With Linda Hamilton’s return to the big screen coming up in Terminator: Dark Fate, here’s a look at one of her greatest roles. It has a bit of 80’s cheese, some romance, and that signature amount of Linda showing the bad guys some justice by giving a glamourous kick to the face: let’s take a look at the 1987 TV series Beauty and the Beast.
Guest post by Dalin “Duckie” Rowell
When the question of what my absolute fantasy life would be, the answer goes in a variety of directions. One relates to the fairy tale whimsy that I grew up on – monsters, romance, and magic. But the other takes a different form – the kind that speaks to my upbringing, in which I want to continue living my life amongst the city streets of New York.
So when I discovered that the cult classic TV series Beauty and the Beast (1987) matched my own silly aesthetics, I knew it was a match made in deliciously corny media heaven.
The plot of the show tells the tale of the rich and beautiful Catherine (played by Linda Hamilton), who one night is violently attacked by a gang that mistakes her for another woman.
Thankfully, a mysterious man named Vincent (Ron Perlman) comes to her rescue and takes her to his underground sanctuary for safety – a place that allows the two to bond over poetry and other romantic bits of mush.
Yet, there is a catch (as there always is) – Vincent is actually a half-man, half-beast.
With their different lives and Vincent’s “quirks”, it becomes apparent that these two can’t live the fairy tale life they imagined.
But this chance meeting gives Catherine the strength to continue on – inspiring her to become an Assistant District Attorney. As time passes and Catherine rebuilds her image (in more ways than one), Vincent reappears and the two realize (during their time in the tunnels) that they had gained a psychic bond to one another – making them an unstoppable, and romantically complicated, duo of 80’s brilliance.
Why I Love Beauty And the Beast
Being a kid who grew up on crime-meets-New York fantasy shows like Disney’s Gargoyles, the aesthetics and “adventure of the week” type scenarios in this Beauty and the Beast adaptation hit me right in the most fantastical of nerdy cores.
It truly is hard to deny the winning combo of the grit and grime of 80’s Manhattan juxtaposed with the romantic flourishes of Vincent and Catherine’s relationship – especially when it was brought to life by the talents of its two leads.
When it comes to Linda Hamilton’s performance, she perfectly embodies the working girl movement, while simultaneously bringing on regal and timeless energy.
Such duality can be a hard task to accomplish – but Linda did it with a hair toss and a sassy, effortless smirk. She proved that you could be a kick-butt heroine, while not losing your feminine edge – an aspect that clearly translated into her role as Sarah Connor in the Terminator franchise, making her an icon for years to come.
As for Ron Perlman, his portrayal of Vincent is equally trailblazing. Sure, in the past there had been emotionally available male leads in the media – but none of them matched the mush and the majesty of this beast-man.
With his soft yet deep voice, Ron made Vincent the dream of many a viewer, simply because his performance allowed for the character’s heart to worn on his puffy shirt sleeves. In fact, put up against 2019’s Twitter social standards, Vincent might be the dreamiest of fantasyboys.
Progressive emotionally vulnerable romantic, who is tolerant of differences and social change? Check, please!
So Much Heart and Love
But the true heart of the show is whenever these two dynamite characters, and their actors, would come together to create some of the most heartachingly earnest moments on TV.
From a Halloween episode, where the two finally get to go outside together for the first (written by Game of Thrones’ George R.R. Martin), to the season 1 finale where Catherine drives across tri-state lines to confess her love to Vincent, it is the stuff of 80’s magical cheese.
Can it be laughable at times? Perhaps through our HBO styled views, but this is the kind of television that inspires whimsy and enchantment – something modern TV is often missing.
In it, when asked the question if they ever want to see Vincent and Catherine actually kiss, the audience strongly argues against it.
Their view? Because a kiss has to mean something, and kisses are often shown on TV as throw away exchanges. It’s that suggestion of their love that’s stronger than the literal scene of it, which is a valuable fangirl take away even in 2019.
Beauty and the Beast: Old School Romance For The Win
With popular shows like Outlander and even Martin’s own Game of Thrones, the innocent magic of romance has shifted towards one of constant sexual pride. And trust me, as an adult woman who likes her romantic physical attractions as much as the next one, I don’t exactly have a problem with it – yet what is lacking is the variety of romance in-between.
Everything now seems to be pushed to the extreme, and with the exception of family or children’s specific TV, there seems to be no mature look at romance that doesn’t include the most graphic elements of realism.
Looking back, Beauty and the Beast serves as a nice reminder that perhaps the most romantic of stories don’t require us to see the “off-camera” moments.
In the vein of recent hits like Downton Abbey, perhaps we need a bit more of imagination forced on modern fangirls and boys to enjoy the full scope of the magic happening on screen.
And considering that the less-than-great CW remake of Beauty and the Beast went the opposite route of its 80’s counterpart (which showed Vincent and Catherine in a more acceptable, glam light) maybe it’s time to return to a mature look at earnest emotion in our fantastical pop culture media.
About Dalin “Duckie” Rowell
Dalin “Duckie” Rowell is a New York-born, pastel loving film nerd. She graduated from The Art Institute for New York City, and currently works in the TV industry. Dalin also rocks the freelance writing life, and dreams of being a host on TCM. When she isn’t typing away at demon-like speeds, you can find her either seeing a Broadway show, eating too many macarons, planning her next trip to a Disney park, or talking about how Phantom of the Paradise is her favorite film.
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.