”
Obviously, the vintage Disney couple is outdated and problematic by any standards — but what about the least problematic couple of the bunch? Decker says Fix-It Felix and Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph actually have a relationship to envy, creating a dynamite team and embracing each other’s personalities.
“They accept influence from each other,” Decker says. “On the surface, [Calhoun] is tough, no-nonsense, leads troops into battle — and Felix seems like this really sweet, kind of derpy, doesn’t-really know what he’s doing guy. But she accepts influence from him, he definitely accepts it from her all throughout, and they complement each other. It’s like salty and sweet.”
Though the two may win all-or-nothing video games with their complemenary personalities and differing approaches, they also make each other grow and flourish in their relationship.
“She softens because of his influence, and he toughens up because of her influence,” Decker says. “And there’s kind of a meeting in the middle.”
Curious to find out where the other couples land? Watch the full video above to see get the entire definitive ranking.
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