Beauty and the Beast (1987) Season 1

Okay, so the nostalgia runs deeply on this one, but I can’t say exactly when I would have watched the show itself since I was only 9 years old when it came out. I assume I saw it on re-runs, but I don’t know. Either way, I distinctly remember Vincent and Catherine and the “world” they created down in the underground with Father and the rest of the community.

I probably don’t have much original to say about this season except that by the end, like most viewers, I was really hoping Catherine and Vincent would get it on! But they didn’t, and they still haven’t yet in Season 2.

Either way, here’s what I think overall of this whole setup: Vincent certainly is the perfect man, emotionally speaking. He’s present. He validates Catherine’s strengths and supports her when she’s faltering. His sixth sense for her well-being is deeply rooted and he exhibits care for her in all ways. The way he looks at her, admiringly, affectionately, is to such a romantic and true love sort of depth that after a while it becomes really obvious he’s the perfect man. Except for his fatal flaw, I suppose.

It’s unclear to me so far why their relationship hasn’t been consummated yet as Season 1 ends with Catherine’s turmoil (I think I’m interpreting this as sexual frustration) over their relationship.

So that brings me to the other part of their dynamic. So far it seems they will never have a level of intimacy that either of them wants, desires so much. Why? For TV-narrative effect, no doubt, but it reflects also on the growing trend of lack of intimacy in present-day (or any past generations’) relationships.  I find it terrible, in many ways, to watch the connection and separation that is their relationship. Would he hurt her if they made love? Would he kill her? It’s like the whole situation is set up to be this: you can have one aspect of man (the emotional presence and IQ) or the ravenous sex machine, but not both.

I find that unrealistic in a lot of ways as our society is deeply repressed as a result of over-exposure to sex in the Society of the Spectacle and the Culture Industry and lack of substantial real-world connections to other humans. Same old, same old.

Regardless, I do like the show. So far they’ve diversified the episode narratives enough to not be overly repetitive and Catherine seems to always be a target for some sort of new situation that requires a somewhat formulaic rescue or martyr setup. But that’s okay. I still love this show and it’s my go-to lately for brain decompression at the end of a long day.

Because I was so young when this show came out, I do not know how it ends (other than I saw a bit of a spoiler about Catherine dying at some point) in terms of whether Vincent and Catherine get to do the horizontal boogie, but until it ends, I’ll enjoy it nonetheless. I’ll probably always see that walk-in sewer opening in Central Park in my mind, as I have since I was a kid, and pine away for this utopia in my day dreams.

As a post script, I’d like to add that I have always known who Ron Perlman was because of this show–able to spot him without his makeup as a child without being told who he was. And every time I see him now, I think of Vincent.

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