Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Hidden Sequel

By now, evil visions of evil, along with the usual sugarplums, have been dancing around the heads of Whedonistas since their copies of the Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog DVD arrived from Amazon this week. The classic tale of a villain and the girl he dreams about may not be typical Yuletide fare, but the fact that it exists at all may be a miracle in its own right.

Not only that, it comes with its own built-in sequel called "Commentary: the Musical." It's not enough to invent an Internet musical, but to also add a spin to the classic commentary track where the actors, writers, director and such talk about how they came up with this scene or that scene. No one every tried to set this typical DVD extra to music...until now.

Once you hear "Commentary," though, you get the idea the play is not the thing. It's really about how getting such a project off the ground and into our computers can be a pain, but a pain worth suffering. They also admit a commentary set to music is a cheesy gimmick...

Moments like these sell DVD's
We need to sell more
We've only sold four
(yeah, four per minute!)

So is the idea of DH itself: An Internet musical is a wacky idea that's zany! Where did it come from? (Nathan Fillion: It came from pain!)

This is followed by a song that summarizes the Writer's Strike from last year. This basically led to the creation of Dr. Horrible. The song is so peppy, SAG members may be inspired to strike for better wages, too. Too bad some don't want to strike because the economy's becoming one big hellmouth. The unsung bit players make their own song so someone sings about them, while Felicia Day refuses to talk about the "process", but will sing about it and squeeze in a plug about her web sitcom. Through all of this, the songs have nothing to do with the images of Dr. Horrible...until Nathan has his song of how he's "Better than Neil". It's no accident it comes just as Captain Hammer makes his first appearance..or is it?

Zach Whedon, brother of Joss, then comes in with a sexy rap that's cooler than Jay-Z, or Kanye West. Then, Simon Helberg, who played Moist, DH's sidekick, sings the song that would have been in the musical if there was time. Let's just say, there should have been a director's cut with Moist. After Nathan sings about Ninja Ropes, and whether Ninjas can survive in space, the "unsung" bit players sing again about how important they believe they are. Then, Maurissa Tancharoen, one of the musical geniuses behind DH, sings about why she didn't get the part of Penny...which leads into a commentary of why there's few Asians on TV and movies.

Even Joss gets into the act about what commentaries do, and that takes an interesting turn. Soon, Neil Patrick Harris is all alone, and takes musically takes advantage of that...until it's too much. The song actually reminded people of "Rose's Turn", the finale from Gypsy. However, the gang reunites for the finale, which sums up the real purpose of a commentary that's so legendary, the guys from Cinematic Titanic may be left in awe...

Hope you had fun
'Cause now we're done
You've listened to every word
Seeing it through
Makes each of you
A huge f**king nerd

But you're unfazed by the maze of crazed malaise
The lazy phrasing betrays how well this pays
So here's a toast to who suffered most
While we coasted through this

This is followed by a guy who sings with a lisp, but is also one of the "unsung" cast members. He'll be known as the guy who sings through the closing credits.

Of course, if you want the traditional commentary where the cast and crew talk about boring stuff about scenes and music and how it all came together, the DVD has that, too. I haven't gotten to that, but I will maybe before I toast the New Year. I still need some time to see the traditional Christmas fare, even if I have to cheat and see them through the weekend.

I also looked at the ELE applicants who made the DVD. My faves were Mr. Terrible with his witty song, and L'Enfant Terrible because she's from San Francisco and is really cute. I looked at some of the "Dishonorable Mentions" on YouTube, and whoever said DIE-Ronic and The Cutinator were shafted may have had a point. The Top Ten usually had two advantages: good special effects or good songwriting skills. That helped Mr. Terrible get right to the top, and The Reverend is a logical choice for Crank Yankers if they ever revive that show.

Now, if I wanted to get into the Evil League of Evil, I'd be an "evil" guy whose crimes avenge other acts that are even worse. I would be the Couch Potato, and unleash his wrath against terrible programming decisions. I would build a 50 foot pie filled with coal, and launch it at the ABC offices in Burbank, while yelling, "Merry Christmas from the Pie Hole, you @#!!&&%%$ dickweeds!!"

Yes, I watch Pushing Daisies, even if ABC denies it exists. Any questions?

No comments: