Flashback/Backslide is happy to welcome Rosy as a new a guest author! Rosy specializes in TV and reviewed the first season of Galavant for FB/BS’s first TV Review.
Hi, everyone. It’s probably not start to share names on the internet, especially because you never know what can happen, but I was invited to review TV shows because I watch a lot of TV shows. And now here it goes.
I didn’t think the first show I would write about would be Galavant, a show that came in as a mid-season replacement for God-knows-what, a show that hardly anyone watches, and a show that I haven’t loved as long as, say, 30 Rock, or Avatar: The Last Airbender. But here’s the thing—the season just ended, there’s been a lot crap said about the show, and I want to lay it straight for all the haters out there.
I grew up on musicals. My family still manages to watch The Sound of Music at least once every single year, despite my mother’s complaints. I watched all the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musicals on VHS, sprawled on the living room carpet with my sisters. We would sing, not knowing all the lyrics and off-key, to “Meet me in St. Louis” all the goddamn time.
So, yeah, when I realized Galavant was a musical, you bet I binge-watched that shit. I caught up on the season in two days. Granted there were only eight 30-minute episodes. But I’ve been ridiculously busy with other things, guys. Have you seen The Honourable Woman (I promise this review won’t be mostly about other TV shows)?
What makes Galavant so great? It’s so damn campy, yet so self-consciously aware of how campy it is. The actors are constantly breaking the fourth wall to make fun of how ridiculous everything is. Sure, some of the jokes and plot are predictable, but it’s done in such a charming way that you just can’t help yourself.
Example: when the eponymous hero, Galavant, tries singing about his “moment in the sun,” and how it’s finally time for him to prove that he’s a hero, he keeps getting interrupted, whether by trumpet or by the king’s older, evil brother (who knocks Galavant out and announces, “That was annoying!”). Or the lyrics in the songs acknowledging how ridiculous the plot is. Or their rhyming of “adventure” with “butt-clencher.” This is a TV show in the fashion of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It’s not ground-breaking, there’s not a lot of social commentary, but it’s fun, it’s cute, there’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek wit, and they managed to make it rhyme. Shouldn’t someone be rewarded for all that creativity?
Also, I hate to pull the non-white-woman card and stand on my “so liberal it makes me want to vomit” (per my friend) soapbox, but it’s REALLY refreshing to see a not-Shonda-Rhimes show that has a non-white woman as the lead. Karen David, who plays Princess Isabella, is part Chinese, part Indian, and according to her, “a sliver of Jewish.” Not only is she a main character, but she’s not evil. In fact, a lighter-skinned woman is. And she’s never frumpy-then-turned-into-beautiful-when-someone-takes-off-her-glasses. She’s always beautiful. And smart. And holds her own with all the main characters, even the “hero.”
A lot of the show is about how initial impressions are unreliable. You have a hero who shirks responsibility, a damsel-in-distress who’s actually manipulative as hell, and an evil king who’s actually quite incompetent and is in dire need for some positive social support. One episode centers on Galavant’s squire, Sid, who has told his home town that he’s a knight, not a squire, and doing quite well in the outside world. And the show itself falls into that category—at first you look at it and you think, “Oh, no, another predictable, family-friendly comedy meant to appease that dinner-on-the-table-at-six demographic.” But you watch it and realize it’s a lot more complex and a lot funnier than people will give it credit for.
Thanks for reading!