Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dr. Horrible: Act One

I've just watched it once so far, so here are my first impressions. It's okay, I guess... I mean, I was looking for oh who am I kidding I LOVED IT!!! I was laughing right at the beginning, thinking Neil Patrick Harris is a comic genius, thinking I should probably listen to all of you who have been imploring me to watch How I Met Your Mother, thinking Doogie has grown up to be pretty frakkin' hilarious. His blog at the beginning was a riot, his mumbling stuttering at the laundromat was great, and his awkwardness in the face of being addressed by his love interest in the middle of doing "evil" was hilarious. But just when I thought he was totally stealing the show... along comes Nathan Fillion. I nearly spit out my morning tea I was laughing so hard.

I thought it was typical Joss -- the priceless lines, our expectations built up to think one thing is going to happen but another does instead, the language. I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of what the other writers actually brought to the table, but then again, maybe perfect wackiness simply runs in the Whedon blood.

Fave moments:
"Smells like . . . cumin."
The names of the people writing the emails (my fave was Dead, Not Sleeping... do you think that's a play on Stevie Smith's Not Waving But Drowning?)
The letter from Bad Horse (clearly a play on Dark Horse) and the men who suddenly jump into the frame to sing it... HA!!!
The words "Horrible Van Remote" on his ... van remote.
"Wonderflonium: Do Not Bounce."

Again, Joss is exploring in a hilarious and tongue-in-cheek way the inherent flaws of superheroes. Dr. Horrible would love to think he's an evil genius, but when faced with a challenge from his non-nemesis, his immediate reply is "There are KIDS playing in that park!" like he couldn't bear for them to get hurt. The names of the other superheroes within his pack are all posture (Conflict Diamond!! LOL!!!!) but probably no show. When Moist shows up and begs him to bring him along, in case anything might need to be dampened, it reminded me of the book Third Class Superhero (I reviewed it here), which is about a wannabe superhero, Moisture Man, who can gather the moisture from the atmosphere and drop it on the heads of the baddies. He's been applying for superheroship from the League for years and keeps getting turned down... hmm... I wonder if Joss read that book? But similar to that story, we explore what would happen if someone had powers out of the ordinary, but they just weren't enough to write home about. (Kinda like the girl who can double-dutch her way to safety on Heroes.) And just as the bad guys in Dr. Horrible have a kind streak, Captain Hammer is not as good as he'd like us to think, throwing people in the garbage and thinking highly of himself. "Captain Hammer's here, hair blowing in the breeze; the day needs my saving expertise!"

For all of you who roll your eyes at my devout loyalty to Joss Whedon because you've only see a few Buffy eps and didn't think much of them, watch this show and maybe you'll come around and see just why we genuflect at the altar of Joss.

18 comments:

redeem147 said...

I wish I could say I loved it. It was cute. I find Neil Patrick Harris very annoying, though I must say he has a pleasant singing voice. Nathan was great!

Hmm. Joss is pulling for the little blond 'evil' guy who loves the girl, even though the girl and the big brawny hero guy are falling for each other. Joss is a Spuffy!

Nikki said...

Loved it as well!! Wrote a brief post on it too, mostly wanting to encourage everyone I know to watch it! :)

http://nikkifaith.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/i-love-dr-horrible/

Ryan said...

I really loved it, and I'm not one to automatically love something just because of the author/director (Angel took me awhile to warm up to and I'm not that optimistic about Dollhouse), but I thought Dr. Horrible's first act was excellent.

While I was expecting it to be funny and for the songs to be good, I didn't think it would be *that* funny or that the songs would be *that* good.

Cedar said...

Nathan Fillion's sudden arrival got the biggest laugh of the episode from me.

Just imagine the post-banquet activities of Slayage 2010. LOL!

Adrienne Dinen said...

I haven't seen it. I did add Act One to my iTunes shopping cart. I want to watch 'em when it's all done.

Corey Redekop said...

Weird, odd, and definitely my cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

Not only a stunning piece (Matthew here), it really does take TV on a new venture. I think (but could be wrong) that this is the first genuinely televisual but non-television 'broadcast' / stream ever. So we watch 'TV' on our streaming internet with no involvement of any actual TV company (except ME, but that's not the same thing), and the pay-to-view and DVD will be revenue streams created by the intial free feed... It's all very brilliant and a little bit confusing. Is it, do people think, a TV episode? If not, what is it - what has Joss invented, and can that level of sophisitcation / production brilliance be replicated by lesser mortals (also, will it translate well to HDTVs on DVD?)? So many questions...

But, How Funny? The scene with the washing machine doors was both beautiful and hilarious.

Hurra!

Cedar said...

I've just watched Act II--laughed even more than with Act I.

Matthew--I too wondered about whether this is the first of its kind in terms of "telenet" eps. (That's my attempt at a term for the genre / medium.) I'd also like to know more about the process of development--was this project inspired by a random discussion sitting around the dinner table one night? ("Yes, let's change television history!") Very interesting and very enjoyable.

Jonathan said...

Watched part 1 and really enjoyed it.

I wouldn't say this is the first of its kind to put episodes online, as the http://www.clarkandmichael.com/ shows came out every week or two weeks about a year ago, and they were brilliant. Crazy thing is that they got CBS to fund it, too.

Not That JJ said...

Matthew, Cedar, it's not so much "the first of it's kind" as it is the first web series to have a phenomenal impact -- already no. 1 on itunes' most downloaded tv shows! Felicia Day, who plays Penny, is creator, writer, producer, and star of The Guild, another great web series; you can find all ten episodes on youtube, and there's a dvd of the first season on the way.

BTW, I briefly worried that Penny was a lttle dim in the first act, but then realized that was what this was, the first act. Her character is briefly introduced, and if she is a bit dim (see act two for more evidence of this) she is also just plain good -- not bad/good or good/bad.

Cedar said...

Jonathan and Not That JJ--thanks for the information; it is much appreciated!

Rachel said...

I didn't catch this but thus far I have loved everything Joss has done. I need to check it out.

Rob said...

You haven't watched How I Met Your Mother? YOUR CRAZY!!!

I found the character of Moist reminded me of a joke on HIMYM, where alysson hannigan's (if you love her in Buffy you'll love her here) character's biggest pet peeve is the word 'moist' and NPH repeatedly says it to her in an episode.

Kristin said...

I watched about half of the first episode...I really tried, Nik, I swear. But it just didn't really do much for me.

I could sense the giggling going on behind the scenes...as in, those who made this little webisode thought they were incredibly clever and original...and I could sense them there. It was weird.

Anyway, it just wasn't really interesting or funny enough for me to watch anymore.

Still not a Whedonite. Sorry. I'm really trying hard!

redeem147 said...

You know, Kristin, I am a Whedonite. It didn't do a lot for me either.

Joss usually doesn't do all out, over the top comedy. He usually fuses drama with humour and that's why I love him. Well, one reason.

Though if you stick to the end of the episode, there's this great looking guy in a tight black t-shirt...

Nikki Stafford said...

Cedar: LOL! These will totally be worked into the next Whedonverse singalongs! (The Hammer stuff will be the faves.)

Great posts from everyone on whether this could change the face of television. Jonathan is correct that this has been going on for some time (his example of Clark and Michael is the best one that I've seen), but it would be nice to see how many people follow this, and how widely it could catch on.

Rob: I HAVE seen How I Met Your Mother (sigh... I have to answer this all the time, sadly... I should just watch it, it would be easier). I gave it 3 episodes when it started up, and it just didn't work for me. Same with Bones (yes, Bones fans... I've admitted it). It doesn't matter how many chances I give that show, I'm asleep halfway through. I guess I need my Hannigan to be Willow, and my Boreanaz to be dark and broody. Mmm... dark and broody...

Kristin: I will find a way to convert you. Oh yes, I will. But I commend you for trying this. :)

Cedar said...

Nikki, I agree regarding "How I Met Your Mother." I watched the first few episodes, and I couldn't stand it. I'm now able to watch the occasional episode without shouting at the TV, "How could you take this part after playing Willow?!" (At least, for Hannigan's sake, the show has been relatively successful.) I like "Bones" though--that is, I find it entertaining enough to watch, but not interesting enough to write an article on it.

Kristin, Try Season Five of "Buffy." That seems to work for people in terms of conversion to the Whedonverse. :)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that the actor who plays Moist seems like he's doing an impression of Toby from The Office. I dunno, he seems very Tobyish.