November 27th, 2011 by thetvchick
When I watched the pilot for Once Upon A Time, I was instantly hooked. But I wasn’t sure how well a modern-day fairy tale would catch on. I was quickly proven wrong though, as the audience came out in full force and were won over by the show’s charm and great storytelling. I am so happy it caught on the way it has and I can’t wait to see what is to come of the curse, Henry, Emma and the great supporting cast of characters. Tonight’s episode of Once Upon A Time focuses on Jiminy Cricket, who is now Archie the therapist, in present day. I recently had the chance to chat with Raphael Sbarge, who plays Jiminy Cricket, and he had some great things to say about the episode, playing a fairy tale character and how the show has redefined a demographic.
What do you love most about playing a fairy tale character?
In one word: everything. It’s sort of an actor’s dream to be able to play two roles. And then to go from something in modern time and then go back. The costumes, the production values, what they’ve done has just been amazing. And it’s so thrilling to be in such a wonderful, magical sand box. The thing that they’ve done, the thing that I think sort of defines the show, which has been so exciting, is that they’ve also taken these stories that we all know or are familiar with — or even if we’re not familiar with in his case — they’re sort of reinventing these stories, these myths and breathing new life into them. On a purely bottom line point of view, it’s an integrated marketing person’s fantasmagoria, because you’re breathing life back into these characters that are at the park and they’re selling dolls and figurines for, but in addition, because it isn’t just that, these characters hold some special place for us. Whether we watched them when we were a kid, or we read them. There’s so much ahead of them that they can explore. Grimm’s fairy tales, all sorts of directions that they can begin to go. And in so doing, the thing that makes fairy tales so exciting is that they obviously crystalize a story, a moral dilemma, an opportunity to begin to figure out right from wrong or how things might transpire. And they obviously captivate our imagination. So they’ve been able to figure out a way to do that in the midst of what if effectively an enormous show. And I have to say, every week, I’m just sort of knocked out by their ability to be so imaginative. (laughs) In terms of what I get to play, is Jiminy Cricket and also the therapist. Jiminy Cricket was in a book in 1880 that Walt Disney found and evolved into obviously the movie. When they were writing the screenplay, I guess, Jiminy Cricket was much more of a minor character and then I guess, Walt decided to [bring him] forward. And he’s now probably one of the four or five iconic Disney characters. What’s interesting, and I thought again, this is so imaginative, okay, if Jiminy Cricket were alive today and he’s supposed to be your conscience, who would he play? Making him the therapist, I just thought that was so creative. And gives room for an opportunity to understand what conscience is. And what is doing the right thing. And obviously, what one does when one’s in therapy is try to understand circumstances that are confusing and/or difficult and try to find one’s way to do it an authentic and integrous way, to carve out having a conscience.
What can you preview about tonight’s episode?
What this episode is about is really about seeing a young Jiminy Cricket and how he really evolved and/or begins to make some choices that may potentially sort of carve out, for him, what doing the right thing means. Again, what I love about the writing of the show, and also Jiminy Cricket in general, is that one feels that he isn’t just some sort of a “do the right thing” kind of oral fortune cookie. (laughs) He actually has evolved a sense of conscience perhaps out of having walked through some firings himself. Conscience always comes at a price. So what this story essentially allows us to do is really see the evolution of how Jiminy Cricket gets to make some decisions that move him in that direction, towards deciding sort of to take on his mantle.
We’ve seen you mostly with Henry. Are we going to see you with other characters in this episode?
In this episode, yeah. Definitely other characters. If you watched the episode where I gave the file away to Emma, which I got so many calls and emails “I can’t believe you did that!” It will begin to also give some explanation and speak to that relationship between him, the Queen and the Mayor, and open up the door to understanding what his circles are. Again, what they’ve done is humanize these characters in a way that makes them feel so available to us. And I’ve said this to some other people, but it’s worth repeating, is that what I find so exciting about what they’ve done is that I have a seven and nine year old, and they love the show. I’ve been on the school campus and a second grader came over and said “God, I love your show, it’s so great.” And then a mother on the campus came over, and she’s about forty and she said, “Oh my husband and I just love the show.” And our seventh grader is just crazy about it. And a woman at the hotel, at the front desk, just about thirty, said “I am completely addicted to your show.” And my mother’s generation between seventy and eighty are like we really love the show. We didn’t expect to like it, but it’s just so engaging, it’s so well told. What they’ve done, which is so remarkable, is actually create a demographic which is eight to eighty. Which I think in a world where we’re all so fractionalized, I have to say, is no small feat.
Be sure to tune in tonight at 8 PM to ABC for an all new episode of Once Upon A Time!Tweet