Warning: This article may contain spoilers about Schmigadoon!.
«It’s like if The Walking Dead was also Glee», decontextualized, the direct quotation from Melissa Gimble (Cecily Strong), taken from the first season of Schmigadoon!can mean everything or nothing. Kind of like the original show itself by Apple TV+ is able, in a transversal way, to be container of a plurality of narrative worlds. In its being one musical comedy, Schmigadoon! crosses the stories that preceded it, cannibalizes them and returns them, with a little reflux, in the form of an eccentric and extravagant tale that is impossible to do without. The TV series is the fruit of mistakes and successes which have alternated over time. A parodic and over the top story, which deals with cynicism and rationality the glittering world of musicals and more traditional theater and film. In Schmigadoon! there’s a little bit of everything, yet it all makes sense, and even manages to make you laugh for real. Nonetheless, she is still not talked about enough, especially in Italy.
Schmigadoon! is an Apple TV+ original television series, created by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio.
In the comic and musical genre and currently composed by two seasonsthe story focuses on the couple composed of Melissa Gimble and Josh Skinner (Keegan-Michael Key), two New York doctors in crisis, both as a couple and personally. In an attempt to deal with the problems that fray the relationship and be able to return to the passionate love of the beginnings, the protagonists set off unsuccessfully on a couples retreat. However, constantly escalating into arguments and bringing out incompatibilities, Josh and Melissa accidentally end up lost in the forest during an expedition. Hostilities and inattention lead them to the fictional town of Schmigadoona country still seemingly stuck in the past. Indeed, the place out of space and time turns out to be a real one proof of love for the couple: each of them will be able to return to the gray reality only when he has found the elusive true love. The skeptical cynicism of Josh and Melissa immediately contrasts with the cheerful Schmigadoon, where the local community seems stuck in the era of Golden Age of the US theatre. In this regard, the population seems to live in a full-fledged musical: the inhabitants have attitudes and costumes in full style Forties and Fifties, to then even resort to original songs, performed in front of the incredulous protagonists, which recall the musical style of the time.
With raw and more or less veiled satire, the eccentric inhabitants of Schmigadoon test the bond between Josh and Melissa, with provocations and performances that question their apparent beliefs.
Schmigadoon! it is frozen in time, a time certainly marked by a stream of theatrical musicals which are the media symbol of a classic America. Nonetheless, as a comedy of the current times, the TV series adopts the past narrative and quotation schemes, to return a story that is brilliantly halfway between homage and criticism. Josh and Melissa’s journey is crossed and tormented by constant references and tributes to the musical that was, without however escaping from underlining the most problematic aspects. In fact, despite the success achieved in the period by what are today real cults of the genre, not even these are exempt from controversial dynamics: from the repetitive classic clichés, to the hyper-sexualization of the female body and the juvenile universe, from the scarce attention to the development of female and secondary characters, to the surreal resolutions of the events, Schmigadoon! he doesn’t hold back, and gives away a conscious love letter to the musical.
Schmigadoon! it is made by those who are in love with the musical and, precisely for this reason, manage to be aware even of its limits.
Among the colorful and frenetic choreographies (curated by Christopher Gattelli), the modern and rational Josh and Melissa can’t help but point out the flaws in the system of the town in which they are unfortunate. Between hate and passion for musicals, the protagonists live an experience bordering on horror with bright and pastel shades, with grotesque and caricatured characters who collect allusions to a plurality of famous works. In the surreality of its plot and its events, Schmigadoon! it’s a pure and sharp comedy which in just six episodes of twenty minutes each collects the charm, extravagance and tension that characterize the most successful and shrewd comedy shows of recent years.
Even the second season is unmissable and unfairly still not credited enough.
Even more parodic and the result of the mixture of a plurality of characteristic and emblematic musicals, the second production of Schmigadoon! it is irresistible. It further strengthens its identity as an unusual comedy and, precisely for this reason, special and out of the ordinary (certainly among the best currently on Apple TV +). Without making too many spoilers, Melissa and Josh’s journey continues for another six episodes, recently released on the portal, in which, from the bucolic Schmigadoon, the events move to Schmichago. The distinguished cast of inhabitants of the fictitious musical town of the first season is back on stage again, in the role of new characters, much more macabre and promiscuous, who inhabit the dark and provocative Schmichago. As the name suggests, the new location takes a step forward in time, setting the training path of the protagonists in a decadent and sensual city that alludes to the glorious musicals of the Sixties and seventies: a real pleasure for true enthusiasts, and an eccentric experiment for the more curious.
In Schmigadoon! the homage is a must, feeding a TV series that makes the aesthetic and sound character a winning ace. The reference is immediate and there are no possible misunderstandings: the adventures of Josh and Melissa allow instant temporal and spatial placement, giving a bizarre satirical tribute to an entire artistic and narrative imagination. Unjustly still little discussed, the Apple TV+ show is able to revive the past, giving it a second chance. Playing with stereotypes, classics and controversies, Schmigadoon! it becomes a bridge that makes fun of rules and genres. Blends worlds, realities and eras, updating the cults of the pastwhich take on new life in as modern a story as possible. A story made of dissatisfaction, incompatibility, depression, monotony and indifference. But Josh and Melissa have found the key to be better and shake up their existence, giving meaning to their routine together, and to the sound of extravagant new songs, performed by an exceptional cast. Indeed, in theassembly of performers involved, in addition to Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong in the role of the protagonists, also include Dove Cameron, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Alan Cumming, Jane Krakowski, Ariana DeBose, Tituss Burgess, and many others.