The Sound of Music, Singing in The Rain, Grease, and The Book of Mormon. All of these are some examples of the many great musicals we as the human race have made in our short time on this earth.
However, there hasn’t been a lot of musicals in the landscape of film and television that skewer the tropes and cliches of this genre with the cynicism of the modern world that is murder hornets, anti-vaxxers, and the dreaded McDonalds salad.
Well, someone in Hollywood must have finally taken notice because one of the latest Apple TV shows to come out, Schmigadoon!, is here to take up the mantle and fill the void.
Schmigadoon! follows two doctors that work in the same hospital and meet one fateful night - Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) – throughout their turbulent relationship. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, the couple goes on a backpacking trip all about reconnecting with each other and reigniting the spark in their relationship.
Like every good idea ever, it ends in the rain with Melissa and Josh arguing over rocks that are actually more than rocks because they have their name on them (and before you all flood the comments, yes, I understand that the rocks with their names symbolise the commitment to each other or something, I was being facetious for the sake of comedy).
During the fight, they end up crossing a magical bridge that transports them to the fantastical, yet perpetually stuck in the typical 1940s and 1950s era town of Schmigadoon.
Five minutes into their little historical walk down memory lane, the two lovebirds are understandably ready to get back to the real world.
Throughout the course of the first episode, they find out that they can’t escape the musical hell until they discover the answers to the greatest mystery in life apart from the mysterious question that made Deep Thought come up with 42… what is true love?
So, for this week’s One Hour Impressions I watched the first two episodes of the series and straight up you can tell that this show is being made with some real love and passion for the musical genre. Yet they don’t mind getting their hands dirty and taking a couple of jabs at the more pervasive and troubling tropes and cliches of the genre.
Those jabs are normally done through Keegan-Michael Key’s character in the very Key and Peele snark that the duo was well known for during their comedy tenure. To be fair, Cecily Strong’s character also gets more jabs in later on in the series (kinda spoiled whether I’m going to recommend it or not but screw it, the show’s really good, like the best show on Apple Tv) and it’s a nice juxtaposition with them and the citizens of Schmigadoon.
Now the show being a musical means the real sticking point is, well, the music in the show. Luckily, the music in this show is exceptional. The songs are very enjoyable and catchy and haven’t worn out their welcome which I feel is a problem that other musicals run into quite a lot.
The rest of the cast is top-notch and seem to be just loving being part of this show and that’s always a great sign. Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth are highlights as the loveable Mayor Menlove (and yes that last name is very intentional) and the prudish, bible bashing Mildred Layton respectively.
I could keep going on and on about how the set designs, props, and wardrobes are exceptional and everyone involved in these departments should get a lot more praise and attention for their work than they probably will get.
But instead, I’m just going to say this – go watch the show.
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