Lucy, for the first time in her eight years, is coveting the hot toy of the moment: a Princess Elsa doll. A couple of weekends ago I took her to Target to spend a gift certificate she had gotten for her birthday. The shelf where Princess Elsa had once been had nothing but bare metal. Target had every other princess in the Disney kingdom, except for Elsa. Lucy paced the aisles to see if there was another toy worth spending her birthday money, but her disappointment was palpable. “Don’t worry,” I told her, like a fool. “Let’s go home and we will order one from Amazon. I am sure they have Elsas.” Well. The doll was available, sure, but the cheapest one was close to $50. For a glorified Barbie doll, which retailed for under $20 before the movie exploded, and before Adele Azeem, I mean, Idina Menzel became famous outside of Broadway geekdom.
“How come they have Anna dolls available everywhere?” Lucy asked, exasperated. I launched into an explanation of supply and demand. “You mean, nobody wants Anna?,” she asked. I asked her why she wanted Elsa, and not Anna. “Because Daphne has two of them,” she said. True, she got two for her birthday. They pretend one of them is Elsa.
What boggles the mind about the Elsa shortage is that Anna, clearly, is the heroine of the movie. Sure, Elsa gets the power ballad than won the Oscar, but it is her scrappy little sister who’s worthy of admiration.
Elsa: has powers, but sees herself as cursed. Shuts out her sister, technically for her protection, but with no explanation. Once her powers are exposed, she hits the road to “Let it Go” on her own.
Anna: rejected by her older sister, again and again, keeps trying to be her friend. At Elsa’s coronation, she holds no grudge for the isolation she has been forced to keep. When her sister’s weird powers are exposed, she is supportive. She goes through an awful lot of trouble to reach Elsa at at the top of her ice castle to save their village from eternal winter. When she offers unconditional love and support, she gets chased by an ice monster.
Elsa is pretty much the definition of passive aggressive. Anna is a problem solver, bold and empathetic. If only they had given her a better song.
Lucy, by the way, is waiting until Elsa is available without the hot toy premium.