Every once in a while there is a show that emerges from the sea of masterfully crafted television dramas and imaginative “nerd bait” superhero shows (and their hundreds of lukewarm ripoffs) that stands out simply for being fun. It doesn’t tug on our emotions or the moral grey or our nostalgia; it’s just fun. It’s by no means the best show out there, but it’s a fun way to pass time and, for some, a definite guilty pleasure. For me, that show is Galavant; ABC’s half hour musical comedy series.
For those who are unfamiliar, Galavant was a mini-series that premiered last year on ABC. The premise of the story is simple: A hero named Galavant was in love with the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. Her name was Madalena. But one day the petulant King Richard sees her and has her kidnapped and forced to be his bride. Galavant rushes off to save her but when he arrives, Madalena turns him down cold. Turns out she’d rather be a rich queen. Galavant, disenchanted with love and heroism becomes an alcoholic bum until a princess from the kingdom of Valencia pushes him to action to save her kingdom by convincing him that Madalena still loves him and wants him to rescue her. Galavant, Princess Isabella and Sid go off on an adventure to save her kingdom filled with music, comedy, and misadventures. By the end of the season, Galavant learns the truth that Madalena is an even bigger tyrant than her husband King Richard, Princess Isabella is engaged to her 11 year old cousin, King Richard is deposed by the Queen Madalena and his friend Garret, he and Galavant flee execution on a pirate ship, and Sid is left in the lurch.
This is where season 2 picks up.
After some time away at sea, the pirates are literally committing suicide from having to listen to the same ‘Galavant’ tune sung over and over. When they see land, the former King Richard and Galavant direct the ship towards the shore only to crash. Galavant and Richard head off towards the kingdom and find themselves in the Enchanted Forest; the place where King Richard’s father and his “Uncle Kevin” once got lost and where Uncle Kevin never came out of again. However, the Enchanted Forest turns out to be a gay bar in the middle of the forest. The patrons take an immediate liking to Galavant and King Richard, oblivious, takes an immediate liking to them. Meanwhile, back at the palace Garret and Sid struggle to find their place in the kingdom now that King Richard and Galavant are gone and Princess Isabella awaits rescue in her pink fluffy prison. The episode ends with Garret and Sid working together and demanding Garret be named King and Galavant and King Richard getting help from his “Uncle Kevin” to escape the Enchanted Forest through the unfinished women’s bathroom.
Episode 2 picks up with a romantic duet between Galavant and Isabella as they, in their separate corners of the world, reminisce on their first kiss but quickly realize that their first kiss actually wasn’t very good at all. Isabella is determined to escape her marriage to her cousin and conspires with the Chef to escape during the changing of the guard ceremony. She asks him to hold on to a prized amulet for her and in the morning sets out to escape. Back in the forest, Galavant and King Richard find a town to have King Richard’s shoes repaired so they can continue their journey. Worried about the kiss, Galavant consults with a fortune teller but when his magic, communication crystal (basically a magic version of a cellphone) goes off, Galavant gets a better idea. Meanwhile, at the castle, Garret (now officially King Garret) and the Queen have a falling out of decor. The episode ends with a huge misunderstanding when the reception between the communication crystal and Isabella’s amulet goes in and out, causing Isabella to mishear what Galavant is saying. Believing that Galavant doesn’t love her and isn’t coming for her, Isabella gives up her escape plan and returns to her room. Galavant, blissfully unaware takes of with King Richard to rescue her, but when they arrive at where the kingdom should be, it has moved.
As I said previously, the main thing this guilty pleasure show of mine has going for it is that it’s just fun. The cast appears to be having a blast doing the show and it’s evident. This season, this show is even more self aware and has no problem picking fun at itself. Even the title of Episode 1 “A New Season aka Suck it Cancellation Bear” is a direct jab at the consensus that there wouldn’t be a second season due to the first seasons low ratings.
If I had to choose, I’d say that the premier episode was my favorite of the two but the second had more memorable songs.It’s a tough call but it came down to how many times I audibly laughed during the episode and the premier had one or two more than the second, with it’s self aware jokes about it’s low ratings, Game of Thrones references, and every scene in the enchanted forest. Still the second episodes songs win for me. Although Episode 1’s “Off With his Shirt” was fun, as I write this review I can’t actually remember what it sounded like. I keep replacing it with “It’s Raining Men”… because it’s pretty much the same song and used the same way, to show just how gay this Enchanted Forest is. The songs in Episode 2, “The World’s Best Kiss” and “Let’s Agree to Disagree” felt more like the musical fair I’m used too. It was catchy, funny, twisted, and helped move the plot along.
It may not be the best show on television right now, but Galavant; with a strong comedic cast and music by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors) is a guilty pleasure and a good time in my opinion. Especially for anyone with a soft spot for musicals or comedies set in medieval times.