The 1 VERY Big — and Very British — Problem I Have With Netflix's The Princess Switch
America has a long history of romanticizing Europe through film and fiction, and as a European myself, I generally find it quite charming. While I may balk at you trying to copy my "cute British accent" (fun fact: there is no such thing as a "British" accent), I generally think it's brilliantly entertaining that there are so many films out there that play fast and loose with our (usually ridiculous) traditions. But now Netflix has taken it too far, and I have a bone to pick.
Romantic movies, particularly those that contain fake royal families, have a tendency to take huge liberties when it comes to European geography. You can't really make a good royal movie about an actual real-life country. So it's fair game in the world of Hallmark, Lifetime, and Netflix to take any word, add "-via" to the end, and create the perfect made-up European country in which to set your frothy romance. Who can forget Genovia and its legendary ruler Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo? Or Aldovia, ruled by the soon-to-be-wed King Richard?
I get it, though I do think it's my duty to point out that Europe has a total of 1 country that actually follows this naming format. Latvia. Moldova is close. Romania (where A Christmas Prince was filmed) is one letter out.
You know what there is though? A part of London called "Belgravia." Yeah, you heard me. This is also, unfortunately, the name of the country Stacy travels to in The Princess Switch, and given how, um, obtuse some wannabe tourists can be, it's only a matter of time before someone pops up in the middle of the British capital wondering where Prince Edward is. They're going to be disappointed when they realize our Edward doesn't exactly look like Sam Palladio.
As a true advocate of sh*t holiday movies, this laziness annoyed me more than anything.
But it gets worse! Then we come to the TV studios where Stacy bakes for her life. I know, because I read Twitter, that I am not the only one who flinched every time Stacy talks about going to "Wembley." You can see other confused folks ahead. In the real world, Wembley is not just a huge suburb of London; it's also a word that's instantly recognizable to anyone who has a passing interest in football — I'm sorry, I just cannot call it "soccer" — because it's the home of our most iconic stadium. It's like calling somewhere "Wrigley Field" or "Madison Square Garden."
As a true advocate of sh*t holiday movies, this laziness annoyed me more than anything. As well as being confusing, this was a huge missed opportunity when it comes to dreaming up a new fake European country for us all to giggle over. Prince Edward could have been heir to Christovia, or Wintovia, or how about good old-fashioned "Snowvia"?
There is only one way the creators can make this up to me: a sequel, set in London, and yes, I am available for a cameo.