So we’ve all seen Enchanted now, right? Good. Because it’s time to address a serious issue, one that hasn’t been explored since Disney’s nifty little fairy-tale spoof blew out the box office last weekend. And the issue is thus: How come nobody has pointed out that the premise of Enchanted—while certainly inspired—is basically, um, cribbed from the most awesome forgotten TV sitcom of the 1980s? That’s right, I’m talking about The Charmings.
Show of hands: Who remembers it? The premise was pretty lame, but it was executed with panache and a lot of underappreciated wit, and it is my strong belief that a cult of Charmings fans exists, lying in wait and trying to figure out how in the hell we can get together some sort of superfan convention where we don tights and wield swords and basically act like lunatics. (Oh, wait. We have renaissance fairs for that.)
In a nutshell, Snow White and Prince Charming threw her wicked stepmother, Queen Lillian (the fantastic Judy Parfitt) into a bottomless pit that—well, it wasn’t bottomless. And when Girl finally crawled her way out, she cast a spell that put them to sleep. The poor schmucks finally woke up a century later—in the Reagan era—and were forced to acclimate to their new surroundings, a tidy California suburb where, naturally, their idiot neighbors remained totally clueless.
The best part of The Charmings, as I’m sure anyone who watched can attest, were the bitchy exchanges between the Queen—who was banished to an upstairs bedroom—and her Mirror (played by the late Paul Winfield). The two of them pretty much stayed up there all day, hatching plots, wreaking havoc and just being generally fabulous. And while it was never expressly stated, methinks the Mirror was also a big ol’ Queen himself.
Below is a clip of the opening credits from the show’s first season (which, by the way, featured my favorite of the two Snow Whites who appeared during its short-lived run.) See? It’s the Enchanted premise—or at least it’s close enough. And listen to that ’80s sax! You go on with your skinny-tie-wearing self, Person Who Performed That!
So, who loved The Charmings the way I loved The Charmings? Don’t leave a brother hanging—speak up!