Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Rec. #90: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
What: During the writers' strike of 2007-2008, Joss Whedon decided to demonstrate that "original online content" doesn't have to mean cats flushing toilets. So, he rounded up some people from past projects (Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion), some family members (sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen, brothers Jed and Zach), and one child-star-turned-Broadway-pro-turned-sitcom-star (Neil Patrick Harris*), and they put on a show. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a villain's origin story. Dr. Horrible ("I have a Ph.D. in horribleness") is torn by two ambitions: to join the Evil League of Evil and to win the heart of Penny ("She works with the homeless and doesn't eat meat"). The warring desires converge when Dr. Horrible's nemesis, Captain Hammer ("corporate tool"), shows an interest in Penny.
Comparable to: It is Whedon through and through, with the humor, the distinct characters, the smart writing, and the surprisingly high stakes. As he did with the lauded "Once More, With Feeling" episode of Buffy, Whedon uses a musical framework to heighten emotional impact (with very pretty songs) even as his hyper-articulate characters work out their chaotic thoughts (with very clever lyrics).
Representative quote: "Destroying the status quo because the status is not quo. The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it."
You might not like if it: I think that a lot of people like at least one of the following things: musicals, Nathan Fillion, superheroes, Felicia Day, snarkiness, Joss Whedon, the strategic use of the word "balls," Neil Patrick Harris, equestrian super-villains. If you hate all of those things, then possibly, maybe, there's a chance you won't like this.
How to get it: Dr. Horrible is divided into three 15-minute acts (that's a total of 45 minutes for those keeping track). The DVD triples your viewing time because it has two full-length commentaries. One is an actual commentary, and the other is effectively a bonus musical. The excellent songs in Commentary! The Musical include "Better Than Neil" and "Nobody's Asian in the Movies."
*If you were Harris's HIMYM co-star Alyson Hannigan, an ex-Whedonite herself, wouldn't you be pissed that Whedon gave Doogie a lead role?