14 Epiphanies You’ll Have Re-Watching "The Little Mermaid"

ARIEL IS WEARING HER SKIN AS A DRESS. And they call humans barbaric.

1. Mermaids suck at hide-and-seek.

Atlantica enjoys a hell of a lot of sunlight for a secret undersea kingdom. Which is fine until you start to question how far sunlight penetrates the ocean, and the answer is only about one-tenth of a mile. So, slightly over 600 feet under the sea there is a species of mythical creatures, the royalty of which live in a castle so tall you could accidentally step on it while snorkeling. Worst hidden civilization. Ever.

2. Evidence suggests Ariel’s mom was sleeping around.

No, seriously. Barring the confusing and contradictory ages of Ariel’s sisters from the wiki, they all appear to have been born around the same time but have vastly varying physical appearances — meaning mermaids breed in multiples, and like cats, can be impregnated by multiple partners at once. So either Triton and his wife were righteously kinky, or she was getting some from the pool boy…and the valet…and the butcher.

3. Evolution hates merfolk.

What the actual hell, evolution? Are you drunk? Humanlike hair is not helpful when living underwater. Neither is humanlike skin instead of scales or whatever crazy witchcraft dolphins have. They have no gills, so how do they filter water? They abhor humans eating fish, so what do they eat? Exactly how long can they survive above water? Ariel creepily hovers over Eric for HOURS with no ill effects if the rising sun is to be believed.

4. King Triton secretly loves human things.

Methinks this is a case of the the merman doth protest too much. Don’t believe? Behold!

Exhibit A: Composition paper.

Exhibit B: Mirrors.

“Where did you learn to value human objects, Ariel?!”

“I learned it from you Dad. I LEARNED IT FROM YOU.”

5. King Triton is comically naive about human nature.

Triton is totally concerned Ariel is going to end up on some fish eater’s hook. But unless “hook” is a euphemism for penis, I don’t think he understands humans as well as he thinks he does.

6. Flounder is the most powerful wizard in Atlantica.

That is the only explanation for how he got a heavy, life-sized reproduction of Prince Eric to the secret grotto from its watery grave and through the tiny Ariel-sized hole, which serves as the only entrance. Fear him.

7. Ursula is the real victim here.

She talks (to herself, poor lamb) about how she used to live in the palace. Did Triton and the merpeople stage an Manifest Destiny–style invasion? That would explain a few things, like why she hates him, and maybe even why he seems complacent in allowing her to play her sadistic “Make A Deal” games with idiot merpeople. She must be such a threat to him it’s better to allow her to languish in exile than risk her arsenal of magical retribution for Squid-People (she only has six appendages) genocide.

8. She’s also the most body-positive character in this flick.

This fabulous diva knows she’s hot, and if you don’t agree with her, you’re wrong. It’s obvious she has the power to look like her human alter ego Vanessa with ease, but why would she? She’s the hottest piece of tail under the sea and certainly knows the importance of…body language, ha!

9. But she failed Villain 101.

Ursula, gurl, we need to talk. This plan had such promise. You lured the youngest daughter of your arch nemesis to your lair, but there’s no need for all this pageantry! Atlantica clearly has no guards, much less a standing army — just cut out the middle man, save yourself the hassle of restocking magical components, and call this a kidnapping.

10. Mermaids were the original BabelFish.

How convenient that merpeople and humans speak and read the same language, if Ariel’s grotto song is any indicator. How inconvenient for Ariel to forget that oral language has a counterpart known as the written word. One scribble of “I saved your life when you were drowning then sing / Stalked you now kiss me” could’ve ended this farce.

11. Fish are too stupid to live.

If it weren’t for Sebastian, Eric never would have guessed Ariel’s name. Meaning, Sebastian and the other animals were speaking and singing in English. Perhaps instead of demonizing humans as barbaric monsters, stating, “Yo, dude, I’m sentient, please do not boil me alive” would be appropriate.

12. Grimsby is a horrible guardian.

The King trusted you to find a suitable bride for his son and you’re trying to marry him off to the first mute stranger to wash up on the beach. You’ve known her for about three hours. How about we slow it down, eh Grim?

13. ARIEL IS WEARING HER SKIN AS A DRESS.

SHE’S WEARING HER SKIN. AS A DRESS.

14. This whole movie is an allegory for transgenderism.

Think about it. Her whole life, Ariel has felt trapped in the wrong body. She wants to be “where the people are” and jumps at the chance to trade in her fins for feet. Immediately after her transformation, Sebastian suggests it’s not too late for her to “…go home with all the normal fish,” before realizing that Ariel would be miserable for the rest of her life if she remained a mermaid when she feels, and has always felt, human.

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