Theory: Genie is Putting on an Act!
[Note: Keep in mind that these are theories; sometimes it’s just fun to imagine the possibilities. Check out our next theory post HERE]
Have you ever wondered why, after 10,000 years of being stuck in a lamp, Genie is so happy? He seems pretty chipper for a guy that must endure an eternity of servitude! That’s why we’re trying something different today from what we normally post on this blog; a possible theory for why Genie is so joyful, even in such awful circumstances. The theory is that the Genie is putting on an act!
Let us explain this a little more. When we meet Genie for the first time, he comes out of the lamp giving the impression of immense power, just before surprising us with a joke about a crick in his neck and the subverted expectations that come with it. It’s clear from his very first appearance that Genie is not your average being with phenomenal cosmic power. For one that can theoretically do anything, he doesn’t seem like the all-powerful presence we would expect him to be. So, what’s the reason for this unexpected personality, or his unusual sense of humor?
We believe that Genie is in fact an entertainer; an actor or performer of some kind. He does impressions of celebrities, makes constant jokes, changes his appearance constantly, and he even has two whole songs devoted to ‘showing off’ his skills as an entertainer. ‘Friend Like Me’ is a show of what the Genie can do for Aladdin, and ‘Prince Ali’ is about the Genie showing off Prince Ali to the people! Everything he does seems to revolve around putting on a show or an act; to entertain constantly.
Most of this personality is due to Robin William’s amazing performance; he’s such an amazing entertainer himself! However, we also believe that this is an intrinsic part of Genie’s character regardless. This explains why Genie is so ‘happy’ even after being trapped for 10,000 years; he finally has an audience to perform for! Of course, Genie does not like being trapped in a lamp for thousands of years, but he hides his anguish under the mask of an act; pretending to be happy and joyful like an actor pretends to be a character that is their opposite. We start to see the ‘real’ Genie show up from time to time in the film, but only when something significant causes him to break his act. As he becomes better friends with Aladdin, he occasionally says something that feels real and deep; like his hurt feelings when Aladdin initially says he can’t free him, or when he talks to him at the end about giving up that same wish. He also ‘breaks the act’ when he sees that Jafar is his new master; acting depressed when he moves the Sultan’s palace to the top of the mountain.
These moments seem strangely out of character for such a crazy guy; everything else he does in the film is hilarious and flamboyant. These deeper moments seem strange because they are different from the ‘act’ he puts on most of the time. Now, please understand, we aren’t saying that the Genie is trying to deceive people, or that he isn’t a happy and joyful person outside of this ‘act’; we are just saying that sometimes he hides his true feelings about being a slave by relying on his ability to perform. Once he was freed, he was truly able to enjoy entertaining, but while he was a slave, he had to pretend to be a happy entertainer all the time to hide his true feelings. It’s like the ‘show must go on’ mentality for actors; where, regardless of how an actor feels, he must continue with his job anyway.
This would also explain why Aladdin’s wish to become a prince is so debated. Everyone assumes that Genie took the wish literally and was supposed to make Aladdin a real prince. Therefore, they are confused when the wish seems so flexible. But it would all make sense if Genie, who is an entertainer, interpreted the wish through his own personality; making Aladdin a prince to an audience, but not to himself. In this way, Aladdin is a prince, but only so far as he would appear to other people (an audience) and for anyone who goes ‘behind the scenes’ (Whoever finds out the truth of Genie’s manipulation), the illusion would be broken because it is a ‘show’ or ‘act’ to Genie.
The same thing wouldn’t work on Jafar, because Jafar has shown that he does not care for Genie’s performances, and probably sees right through them; Jafar would force genie to fulfill his wishes in the literal sense. Aladdin, on the other hand, is a nice guy and he probably wouldn’t care too much about technicalities; especially when he was already guilty of manipulating Genie in a similar way back at the Cave of Wonders! In fact, at the end, when Genie offers to let Aladdin wish ‘to be a prince again’ he’s probably offering to do it literally the second time around!
If this is all true, then Genie’s freedom would be even more meaningful; it means that he can use his own phenomenal cosmic power in any way he sees fit! He can entertain the way he wants to, without any masters or wishes to keep his performances hindered.
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