This week, our trio of troubadour troublemakers had two very different adventures. The first half hour took Galavant, Isabella, and Sid to Sid’s hometown. Galavant’s squire may have stretched the truth of his accomplishments slightly, and the entire village treats him like a hero. Sid begs his travelling companions to go along with the lie and Galavant is forced to trade roles and learns what it is to be a servant. During the second half, they’re taken captive by a band of pirates lead by Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville. King Richard tries desperately to win the adoration of the Valencian people and thinks learning comedy will woo Madalena. As usual, his plans go less than perfectly.
It took three days to get the “Galavant” song out of my head last week, and though nothing was quite as catchy this week, there were some clever moments.
1. The Recap Song
In case you missed last week’s musical mess, this song gives us the rundown of the episode. It’s in the same tune as “Galavant” and highlights all of the major plot points. Some of the rhymes are clever and it emphasizes the fact that no one is taking this show seriously.
- “Now, he gotten him to lend a hand to oust the king whose seized her land, but zing, she’s working for the king. The traps about to spring but that’s not everything.”
2. Oy, What a Knight
Surprise! Sid’s parents are Jewish stereotypes. Since you won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews, Galavant crams all the Jewish jokes it can into this song. The town coos over Sid while Galavant huffs about playing the squire. It’s a fun little song and an unexpected gag, but, again, the joke has been done before.
- “Oy, what a night. God, is he to die for. Any girl would give an eye for such a hunk of kosher meat.”
- “Speaking as his Rabbi, why am I not surprise? Our Sydney is the knight who put the sir in circumcised.”
3. A Jackass in a Can
Galavant finds out what squires really think of their masters and learns a little humility (for the time being). At this point, I shouldn’t be surprised that this supposedly family-friendly show blatantly calls its lead a jackass, but I was. The tune is catchy and I’m sure I’ll be humming “Jackass in a Can” in inappropriate places in the future.
- “He wears two tons of padding and thinks he’s quite the man. He’s nothing but a jackass in a fancy metal can.”
- “He’s quite a—major dill-weed—in a fancy metal can.”
4. Dance Until You Die
Since all of the musicians have been put to death, King Richard hires the executioners to play at his party. The song is based around the beat of the executioner’s drum. It starts as a solemn chant and quickly shifts into a jazzy dance number, urging the somber congregation to forget their troubles while continuously reminding them of all the horrible ways they can be killed. I love this song. The dark humour cracks me up. It might not be for everyone, but for me it was the perfect combination of dark and stupid.
- “It’s time to face the reaper. You’re on your way to hell. Prepare to kiss this mortal coil goodbye.”
- “While you have the chance, you might as well just dance.”
- “Do the strangulation. Do the asphyxiation. Do the burn at the stake while you shimmy shimmy shake.”
In contrast to the others, I really can’t stand this song. It’s too chipper and cheery. Our three companions sing about working together while pointing out everyone’s flaws. It sets up the theme of the episode (team work) and feels like a (most likely on purpose) sarcastic after-school special. There’s a reprise at the end after everything works out. The pirates join in. It’s really just a rehash of “Hero’s Journey” from Episode 1.
- “Togetherness is what we do. Together me, and him, and you.”
- “But togetherness will see us through, unless I kill the other two. Or we kill her together.”
6. Lords of the Sea (But Not the Actual Sea)
Hugh Bonneville singing is enough to earn this song a B. His comedic timing is good and he gives his all. Bonneville’s pirates have managed to ground their ship onto a cliff and can’t work together enough to get it down. Instead, they’ve adapted their piratey ways. The song has a Men in Tights feel to it. The troop of burly, bearded men hold arms and dance in sync. They even end the song with flexed muscles and a growl. I expected them to yell, “We’re butch!”
- “We are the lords of the sea, except we aren’t at sea.
- “Now how we ended up here, ’tis a dire and dreadful tale.”
- “We’ve also taken up gardening.”
- “And on the side we sell a line of homemade organic desserts.”
7. Comedy Gold
Instead of killing the jester, King Richard asks him for comedy advice. The song goes over many of the mainstays of comedy, while Richard gets them all horribly horribly wrong.
- “Depending on the viewer, take it black or make it bluer, or try an observational aside”
- “Have you ever noticed how lepers have pieces falling off of them. I mean, what’s that all about?”
- “Dying of laughter all over the place and if I get desperate, a pie in the face.”
The biggest problem with Galavant is that the plot is thin and rarely seems to matter. There hasn’t been any character growth or story progression. The side trips our characters make haven’t really affected them. They’re just plodding along until they inevitably face out villain and Isabella’s betrayal is revealed. There aren’t any stakes. Sid’s lie to his village didn’t affect anyone. Our heroes taught the pirates to work together, not the other way around. All good musicals go out with a showstopper before the second half. We’re halfway through and I expected the episode to go out with a bang. Still, I can’t help but enjoy this show. Its silliness is a good way to end the week. I might change my tune if we go four weeks without Vinnie Jones getting a song.
OVERALL GRADE: B+