In the first episode of the second season of Galavant, THIS WAS INCREDIBLE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Galavant.
Holy shit. I was immediately unprepared for this show, and I AM SO HAPPY.
The Opening Number
I can’t really think of a single show that has ever succeeded in getting a second season, thereby avoiding being cancelled, only to then stick a giant middle finger in the air and make fun of the fact that they made it to a second season with shitty ratings. It’s not just the song, of course; the episode title itself is a clear sign that the people behind Galavant were ready to just go for broke. (Seriously: “A New Season aka Suck It Cancellation Bear.”) But y’all, that opening song was WILD. It’s such a great way for the show to demonstrate that they know they’re on limited time, that they know they aren’t making the kind of television that’s going to be watched by 10 million people, that they just don’t care.
It’s nice, too, that this isn’t portrayed through cruelty. Instead, the show uses its fourth-wall breaking humor to bring us along on a wacky ride, and I love that.
Most of this episode is silly, but wow, Isabella’s plotline is really disturbing? I can tell that this script is in conversation with common fantasy tropes, and I’m not just referring to that Game of Thrones reference. (Though that White Walkers comment was one of the best jokes in the whole episode.) Incest, forced/arranged marriage, and the damsel-in-distress are all common things in the genre, and I can’t even recall all the times I’ve seen them used. Galavant has them, too, but they often appear either twisted or subverted. I think my prediction about Isabella might actually come true because it looks like she’s not going to wait around for Galavant to save her. She’s taking matters into her own hands! Who can blame her??? Her parents are perfectly fine with her marrying their cousin. (Though the reason why is mostly absurd in this context because it pulls from a modern concept of weddings. STILL FUCKING FUNNY AS HELL because oh my god, weddings are super expensive??? WHO ALLOWED THIS.) (Just kidding, I know the answer.)
And while Isabella is doing what she can to maneuver a means of saving herself, Gareth has a parallel journey in a different context. His decision to stay alongside Madalena has—unsurprisingly!—backfired. WHO DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING. So, is he going to wait around and hope that Madalena gives him a real title and real power? Nope! Granted, he’s not trapped in nearly the same context that Isabella is; her situation is way, way worse. Gareth isn’t confined to a single, weird room with a terrifying doll version of himself. (WHY IS NO ONE ON THE SHOW COMMENTING ON THE DOLL, IT’S THE WORST PART OF THIS WHOLE NIGHTMARE.) But he knows that he’s stuck, that progress isn’t gonna come if he just sits there. And like Isabella reaching out to the Chef for help, Gareth seeks help from someone, too. I’m hoping this leads to another story for Sid, who deserves more depth to his character besides being a supporter of the other characters. More than anything, though, I felt like these two plots were just a set-up for something to come.
The Enchanted Forest
I just… my god. How??? How was this real??? Did I just experience this? IT IS NOW CANONICAL THAT KYLIE MINOGUE IS THE QUEEN OF THE GAYS? (We knew this, though.) I love that the show just threw everything into the wind with no care in the world, and yes, they absolutely hired John Stamos to appear in this episode for one whole second for him to speak one line and confirm that his character is actually gay.
I just?!?!?!?!? DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS. We don’t meet one gay character, WE MEET LIKE FIFTY OF THEM AT ONCE. Granted, it’s mostly for a joke, but some of these jokes are in-community jokes I did not expect to see on a nationally-aired television show. Granted, the show frames all of this as a wild romp that the two straight men go through. (Well, admittedly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Richard did turn out to be gay.) But it’s just so fun to see the show camp it up in an entirely unexpected way, to introduce queer characters without the homophobia that usually accompanies it. And seriously, how are you gonna have a musical theater show without us??? Ideally, I’d like to see a recurring character rather than a one-time gag, though in the same breath, I have to admit that having a one-time gag be KYLIE FUCKING MINOGUE is pretty spectacular.
Plus—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—it was nice to see Richard and Galavant getting along? While I don’t ship them, there was a chemistry between them that was captivating. Unlike season one, Galavant is no longer the fool or the incompetent one; he’s the foil to Richard! And the dynamic is fascinating because, by all rights, Galavant should despise Richard. But they seem to be fostering an actual friendship??? What is this?????
This was a fantastic opener, not just because it was so funny and surprising. The show is setting up a number of stories that I am pretty much equally excited about. BRAVO.
The video for “A New Season AKA Suck It Cancellation Bear” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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