Last night, Little Red Riding Hood became more than a "friend of Dorothy's."
The 18th episode of Once Upon a Time's fifth season, titled "Ruby Slippers," featured the fairy tale drama’s first gay romance when an adult Red Riding Hood (Ruby, played by Meghan Ory) fell in love with The Wizard of Oz's Dorothy (Teri Reeves).
Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis hinted before this season began that an LGBT relationship would be on the horizon, stating, "We want the show to reflect the world as it is now. Whether that’s going to be with any particular character, we’re not going to say."
With the return of Mulan to the screen, fans speculated the warrior princess would finally get a viable love interest -- her unrequited love for Sleeping Beauty made headlines when it was revealed all the way back in Season 3.
This time, Mulan served as a vehicle to help Ruby realize her romantic feelings for Dorothy, who in the episode falls victim to a sleeping curse. Ruby later wakes Dorothy up — with a magical kiss, of course, a major theme in the Storybrooke world.
"True love’s kiss has been a staple of this show since the beginning," executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis told Entertainment Weekly. "This past Sunday’s episode was just another example of how in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love."
Fun, related fact: "Friend of Dorothy" is a term that was used as early as the 1930s and '40s to describe gay men and, later on, lesbians.
Since homosexuality itself used to be illegal, gay folks needed to refer to each other in secret. The term comes from the Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum's sequel, Road to Oz, where a character states, "You have some queer friends, Dorothy", to which Dorothy replies, "The queerness doesn't matter, so long as they're friends."
Who knows if that's what Horowitz and Kitsis were thinking when they decided to pair Ruby with Dorothy (who until now had only appeared in one other episode,) but it definitely links the real world and the world of fairy tales together nicely.