66 things I noticed while watching 'The Little Mermaid' as an adult

Contributed by
Jul 28, 2017

Like all my childhood favorites, it seems The Little Mermaid is also returning to the big screen in the form of a live-action film. Additionally, it’s been reported Hamilton prodigy Lin Manuel Miranda will be taking the lead with the film’s score.

Upon realizing that a live-action film is really going to be a thing (even though, I mean, do we really need one?), I’ve decided to do what I do best when it comes to my favorite Disney cartoons: watch them as an adult and ask all the questions you never thought you had.

So here are 66 things I noticed while watching Disney’s 1989 animated flick The Little Mermaid.

1. Where is Prince Eric’s family? If he’s the only one of his line, then shouldn’t he be King Eric — and what country/land is he actually the ruler of? None of this is discussed.
2. Also, are you all aware that Greg Brady (Christopher Daniel Barnes) of the revamped The Brady Bunch movies is Prince Eric? Just making you all aware.

 

3. How are merpeople made? Does the merwoman lay eggs like a chicken? Do they sprout from the bellies of the mermen like seahorses? Are they born live young from their special “no-no” places hidden in the tail? Exactly what is the mating process?

4. There were quite a few waterproof paper things in this film: Sebastian’s sheet music, Ariel’s books and paintings, Ursula’s contract … what is this waterproofing agent, and how can we get some here on land?

5. What was Triton’s thing with naming all his daughters with “A” names?

6. How did no one know Ariel was where she was supposed to be — did they not notice she was missing when they were setting up the stage?

7. How come mermaids aren’t more ugly/scary-looking? If you figure Ariel’s body can withstand a dive to the ocean floor to search sunken ships for treasure, her eyes and chest cavity should look like they've been adapted for that kind of swim. This nicely shaped ladyfish is NOT what a mermaid should look like, y’all!

8. Ariel not knowing what a fork is makes me beg the question of how silly she is, since the fork is kinda reminiscent of her dad’s trident.

9. It also begs the question as to what do merpeople eat? If Flounder the fish is her bestie, do they dine on seaweeds and kelp and all that stuff, or do they actually eat fish, shrimp, and lobsters, too?

10. Why doesn’t the shark speak like Ariel and Flounder? So far we’ve seen a talking seahorse, a talking crab, and myriad sea animals playing in an orchestra. Why is this shark a remedial beast?

11. I take it that “guppy” is an insult in the sea world. I bet guppies don’t like it too much.

12. Scuttle really was a dum-dum of a bird. Dinglehopper? Snorflatt?

13. When Ursula goes into her little rant about getting revenge, she says, “while he and his little fish folk,” which got me to thinking — is there a divide between the merpeople? Like there are those with tails and then those with tentacles? Are the tentacle population the minority? What’s the census like in these here underwater parts? I want to know!

14. Where is Atlantica, and why is it that Sebastian is the only person with a Caribbean accent? Did his little crab behind migrate from the Caribbean sea to whatever ocean it is Atlantica is in?

15. Ariel knew she wasn’t tough enough to stand up to her dad. After she gives her the ol’ “I’m 16 years old” chatter, he wags a finger at her and she starts pouting:

Ariel was NOT about that grown woman life.

16. The genuine shock on Sebastian’s face when King Triton orders him to become Ariel’s chaperone …

 

Man, he low-key did not like Ariel.

 

17. Now that I think about it, Ariel was a hoarder. She needs help. No one needs 20 thing-a-ma-bobs.

 

18. Ariel wanted to be part of that world, and didn’t realize she had to contend with sunblock if she wanted to “spend all day on the sand.” Also, daughters are reprimanded regardless of sea or land.

19. “Part of Your World” is a beautiful song … for a naive young woman who knows nothing of how the world works.

20. How far beneath the water’s surface did these merpeople live that it only took a few quick swims for them to poke their heads out and see the human folk? It seems to me humans should’ve been catching merpeople all the time, as close to the surface as they seem to be.

21. Ariel’s attraction to Eric was the definition of love at first sight, but it was clear they did not belong together since a) he likes to fish and she IS a fish and b) she loved that statue and he hated it. Clearly, they were of two minds about everything.

22. Then again, Eric was a believer in love at first sight as well. I guess he and Ariel had something in common after all.

23. This hurricane that smashes Eric’s ship … do we think it was Triton’s doing? After all, he was mad at Ariel for going up to the surface to gather human things …

24. I tell you, Eric loved his dog, Max, to risk climbing aboard a burning ship to get him.

25. Damn, I forgot how dramatic they made Eric’s near-death experience with all that gunpowder on the ship. He sure has some pretty lips, though.

26. Never understood how Ariel and Eric spoke the same language. She should’ve been squeaking like a dolphin in his ears since her vocals are adapted for WATER. And the fact that they spoke the same language makes NO sense at all since we don’t even know what country Eric hails from … but it’s a cartoon.

27. Eric was a bit of a tool too for falling for Ariel because of her voice. Yeah, buddy, that really determines the success of your relationship.

28. Kinda mad it took all of three movies before we could get to really meet Ariel’s sisters. They all look like some cool merpeople.

29. “Ariel, listen to me. The human world is a mess.” Never a truer statement, Sebastian. Never a truer statement.

30. I didn’t get how Ariel was smitten with Eric when he was on a ship catching her fish and crustacean friends for food and sport. But she is 16.

31. This black fish singing … is a little … I mean … but all right.

32. If King Triton was in a not-so-bad mood when talking to Sebastian about Ariel, I’m not sure how he thought he knew about Ariel going to the surface. Sebastian sucked at playing it cool.

33. How the HELL did Flounder get that statue of Eric in the treasure cove? He couldn’t even pull a gunpowder keg.

34. The irony in Ariel telling her dad he didn’t know Eric when baby girl didn’t even know his last name … sigh.

35. The one thing this movie got right was the mad daddy glare. Man, when Triton was mad, I was fearful for my behind.

Also, makes you wonder how different things would’ve been if Ariel’s mom were around. It took three movies for us to learn how she died, but if she were alive, I wonder if she would’ve told her, “It’s just a phase. All mergirls fall for human boys at some point, but we move on,” or would she have championed for her daughter dating a human prince … snuck her up to the surface at night and then gossip about it behind Triton’s back.

36. Not sure why Ariel would trust a sea witch that her father banished/exiled. Not the brightest fish in the sea.

37. The little garden of slave people were trying to warn Ariel, but she no listen.

38. “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is one of the best villain songs out there. Ursula made no mistake of talking about being a nasty witch and even gave some social commentary on human society: “You’ll have your looks, your pretty face. And don’t underestimate the importance of body language, ha! Men up there don’t like a lot of blabber. They think a girl who gossips is a bore. Yes, on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word, and my dear what is idle prattle for? Come on, they’re not at all impressed with conversation. True gentlemen avoid it when they can. But they dote and swoon and fawn on a lady who’s withdrawn — it’s she who holds her tongue who gets her man.”

39. Now it stands to reason if Ariel could sign her name, she could write. So, if she could write, why now didn’t she write who she was and explain her plight to Eric after she met him on the beach? Did he not have paper and a quill she could use?

40. Disney was giving us semi-nudity when Ariel changed, y’all. Side booty profile is still booty. I can only imagine a number of perverted boys who played this scene in slow motion.

41. Also, Ariel should’ve known Ursula was grimy for not getting her to the surface when she changed. Otherwise, girly would’ve died.

42. Ariel seems pretty pleased about having feet, but did she not notice any other new things she got with her legs … like a human VAGINA?


Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle don’t bat an eye when she stands up, though. Did she not wonder what that was and what it was supposed to do? Then again, Eric probably explained it ALL to her on their wedding night. *wink, wink*

 

43. Eric was some kind of man to bring a strange woman who couldn’t speak into his house.

44. Never noticed the conversation the laundresses were having outside: “I mean, really. This girl shows up in rags and doesn’t speak. Not my idea of a princess. Well, if Eric is looking for a girl, I know a couple of highly available ones right here.” Well, damn. The shade is real, my friends.

45. If Eric would marry a girl for saving his life and singing to him, let me just put on this “Drunk in Love” while shoving a prince out of the way of a taxi cab and hope for the same.

46. I felt bad for this chef. He was just trying to cook and do his job and Sebastian gave him hell. But I’m also not sure when he went through all that strife for a tiny crab like Sebastian.

47. After seeing dude use the fork to eat, she STILL used it to comb her hair. Ariel ain’t too smart.

48. King Triton had that seahorse working extra hard looking for Ariel when she was on land gallivanting with Eric.

49. This little town looks vaguely familiar, like the little town Belle moved to. *GASP* Is it the same place? Or do all European towns with Prince-Kings look the same?

50. Ariel picked up dancing pretty well, but the pure shock and horror in Eric’s face when Ariel steers their wagon is priceless.

51. “Kiss the Girl” was one of the better songs in this movie. Sebastian pulled out all the stops getting Eric to kiss this girl. Where was he when I was in high school trying to get my crush to kiss me?! Sheesh.

52. Ursula calling Ariel a “tramp” is pretty damn clutch.

53. Eric really didn’t love Ariel if you think about it … he was only going to marry her after he figured he should settle for her since he wasn’t going to find the beautiful voice that didn’t save him. When he threw away his flute, he basically said, “Well, why not? I can marry Ariel instead of the girl I really love.”

54. Despite being a bitch of a witch, Ursula was a pretty hot human as “Vanessa.”

55. Who did Ariel think she was diving into that water to get to the boat? Boo, you couldn’t even swim to save your life when you got those legs — you thought you’d magically learn to swim in a day or two? Stop.

56. Ursula hitting Max like that was animal cruelty … but I will admit, her wedding dress was a million times better than Ariel’s.

57. Continuity problems afoot — literally. Ariel has no shoes on when she gets on the boat. Then a few seconds later she has on heels. Someone was sleeping in the animation room.

58. What I want to know is if Ursula’s plan went to fruition, would she have married Eric and stayed married to him, or would she have killed him afterward … or turned him down after sunset and said she changed her mind?

59. Ariel should’ve realized how much her daddy loved her to rescue her, bind himself to Ursula for all eternity, and then turn her into a human after all of that.

60. Did we realize that they showed us Ursula’s eels shredded into sushi meat? Like … look, there’s an EYEBALL!

61. I wonder what Eric’s wedding guests were thinking the entire time a giant Ursula was trying to kill him and Ariel.

62. Am I the only person who thought Ursula’s death was a little graphic? Like, we saw homegirl get speared in the gut.

63. King Triton hooked up Ariel thrice over with new legs, the ability to swim, and a bomb dress.


King Triton was a bomb dad. Whoever did her wedding gown didn’t love her, though.

64. Ariel ain’t realize how many merfolk risked their lives to come out to her wedding. They could’ve died! Neighboring ships would have been trying to fish them, y’all!

65. Nasty, but true -- I wonder how Ariel acclimated to having human periods. Having a vagina had to have been a whole new experience for her … and Eric. Let’s face it. He was the first one getting to test-drive that thing.

66. Ariel was the true embodiment of the youngest getting their way. She wanted her a human man, and she got one … and all in about a week’s time too. She may not be smart, but she’s a true G for that. Get it, girl. Get. It.