Galavant, hurtling through its run at a rapid clip, has been up until now, an enigmatic event to me. To be frank, I couldn’t quite explain what I found so captivating about a show that was not without its broad comedic beats, lacklustre punchlines, and not-always-winning musical numbers. But a show that doesn’t quite seem to be working is also one that has always appealed to me. Sure, it’s sheer bliss to watch a show that’s perpetually firing on all cylinders and it’s abysmal to watch a show tank week after week. But a show that founders one episode only to soar the next is a show capable of greatness, and the struggle to achieve that greatness will always ultimately be more compelling than the alternatives — to my warped mind, anyway.
Last week, I decided that the reason I remained so charmed by the musical spectacular was because of nostalgia. Any now-adult nerd watching the show can’t help but be reminded of Monty Python, or of Mel Brooks. We might not flock to this as far as we did as wee ones, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still hold a place for it in our (secretly still quite sappy) hearts now even if we spend the majority of our time watching stuff like Banshee and debating the significance of Job’s sexuality on tumblr….or is that just me? It might just be me.
While I still think nostalgia contributes largely to Galavant’s appeal, I think tonight’s block of episodes revealed another prong of the show that makes it so affecting: It’s genuinely very sweet. I know. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that a miniseries featuring Weird Al as a singing monk and Ricky Gervais playing a magician called Xanax is goofy and earnest and sweet — but to be fair, I’ve never been that bright.
The sweetness of the show, until now, has been kept out from the blinding light of day courtesy of a fine patina of wry wit and fart jokes. And don’t get me wrong — I love patinas, wit (wry and otherwise) and nothing delights me more than anal humor of any sort (King Richard’s “up your butt” joke had me rolling on the floor like the veritable 12 year old boy I am inside). But tonight’s episode centered on love — and when you’ve got a show with a gooey center like this show’s, it’s hard to hide it from sight when your entire episode is about romantic muddles. The winning songs of the episode were all about love, and all were exceptionally funny – the cook and the the hand maiden crooning about a life together…until one of them dies of putrid throat, Galavant and Isabella discussing a kind of love that leaves its dirty clothes on the floor, even Madelena got in on the act, fervently acknowledging her love for herself.
Where Galavant is concerned, I am willing to not roll my eyes. I am willing to laugh at cheesy jokes, and sigh with pleasure over the bromance of King Richard and Gareth because the show so sincerely you wants me to want these things — there’s no manipulation at play! There is a cast of people doing something they love without a hint of cynicism. Perhaps that’s what makes it feel so jarring.