Music as a theme and as a reception: Soaps-musicals

Music in movies and TV shows can not only accompany the visual image "behind the scenes."

Sometimes it becomes the main theme, and then people in the frame start singing - simply because this is a series about people who sing. Sometimes it becomes a reception - then the heroes sing, not because it is logical, but because it is a way of artistic expression or transmission of an idea that could not be expressed otherwise.

How to learn "musical reception"? The characters have no reason to suddenly start singing: this is not justified by the plot, and the music is not part of the reality of the series. In the “musical themes” the heroes sing “soundly” - they are in a Broadway troupe, in a choir, on the stage, and so on. It looks natural and inscribed in the narration.

In many TV shows there are musical episodes. But we recall those serials-musicals, where music is always present, and tell you why this genre has a complicated story.

Photo by Jake Guild CC

Music as welcome

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-present)

To get an idea of ​​the current state of music, comedy and intellectual series, you can watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ( video ). Previously unknown to anyone and not selected from low ratings, now the series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the owner of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, Emmy for the best female role in the comedy and the status of the genre-producing series for at least the last ten years.

In each series there are two or three musical numbers - they represent the external and internal conflicts of the characters, doubts and fears, reflection and attempts to interact with a complex and painful reality. In one series, even the wind becomes a singing storyteller.

The songs ironically ridicule common cultural patterns and social habits. Presented in this form, they are deprived of all meaning and power. Many songs are variations of famous hits from different genres and classical musicals.

For example, a song about the absurdity of the phrase "all men / women are the same."

The musical images of each of the three seasons analyze cultural and social representations of madness more effectively than some scientific essays. In addition to the brilliant musical numbers in the series there is an excellent humor, sincere characters, life stories and a very accurate reflection of the many complexities of modern life - the problems of mothers and children, higher education after thirty, toxic relationships, and so on. Against this background, all the standard TV and movie scenes about true love turn pale.

Music here is a technique that, without disputing and proving, shows how absurd things can be that we consider normal. Almost all the numbers can be viewed on the author's YouTube and the main character of the series Rachel Bloom.

Galavant (2015-2016)

This fantasy comedic sitcom also began with a coup of the familiar trail - a handsome knight rescues his beloved, kidnapped by an evil king. But everything goes wrong - the beloved decides that love is overvalued and the social elevator is more necessary for her, the king turns out to be poorly educated, but spontaneous and soft, and the knight gets drunk.

In Galavante, everyone knows that they are in the series, constantly joking about it and making fun of their own roles - the “model” main character, his feminist-minded new beloved, African-American satellite, whom no one notices. Great opening of the 2nd season ( video ), where all the characters are very surprised that they even got another season.

There are so many musical numbers here that Galavant looks more like a meta-show from Broadway than a show. Music and songs for him were written by Alan Menken, a great Broadway composer with nine Oscars (he worked on the music for Disney's The Little Mermaid and Aladdin).

Guest stars appear in the series ( Kylie Minogue and Strange Al ).

Blackpool (2004)

Big British stars David Morrissey and David Tennant (and many other famous actors) in a six-part detective series with songs. In the center of the detective story - the murder of a young man in the arcade of Ripley Holden (Morrissey), which investigates the detective Peter Carlyle (Tennant). This is a clash of characters and relationships - the characters at first glance cannot stand each other and express their emotions in the rewriting of Elvis songs and other stars of the pop scene. Actors are almost not forced to sing, and muzkalnye numbers more closely resemble lip sync battle ( video ).

The series was released in 2004 and many then seemed very strange - a dramatic series, where serious people in the middle of an important tense scene suddenly begin to sing and dance? But over the years, spectator habits have changed - now this genre no longer seems so unnatural.

Music as theme

To understand why this happened, you need to remember the history of the series of serials-musicals. In the mid-60s, a series about a musical group suspiciously resembling the Beatles - The Monkees (1966–1968) was released. It was created specifically for the series, but in 1967 the albums of the group sold better than the albums of the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

Another example is The Partridge Family (1970–1974), a series about another fictional group. Until the mid-2000s, there were fewer than ten musical series, and they were all niche and most often closed after one or two seasons. These were experiments that were aimed at a narrow audience. Is that on HBO came out a few become classic low-budget absurd musical comedies - Tenacious D (1997-2000) and Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009). Everything changed when Glee came out.

Glee (2009-2015)

The series is about a bunch of losers and social renegades who met in a school choir. They sang and rehearsed dozens, if not hundreds of hits per season - everything from pop and ballads to rap and rock. For all the years of its existence, Glee made more than 800 covers and lit dozens of Broadway stars and scenes.

The series went on a large television channel Fox, told the most understandable history, and dealt with important social and cultural themes. Now it is one of the first major and prominent series of musicals. In Glee, music is both a topic and a reception. After the second season, the plots began to become more insane, and the characters - unlike themselves. Glee constantly threw "a challenge to the public taste," because of what often turned into a full kitsch.

Nevertheless, it was almost impossible not to notice or watch it - it was Glee who showed that serials-musicals can be big, popular and interesting. And also - that they can be bad (as, in general, all TV shows). This opened the way for modern music series. The last song of the last season, Glee ( video ) - it's hard to imagine that the first season started with just a dozen actors.

"Empire" (2015-)

A dramatic series about the hip-hop musical empire and the family that is trying to save it. The musical producer of the series was the American rapper Timbaland. The genre of the series is more like a soap opera - the creators admitted that the inspiration for Empire was the Dynasty series from the 80s (a soap opera about a family of oil magnates).

Music is the main theme of the series, its conceptual frame. Through music, the characters express themselves, fight for recognition , and sometimes communicate with each other. The soundtrack album of the first season of the Empire broke into the charts and sold better than the new Madonna album.

What else

In addition to these series, there are others who also tell stories about music or with the help of music.

Smash (2012-2013) . The series is about the production of the Broadway musical Bomb, based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. The series was closed after the second season.

Steven Universe (2013-) . A cartoon from one of Adventure Time animators and screenwriters Rebecca Sugar about female superheroes and a boy who learns to use her abilities - together they try to save the world, understand how to live their daily lives, and sing beautiful and emotional songs.

Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009) . The real musical comedy duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie in the story about the fictional musical comedy duet. The series with strange humor and strange music, but worthy of attention.

What else do we write in our “Hi-Fi World”:

PS “ New Year Gift Ideas ”: a special selection of products from our range that will help you choose gifts for your loved ones and friends.


All Articles