It’s as though simply having crushes on animated characters wasn’t enough for Disney’s perverted, insidious hunger. They got us hooked with Aladdin’s baby-smooth chest in his slutty little vest-bolero thing, then showered us with Princes who spend at least an hour a day working on their upper bodies. They knew exactly what they were doing when they presented us with heros whose appeal was at least largely thanks to their shoulder-to-waist ratio and full head of well-conditioned hair. But, at a certain point, they decided that it just wasn’t enough. Along with their gentle encouraging that we all one day find ourselves at least passive fans of Hentai, they were going to make us question our own feelings re: bestiality, and do it at a shockingly young age.
If you are saying that, in all of your breathless viewings of these two undisputed classics, you never once recoiled at your own inexplicable attraction to an animated ball of fur, you are a liar of the highest order. There is no shame in a lil’ animated animal love. And both of these gents had clear points in their favor when it came to desirability. We weren’t just hunting around willy-nilly, looking for anything that stumbled out of an ASPCA to love forever. There were real reasons to be into these bros, and Disney knew it.
First and foremost, Beast was rich. Whatever his complex family situation was before he told off the world’s bitchiest old lady and got transformed into a that-time-of-the-month Professor Lupin, he clearly came from a serious trust fund. He had an amazing castle filled with a cabaret show of household objects and a baroque library that was essentially an airplane hanger with books in it. How were we not supposed to swoon when he gave our girl Belle unlimited access to the fiction section whilst reminding her that their private makeover-slash-ballroom dance was going to take place at 7 PM? Not to mention, we knew that he was always destined to turn into a hot dude with ripped-up clothes and that Michael Bolton-esque long hair situation that only works when you have cheekbones like ceramic kitchen knives (which he did). He was always destined to be sexy, and if someone he had recently kidnapped was capable of seeing the good that lay within him, so were we.
The executives over at Disney knew exactly what they were doing when they cast The Ryan Gosling of the 90s, AKA Jonathan Taylor Thomas, as Simba. We looked right past all of that vibrant animation and listened to the dulcet tones of that plaid-clad hottie boom bottie from Home Improvement. If you are too young to remember, all of America was ready to throw its nicest pair of panties at JTT even before he came to star in one of our beloved kids’ films. And beyond that, when Simba grew up, he took on that damaged-hotness that reminded us of the aforementioned Gosling during his depression-bearded 30 minutes in The Notebook. When Nala was like “Ha! Pinned ya again!” we were like “Yeah you did, get yours, bitch,” and were all too unaware of the several hours of lion makeup sex that they were clearly glossing over with a cheeseball Elton John number.
He had all of the complex, rich tones of a hot dude and/or good glass of red wine. There was no way not to love him.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a light crush on either of these two characters, even when (in Beast’s case) they are all the way in their fur-covered form. Sometimes the heart can’t help but want what it wants, and if Mr. Walt and his cohorts didn’t want us scratching our heads over why we would feel this way about a giant cat, they wouldn’t have made them so completely tasty. To be honest, a sentient pile of pond slime could offer me a library, and I would start collecting wedding-inspiration images off of Pinterest that day. And I’m not going to be ashamed of who I am.