Do you love the absolutely ridiculous? Fancy yourself a purveyor of the comedically absurd? Like old things that sound as though there’s no way they’d be anything other than middling at best (only to then be pleasantly surprised)? Well then step right up and sit right down for ABC’s musicomedy extravaganza, Galavant — and we mean that in the absolute best way.
Silliness out the wazoo, nods and hints to The Princess Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Monty Python aplenty, this goofy bit of Alan Menken goodness is chockablock with tomfoolery, hijinks, and hoodwinks, with plenty of rhymes to spare. Which is to say we’re super-duper into it and all the fairytale cliches that abound within it.
Created by The Little Mermaid composer Alan Menken and Crazy, Stupid, Love director Dan Fogelman (along with lyricist Glenn Slater), there is nothing subtle about Galavant and its clever humor and so-silly-its-special premise. All in all, it’s a story we’ve often heard told: a knight tries to win back the maiden he fell in love with but lost to the dastardly king.
But what makes it special is how the sum of its parts work so harmoniously well to bring about unexpected laughs and silly-for-the-hell-of-it humor. There’s some pretty legendary hero-ing about to go on down here.
With a talented cast of singers and dancers, the only pitfall in the series’ construction is its length. Though ABC showed the first two episodes back-to-back, each part of the limited event series is only 30 minutes long. While that means we get tons of songs, the overall plot feels rushed and almost ramshackle within these constraints.
But that is just one tiny complaint amongst an embarrassment of riches — I mean where else does one hear the word “adventure” rhymed with “real butt-clencher”? — the crown jewel of which is King Richard (played by Timothy Omundson). Perhaps the dopiest, most clueless (and therefore most DELIGHTFUL) villain we’ve ever seen, King Richard’s egomania and total lack of self-awareness make him the comedic highpoint of the whole affair.
Our adventure began with the most standard of medieval tropes: the royal wedding. But with Galavant’s One True Love (Madalena, played by Mallory Jansen) picking the fame and fortune promised by the king over Gal’s eternal flame, our hero (Joshua Sasse) gets aaaaa-mighty salty, turning against the world and his knightly duties. Not that it goes all that well for Richard and Madalena, though — protip: never start a marriage with a kidnapping.
So Gal does what any self-respecting dude with an easily bruised ego does: he falls head first into a self-pitying k-hole of booze and food, with nary more than his squire Sid (Luke Youngblood) by his side. But, oh, TWIST: there’s a not-so-in-distress damsel of deception in our midst (otherwise known as Princess Isabella — Karen David — whose “missing jewel” from her recently plundered kingdom is the current apple of King Richard’s eye)!
You see, Isabella’s the sort of scrappy chick who is willing to lie, cheat, and steal her family’s way back to power — and that meant partnering up with King Richard to lure Gal back to the castle and straight into a bonafide trap. Thankfully this is the Dark Ages so it takes more than an Uber ride to get from kingdom to kingdom.
In fact it takes ages (see what we did there?) to travel such a great distance, and in the second episode we’re lucky enough to happen upon another handsome knight, Sir Jean Hamm (played by not-Jon-Hamm-but-still-a-good-ham, John Stamos). Theirs is a battle of dickwagging of the highest order that could only end one way: in total humiliation for both of them. (Thank you for this gift.)
Naturally, things are set up in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a rip-off that we’re fairly certain what’s going to happen in the end — everything’s just so silly and funny that we’re looking forward to the ways in which they’ll subvert our expectations. And, hoo boy, did Menken and Slater do a bangarang job with that, musically speaking. Self-aware and silly sing-song-y business, Galavant is exactly what we needed to cure these winter blues.
– Darren Evans (My Mad Fat Diary) also makes an appearance as the adorably dopey chef to King Richard, just barely hanging on to his own life thanks to the reactionary leader’s ill-tempered ways.
– Any time King Richard yelled “Gareth!”
– Gareth yell-commanding “everybody sing!”
– The upcoming guest stars! Holy cats: Weird Al, Ricky Gervais, Hugh Bonneville, Sophie McShera!
So, folks — did you tune into Galavant? What are your thoughts? And do you think we should recap all its singing-dancing glory? Let us know in the comments.