Vincent: More Beast or More Human?

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Vincent: More Beast or More Human? is a topic of fan discussion regarding the show Beauty and the Beast (TV) and the character Vincent Wells.

Some issues fans debated: was Vincent more human, more beast, an alien, or something else entirely?

If Vincent was more beast, was an intimate relationship with Catherine Chandler or Diana Bennett bestiality?

How did CBS's censors affect this topic? How did it effect the show's marketing?

Fans compared Vincent to the Star Trek character Spock.

Fan Comments

Another issue we've been discussing is "to Beast or not to Beast": How bestial is Vincent, etc., etc. One of the interesting aspects of this discussion is how MUCH do we want Vincent to be a beast? Let me resurrect the hypothetical "ruler" again. Some readers like the idea that Vincent is about as bestial as can be; they like to see him "beast-out." That's one end of the scale. Others have expressed a clear and definite preference that Vincent is truly 100% human -- he just "looks funny." I've heard both these views expressed from friends and in letterzines. We all tend to color what we see with our own preferences and background. I, personally, have always seen Vincent as "not-quite-human" -- but I've never preferred him in his "beasting-out" mode. As a longtime reader of science fiction and fantasy, it's no big deal to me if Vincent isn't entirely human; that's not an issue, even in terms of a possible physical romance with Catherine. For me, he's attractive in his "difference," and it would be disappointing to find that he's a completely human guy who just "looks funny." [1]
One of my favorite quotes — written by a woman in the letters section of the TV GUIDE, and I can't remember her name—was: "Women are attracted to Vincent for the same reason they were attracted to Spock — they are both aliens in the white male world, as women are." [2]

Whenever the producers, or the media, explain the premise of B&TB, Vincent is always referred to as "half-man, half-beast." I cannot begin to tell you how much this upsets me. B&TB fans, most of the ones I've talked to about this seem to understand that, in some unexpected way, Vincent is all human; my concern is how this is perceived by people who have never seen the show. The promo for TLBL (may it sink into the sea) is an example of what I mean. First, the plot synopsis says the usual half-man, half-beast stuff; then further down you read about them realizing their love and having a baby.

Most people would be horrified at the thought of lovemaking between a human and a being who is half-animal. So they put the video back, and that's a potential fan lost. (I don't know if the other two commercial videos call V. half-beast, but I hope not.) Or people who might read a media article on the show can't get past it, either. I've had people say this to me, flat out.

I decided right away that Vincent is all human , maybe the last of a prehistoric group who kept the physical appearance of those times, but with superior intelligence, and nobility of character. As Vincent's nobility is emphasized by this, so too is his dark side. I could never accept lovemaking between V. and C. unless V. is human. I think it was a serious mistake on the part of the show's creators to ever imply that Vincent is not all human. Bestiality is perversion; it's easy to say "I don't care what Vincent is," but I think the half-beast idea had as much to do with losing the show as the ratings, or anything else. If Vincent was an "alien humanoid," or whatever, I'd accept that, but half-lion — no way. As George Martin said in Starlog, "Vincent is not a dog." Catherine says he's human; I'm with her. [3]
I'm told [The Family Channel which was re-airing Beauty and the Beast] afraid of bestiality. Well, on their commercials they show a man kissing a horse (The Black Stallion) and a boy kissing a dog (Rin Tin Tin). Now why isn't that bestiality? [4]
Vincent also needed to be defined, once and for all as something other than a man/beast. That would have helped Vincent with his personal doubts and given Catherine's uncertainties a rest. For myself, I never saw Vincent as anything but human, even in his rages. I thought of Vincent as a throwback to an ancient Scandinavian berserker warrior, capable of working himself into a fury in order to kill, but suffering afterwards for it. (I would like to know why the writers insisted on putting Vincent in situations where, in order to save Catherine, he had to kill someone. I know that I wanted to see Vincent in more situations where he could use his intelligence to rescue Catherine or others that he loved.) Human beings are, after all, capable of some fantastic things — good as well as bad—including empathy, kindness, and creativity. I think we're always underestimating ourselves. So why not call Vincent human? But I do wish the writers had simplified things. They could have made Vincent an alien, if they didn't want to make him human. People seem to have fewer hang-ups about aliens than they do about animals. Certainly, a love affair with an alien should have caused less trouble with the censors. [5]
Whether Vincent is man, beast or something in-between? I think it was Mark Twain who said that man is set apart from beasts because he is the only animal who can feel embarrassment. Vincent definitely fits into that category. I agree with you that Vincent is not a beast — not half-lion or whatever — maybe an alien, but I think that mostly he is a magical/ mythical being (remember what Kristopher says about him — "What storybook did he walk out of?").... His origins have no explanation; at least, not an earthly one. Perhaps he was "sent" (please don't ask by whom — I don't know) to ensure the success of the Tunnel world sanctuary, to help guide Mouse, to inspire Father, to help Catherine realize her potential... look at "Remember Love," and how their world would have been, if he had not existed. Saying that Vincent is half-lion is too simplistic. If Vincent is not human, it's because he's more than human, not less. [6]

If I saw someone like Vincent walking around in real life (Oooh, what a thought!), I would unhesitatingly conclude that he was a n alien from another planet. He could not possibly be the result of natural mutation, which is totally random and — 99.9% of the time — fatal or disabling to the organism. Vincent's differences are too numerous, coherent and complementary to be the result of one miraculously lucky genetic change. His genetic differences from standard Homo sapiens have to be just as numerous, coherent and complementary.

Now, if he is from another planet, sadly, Catherine and he could never have children, and little Jacob would have to be part of a fever dream. Catherine would have more in common, genetically, with an elm tree than someone who is the result of another planet's evolution. Dolphins and fish may look much alike because they fill a similar environmental niche, but they are light years apart biologically, and they come from the same planeL I've always assumed that Amanda Grayson and Sarek of Vulcan made use of a very advanced genetic laboratory in the engendering of Spock. But their technology is 300 years ahead of ours. [7]

References

  1. from "Tunneltalk" (December 1990)
  2. from Tunneltalk (July 1990)
  3. from Tunneltalk (January 1991)
  4. from "Tunneltalk" (February 1991)
  5. from "Tunneltalk" (March 1991)
  6. from "Tunneltalk" (March 1991)
  7. from "Tunneltalk" (June/July 1991)