“Accidentally in Love” with the Shrek Series

A screencap from the opening sequence of Shrek 2 that showcases Shrek and Fiona’s unusual but – in my opinion – beautiful love.

Each August, usually a week before school, I sit down and watch Shrek 2 with my sister. We consider it the best of the best and the cream of the crop when it comes to modern cinema. Not only are the song choices impeccable, but the storyline is unmatched. When I was younger, my dad was obsessed with Shrek, which in turn meant that we were obsessed with Shrek. We even had the “Shrek the Halls” Christmas special, which still sits in our living room, scratched and hanging on by a thread.

Shrek 2. Directed by Andrew Adamson, Conrad Vernon, and Kelly Asbury, performances by Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz, DreamWorks Pictures, 2004. (via. YouTube)

Every time we make our popcorn and sit down to watch Shrek 2, whether it is on a DVD or a streaming service, I’m always excited. Fiona always drew me in with her unapologetic style of just being which is difficult to find in leading female characters. I also always adored her for her arc of coming to terms with her ogre-self, which makes her happier in the end. Our discussions of female characters in fairy tale stories have helped me think more about these more recent contributions to the whimsical world of fiction. Why is it so difficult for women to find representation in modern fairy tale adaptations? A perfect example is Fiona – when she becomes her true self when she is with Shrek, she seems much happier – but is not technically “conventionally” beautiful. I think that’s what makes her unique and easier to resonate with as an actual character with thoughts and aspirations.

3 thoughts on ““Accidentally in Love” with the Shrek Series

  1. Shrek is a reverse fairy tale.
    Instead of reinterpreting an existing canon, Shrek invents a new one using any Fairy Tale in its reach.
    I want to hear more about your thoughts on Fiona. It is a shame the word limit stopped your blog post before you could dig into the analysis.
    Fiona shares some in common with Ariel of the Little Mermaid. Like Ariel, she gives up an essential feature of her personality – her appearance – to be with a man. As a princess, beauty makes her valuable to others. Maybe nothing on its own, but it might be more enlightening in conversation with The Little Mermaid

  2. As someone who grew up watching Shrek with her Sisters and Father, I am obsessed with the incorporation of the song Accidentally In Love! I would agree that Fiona and all the other characters reject the construct of gender as public performing, strong, not eurocentric beauties. I would say that her hesitation towards revealing her true self to Shrek represents some conformity of the social construct that is engrained. I would have liked to hear about Shreks conformity to masculinity or more about how Fiona defines this happiness she has now found.

  3. Julia, I really enjoyed your analysis of Shrek. Your voice in this post is very engaging, and I also appreciated the personal details you included! I was also very interested in Ben’s point that he commented on above. I’ve never realized that Fiona is similar to Ariel, by giving up a part of her identity. It is interesting because this plot point has the opposite effect as in “The Little Mermaid”. In Shrek, instead of reinforcing patriarchal ideas of ‘the ideal woman’ her change goes against them. Her voice and her opinions are valued, while her appearance is not.

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