I was iffy on the Galavant pilot, so I’m glad that I was able to quickly follow it up with “Joust Friends.” The opening song showed great promise with clever, bawdy lyrics and a quick pace, but as the “Galavant” reprises wore on, I found myself getting a bit weary of it. Still, the Spam-A-Lot similarities were clear and kept me at a low-level giggle throughout.
At some point in the first 10 minutes, I started to think what this would be like as a Disney animated musical which, besides Spam-A-Lot, would be its closest relative. Certainly it would be scrubbed of much of its sexual references and innuendo, but the opening number did remind me a good deal of the opening song, “Belle,” of Beauty and the Beast. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the fast pace of Frozen–certainly earlier Disney musicals have not moved so quickly–but by the end of the pilot, I felt the biggest difference was pacing. Galavant moved more slowly. When the songs started up, it felt like action ground to a halt.
But that changed during the second episode, “Joust Friends.” With the major exposition out of the way, “Joust Friends” pranced straight out of the gate. The songs, now varying nicely from the anthem “Galavant,” were more diverse and developmental of character and emotion. But most importantly, I started laughing more in the second episode. A lot more. The Python-esque jousting scene had me in tears with laughter.
My hope is that future episodes will continue on with the pace and humor of “Joust Friends.” The tone that I was left with was a Python/Xena mix which I will happily take from the rest of the episodes.
Additionally, I was tickled to see Luke Youngblood, aka Magnitude on Community, show his singing and acting chops on material other than, “Pop! Pop!” (Only after looking at his IMDB page do I realize he was also Lee Jordan in Harry Potter.)
The “Pilot” episode was definitely finding its feet. Fortunately Vinnie Jones gamely knows where his are. Show me someone else who can pull off what he’s doing here and I’ll be all over that, too. “She’ll Be Mine” sold Gareth to me and I’ll probably be waiting for his scenes throughout the show.
Erin’s right, though, “Joust Friends” is where things really get going. In Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!, Barry Humphries notes that every movie needs a good chunder scene. The Galavant folks apparently believe this is true for television as well and they deliver one of the best. John Stamos’s hilariously named Jean Hamm streams green out of his helm before the joust, but it’s when it squirts out of the side of his visor that the art is truly elevated.
Mallory Jansen’s character Madelena is pretty reprehensible. I’m sure there’s a valid point about making the best of bad situations and seizing her fate and all that, but it’s always going to be a resistive reading. She’s Mrs. Bird from The Best Nest to max on ecstasy. Jansen is, however, funny as hell. Her performance leading up to this masterpiece is a large part of what makes it work.