I must admit, I am not what you might call a fan of musicals. It has often been an unpleasant experience to watch a film, where an attempt has been made to hide a lousy plot with lots of songs. (Luckily, most lousy films use naked women instead of songs to make up for bad writers and directors).
But sometimes it actually makes sense, using songs to tell a story. Or even better: if it deliberately makes no sense at all, as in the TV-series 3rd Rock from the Sun, about a group of aliens visiting Earth. A small TV-budget without room for a lot of special effects has dictated a plot in which the aliens take on human form without the understanding of the inhibitions normally present in humans. Very funny! In one episode, they dream for the first time (being aliens, it is not something they normally do) and the most odd member of the crew has a dream with a breathtakingly stupid musical with himself as central figure.
In another TV-series, Buffy the vampire slayer, about a girl who – well – slays vampires, a whole episode (“Once more with feeling”) went up in singing. An intelligent plot and – in the end – a good reason for all the singing, made it all eatable. What is more: Some of the things that would have sounded a bit stupid if said actually gave good meaning in singing. And brought so much fun, especially because the characters really hate that they burst into song and corny dance acts all the time, and try all they can to find a way out of this curse.
It is difficult to give a meaningful explanation on why I find this so meaningful and intelligent, without leaving you with a feeling of exactly the opposite. That is: if you are not familiar with the series yourself – and then there is no purpose on telling you about it.
But very short: The main character Buffy died some episodes before this one, but was brought back to life. Everyone who took part in the rescue thinks they did her a favour. She, on the other hand, had already gone towards the light and has some trouble seeing the positive side of returning; but that she cannot tell, afraid of sounding ungrateful. The problem is that in musicals, thoughts are also often song out loud, and so a lot of secrets are suddenly not so secret anymore.
By the way: Buffy is the only series I have ever seen, where the sudden loss of someone close is portrayed as it really feels. No other series or films I know of, has even come close to that. That was in a more normal episode without singing.
Just to make tings clear: I am not making fun of people who loves musicals like Sound of Music. This happens to be a film with a well build plot â€“ and if it could loose the sickening scene with the annoying kids singing a good night song, it would be fantastic. The animated American television sitcom Family Guy made a parody of that scene, by making an unchanged cartoon version. Probably because any change – no matter how vulgar – would likely make it better.
If ever a film should be made, portraying my life, it should be a musical; both for the fun of it, and to hide all the dull moments. Until that happens, I guess this blog is my song.
And just to set things straight: I also very much like films with lots of shooting, very little singing and no intelligence. 😉