Monday, June 2, 2008

Legally Blonde the Musical (Part 2)

Tonight I attempted to watch Anderson Cooper's show, but the grim death march that has become the Democratic primary was the main topic and I just didn't have the heart for it. Consequently, I ended up switching to MTV's Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for the Next Elle Woods with the rationalization that it was as far away from politics as I could get. For anyone who wanted to believe that Legally Blonde the Musical had (or at least deserved) any real credibility, this may just be the death blow.

The good news is that, unlike the MTV Movie Awards, it held my attention. It was like a very pink and blond car wreck - I knew that I shouldn't watch it but I couldn't look away. The insanity started within the first few minutes, as the director and producers decided to try to mesh the opening number of A Chorus Line with auditions for the Pussycat Dolls (I know the girls were doing actual choreography from Legally Blonde but still...). Things got even more preposterous when they introduced Haylie Duff as the contestants' mentor. Yes, she has been in one show on Broadway and she is the reality show's producer, but she doesn't really have any Broadway street cred (at least in my opinion).

However, it was when they kept referring to Jerry Mitchell as legendary that I really started seeing how crazy things were going to be. Please don't get me wrong - Mr. Mitchell is very talented and has done a considerable number of shows (Hairspray, Never Gonna Dance, etc.). My problem is the use of the word "legendary." When I think of legendary figures in theatre, people like Michael Bennett, Jerome Robbins, or Stephen Sondheim. I could even make a good argument that Andrew Lloyd Webber is legendary. The connotation for legendary is that the person in question and his or her notable work have spanned a number of decades. As impressive has Jerry Mitchell's career has been so far, he doesn't quite strike me as legendary (yet).

Other things that stuck out:
  • All of the contestants have sorority girl/ pageant names: Lindsey, Cassie, Chloe...
  • Elle's choreography to "What You Want" looks very stripperesque when done en masse
  • Stupidest lines of the night:
    • A contestant actually tells the judges that "There's a little Elle Woods in all of us."
    • One girl said "I feel awesome blossom fabulous fantastic." (I really wanted to smack her for it)
    • There is the claim (by Haylie Duff) that "So Much Better" is the "hardest song on Broadway." I want to know how they determined that. Also, I want Haylie Duff to say that to Kelli O'Hara (who is playing Nellie in South Pacific) and Patti LuPone (who is playing Mama Rose in Gypsy) just so they can laugh at her.
With all of that said, it wasn't the worst hour of my life (that dubious honor is reserved for my wisdom tooth extraction last week). However, despite the schadenfreudelicious potential of watching these girls get yelled at by the judges (which the promos prominently feature), I don't know if I will tune in for the remaining installments.


Anonymous said...

Some of the singing was cringeworthy.
I loved how the judges were trying to compare the girls' personalities to that of Elle Woods to determine if they should be kept in the competition-"Elle Woods went to Harvard, Elle Woods isn't goofy..." etc. They're actresses. Don't judge their personalities, judge their actual acting, and then make a decision. But then again, a lot of them did seem very Elle Woods.

Anonymous said...

You know, that sort of bugged me, but I could also see the judges' point. While these girls are actresses, they aren't necessarily good actresses, which means that the judges have to go with what is brought to the table. Also, when you think of some of the actresses in Hollywood today, many of them could not convince me that they have the ability to attend Harvard Law School (*cough* Denise Richards *cough*). However, I always had a hard time accepting that Elle went to Harvard (at least in the musical version), so there you go.