Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Comic-Con: A Tale of Two Sing-A-Longs

It looks like Comic-Con has created new traditions, thanks to Joss Whedon and his fans.

Along with the Saturday Masquerade, the Eisner Awards and the Preview Night that has become the real start of the annual event, Whedonopolis has established itself with the annual showing of the classic Buffy musical, "Once More With Feeling" as the official closing event. It's also the closer for Wondercon in San Francisco.
However, Joss Whedon's other musical extravaganza, "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog", is also becoming a tradition. It was a big hit last year, and filled up one of the bigger rooms this year.

I was barely able to sneak into the Doc H showing after hundreds were turned away, but I noticed the California Browncoats, who set up the screening, had a different idea on how to show the musical. They gave everyone cardboard goggles, and a book that had the lyrics.

Inside the sing-a-long

That's a look inside. Anyway, they added a dash of MST3K to the viewing. Some examples:

During Freeze Ray song: Hand gesture "stop every time he says "stop". Shoulder jam along with the horrible doctor.

Opening shot of episode 2, where he wonder why Penny would consider dating Captain Hammer: crowd says "awwww, poor baby"

Dr Horrible: "Captain Hammer threw a car at my head": crowd says "only a Yugo"

And...when we see Penny die, the crowd says "Dammit Joss, not again".

There were also plenty of Dr. Horrible Captain Hammer minions, dressing like him and liking the weird stuff...

Sing Along with Horrible

Captain Hammer..and a Bad Horse singer?

Arch-enemies, except in line

That was followed by the Commentary musical. If you have one of the songbooks, use it while you listen to the DVD sometime. It's the best way to get the words right, and have an interesting experience. Better yet, do this as close to any Emmy voter as possible. Nothing like a little electioneering to help the doc win an Emmy for the Evil League of Evil, and every other internet-based show out there. Fake Thomas Jefferson can only stuff so many ballot boxes.

Compare that to what happened when "Once More With Feeling" was shown on Sunday afternoon. No songbooks are needed here. People just read the words on the screen,

They sing a theory

Or they jump up and dance crazy...

She's dancing crazy

These two sang along with Buffy and Spike's parts...

Not sure where this is from

In any case, this event filled up Ballroom 20 again. The WB.com should also be thanked for sponsoring this event now, and in the future. Maybe this event will be the new Rocky Horror of the 21st Century. We should know if people jump up and dance at San Francisco next year.

During the Dollhouse panel, Joss pointed out that there is an interesting connection between sci-fi and musicals. Both exist a step away from reality, and a bit bigger than life. Can we expect real guys dressed in lab coats and goggles fighting with muscle-bound jerks over a woman's love? Can we expect to burst into song, and then into flames? They can only happen in musicals, even those that are really our deepest nightmares. They also also exist in sci-fi, which can also be a fantasy. Joss Whedon has proven that with his two musicals, which are traditions at Comic-Con.

Of course, fans of Xena may point out her musical episode, "Bitter Suite", predates them both. Maybe we should make room for her, too.

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