Does Cinderella Need Therapy?
with Tim Hall
[Transcriber note: The punctuation in this transcript is less structured than other transcripts because it's a conversation. Unscripted conversations are harder to create methodized sentence structure, but I've done my best. I've also done my best to provide a clean transcript, eliminating verbal hiccoughs where available.]
A That's Not Canon Productions Podcast
Jen: Hi there and welcome to another midweek guest episode of Oof! Right in the Childhood. Today I'm joined by Tim Hall of Therapy for Monsters. Tim thanks so much for joining us today.
Tim: Yeah, thanks for having me Jen.
Jen: Hey, Tim, why don't you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself?
Tim: So, I am a fellow podcaster. I do a podcast called Therapy for Monsters because I am actually a therapist in real life. I've been doing that for quite a few years now. Like, oh, over a decade, I think. I'm getting old. So it's just a fun little podcast where the the clients are kind of improvised monsters seeking support. You've got things like you know Gollum who's obsessed with the Ring and wanting a little bit of therapeutic help, or I don't know Bowser talking about Mario always bothering him. Lots of interesting little things.
Jen: Yeah I recently listened to your episode with the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and I really like how you're like no, no this is not. This is not how you show love for someone. [Tim laughs] No.
Tim: Yeah, I just thought it was funny that he's like obsessed about his looks and how she can't possibly love me because the way I look, and it's like, "Dude you've got her trapped. Like she's your prisoner. I think that's a bigger issue here than the fact that you've got a little bit of hair on your face."
Jen: Right? I can barely wait to do the whole episode on Stockholm syndrome that's coming sometime next year. It'll be great. [Tim laughs]
Tim: Oh there's so much material like especially the earlier Disney movies before they became more PC there's lots of interesting characters.
Jen: For example, this week, we're talking about Cinderella, and all of that that comes along with it. So Tim, does the Cinderella need therapy? Or who do you think needs therapy in this movie?
Tim: you gotta feel for Cinderella like she's got the bad end of things doesn't she? So her parents have died, and then she's stuck with this horrible stepmother and horrible stepsisters. She doesn't have it very easy does she?
Jen: She does not it. It is quite the thing, and you know what I actually wouldn't even blame her if she needed just just the smattering of of therapy after all that she's gone through.
Tim: Oh definitely.
Jen: It's definitely a thing
Tim: Imagine the mental health like be dealing with grief and loss while dealing with pretty much abuse and being held captive and treated like she's worthless. I think there'd be a couple of issues going on in in her mind. It'd be a tough one.
Jen: It was funny when I watched this with my daughter, who is 17. she kept saying, "Are the animals hallucinations?" and the more she asked it the more, I went [Tim laughs] you know that's a really good coping mechanism there, Cindy. That'd be okay.
Tim: Yeah so she's kind of what she's kind of hallucinating some supportive relationships in her life which, yeah you couldn't blame her. She she needs something. I don't know, I thought the animals kind of reminded me a little bit — actually the whole scenario reminded me a little bit of Harry Potter. His parents have passed away, he is able to speak to animals, so he can speak to snakes and stuff like that. He's getting bullied by his new stepfamily. So, yeah, there's a little bit of Harry Potter in this in Cinderella, I think.
Jen: That's a really good point. I had never really thought about, you know transitioning the abuse of Cinderella to the abuse of Harry Potter, but an excellent point.
Tim: Yeah, except instead of going to Hogwarts, she just gets a nice magical carriage ride to a ball. I think i'd probably prefer the trip to Hogwarts.
Jen: I gotta say, the way that Disney solved all problems was, "And then they got married! The end." [Tim laughs]
Tim: What I thought was amazing was how the the whole plot was based on — and look it's a nice story and everything so like you know it's a better movie than I could have made — but at the same time the whole plot is based on this idea that the prince wants true love and doesn't want to just be set up by his father because the father just wants grandkids. The prince wants true love and yet, I don't know, did they actually talk to each other in the movie? Did Cinderella and the prince actually talk?
Jen: They never said a word — I think the only words that they ever said was she was like, "Oh I didn't even meet the prince, I must go," and he was like, "But wait your shoe." [Tim laughs] That's all of their dialogue, right there. And then they got married.
Tim: [overlapping] Yeah.
Jen: The end.
Tim: So you you've gotta [Jen laughs] you've gotta wonder about the depth of their love, considering there there was just no like you didn't get to know the prince's personality at all. He didn't get to know hers beside the fact that, "Oh yeah you're pretty," and she's like, "Oh yeah, you're you're a rich prince and you're not an abusive stepmother so yeah I'll come to your place."
Jen: "You seem like an excellent alternative to what my life is right now [Tim laughs] let's do that."
Tim: Pretty much anything compared to what she was currently saddled with in her life would have been better so you can't really blame her for jumping ship pretty easily.
Jen: Oh, absolutely not. Something that I did notice as I was watching it, and I'd never really watched it like and thinking about it. Is how often they're like the prince absolutely does not want to get married, and like they didn't even say he wants to fall in love. They're like he is not interested in getting married. The archduke is like, "If the prince should suspect that we have set him up with a woman," I was like, [Tim laughs] "I need some more information about what's going on with Prince Charming here,"
Tim: [overlapping] Yeah
Jen: Because he just doesn't want to meet a girl at all yeah?
Tim: Yeah,so what's what's his deal? I thought they did mention him wanting love, but maybe I'm just conjuring that up because there has to be some reason he doesn't want just any woman. Yeah what they don't really delve into his character very much.
Jen: He is absolutely the most cardboard cutout [Tim laughs] of a prince ever. He is nothing. [Tim laughs] Maybe the sequels go into it. I don't know I've never actually watched the sequels, but yeah, I kept kind of like — the archduke kept saying to the king, "You're such a romantic sire," and he's like, "Yeah just smoosh a boy and a girl together [Tim laughs] and they'll fall in love." "You're such a romantic," and I was like we need to have a talk yeah about what your romantic is.
Tim: I think, what, this was in the 50s wasn't it?
Jen: Yeah it was 51
Tim: Yeah I think the importance of a woman actually liking the man that she's been introduced to, I think that wasn't so important back then. There was a few issues there, I think, in terms of the way women were treated and portrayed.
Jen: And I mean, especially because it's being set in probably I think 1400s France because that's when the Perrault story was written. But like, I mean in the 1950s it was just the beginning of that whole, "Hey maybe you should actually like the guy that you married a little bit. You don't have to really like him, [Tim laughs] just a little."
Tim: It's this idea that women's opinions actually matter, this is just revolutionary. That's the way things kind of were.
Jen: I kept laughing throughout the whole ball scene with them being like, "He might suspect that we want him to fall in love." I'm like you literally threw a ball and invited only women. I think he's gonna figure it out.
Tim: Yeah. I didn't even think of that so yeah there was literally no other men there so he didn't have anyone to compete with did he? Here's a big room. Fill it with women and yeah hopefully something sticks.
Jen: I think the the stepsisters also might have some delusions going on about their own everything.
Tim: Yeah. [Jen laughs] They seem to think they're pretty amazing, and yeah, I don't know. It's almost that bullying mentality, isn't it? Where they just blame everything that's wrong with them on Cinderella, and then never actually recognize that they're terrible, horrible human beings. So yeah there's no realization there, is there?
Jen: There isn't, and during the scene where they're getting ready for the ball they're like, "Why can't we have new clothes?" I was like because you squandered the family fortune [Tim laughs] in like two years that seems like that's on you.
Tim.What did they spend all that money on?
Jen: I have no idea.
Tim: I'm thinking Beauty and the Beast where the prince spends all the taxes on like lavish lifestyle and everything but, and they did have a pretty lavish house, but I don't know.
Jen: But they had that lavish house at the beginning.
Tim: Yeah so where did all the money go? Why they have to rely
Jen: [overlapping] Maybe it was building the tower for Cinderella to live in. [Tim laughs]
Tim: Why did they have to rely on Cinderella to be a servant if with all that money surely they could have hired more help. I don't know, maybe it was by choice they really wanted they really had it in for Cinderella and wanted her to do everything.
Tim: So what — this one is what got me a little bit — so Cinderella was basically an unpaid servant to the stepfamily, and you think okay that's pretty horrible. But then all of her animal friends were pretty much like unpaid servants to her. Like making her her dress, and running after her, and taking care of her. So it was kind of like, the more you go down the the line here you really gotta kind of feel for the animals don't you?
Jen: She didn't ask the mice to make the dress, they made the dress based on her blueprints.
Jen: They actually were like, "We can do this we're going to do this for her," rather than "Hey mice, I've got to go clean up after my stepsisters make me a dress okay, bye."
Tim: Yeah, so I guess it was more voluntary. Except, it wasn't voluntary when the mice were made into the horses. I think the the mice weren't too impressed by that.
Jen: That was something. [Tim laughs]
Tim: What did you make of the Fairy Godmother?
Jen: I actually for the first time noticed that she's spoken heroic couplets this time, and I was laughing the whole time, but like she completely missed the point of what Cinderella was upset about. That was the funny part of that scene is she's like, "Oh you need a carriage and a footman and horses and this and this and this," and then she's, "Okay go have fun, and Cindy's like I—I'm literally wearing rags. [Tim laughs] I could not be more worse dressed than this."
Jen: So I thought that was kind of funny that she just completely missed the point of the problem. But my favourite thing about it was that she wasn't like, "Go meet a prince and get married and have babies." She was like I'd like you to have a, "Good night. [Have] fun, but be back before midnight. Bye!" She didn't even tell her like you have to go meet a prince just go have some fun.
Tim: Yeah there wasn't too much depth there either was there. At least she had a nice song you know so that was that was pleasant, but yeah you do wonder where what the fairy godmother's motive was.
Jen: So I actually took the time to read the original fairy tale because it's only like a hundred words long. And it's just like, "Cinderella's godmother who happened to be a fairy," so it wasn't like she already had a godmother who was a fairy.
Jen: And I kept noticing, like she said something along the lines of, "If you didn't believe then I wouldn't be here," and I was like, "What?"
Tim: There's a lot of head scratching with it. I think yeah it's one of those things where they've obviously thought so far, and then no further in terms of like what the depth is behind the characters. A little bit of inconsistency — but again still better than a movie that I could have done, and I think the whole
Jen: [overlapping] Well, absolutely.
Tim: yeah it was nice.
Jen: I'm not saying that absolutely it's better, but it's a nice story, and the more I kind of dug into it the more I kind of saw that the fairy godmother was transitioned from, like in ancient Greece it was an eagle which was a messenger of the gods.
Tim: [overlapping] Okay.
Jen: In ancient China it was a it was a fish that was a god. So they were like how do we do this, but we believe in one god and we can't have multiple gods, so it's a fairy godmother that does the magic. I think
Tim: A little bit more palatable to the audience to just make it a nice pretty happy fairy godmother rather than getting into too much trouble with other things.
Jen: Yeah, I guess this was before you know you got burned for witchcraft or something.
Tim: Yeah it's an interesting story so you've got, the thing that gets me as well is the limitations with the fairy godmother's magic. So it was only able to last until midnight, and then the carriage went back to normal. The horses went back to normal. The dress went back to normal, so why didn't the glass shoes go back to normal?
Jen: Okay, so I asked the same question and do you want the answer?
Jen: Okay so after, again reading the original. In the original, she doesn't create the glass shoes, she gives her glass shoes.
Tim: [overlapping] Oh, okay.
Jen: It's like something that the fairy godmother already had and handed her, instead of turning her shoes into glass slippers.
Tim: [overlapping]: Okay
Jen: So, they didn't have anything to return to. They already existed. Now in the movie, that's not true, but in that's in the original fairy tale.
Tim: [overlapping] Well, makes sense.
Jen: In new remake they actually show her step out of her old shoes and then she makes the glass slippers from nothing, which my argument is then they have nothing to return to. But in the original she just gives her glass slippers.
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Tim: Yeah, okay I think the original makes more sense with that. So okay — in the original, was the original quite violent? Because I thought that, I remember hearing randomly about some violent aspects to it. Am I remembering correctly?
Jen: You're not wrong.
Jen: You're not wrong but you're not right. So, the original that this is based on is by Charles Perrault who was French. And then the Grimm Brothers wrote a version of it about a hundred years later, and that's where you get the gory bits, of like the stepsisters cutting the their feet trying to fit into the glass slipper, and things like that. This was actually based on the original modern retelling of it rather than you know basing it on like the Greek myth or the Chinese myth but Charles Perrault was the first one to write it down in 14th century or 15th century France.
Tim: Okay, all right so this is making sense then, and so Disney's come along. Was the original as one-dimensional as the Disney portrayal in terms of we're gonna solve every problem you have with a man?
Jen: Oh yeah, absolutely. [Tim laughs] I mean it was written in 15th century. The thing that I really thought was interesting they pointed out in the original that I really wish Disney had gone into. I kind of make fun of it. So the beginning song's like, "Cinderella you're as beautiful as your name." Cinderella is not her name.
Jen: She doesn't have a name. So her stepsisters one called her Cinderwench and the nicer one called her Cinderella because she slept in the in the cinders of the fireplace.
Tim: Wow, boy.
Jen: So she doesn't have a name.
Tim: You got a feel for this poor Cinderella. Like, yeah, you'd definitely be calling Child Protection for her growing up, wouldn't you? She didn't get the nicest of treatment.
Jen: She needed a required reporter.
Jen: Like, someone needed to be like, "So, I don't know what happened but this dude died, and his wife — his widow is the worst."
Tim: So, why does the stepmother have it so in for Cinderella?
Jen: Because she's beautiful, and her daughters aren't. So it's like a jealousy thing
Tim: [overlapping]: Okay
Jen: Of like, and her father — like according to the the story, her father loved Cinderella and like she took up the special place in his heart. I think that there's probably something there about the stepmother being a little jealous of Cinderella getting some extra attention from her husband. You know, the worst.
Tim: [overlapping] Hmmm yeah.
Jen: And also that he didn't have that same relationship with the stepdaughters, perhaps. So when he died, then she just kind of was like well I'm going to shower my kids with as much money and jewels as I possibly can and then she can rot in the cinders kind of thing. Tim: Wow. So, because any time you see abuse you've got to go, okay well where's the where's the victim thoughts for the person to justify the abuse. So with the stepmother it seems like she's there going, oh I'm the victim of my husband paying more attention to his daughter than me. Then my kids are the victim of not turning out as beautiful as Cinderella, and not as likeable, so I'm going to then yeah use that victimhood to justify my abuse of Cinderella. She's got it coming because you know it was unfair what I went through and what my kids have gone through, so we'll make Cinderella suffer.
Jen: Well, yeah and it's definitely I've got to say, I mean, I don't know how the dad treated the stepdaughters, but I'm going to kind of give it a little bit of an assumption because it talks about how close she was with her father. There is always that kind of issue when you've got the conjoined families, the married families, that sometimes, not everything feels as equal as it should be in the hypothetical.
Tim: Yeah, definitely and that's a very real thing where those family dynamics with blended families can be difficult, but very unusual to make somebody a prisoner and to force them to be your servant. Not many people go to that extreme.
Jen: I mean it is a little bit much. I'm not at all saying, oh yeah, I think that — oh gosh what's her name it's like Lady something I've forgotten what her name is — but like I'm not saying she was right. [Tim laughs]
Tim: [overlapping] I'm just saying I'm not I'm not saying that. I'm just trying to understand where are they coming from. What got me as well was just how far like how how horrible she really was to kind of set up Cinderella's hopes for the ball by saying initially yeah, yeah, yeah you can go and then putting that little condition on that. As long as you've got all the work done and then going and just adding more and more and more work for her to do. Then to have the blooming daughters rip her dress apart. Yeah it was pretty extreme.
Jen: Actually, I said I think that to the point of this movie, I mean like there weren't a whole bunch of movies up to this point, she is the absolute — I will say second most evil character because I think the hunter that killed Bambi's mother was a poacher,
Tim: [overlapping] Right
Jen: but like at least the Evil Queen in Snow White was like, "I'm just gonna kill her."
Tim: Yeah. Not torture her.
Jen: [overlapping] None of this I'll trap her in a tower and torture her, and pretend like she doesn't exist and get her hopes up and then smash them. I mean like that's sadistic.
Tim: And and I think the fact that like we can't really pinpoint what the motivation was for the stepmother to actually do this kind of even speaks to even more just how evil she was. She didn't really even need much of a reason to treat this person so horribly.
Jen: Right? I like I think the whole motivation was money. If you look at it. Because she wants her girls to marry this prince and that is one of the most hilarious points in the movie where she's like, "You and you who look absolutely nothing like this girl he danced with, I bet you can fit into that shoe and trick him into believing you're that girl that he danced with." That seems fine
Tim: [overlapping] Yeah. Does this also speak to what we were talking about before about just how shallow the Prince and Cinderella's relationship
Jen: [overlapping] Possibly
Tim: was the fact that he can't even recognize who this girl is, and the only connection he can like make with her is like, oh yeah she had the shoe, so — Or is that more of the father's kind of doing where the father's like oh any girl will do as long as long as she fits in the shoe.
Jen: I you know I really don't know. I think it might be a combination of the two. I think the prince like if given what we know about the prince from the ball maybe the prince was just like well I met her and she ran away and well that sucks I'll just go on with my life. And the king was like no absolutely we have to have an heir. But I kept thinking I was like why didn't you have like a contingency plan for what if the shoe fits more than one girl? Or what if it fits someone and she actually is married and just kind of sneaked out to the ball
Tim: [overlapping] yeah
Jen: and danced with the prince anyway? Then she comes down the stairs is like oh I have the other one in my pocket and they're like oh well we must try it on your foot to see if you're the right one. I'm like she had it in her pocket what do you want? [Tim laughs]
Tim: Yeah, she really had to prove herself didn't she and just how evil the stepmother was at that point where she's trying to lock Cinderella away, and so she can't try on the shoe. Then after Cinderella finally gets out again smashes the shoe, like wow that was even to the last moment she's there trying to sabotage Cinderella.
Jen: Yeah she's something. [Tim laughs] I don't know what that something is, but she's something.
Tim: Yeah, so I think Disney did a pretty good job of making a pretty monstrous character.
Jen: So I haven't watched the other two, but I do understand that I think the third one that the stepmother gets a hold of the wand or of the fairy godmother's wand and turns time back and makes it so that Cinderella never marries the prince, and in doing so ruins both of her daughters lives because they ended up meeting the people who loved them after Cinderella married the prince.
Tim: Wow, so she did that to spite Cinderella even though it cost her daughters their own happiness.
Jen: I don't think she realized that that would be the outcome, or something like that. I have to watch them, but that's what I understand from the others. I've heard like the the looseness of the concept of the story. By the time the direct video sequel rage hit I was kind of out of the Disney like buying movies age, so I haven't watched them yet so I'm holding on to that. But that's what I understand from it is that she turns back time to try to get her daughters to marry the prince, and in doing so ruins her daughter's lives.
Tim: Yeah, yeah like you almost at the end of the movie the first one kind of feel like the stepmother didn't get her comeuppance did she? Like she really, she didn't get much of a or any punishment or any like seem there was no really —
Jen: [overlapping] No she didn't and yeah I kind of mentioned that. She disobeyed three royal decrees. It said every eligible maiden, and she's like oh, except for that one.
Tim: [overlapping] Mmm hmm
Jen: Then they're like every eligible maiden must try on the shoe and she's like I'm a lock her in the room — the tower. Then the she comes down the stairs she's like oh no she's nothing she's no one she's not nuh-uh. I'm like three times. You did it thrice that you
Tim: [overlapping] You kind of want to see her
Jen: disobeyed a royal decree. That's that's enough to end up in a guillotine.
Tim: Yeah you kind of like, throw her in the cell at least at the end of the movie. At least Jafar in Aladdin got thrown into a lamp for all eternity at the end, so you're like oh yeah he got what was coming. Now you're left kind of feeling like they never, ever ended up getting what was coming. Disney always does a good job of the first movies, and then the sequels they they use it's usually a pretty steep drop-off.
Jen: Well, I mean there was 50 years — 40 years between this one and its sequel, I think so I think the the sequel started getting released in the 90s so yeah there was a bit of a separation there.
Tim: can you think of any Disney movie whose sequel is better than their original?
Jen: Well, I think that the Toy Story movies I would give them all pretty equal grounding.
Tim: Oh that's true. I didn't even think of because that's Disney Pixar isn't it?
Jen: right they are Disney Pixar. I'm trying to think of movies that have had sequels that I've actually watched, which is a difficult thing [Tim laughs]s in and of itself. Because like and all the ones I can think of that have sequels are Pixar that I've actually like sit down and watched, so far
Tim: Pixar seems to, yeah their sequels are quite good aren't they so you've got some — what are some classic sequels from Pixar? Obviously, Toy Story, and now I'm not going to be able to think of any others because —
Jen: We had Monsters Inc and Monsters University, which was the sequel which was
Tim: Monsters University was nowhere near as good
Jen: [overlapping] it was nowhere near as good, but it was good. I mean it wasn't — it wasn't awful. [Tim laughs] I've seen way worse sequels.
Tim: That's true
Jen: I didn't think that Finding Dory was better than Finding Nemo but I thought it was good.
Tim: I haven't seen Finding Dory yet. I've seen Finding Nemo, but yeah I've really got to watch Finding Dory.
Jen: You know what I love to do? I love to like watch Toy Story, the original, and then watch like a video game preview and compare the two and go look how far we've come. That's like from like 92 or something or 95 and like watching. Like it's only been 20 years and this is how fast our computer generation has come,
Tim: but with graphics. But yeah graphics have come a long long way haven't they?
Jen: They sure have, and everything is graphics now.
Tim: Yeah you even got virtual reality and all of that, which is pretty crazy. Have you ever tried that?
Jen: I have not but I really want to. I think it'd be really, really cool.
Tim: Yeah it's pretty nuts, so it really fills your mind. I've tried to put a controller down on a table in the game before and then just like dropped [Jen laughs] it in real life so.
Jen: [overlapping] I don't have enough coordination in real life I'm worried about virtual reality. [both laugh]
Tim: Yeah it messes with your mind it's interesting. I wonder if they'll ever do any virtual reality Disney movies that would be something.
Jen: A fair bit off but like if you if you've ever read the Ready Player One books they talk about doing virtual reality movies and they seem really interesting. Like you're acting out a part in the movie kind of thing and —
Tim: [overlapping] All right
Jen: sounds fascinating
Tim: Yeah I have seen a little animated virtual reality movie where it's basically — forget the name of it — it might have been The Prince and I or something like that, but it's basically like this little world and the little character comes out of his house and you see this little round globe world in front of you, and you can move your head around and see from different angles and while the movie's kind of playing out ,but yeah it would be amazing what Disney could do with something like that.
Jen: Oh absolutely, I can't wait to see where it goes and you know they just announced that they're pretty much moving all their focus to streaming and home for the foreseeable future due to all that has happened, so maybe we'll see virtual reality movies come out of that, and move forward from that.
Tim: Yeah it'll be something but yeah
Jen: [overlapping] Maybe that will be the good thing that comes out of 2020
Tim: But if Cinderella happened today, it would have been a much simpler process with tracking her down because as soon as she arrives at the ball she would have had to put down all of her identifying details so that they can do the contact tracing, if there's any [Jen laughs] if there's any spread within the venue. So the prince could have easily just gone okay let's just see the list of guests here, and oh yeah this is the the this is where Cinderella is and be done with it.
Jen: I was just thinking about her phone pinging like, oh well these phones pinged, and we're just gonna scroll through their Instagrams and that's the girl. Yeah that one.
Tim: [overlapping] Yep. Oh man how many movies plots would have been ruined with the inclusion of mobile phones. It's just, yeah. Just there's no suspense, is there?
Jen: No, it's just like selfie! [both laugh] Moving on.
Tim: Trying to track Cinderella down and just looks where the the who's tagged in the photos on on Facebook. and that's all that's required.
Jen: Use that automatic face tagger thing that Facebook does it's super creepy, and it's like, "Is this Jane?" and you're like
Tim: [overlapping] Oh really?
Jen: Yes, don't know that! Oh you've never had that happen when you upload a picture and it's like hey is this your friend Jane? and it's like
Tim: [overlapping] So creepy!
Jen: could you not know that?
Tim: Oh, no wow, so that's how far Facebook's come. That's scary isn't it?
Jen: I'm not a fan, but oh well. So Tim I want to thank you so much for joining us today I hope you had as much fun as I did.
Tim: Lots of fun, lots of interesting characters, so thank you for having me on.
Jen: Well it is it is my pleasure, and why don't you take a moment, and tell all of our listeners exactly where they can find you, so they can go and listen to your podcast as well.
Tim: Oh if you just search for Therapy for Monsters on Spotify or Apple Podcasts or anywhere yeah that's me. You can also find both of our podcasts on the That's Not Canon Network on their web page.
Jen: Sure can
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