WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS for Disenchantment Season 1
From its very first trailer, it was clear the new Netflix series Disenchantment would be as packed full of references to high fantasy as Futurama was with nods to various science-fiction franchises. With riffs ranging from classic fairy tales to specific take-offs of various novels, movies, and television shows, there's a plethora of gags - some surprisingly subtle and some blatantly obvious.
While Disenchantment demands repeated viewings and pausings to catch every little joke, we've still attempted to catalog what we could after a weekend of binge-watching. As always, if we missed something, please let us know in the comments.
- This Page: Game of Thrones, Monty Python and More
- Page 2: Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings and More
- Page 3: Borcs, Bozaks and a Laughing Horse
Daenerys Targaryen & Princess Bean
Visually, Disenchantment's main protagonist, Princess Tiabeanie (aka Bean) seems to be based on Daenerys Targaryen from A Game Of Thrones. Both heroines have pure white hair and favor blue clothing. There's a bit of similarity in their stories as well, as both princesses started their respective journeys on the road to adventure with a forced marriage, though Daenerys embraced her duties as Khaleesi whereas Bean struggles to escape from her responsibilities.
The Other Game of Thrones Reference
Ignoring the Daenerys/Bean connection, there's another reference to Game of Thrones in Disenchantment and it was revealed in the first full trailer when Prince Guysbert accidentally impaled himself upon a throne made of swords. Show creator Matt Groening decreed Disenchantment would not make any further references to George R.R. Martin's work after this initial gag, because comedy is built on subverting expectations and everyone was expecting the series to heavily reference Game of Thrones. Still, Disenchantment did wind up unintentionally mimicking the series, if only by presenting a series of unfortunate weddings.
The Plague Patrol's Tribute To Monty Python
One recurring background gag in Disenchantment is The Plague Patrol - a team of serfs tasked with searching the streets of Dreamland for plague-ridden corpses and delivering them to the nearest pit for safe burning. It's a thankless job, but they do it well and it is a rare thing for dead-drunk individuals lying passed out in the gutter to be picked up by accident. The whole concept seems to be a nod to a classic scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, where a character called The Dead Collector works a similar route job, like a medieval mailman tasked with delivering a more unpleasant cargo.
There are a number of odd vendors populating the markets of Dreamland, but the oddest may be a merchant selling fresh dog milk. What's especially odd is this seems to be a nod to a classic science-fiction series rather than a fantasy television show. "Kryten" - the second season premiere of Red Dwarf - featured a famous gag where the crew of the titular ship discovered the only milk to be found among their food supplies was dog's milk. The ship's computer Holly defended this choice, noting dog's milk lasts longer than any other kind of milk, although he was eventually forced to admit this was largely because "no bugger will drink it."
Related: First Look At Disenchantment
Ignoring the obvious connection to The Happy Little Elves from The Simpsons, the Elven race of Disenchantment seems to draw off of two earlier sources. Their obsession with making sweet snacks seems to be a nod to The Keebler Elves - the mascots of The Keebler Company, who reportedly make all of the company's baked goods with magic ovens in a giant tree. The elves also seem to be a parody of The Smurfs, living as they do in a village that is magically hidden away from the rest of the world. The elves also share the naming conventions of the Smurfs, which each elf having a name based on their roles in the village or their personality, like Weirdo, Singo, Leavo or Speako. ("Speak no more of Leavo, Speako!")
Cursed gifts at weddings and births are a common trope in mythology and fairy tales, with the witch's curse in Sleeping Beauty being perhaps the most famous. Princess Bean finds herself similarly cursed with a literal personal demon named Luci contained within one of her wedding presents. Luckily for her, Luci's only duty is to urge her toward wickedness and Luci is smart enough to realize he doesn't have to work that hard to push Bean to be disobedient, drunk and disorderly.