Saturday Something: Sofia the First

Sofia the First logo (Mouse on the Mind)I’m a little behind the eight-ball, but I finally watched “Sofia The First: Once Upon a Princess” this past week, and I wanted to share some impressions with you.

I have to start, of course, with the non-troversy surrounding Sofia’s race. Is she Latina? Does it matter? The whole conversation seems flimsy to me. More important than how ethnic she looks, to my mind, is that Sofia is the first princess that the target audience can actually relate to.

Not only is she a young girl, but she is living through a difficult but all-too-common time in her life. Many, many kids grow up in single-parent homes and blended families, and showing those family types on television seems very significant to me. For the first time, young girls can see themselves reflected in a princess.

Sofia the First (Mouse on the Mind)If you still want to focus on race, please do note: the toon displays a remarkable diversity. Also know you’re in the minority: “Sofia The First: Once Upon a Princess” premiered to 5.2 million viewers, making it the #1 children’s telecast for 2012 and the #1 telecast with young girls in more than ten years. Clearly parents weren’t turned off by the debate swirling around the little princess.

Cinderella advises Sofia (Mouse on the Mind)

As for the show itself, if I had a daughter, we would absolutely watch Sofia together! Yes, it’s CGI animated and absolutely horrible to look at, but Sofia and her family are charming, and the show is packed with small lessons about how to behave in society.

Also? There’s magic, Merlin’s mushrooms, and Tim Gunn voices Baileywick, the uptight royal steward. So, really, what’s not to love? Let everyone in the Tri-Kingdom-area know: Princess Sofia has arrived!As a Disney nerd, I loved the appearances by Cinderella, Fauna, Flora and Merryweather (and I can’t wait for more Princesses). And as a regular-old nerd, I totally love how meta the dialogue is. It’s very self-aware, from Miranda placing a slipper on King Roland’s foot to the young prince taunting his sister about being the “fairest in the land.” The show is full of tongue-in-cheek references that turn fairy tale stereotypes on their heads.

Who’s your favorite princess? Is there room in your heart for little Sofia? Let us know in the comments below.

If you want to see the premiere special for yourself, the full episode is available as a streaming video on the Disney Junior website. New episodes of the animated series will begin on Friday, January 11, on both Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

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