NO ONE IS A VILLAIN LIKE GASTON. Of Disney Animation’s many bad guys, one stands out as positively prime evil. Today’s we’re hanging with the little town/quiet village’s resident psychopath, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.
No One Is a Stalker Like Gaston
Gaston is among fellow villains Jafar, Scar, and Queen Narissa to be animated by the talented Andreas Deja. He brings Gaston to the screen with a sense of build and strength similar to that of the Beast, though here the contrast lies in the emotion within as animated through movement, rather than physical shape; Glen Keane’s gentle, nervous (then triumphantly confident) Beast to Deja’s strut-inclined, conceited Gaston.
As far as villains go, Gaston is not entirely evil until the end of the film. Agitating? Absolutely. Creepy? Borderline. Evil? Not quite. His tactics to win Belle over are forceful, domineering, and insulting, but up until Belle goes to the castle, Gaston is more of an avoidable stalker you might want to file a restraining order against rather than a truly evil villain in the sense we normally think of that word as.
But that all changes quickly when Gaston’s schoolboy crush suddenly turns into a hunger for power. Then things get cray cray. Not warming up to me, Belle? Well, that’s ok, I’ll just hire the world’s friendliest-looking zombieman to lock your father in an asylum, then I’ll threaten to murder the creature you’ve taken a liking to. That will make you love me.
Um, yes. Well. Ok, bruh. You do you.
No One Is Gaston Like Gaston
Somewhat appropriately given the drastic shift of mindset from amusing to no-sir, Gaston is a rare instance of getting TWO villain songs. Count ’em, two! “Gaston” highlights the whimsical enticement of the character’s egotistical personality, while “Kill the Beast” shows his morbid side. (#MorbidSide #DisneySide)
In the tradition of villain sidekicks who fall in the grey matter of good and and bad (i.e. Mr. Smee, Kronk), Gaston has Le Fou to do his dirty work. Le Fou is definitely slanted more toward a menacing pendulum than an innocent one, though. While he’s not always happy about the things Gaston makes him do, he definitely consents to helping and at no point stands up to Gaston’s plans.
Before Gaston goes all American Horror Story on Maurice, the script plays up his self-centeredness through humor. Gaston’s booming voice (courtesy of Richard White’s fantastic performance) and dim-witted lines (“I’m especially good at expectorating!”) help show just how ridiculous of a guy he is. In fact, that entire song serves as a Spark Notes biography of all the useless info we don’t need to know about Gaston—in a completely brilliant way to makes up a complete picture of this character through one Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s best tunes.
No One Is In Popular Culture Like Gaston
In recent years, Disney has taken that utter idiocy of Gaston’s personality and amplified it in how Beauty and the Beast lives on beyond the original film. His meet & greet in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, just outside of his newly opened tavern, isn’t a frightening glarefest like Maleficent’s is, but instead one of the funniest character encounters at the entire resort. Gaston, hot-headed and 100% full of himself, has each family laughing so hard they can barely compose themselves for a picture. When I asked him how many dozen eggs he had for breakfast, he replied, “Four. I wanted five, but Le Fou can’t count.” Then my brother, a burly football player, proceeded to show Gaston his muscles, to which Gaston immediately taunted, “Oh, how adorable!” before flexing his own guns. As we parted ways, he reminded us, “The pleasure is all yours.”
You’ll seldom find Gaston grouped with other Disney villain units in theme parks; instead, when he shows up, it’s, appropriately, all about him. His tavern is true to the film, including the antler decor. Outside, a fountain of Gaston stands with a plaque that reads, “Tribute to Gaston: An Extravagantly Generous Gift to the Humble People of My Village. From Me, Gaston.”
An episode of the 2001 animated TV series House of Mouse further jokes at Gaston, with every sentence Gaston speaks being like a lyric of his song. Check it out:
Beauty and the Beast screenshots from DisneyScreencaps.com.