Faerie Tale Theatre: “The Princess and the Pea” (1984)

Given how relatively short the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen is, it’s not a surprise that this episode of Shelley Duvall’s beloved children’s show often feels a bit strained. After all, the majority of the tale’s charms are connected to its underlying, gentle morality, which isn’t the best conduit for a typically visually striking show. However, the episode is blessed with Liza Minnelli’s effortless charisma, which goes a long way towards selling the thin plot, and, in a supporting role, Beatrice Straight is exceptional and brings considerable class to the proceedings. In addition, there are a number of genuinely funny lines peppered throughout, turning the episode into an occasionally risque comedic showcase for the writers. It’s not one of the show’s best but it’s got its strengths.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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