I wish I'd kept better track of when I wrote some of these pages.  But, alas, I did not and so I can't say when the previous section was written.  Based on the Updates page, I would guess January 2002.  But I will say that as I sit here now, it's June 4th, 2007.  Last October I became gainfully employed for the first time in my life.  And... tomorrow I close on my first home.  One of the biggest selling points, for me, was the bookshelf-lined basement.  It was so easy to believe one of the many closets or cupboards would reveal a mysterious hole or entryway that would lead right into the Tunnels.  I fell in love.  So on the eve of this huge step into adulthood, I figured I'd write once more about the show that spanned both my childhood and my adolescence. 

I don't think it's an underestimate to say I watched may be 10 or so episodes of "Beauty and the Beast" through out my college career.  That's not to say I didn't
often think of the show.  I thought of it as we read William Blake and both Shelleys in Lit class.  Vincent's cape ended up partially being the model for my own when I got swept up into Ren Faires.  When stressed I made repeated visits to the world of "Beauty and the Beast," though most often through novel and short story versions of the fairy tale.  Heck, sometimes I even thought of Vincent in my theology classes when we discussed the morality of violence or the origins of human life.  However, for the most part, my primary association with New York in the 1980s became Jonathan Larson's RENT.  Vincent grew indistinct in my mind.  Seeing photographs of him would sometimes be jarring.  I hadn't remembered exactly how he looked... 

Then came the news!  "Beauty and the Beast" on DVD!!!  Catherine and Vincent minus commercial breaks or "crinkly" VHS tape!  Obviously, I bought the set.  That first day it was released even.  And I pulled off something truly miraculous if you know of my failed history of preaching the awesomeness of "Touched by an Angel."  I got my sister hooked on this show!  We started watching a show every week.  It was almost like it was new!  Truly, I was seeing the show in an entirely different way.  A few things I've noticed:

1.  It's not just my life that's changed since the days I'd wake up so early to watch the show on Sci-Fi.  The world has changed.  I wasn't quite ready for the little pang of sadness at the start of nearly every episode with the Twin Towers reaching high into the NYC skyline.  I made the odd realization that if I ever have children and show them these DVDs, those towers will be nothing but history to them.  They will never have been a part of their life on earth.  It was a strange feeling.

2.  On a much less serious note, it was a lil mind-numbing to realize that at the start of the show, Vincent is a mere 7 years my senior now.  That's crazy!  Unlike many fans of the show, I didn't have a crush on Vincent.  I wanted him to be my older brother or my godfather or my super-cool outta town older cousin (this lil fantasy worked really well with Chandlers and Wellses both showing up in my family tree).  And here he was!  My peer!  Unbelievable!

3.  I don't make too terribly much less than Catherine's salary figure as stated by Joe in "The Alchemist."  And I don't get shot at or kidnapped or chased about.  Even discounting increased cost of living since the 80s, that made me feel pretty darn satisfied with my job. 

Those were very specific realizations for me but beyond them I've realized "Beauty and the Beast" will always be an influence in my life.  Mostly Vincent.  I think I will be very, very old before I'm able to flip through "The Merchant of Venice" or the "Songs of Innocence" or a volume of Rilke and not remember him. 

Now we're mere weeks away from Season 2 on DVD.  I'm happy and sad.  In some ways, it's the last "real" season for me.  I've decided I will buy Season 3 but only because Ron Perlman's a great actor and there are a few scenes that touch me.  But I'll watch it all as if it's some horrible nightmare of Vincent's.  After all, in a single night I dreamed I found out I was pregnant, got married, my dream-son grew up, got married himself, and my husband and I ended up at his memorial service (horrid dream).  If I can dream of a child's entire life in one night, Vincent coulda dreamed up a few months, right? 

Or may be it's like Father said in "To Reign in Hell": "There is a truth beyond knowledge."  I know what I saw those mornings of my last days of 8th grade, but it doesn't mean they were the absolute truth! 

Or, if you prefer, perhaps Season 3 is something like what Puck speaks of at the close of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream:
"If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended, that you have but slumber'd here while these visions did appear."

Shakespeare knew everything.

Vincent said so.  ;-)

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(All photos from "Beauty and the Beast" are owned by Republic Pictures and CBS Television.  They are not being used to seek profit.)