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You would have a very hard time convincing me that there is a Disney character more narcissistic and conceited than Gaston. I mean seriously, this guy is convinced that he is absolute perfection, God’s gift to humanity (and especially women), etc. The other townspeople (minus Belle) certainly don’t need any convincing of this “fact.” Therefore, Gaston can probably (maybe) be forgiven for presuming that Belle would agree to marry him without any argument whatsoever.
Yes, I said marry. Gaston has decided to completely skip courting Belle and is just going to ask her to marry him (and then hold the ceremony immediately afterward), what could POSSIBLY go wrong?
What Gaston (and the rest of the town) can’t fathom is that the traditional idea of being a housewife, raising a large brood of kids and particularly doing whatever a boorish husband demands is the LAST thing Belle wants to do with her life (especially if that husband were Gaston). So…needless to say, the proposal goes badly (Gaston ends up face first in a mud hole, with the whole town watching). But rather than accept this rejection and pick literally any other girl in town to marry him, Gaston won’t take no for an answer, he MUST have Belle, it doesn’t matter what she thinks!
Despite this proclamation, Gaston is still depressed over the fact that Belle said “no” to him, and while Belle is adjusting to life in the castle, Gaston is brooding in the tavern while Le Fou (literally “the fool”) tries to cheer him up. This is the setting for “Gaston”, one of the crazier songs of the Disney Renaissance.
From beginning to end, the entire song is an homage to Gaston, how amazing he is, how perfect he is, and how everyone wishes they could be him!
There’s actually a funny story as to how this song came together (I referenced it in Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics ). What happened is, when the writers were putting the songs for this film together, they created fake lyrics to accompany the melody to serve as a placeholder (the real lyrics would be inserted later). However, the fake lyrics for “Gaston” proved to be so catchy that the writers made the decision to keep them! (Which makes you wonder what the song was REALLY going to sound like, but I guess we’ll never know).
As it is, the song gives a rather enlightening view of how Gaston’s mind works. He receives near constant praise from all the townspeople, which in turn feeds his massive ego (I’m guessing he was spoiled rotten as a child, hence his anger over Belle saying “no”, it’s probably the first rejection he’s ever received in his life). It’s amazing what the townspeople have put up with from him: Gaston knocks over the chess board when he’s about to lose (and the people say no one can match wits with him); Gaston cheats in a brawl (by biting); in other words, Gaston is nothing more than a bully but everyone seems to be okay with that! The song also reveals that Gaston is a hunter par excellence (this includes mounting a rabbit head and a frog head on his wall, see if you can spot them in the scene!).
Except for his ego, Gaston otherwise fits the bill of a traditional Disney hero, even his singing voice is excellent (I haven’t looked it up, but I suspect Gaston’s singing voice has an operatic background). This was all planned by the Disney animators though, they wanted Gaston to appear as this otherwise perfect specimen in the beginning, to contrast him with the terrible behavior of the Beast. However, as the story develops, the Beast and Gaston gradually switch roles: with the Beast becoming more “human” (even before the end of the film) and Gaston becoming more and more “Beast-like.”
That’s all for Gaston for the moment (we’ll get back to him after while), next time, I’m not sure which song I’ll pick next (they’re all so good), but I’ll be back with more tomorrow! Have a great day!
*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios
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