In my last Theatre Thursday, I discussed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the problematic themes of stalking, and the general disenfranchisement of our female lead Penny’s character. At the end of that post, I briefly mentioned that perhaps the reason Penny’s character leaves something to be desired is because of how the musical discusses masculinity.
As much as Joss Whedon is considered by many to be a feminist, I often wonder if he plans some of the themes I see in his work, or if it happens by mistake. Whatever the case, this musical makes some strong statements about masculinity and what it means not only to be a man, but to be a man in relation to a woman.
Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a three-part Internet series that just premiered on TV for the first time a few weeks ago. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about the villain Doctor Horrible, played by Neil Patrick Harris, and his quest to get into the Evil League of Evil. However, along the way he has to face his nemesis, Captain Hammer (played by Nathan Fillion, aka Malcolm Reynolds and Castle), and he tries to win the heart of Penny (Felicia Day), the girl he sees every week at the laundromat. A lot of it is shot as Dr. Horrible’s video blog and there is singing (in case you didn’t figure that out from the title). It is one of many beautiful Joss Whedon creations.
All of the characters had really great depth, considering it’s a forty-five minute program. It’s a real testament to the writing prowess of Joss Whedon (and company) for him to be able to do that. He’s the man.
And you know who else is the man? Felicia Day. She played the sweet, innocent woman who just wanted to help the homeless, but got caught up in the good vs. evil fight of Captain Hammer and Doctor Horrible. Her character is just so real, in great contrast to our caricatured hero and villain.
Neil Patrick Harris is perfect as Doctor Horrible. He strikes an excellent balance between bad guy and harmless nerd guy. He’s like a lost little puppy and it’s adorable. He wants to be a decent bad guy and a decent guy, but as you can imagine it’s a little difficult to balance those. Neil Patrick Harris did a really awesome job and he should get all of the props in the world.
Nathan Fillion is also awesome as the egotistical Captain Hammer. His delivery was excellent. His presence was spot on. He nailed it.
There is just so much perfection in this program. Go check it out if you haven’t already.