musicals

dr. complainable

Snark follows. I received my Dr. Horrible DVD in the mail today. Although I enjoyed it when I first saw it, and still enjoy it, I think the lyrics are one of its weakest points. With the exceptions of the Bad Horse numbers, and, to some extent, the medley-created humor of “So They Say,” I am getting sick of the bad-on-purpose writing. Like this, from “My Eyes”:

Listen close to everybody’s heart
And hear that breaking sound
Hopes and dreams are shattering apart
And crashing to the ground

Blah. It’s not even funny any more. After a week of Gilbert, Sondheim, Hart, Willson, Harburg, and Ashman, this is embarrassing. Even in the Bad Horse choruses, which are my favorite parts of the film, because a) they are choruses, and b) they are better written, there are, sorry, really horrible touches:

He saw the operation you tried to pull today,
But your humiliation means he still votes “neigh –”
And now assassination is just the only way.
There will be blood, it might be yours —
So go kill someone —
Signed: Bad Horse.

That “just” in the line “and now assassination is just the only way” is awful. It’s, er, “just” there to provide another syllable.

It’s better to have nonsense words than bad writing — it’s better to have unrhymed text than bad rhyming — and it’s better to do anything than write this, from “Everything You Ever”:


So you think justice has a voice,
And we all have a choice?

Come on. Grateful as I am to this team for experimenting with new methods of distribution and production, and for creating a humorous Internet musical, and for employing Neil Patrick Harris, it seems pathetic mismanagement to have spent 200K on anything and still have lines like that left in.

Also, to ensure my credentials as a curmudgeon, the habit of putting lyrics online without any punctuation is driving me bonkers. In trying to create handouts for the class, I spend way too much time fiddling with semicolons. I can’t give them handouts without punctuation. It completely undermines the premise of this course that lyrics are serious writing. (Gilbert, I am sure, would never have allowed his lyrics to be printed without punctuation. If I’m wrong about that, and I guess I should probably find out, then I disagree with him.)

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