Beauty and the Beast

OK, true confessions – I had a massive, not exactly crush, on Vincent from the TV series Beauty and the Beast. I say not exactly a crush because I knew very well that 1) I had no desire to go to NYC and 2) a teenaged girl is no competition for Linda Hamilton. Zip, zilch, nada, nope. Vincent had very good taste, even if she was a lawyer. Even so, I kinda imprinted on Vincent, as played by Ron Perlman. I suspect a lot of women did. And it introduced me to Urban Fantasy before UF was a thing. It and Charles de Lint’s writing spoiled me for Urban Fantasy, too, I suspect.For those unfamiliar with the series, Vincent was abandoned at St. Vincent’s hospital because of birth defects that affected his face and hands, among other things. The character known as “Father” stole him from the hospital and raised him in the tunnels beneath the subways and sewers of NYC, part of a community of cultured misfits. Catherine, played by Linda Hamilton, was assaulted by a bunch of toughs and left for dead. Vincent found and rescued her, and urban fantasy took over, but not unbearably so. (I’m talking about the first two seasons or so, before the woo got too strong). Vincent was/is built like a linebacker with a lion’s head. You do not mess with this gentleman, and the operative word is gentleman. Because Vincent managed to be courtly, strong, polite, have a magnificent reading and speaking voice, and had no qualms about using violence when it was called for.

As I said, you really didn’t want to make him mad:

Oops, sorry, I'll just back away slowly.

Oops, sorry, I’ll just back away slowly.

Anyway, so I kinda was carrying a torch for Vincent, me and a whole bunch of ladies. I had not realized quite how much of the character I remembered until recently, when I happened to be listening to the poetry/soundtrack recording while working on the Cat novel. And I realized that I hear Joschka’s voice as a less breathy, deeper version of Ron Perlman’s, except speaking German or German/Old Drakonic-accented English. Similar manners, similar thoughtfulness, similar sense of agelessness, but otherwise rather different. There is no “mystical bond” between Joschka, Magda, and Rada Ni Drako. And Joschka is a lot more stupidly impulsive, even now, than Vincent would have been. (Joschka still makes Rada facepalm and think “Dear Lord, will he ever learn?” some days. As I recall Catherine never had that problem.)

If you go back and watch the DVDs or clips on the ‘Net, the series holds up pretty well. OK, no CG, just major effects makeup, and you have to take the NYC things with a bit of tongue in cheek. But the acting remains strong, even for the minor characters, and the overall plot arc holds together (again, the first two seasons). It’s a series guys and gals can watch, because it is NOT a pure romance or that thing now called “romantic comedy.” And there are chunks of Shakespeare, Browning, and other fascinating bits of culture woven into the stories. It was the first time I’ve heard parts of Romeo and Juliet performed in a way that made sense (as opposed to over-hammed), and other older plays and poems.

 

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