Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Act 3: Of course, of course

Some thoughts on the finale of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" (which will be up on the official site until Sunday night, so watch and/or download it while you can), plus an interview with Dr. Horrible himself, Neil Patrick Harris, coming up just as soon as I finish my song...

Barring some kind of goofy, character-defying twist like making Penny turn out to be Bad Horse, "Dr. Horrible" was going to end one of two ways: Dr. Horrible gets the girl, or Dr. Horrible becomes the supervillain of his dreams. Joss Whedon chose the latter, and chose to have it play out in the worst way possible for poor Billy. He gets the thing he thought he wanted, but at the cost of what he really wanted. Lovely work by NPH and Felicia Day, particularly that gut punch of a moment where the dying Penny tells him not to worry, that Captain Hammer will save them.

The rest of it was the usual cleverness we've come to expect over the previous two acts. Bad Horse turns out to be an actual horse, and is in the Evil League of Evil with the likes of Fake Thomas Jefferson, Dead Bowie and Professor Normal. Captain Hammer sings a song belittling the homeless, but it's so catchy and he's so handsome that everybody but Penny wants to sing along. And Captain Hammer turns out to be a bully who can dish it out but can't take it, judging by his crying jags after actually being hurt by the backfire of Dr. Horrible's death ray.

All in all, this was a lot of fun, bringing lots of what I enjoy about Joss Whedon's work even on a micro-budget scale.

Will there be further adventures of poor Dr. Horrible? That's one of the questions that came up when I tag-teamed Neil with Mo Ryan (which is why many of the quotes here are the same as the ones you can see in her own "Dr. Horrible" post) at CBS' press tour party last night. Some excerpts:
On the huge day one reaction to "Dr. Horrible," which overwhelmed the servers:

"We got an e-mail from Joss that said, 'Gang, we broke the internet.' That's all he said. That's awesome."

On how much he enjoyed being a part of the project:

I will say that once I actually downloaded Jed singing the scratch tracks, I had trouble not listening to it. I was listening to it all the time. Partly because Iw as having to sing it, but partly because I think the songs are really really catchy. And then once I sang it, I listened to myself singing it, and I still will go on an airplane, if there's turbulence, listen to Dr. Horrible. I think I've watched the three parts 7 or 8 times each -- and I was in it! I gain nothing while doing that except that they're really clever.

While we were filming it, I thought we were sitting on something really unique and good, and I know Joss cared about it enough that I suspected he wouldn't fuck it up in editing or change its trajectory.

On how he got involved:

I've been friendly with Joss on a personal level for a while and have always wanted to work with him. I've known him since early Buffy days. ... I usually see him at social gatherings, we have similar groups of friends. He's the kind of person where you talk to him, and he's so clever that you try to keep up with him. So when he wrote a part that I got to play, it was kinda him, him being himself. Then I had a bigger challenge to try to emulate Joss' mind a little bit. The songs are great. Act III is killer.

What would happen if Barney Stinson and Dr. Horrible met, and, more importantly, ho'od win in a fight?

I would suspect that Barney would be very dismissive of Dr. Horrible. He's a bit nerdy in prototype. But I think Dr. horrible would win the fight, just because Barney probably represents all the guys who laughed at him when he was younger. Plus, he has a freeze ray.

On where each iconic character would rank on an awesomeness scale:

Dr. Horrible, on a scale of 1 to 10 is a 10, and Barney's, like, 27.

Will there be more Dr. Horrible?

Joss has some strange giant master plan that includes much more than a sequel. Joss thinks on a great many levels. When he was pitching this to us, he said, 'This will take over the world, and there will be musicals on stage and feature films and we'll get our own television network and they'll name awards after us.'

I think we're all giggling like little schoolgirls for a week or so and then he'll figure out what he wants to do next.
What did everybody else think?

21 comments:

Nicole said...

I really was hoping that Penny would be Bad Horse, but I suppose this tragic ending will do. Then again, having seen Buffy and Angel, I should not have expected any "happy" ending.

NPH was especially good throughout and if they ever do a sequel, either on screen or on the 'net, I will definitely watch it.

Ben said...

Bleak ending (is it fashionable? TDK is meant to be dark, the Watchmen is coming next year and that isnt going to be happy happy joy joy). But I respect JW more for doing it this way. It does feel like there is more to the story though, if the DVD sales do well I wouldnt be surprised if there was more to come. I think OMWF worked better as the viewer had moe emotional ties to the character so it resonated more, Dr. Horrible was patchy, with little glimpses of magic here and there.

BigTed said...

The beginning of Act 3 was the funniest part of the whole thing. Captain Hammer's song, in particular, was hilarious.

But as much as I loved it, I was kind of hoping for more of a twist ending. It pretty much went exactly where it seemed to be headed all along.

The ending also resembled "Sweeney Todd" quite a bit, both in terms of the plot and the sound of the music. I wonder if that was on purpose?

Jeff L said...

Well, that's not the ending I was expecting. I was enjoying this lighthearted, sometimes laugh out loud comedy, and then it took a sudden turn into complete tragedy.

Was it well done? Sure. Great music? You bet. Did I enjoy it? No, can't say that I did.

Will I watch it again? Without a doubt.

LeeZy said...

Though I was sad to see the tragic ending... it was destined to end this way... especially because Joss Whedon never lets you get a happy ending...(remember that line in the first song of this act?) that's why he's so brilliant in his story telling.

But I was thinking... dare I even say, that there might have been a little commentary on the tragic events that happened in Columbine or Virginia Tech. That's what I immediately thought of as the credits scrolled and as I picked up my mouth off the floor.

Moral of the story really is you really get what you ask for.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I was not expecting that ending. I saw someone else write something along the lines of "Joss Whedon's genius is that he can have you fall down laughing until the moment he decides there will be no more laughter." I couldn't agree more.

That said, I don't see how there could be a sequel. A broadway show, maybe, but no sequel

Grunt said...

I was sad to see a sad ending, but not at all surprised (I'm a happy ending kind-a-gal). I really enjoyed it and look forward to buying the DVD.

But I think my favorite part was when they cut to the news anchors and it was writers David Fury and Marti Noxon. They were both excellent in the Buffy musical episode and it was fun to see them again.

R.A. Porter said...

My first reaction was that I didn't expect that turn. Than I realized it was Joss, and that means the unexpected must be expected.

A thing of beauty.

Gina said...

bigted...I had the same thought as you about the Sweeney-esque plot. It was there all along really. Dr. Horrible talks about Penny every once in a while, but it's ALWAYS about his wanting to be evil, and she takes second fiddle. This was evident all along and that indeed should have been our big clue. In fact, I'm sure people saw this, but with it being a fun side-project, it didn't even cross my mind. Though, I should have listened to myself when telling someone earlier this week about the appeal of Joss' work... his ability to tell a story, to humanize the crap out of his story, and to not waste anyone's time with a poorly structured story. This all should have led me to realize the entire "he want this, but he wants this, too" and of course, you can't have both. Not in the land of storytelling, anyway. So I say - Bravo, Joss & co.! Brava!

jim treacher said...

I've watched every episode of every Whedon series and read most of his comics, and I think this might be the best thing he's ever done.

Man, did they make the best use ever of a simple pair of welding goggles or what? Most of the runtime he has them up on his forehead, making him look suitably goofy. But then at the end he pulls them down over his eyes and growls into the camera about how he's going to make us all quake with fear... chills, seriously.

Okay, that was Fury and Noxon as the news anchors. Nice. I like Noxon's singing a lot better than her showrunning, but that's a whole other nerdgripe.

Now if somebody could just tell me where I can preorder the DVD...

Anonymous said...

If Whedon did this for less than a $100k, give him a couple million to do a feature that'll premiere at Sundance. It'll own all our asses

Khorium said...

The bit on NPR's All Things Considered yesterday mentioned that Dr. Horrible was done in the 'low six figures'. At $4 a pop on ITunes, it will definitely be profitable.

jim treacher said...

Oh! And if Moist's unnamed buddy with "PP" on his chest in Part 3 isn't called the Pink Pugilist, I'll eat my goggles.

Matt said...

I don't think that the full $4 goes to the creators off iTunes--Apple takes a cut. Even assuming it's a massive one of 75%, though, the iTunes alone will enable everone to get paid, since I'm sure there'll be a goodly number of downloads. Add in the DVD, and this'll be nicely profitable.

Toby said...

Better start munching those goggles, Jim. I too thought he would turn out to be the Pink Pugilist (which to me sounds perfect for the character, especially after seeing his bedroom). But the credits listed him as the Pink Pummeler.

I wish we got to meet Johnny Snow, Conflict Diamond, Hourglass, and Bait 'n' Switch (the Olsen twins?), but I loved the reveal of Bad Horse! Could he be related to Mr. Ed?

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

I’m so frustrated! I’ve tried to watch the video and to download it, but no luck on either front. I don’t know if it’s because my computer is old or what, but I really want to see these videos. Where is the information about the DVD? I’d happily buy it, but I haven’t seen anything about it. Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give.

jim treacher said...

D'oh! The Pink Pummeler, that's an even better name. Okay, a promise is a promise...

[CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP CRUNCH CRACK OW]

Jan, it's also available at iTunes. Actually, I think it's #1? And given the amazing response, I'm sure there'll be a DVD release ASAP.

Marc Hustvedt said...

Word in LA is there's a sequel brewing, and it's actually aiming for a September shoot. Updates to come at http://www.tubefilter.tv

joshp said...

Just for the record, "Pink Pummeler" is NOT a better name than "Pink Pugilist," which was freaking inspired. Stand by your work man!

Anonymous said...

Loved watching Dr Horrible. The ending was rather depressing though. While I respect a twist I hadn't seen coming, the ending still left my friends and I gaping in horror (we like happy-ish endings).

Overall, though, I definately love the series, and if a sequel is made I will definately watch it.

Camille said...

I don't think Penny is going to stay dead for very long. This IS a sci-fi, y'know...