In between WandaVision i Kevin Can F * ck Myself, shows that revolve around a distorted pocket reality had quite a moment in 2021. It seems to be a moment Apple TV + is new music series Schmigadoon– from co-creators Cinco Paul and Ken Dauri, and director Barry Sonnenfeld – he really wants to be a part.
But where other reality stories this year in reality often treated their imaginations as mysterious novelties for viewers theorize their output,, Schmigadoon leads with the understanding that consciously indulging in the fantasy of a musical is a key part of dealing with their stories. After their new relationship begins to settle into a familiar, stunning rhythm that reveals some cracks in their relationship, medical couple Melissa Gimble (Cecily Strong) and Josh Skinner (Keegan Michael-Key) end up pulling couples going more than a little sideways. Lost in the woods, the couple encounters a mysterious bridge that leads to Schmigadoon, an unusual and vibrant city drawn from the golden age of American musicals in which all the inhabitants spontaneously burst into song on a dropper.
Like many modern, self-conscious musicals, many of them SchmigadoonAssumption and jokes work on the assumption that you are familiar with shows like Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loew Brigadoon (which the series parodies) of both Rodgers and Hammerstein The sound of music. But as Josh and Melissa begin to spend time in the city, they soon begin to realize that his initial charm hides an unusual secret. No matter how many times the couple tried to return across the bridge to the real world, they end up right away in Schmigadoon, and none of the people who live there seem to understand how unnatural it all is.
Since their troubles with Josh and Melissa are at the center, it’s not hard for them to put together one and two to realize that their rough part is somehow tied to any pocket reality in which Schmigadoon exists. For Melissa – a music lover who sees herself as investing more emotionally in their relationship – Schmigadoon is a strange but exciting invitation to adventure. Josh, on the other hand, finds it harder to deal with Schmigadoonian’s bayonet, in which they begin to invite both to participate. But as characters like moody rapscallion Danny Bailey (Aaron Tveit) and farmer’s daughter Betsy McDonough (Dove Cameron) dance through the story, both Melissa and Josh begin to surrender to the roles Schmigadoon seemingly wants to play.
Still Schmigadoon is a technically streaming series, it is undoubtedly a music production, primarily in terms of an overall sense of scale and place. Inside Shmigadoone, the camera draws you into an imaginary enclosed space where traditional musicals must exist, and thus the series gives each member of the role more opportunities to show off their singing and dancing skills. Supporting characters like Mayor Aloysius Menlove (Alan Cumming), Reverend Howard Layton (Fred Armisen), his wife Mildred Layton (Kristin Chenoweth), and teacher Emma Tate (Ariana DeBose) fill the cast as SchmigadoonEmbodiments of musical archetypes whose machinations serve to teach Josh, Melissa, and the audience parables about life.
As often as possible Schmigadoon he shoots wasteful footage in other musicals, and each of his episodes just ever goes so far to subvert the genre before we return to the important work of putting on humorous songs about the reproductive system. The series isn’t so interested in trying to get you into surprising loops, because that’s just how the narratives of many classic musicals can’t unfold. Every time the character stops to remind Melissa and Josh that true love will only set them free, they are – perhaps unconsciously – quite serious and telegraph how things should end.
To this end, there is a kind of inevitability that is beginning to loom Schmigadoon as it draws to a close, which is why his study of the music genre works against him to some extent. You can see it neat and tidy end it comes from a mile away, but its effectiveness really comes down to how it feels generally towards major musicals. If they are not your bag, this may not hit your ear, but for people open to the theater with small stakesis a sendup that definitely seems overblown SNL sketch, Schmigadoonworth a try.
SchmigadoonThe first two episodes are now airing on Apple +, and the next four fall every week.
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