What other musical thinger did Joss Whedon direct? (you might ask). Well, my friends, Joss Whedon directed what was probably the best back-nine episode of Glee, “Dream On.”
Okay, okay, so Glee isn’t strictly nerd, you say. I say, WRONG. Glee was totally just a huge event at Comic Con y’all, where it was announced that there will be a ROCKY HORROR THEMED EPISODE which, AMAZING (more on Rocky Horror at a later date). It is a show about people who dress up and sing songs and occasionally dress up in crazy Madonna/Lady Gaga/Kiss outfits AND SING SONGS and, really, that is so nerdy and lovely. Also, the fan base calls themselves (ourselves?) GLEEKS. I think that Dragon*Con is all about the fans, and right now Gleeks own the cultural zeitgeist.
So this episode that Joss Whedon, “Dream On,” has a lot of great points. Neil Patrick Harris is in it as a rival to main-character/teacher sponsor of Glee club William Schuester. The character’s name is Bryan Ryan. This is inspired. They sing a battle-duet on a the barricade set of a community theater production of Les Miserables, which is genius!!!
The theme of said episode, of course, is “dreams,” and there are some dreams that are possible (playing Jean Valjean in a community theatre production of Les Miserables) some dreams that should be impossible but are possible (finding your birth mother via a recording of “I Dreamed a Dream,” which is a song I don’t like, also from Les Miserables) and dreams that are 100% impossible (dancing your way out of that wheelchair after a childhood accident left your paralyzed from the waist down. Artie). Anyhow, this last dream is gloriously realized in a dream sequence version of “The Safety Dance” which is one of the episode’s high points. It is also a stunning example of how Joss Whedon loves to BREAK YOUR HEART (see: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, Angelus killing Jenny Calendar, WILLOW + TARA, Fred —> Illyria etc.)
So I believe, over the past three days, that I have summed up why Joss Whedon should direct musicals. Alas, he is taking a little detour to direct some movie called The Avengers, but I’m sure he’ll get back to his jazz handsy ways before too long.
In 2008 Joss Whedon and his brothers got Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day for a rolicking, wonderful, heart-breaking ohmyGod I bawled my eyes out story of super villain origins called Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog. So, it is all on youtube, you can watch it, I’ll give you the first part just to get you started.
See? Genius? I could watch Neil Patrick Harris recite my grocery list. Nathan Fillion too, for that matter. Really, the main three are so well cast, it just works perfectly. And it is great to see Nathan Fillion play up his rugged good looks and manliness but turn it on its head alla douchebaggery. The whole shebang is really humorous and entertaining, and the songs are super catchy and lovely, and the narrative hums along in an uplifting and fun manner until, well, I mean, this is a super villain origin story. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, Dr. Horrible.
Joss Whedon, NPH, Nathan Fillion, I heart all of thee. Thanks for this.
First off: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRAT SISTER! YOU ARE NOW 22! YAY.
Second off: FIVE WEEKS TO DRAGON*CON Y’ALL. YAY.
Now to get to it. I, like you, love Joss Whedon. And I, maybe not like you, love me some musicals. This means that the musical oeuvre of Joss Whedon will receive not one, but three days on the Countdown to Dragon*Con blogtacular epic of fun and happiness. Also, because it is musical week, and because I can do what I want.
Thus, we launch into a three-part respect-a-thon of Joss’ musical ouevre starting with the so-called Buffy Musical aka Once More, With Feeling from season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So this is fun: a tap-dancing demon played by Hinton Battle comes to Sunnydale and causes everyone to periodically burst into song. And not just song but awesomely choreographed song. And occasional harmonies. Like so:
See? That was fun.
However, these songs also cause people to reveal their innermost secret feelings, such as:
A) Hi best friends you douchebags totally pulled me out of Heaven and life sucks thanks for making me be the Slayer again fuck.
B) Buffy I want to do you a lot because I am in love with you stop tormenting me with your pretty blonde hair.
C) Oh I love my girlfriend Lilith Fair metaphors except she totally keeps screwing with my mind with MAGIC and making me forget things dammit Willow.
D) Nobody loves me because I am a useless character who always gets in trouble.
E) I am scared to get married to my psycho ex-demon fiance.
F) I need to stop babying the Slayer.
G) So how are we all supposed to remain friends when all we do is lie to each other?
H) Planning theory Scooby montage bunnies!
Isn’t that a clever plot device? Singing makes everyone be forward with each other? Also, there is a rock solo about the terrifying nature of bunnies. Brilliant.
Also, youtube, how am I supposed to post videos for my readers when all you have to offer me are horrible fan creations and montages? Ick.
Once More, With Feeling demonstrates Joss’ ability to take the seemingly low brow (jazz handsy musical) and meld it with the quirky (vampire slaying as metaphor for the trials and tribulations of young adulthood) to create genius. This will be a trend over the next few days. If you are a Buffy fan, you have probably watched this episode twenty million times and may even know the music by heart maybe if you aren’t crazy (cough cough). If you aren’t a Buffy fan get thee to a Netflix queue and rent the show right now.
Hi friends! We’re back for another raging and ranting and typo-filled stream-of-consciousness bitchfest regarding this absolute train wreck of a so-called competition. Last week whiny poseur Ryan tugged our heart strings with his actually sad story of how his mother won’t accept him for who he is because who he is does not include Jesus. Of course these revelations indicated that he would be sent home (yay) and he was (yay). For all the talk of Miles being a stereotypical “art pussy” I actually felt that Ryan’s unemployed Brooklyn hipster represented the largest cultural stereotype. So I was relieved that he went home and maybe now he will cut his hair and put on looser jeans, or something.
All right! Recap: Nicole has a feather in her hair, and Perregrine’s unicorn wins! Because unicorns ALWAYS win, duh.
Oh snap, Mark is ALL ALONE. He has no roommates. He is sad.
Perregrine and her fashion statements. Large turquoise necklace.
Abdi is sad, because he hasn’t had confidence since the “shock and awe” competition.
Wow! Only two more challenges until the finale! China tells us this while wearing a dress that looks more fit for a cocktail party–this is paired with a kind of sloppy, thrown together hairdo. I don’t understaaaaaaand. China also tells us that this is a team project and there will be opposing themes. Perregrine is nervous because the last team project was a disaster.
Perregrine and Mark get “Heaven and Hell”. Abdi gets “Order and Chaos” and is paired with Nicole (Miles is sad because he wanted to be with Nicole). Jackie and Miles get “Male and Female.” Each team can pick who works on which word, the pieces must be cohesive, and one team will lose but only one artist will go home. 30 minutes to plan, $100 for Utrecht, $200 for the hardware store, etc.
Okay, planning: Nicole wants Order, which I guess means Abdi is Chaos. Nicole is smart and talks about machines and man, I am sad that Nicole is not with Miles, that would’ve been a great piece. Miles and Jackie talk about Male/Female and Miles hopes Jaclyn will do something “saucy.” I think this will be a good team too–though Jaclyn is afraid that Miles will take over. Peregrine and Mark talk Heaven/Hell and of course Mark was raised Catholic, duh. Peregrine is not pleased with Mark’s totally CATHOLIC (literal) conceptions of Heaven and Hell. Also, I need to note that Peregrine is wearing a blue knit cap, a red-orange jacket, and a PINK BLOUSE with a POOFY COLLAR. This is CRAZY.
Oh, also, Mark’s stomach EXPLODED WHEN HE WAS 18 (what?!?!?!?!) and he has a SCAR. Peregrine wants to capitalize on this but Mark has no desire to exploit his EXPLOSIVE STOMACH SCAR. Oh my God. I totally forget what Mark’s condition was called but, damn, his stomach exploded. Mark isn’t sure how his gastrointestinal problems relate to Heaven/Hell, but he’s gonna follow Peregrine’s lead.
Miles wants to get Jaclyn to add nudity, probably because he wants to look at her big fake boobs, but we’ll see. Miles is such a little like…I don’t even know. I love him but he is totally manipulative. Love.
To the studio. Okay, looking at the rest of Peregrine’s outfit: ZEBRA. PRINT, TIGHTS. OH MY GOD. WOMAN.
Mark’s body-image time of self-reflexivity. He’s not happy about taking his shirt off ’cause he’s a big dude, but he trusts Peregrine, so he’s gonna do it. So Nicole seems to be just…doing her thing, but Abdi doesn’t seem to have a thing that is a part of Nicole’s thing. Also, her face looks very blotchy in her recap-narrative. Maybe this means that she is gonna lose? I don’t know.
Okay so Abdi is freaking out and Nicole is all: “are you okay?” and I am all: “girl this is your partner help him because if he fails, you fail.”
Okay now Miles and Jaclyn are talking about masturbation because evidently Miles things this is a way of women gaining control and I am all what?!?! And Jaclyn is just going along with it because…Well, I’m not sure if she really likes it, or if she’s just charmed by Miles and his puffy eyes.
Mark, p.s., clearly things it is stupid.
So Miles’ piece is referencing I guess his O.C.D. self-punching weird self-Fight Clubiness mILES I DON’T UNDERSTAND. But I do understand masculinity + aggression so I guess I get it.
Aw, Peregrine cut her thumb. BLOOD AND PAIN FOR ART. That is Heaven/Hell, right?
So Nicole finally realizes that her partner is floundering and so decides to try to be his muse and inspire him regarding Chaos. However, she just seems to be confusing him, probably because Abdi has a tiny, tiny brain. Abdi, not that smart. Oh well maybe he is. Socrates’ Cave.
Time for Simon and his massive combover. He goes to Miles and Jaclyn first. Miles is all FIGHT CLUB. Jaclyn is all: “I have (cough) this painting (cough) and it will be all mirrored and distorted (cough) and it is a private (cough) sexual (cough) act (cough).” I’m not sure whether or not Simon likes it, but Miles keeps flashing a cheeky grin in the confessional recaps, so, yeah, we’ll see.
Nicole and Abdi next. I have no idea what Nicole is talking about, really, but maybe you need to see it–her work doesn’t really translate well to the television. Abdi basically just pulls at his hair a lot. We’ll see.
Mark and Peregrine. Simon doesn’t really get how Peregrine’s piece references Hell (true) and thinks that Mark’s work might be too literal (very true).
Abdi’s utter collapse continues as the clock ticks. Miles likes Abdi’s colors but that’s about it. Jaclyn’s not really pleased with it, she likes her piece much more. I actually think that it might work. She says she seems “like an idol.” I wish there were more time to play with that–the female as divinity, but, alas.
Oh lord, Jaclyn is once more cornered by Miles, and his crazy ideas. So Ryan got tar awhile ago I guess, and now Miles wants to use the rest of the tar Ryan had left over. I think he just wants to play with tar (he said he told Ryan that it was difficult to use on purpose, so he could use the tar. Sneaky, manipulative, and charming!!!!)
MIDNIGHT. Back to the Beaver House. Miles carries Adi over the threshhold which is adorable. Miles and Abdi lurve each other but Miles is nervous that Mark is moving into the apartment. Abdi is a positive man who wears pink and so is all: “I WILL WELCOME MARK.” Miles is all: “Welcome to Hell” and I did not make this up, haha.
Peregrine has a husband!!!! She calls him all teary and all “I don’t want to go home I love you.” And Mark got no sleep and Miles is grumpy and Mark and Miles are grumpy toward each other. Abdi, in the meantime, is all: REVELATION I WANT TO GET BETTER.
Back to the studio: Miles is all “TAR!!!” and Jaclyn is all: “Not sure I liek this tar thing.” Nicole and Abdi are pleased that her machine0piece works. Peregrine is all: I WILL MAKE A VOODOO MARK WITH CIGARETTES. So Peregrine and MILES (OCD MILES) go hunting for CIGARETTES ON THE STREET that is disgusting. Miles how does your OCD take this. Peregrine your piece is entertaining but I totally don’t get how it references Hell. It references like, Mardi Gras to me.
TIME’S UP. Abdi’s not happy with his piece. Everyone’s freaked out. Etc.
Hahaha, so the mini-clips in the commercial is really excellent this time around: Mark leads in all: “talking about art really stretches one’s bull-shitting capabilities” and then it goes to a montage of the remaining contestants basically doing “art speak” like Miles is all “cerebral-ism” and Jaclyn is all “voyeuristic panopticon” and Peregrine is all “my creative artistic identity” and it is all sort of stupid and my non-art historian boyfriend is laughing hysterically and then it cuts back to Mark all: “this is what I am talking about.” Hahaha, that was excellent.
Okay so back to the real time. Gallery show. I wish we could see the artists installing their pieces in the gallery. CHINA IS WEARING A SPARKLY DRESS, Her hair still looks stupid, she has triangle earrings. Jeannie is still gone, and the guest judge is Ryan McGinness. Miles loves him, and his fun installations, and his nature of fun. Miles makes this known to Ryan, who takes it quite well. And China’s dress has so many sequins, my goodness.
Again, who do they get to come to these gallery openings? I don’t get it. Like are these art world people or television people or just people off the street? WHOA NEVERMIND, Terrence Koh! Cynthia Rowley! Samantha Matthis! TERRENCE KOH wow, also, his glasses are great. Also, his shiny jacket. Nicole is really excited about Terrence Koh.
Miles is really happy about his and Jaclyn’s piece. Jerry and Ryan McGinness like it too. KYRA SEDGWICK IS THERE. How do they get these people? Bill thinks both of the Order/Chaos pieces look like Chaos. China almost breaks Nicole’s piece. Hahahaha, Bill says that Perregrine got her bedazzler out. Hilarious.
Crit time. Everyone gets to be crit-ed. Mark and Peregrine are first. Mark tells his story about his stomach explosions and Ryan wants to see the scar. That is an intense scar. Ryan and the other judges think that the interpretation is too literal. Jerry says it is neither heaven nor hell but more like limbo. Ooof, Peregrine kind of sells Mark out. Harsh. And wow, for the first time the other competitors comments are shown. Of course Miles goes first. He is all: “Mark my problem with your art is that you play it safe and Peregrine took her materials and came over to your side.” True. Mark and Miles super hatred.
Miles and Jaclyn next. Blah blah blah blah control and female control and body acceptance control of desires. China is all: “what act are you performing in this painting?” And Jaclyn is all: “yeah I am masturbating.” Bill really likes the piece a lot. Miles is all aggression hitting a wall. Ryan is all: autobiographical works blah blah blah. Ryan asks Jackie if she has masturbated standing up and she is all: “um, yes?” Ryan doesn’t think that this is a cohesive collaboration and no meeting of the minds. Jerry lieks the male and female thing being separate, he “got off” on that. Nice, Jerry.
Abdi and Nicole. I don’t get this piece, I am so bored by it. But, again, I like the idea of Nicole’s work, so I am sure it is better in person. Abdi is all: Socrates cave blah blah blah and the judges are all super-confused looking. Like, Jerry has his glasses off and is rubbing his eyes and everyone looks at Ryan and Ryan is all: “order, sure, chaos…not at all.” Jerry is totally harsh to Abdi and calls his work amateurish and says that he no longer trusts Abdi’s vision. Abdi basically demonstrates that he is very young, and has a lot to learn. Poor Abdi.
Everyone goes upstairs and everyone is miserable and a big mess. Especially Abdi.
Judge deliberation. Jerry likes the competition topic. Bill is disappointed by the literalism of the Heaven/Hell piece and Jerry says they failed because they were too simple and that Mark demonstrates a lack of imagination. Ryan liked the autobiographical parts of the piece but, again, Mark is too literal and too surface. Jerry, however, things that Peregrine’s piece is underdeveloped and yawn-y. Male/Female, Bill liked the conversation between the pieces and Jaclyn’s pleasuring the self and the torment blah blah, Ryan says both pieces are strong but there is a weak collaboration, Jerry likes Miles’ deconstruction of a dumb idea. Order/Chaos, Ryan thinks it is a hard topic, Jerry says that Nicole had some trouble and that her piece looks like a toy and has nothing to do with order. Ryan likes that Nicole’s piece is interactive. All the artists agree that there was no real collaboration and no real Chaos. But, really, how do you depict Chaos? Not the best combination. Male + Female are Concrete, Heaven + Hell are sort of Concrete, Order + Chaos NO CONCRETE AT ALL. So who gets sent home? Jerry is all: “There are three people in deep deep trouble tonight” and, as we go to commercial, I am guessing they are Mark, Abdi, and Peregrine.
Elimination time. Peregrine looks like she is going to cry. Miles and Jaclyn win, not big surprise there, that is a talent-stacked team. I think they have the most coherent visions, of all the artists, so I’m guessing that they will be the top two toward the end. But, who knows. Jaclyn has really surprised me throughout this show.
Allright, final four. Mark and Peregrine are wearing the same color–well, there’s cohesion. Abdi and Nicole’s piece was not coherent, and the fault lies with Abdi (according to Jerry). Bill is all Mark and Peregrine, your piece is uninspired, but Mark, it is your fault. Abdi and Mark are the bottom two. Nicole and Peregrine are safe. China is totally teary-eyed and crying as she announces this: Mark is going home. Wow, look at the tears on that girl’s face. They sparkle like her sequined gown.
I do think that Mark needs to go home, he has no real creativity or vision, and his work is extremely commercial and sort of boring. His best piece was the book cover assignment, a commercial project.
Next week: From five we go to three, and the episode after that, the FINALE. Oh, also, we take a trip!
So, exciting, I’m down with the final five. Two more episodes y’all!
One of my favorite music videos of all time. Directed by MICHAEL BAY (ridiculous!). Crazy Beauty and the Beast style story with MEAT LOAF and a sassy soul singer woman. A song that is twelve minutes in its entirety and, therefore, is perfect for long road trips to Atlanta en route to Dragon*Con.
This song involves a floating bench, and a sparkly chandelier, and Meat Loaf looking in a mirror and looking all fugly and then looking back in that mirror and looking, well, a little less fugly but, I mean, it is still Meat Loaf.