Debunking the Counter-Theory to the Previous Frozen/Tangled Debunking

I recently did a costume analysis for those stubborn Frozen/Tangled shippers,

By which I mean this literal ship.

And today I'd like to share some pretty sad and hilarious counter-arguments that I just can't leave un-mocked. One even went so far as to chide me for failing to properly account for Jane Porter's costumes in Tarzan since that link has apparently been confirmed:



No plain old screen cap will do here. We need an infinitely-looping gif to properly convey my contempt.

No, seriously. This is like someone saw this:

And did this:

"OMG! I was right! The Paul Is Dead rumor has now been officially confirmed!"

More strangely, it seems this and prior debunkings have spawned a counter theory, that comes in two main variations. 1) The costume differences are indicative of different regions but not different time periods:

Really? Would you like to provide any examples of Norwegian or German costume that supports this region-over-time hypothesis? Aren't you aware that royal families in Europe tended to intermarry so much that fashions of the royal & upper classes are much more tied to time period than region? But whatever. You want German? Fine, I'll give you German. Here are FOUR Holy Roman Emperors (which consisted primarily of Germany in the 16th Century...don't ask, it's complicated):

Note that they are all rockin' Rapunzel's dad's giant gold shoulder chain until it went out of fashion in the late 16th Century.

Oh, and Norway did exactly the same fucking thing in the 16th century:

The king of Norway & Denmark, 1534-1559, noticeably dressed much more like Rapunzel's dad than Anna and Elsa's dad.

In contrast, here is Norwegian royalty in the 1840s:

Wikipedia exists, guys. It's really not that hard.

For the record, fashionable Germans were wearing pretty much the same thing as everybody else in the 1840s too:

And while we're on the subject, Prince Albert--from the prior costume debunking--was German.

But it's the second variation that really takes the cake: 2) These costumes are just regional differences but not different time periods because these stories aren't even taking place ON EARTH:

Could someone please explain to me why a map of Earth is considered evidence FOR this fan theory, but all this suddenly doesn't take place on Earth as soon as facts become inconvenient? (map credit: cinemablend)

Now, I'd love to know why if these are regional differences in a completely extraterrestrial universe they seem to hew so closely to actual historical dress? Why not just mix and match decorations and styles from any time, anywhere, and throw in a green sky and an alien or two, if it's not taking place on the fucking Earth?!

Look guys, when Disney does a movie that's inspired by history but doesn't actually take place on Earth, they're not exactly subtle about it.

But more importantly, if we're going to make up fan theories that refuse any and all constraints of space and time, and simply declare that a fan theory, once established, is impervious to any counterexample or contrary evidence, and that the mere fact of it suddenly crossing someone's mind is enough to entrench it in endless forum discussions and articles, then I have one very simple question:

What the fuck is the point?

I'll say that again:

Do you really get credit for "figuring something out" when the only qualification you think is necessary is "It's Disney and anything is possible?"

Nope, not a strawman. That was an actual rebuttal to my debunking.

Why should I be interested in a theory you propose if you haven't invested so much as a damn synapse into wondering if it's plausible? If literally anything is possible, why is this the one we're fixating on, instead of imagining Dr. Facilier as the lovechild of Jafar and Yzma?

Admit it. Now you kind of want that to be true.

I can at least respect rebuttals that tried, however feebly, to engage in some textual thinking:

Yeah, and Lumiere conjures up the Eiffel Tower during "Be Our Guest."

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. I hope I don't need to point out that there weren't many princes in castles in France in 1889...

Because this happened.

And then this happened.

And then this happened.

And then this happened.

And then this happened.

And then this happened.

I could go on...

Please don't.

Anyway, the Mozart line was in the same song that Flynn describes "An island that I own, tanned and rested and alone." Now, owning islands is a particularly mid-20th-century-and-later concept of expressing wealth, and pre-industrial revolution PALLOR was considered luxurious because laborers worked in the sun rather than factories. It wasn't until the 1920s that tanned skin stood for wealth and leisure. The point being, that while there is a general look and feel that establishes when the story is happening and contributes to the broader picture of creator intent, clever anachronisms are kind of a thing in Disney.

You don't say.

When it comes right down to it (the opportunity to indulge my great love of historical fashion aside), for all the rebuttals and excuses, it's still a fan theory. And I'll be very honest. I detest fan theories.

Those of you who are familiar with my blog may have already noticed this.

It's not just that I find fan theories personally uninteresting. It's that they crowd everything else out. They suck all the energy away from vastly more interesting topics and into this gaping black hole of vapidity. I have no problem with ironic "theories" being used for comedic, parody, or crossover purposes in good fun, but when people take them seriously they grow unchecked, metastasize to other movies, and it's impossible to separate them from the discussion without killing the whole discourse.

Instead of talking about (& endlessly defending) utter nonsense and special pleading, we could be talking about how cool the Disney tradition of Easter Eggs ACTUALLY is...

I found numerous people who were sufficiently fervent fans to be attached to the Frozen/Tangled theory but had NO IDEA until I told them that Easter Eggs were actually a thing!

...what makes a good Easter Egg, how the architecture, costumes, character designs and color palette create moods for each movie, how Disney has dramatically improved the detail and historical accuracy of their production design since the 1990s, or how immersive world-building interacts with creative anachronism. Even better, we could discuss how nuances that actually DO have textual significance for their films add to the experience: for instance, whether Frozen successfully portrayed Hans to be a sociopath or just made a completely unsupported "twist"... That reminds me, I really ought to actually write that Frozen series that I've been promising my readers for ages...

...but Fandom, let me explain something to you: whenever you spread a fan theory and interrupt me, you're breaking my concentration. You're DISTRACTING me. And it will then take me TIME to get BACK to where I was! Understand? Fine. Then we're gonna make a new rule: whenever I'm online, and you hear me blogging, or whether you DON'T hear me blogging or whatever the FUCK you hear me doing online, when I'm online that means that I am working. That means DON'T spread fan theories. Now you think you can handle that?

I'm sorry, I seem to have gotten carried away there...

No, I really don't want to build a snowman. Why do you ask?

But yes, I really will write that Frozen series once I get this off my chest. Eventually. But hey, if 290 years is perfectly collapsible in the Disney universe, what's a little delay in my blog schedule?

If you've been so busy rehashing the Frozen/Tangled fan theory that you haven't seen Some Like It Hot, then you need better priorities.

And so I worked on some other blog posts, and distracted myself with current events, and then I had an epiphany...

...but this article is already way too long so I'm going to pull a shameless cliffhanger and you'll have to wait till my next post to read it!


  1. That's interesting and I won't say I totally disagree with you, but I think the people who said that it "didn't take place on Earth" didn't express the point in the best way possible. The point is: those two movies are fairy tales which take place in "fairy tale times", in a "fairy tale world" where magic is a thing and etcetera, and where in spite of similarities to historical periods "real" history can't apply. Like most fairy tales and myths, really. A bit like "The Lord of the Rings" or most heroic fantasy stories; it's obvious that osme of the costumes are inspired by medieval times (a real time period), but few people would try to argue that the story doesn't make sense because it doesn't fit real-life geography. Those are fantasy stories, fairy tales. Not period pieces.

    P.S.: I'm not really, as I mentioned, a great supporter of the "Frozen/Tangled" theory. It's just that I don't agree with those dates you gave as counter-arguments either. In spite of which, still, well-done, for those costume analysis in the last post; very interesting.


About the Author

Satiricalifragilistic grew up during the Disney Renaissance, and The Little Mermaid was the first movie she ever saw in theaters at age 3. Her mother flatly refused to let her leave the theater when Ursula got huge and terrifying, and maybe that explains her troubled psyche.

While she'll admit to being an inveterate nitpicker, she firmly believes in loving a piece of art even while criticizing it, and in the importance of engaging critically with what she loves. She has special contempt for anyone who tries to claim the politics in Disney films don't matter because "they're just movies," because she knows exactly how much the Disney Canon influenced her little gradeschool self—for good and for ill!

She loves art, design, music, dancing, movies from Hollywood's Golden Age, and British comedy...expect a lot of these to turn up in her reviews and mashups!