I’ve not seen a show quite like Once Upon a Time before. I’ve been completely amazed by the great writing. Just five episodes in and I was clapping in the end credits.

Archie Hopper, Storybrooke’s local shrink, is also the mindful Jiminy Cricket from the parallel world of the Enchanted Forest.

The show opens with a teenage Hopper questioning his parents, his life, and his very existence.  A passing child questions why he continues his unhappy life and Hopper boldly makes the observation that he’s not the man he wants to be.

After a tragic event in which he is participating with his parents, he seeks help from the very delightful Blue Fairy. With scripting straight out of a psychology text book, the Blue Fairy asks Hopper what he wants to do. He listens. He listens deep within himself and as the crickets ring in the night air, the fairy grants his single wish.

A small Jiminy stands on the fence before the Blue Fairy and she asks him how he feels. He chirps excitedly while ‘free’ is written in subtitles under his new cartoon insect body.

Last Friday, a mate of mine came over for drinks before we went out. He comes from a conservative Muslim family with great expectations of him and his siblings.

He spoke of his frustrations at living at home, critiquing close friends and feeling a level of hopelessness.

He doesn’t have a girlfriend and getting married wouldn’t be a get out of gaol free card from his family situation.

“You have your life too you know,” I said to him respectfully.

“You need to love your family, but set them up to look after themselves and go and be your own man.”

Whilst I sometimes struggle with the dichotomy of my situation and prefaced that mine wasn’t a perfect existence, I asked him what he thought of when he looked at me and my life.

He looked at me and said one word.

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