Pop Culture

Galavant — It’s No Robin Hood: Men in Tights

I was so looking forward to Galavant. It kinda sucked. Damn.

I mean, look at the initial promo:

It looks like it’d be funny, right? We’ve got singing and dancing, an evil king, a not-so-chivalrous knight, thwarted love, a princess who’s willing to call out Galavant’s shit, and an array of fun guest stars. What could go wrong?

Pretty much everything. I was hoping for something like A Knight’s Tale, which let’s face it, is a weird fucking movie, but it somehow works. Galavant doesn’t, really. The funniest bits of the first two episodes, which aired back-to-back, were all in the trailer, but the jokes fall flat on a second viewing. Plus some of the jokes they didn’t air are downright offensive, and who the fuck thought it would be funny to tell the “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” knock-knock joke several times and have the king be too stupid to get the joke?

The premise of the whole show is that Galavant never wanted to fall in love, but did, and then his girlfriend got kidnapped by the king. He crashes the wedding to rescue Madalena, but she’s decided her life would be better as a queen than a peasant, even though she’s clearly not as enthused about her wedding night as King Richard is. Galavant goes home to sulk that she put him in the friendzone until Princess Isabella (a million middle names that don’t make as funny a bit as the writers hoped) of Valencia shows up to beg him to free her kingdom from King Richard. Except we later find out this is a setup of some sort; I honestly kinda glazed over the details because it was boring.

The problem is, none of the characters are particularly likeable, not even as anti-heroes who you like even though they’re terrible people. Galavant is a schmuck. Madalena is a raging bitch who’s sleeping with the jester and takes every opportunity to remind Richard that he’s not half the man Galavant is. Richard is almost tolerable purely because Timothy Omundson is a delight, but he literally can’t feed himself until Gareth trains him to butch up, and then he turns into an even bigger asshole and Madalena likes it. Isabella’s the best of the main characters because she has zero patience for Galavant’s shit, until she mysteriously becomes sorta attracted to him after a joust in episode two that he only wins because she dosed his opponent with absinthe. (That would be John Stamos as “Jean Hamm,” who tells yo mama jokes and calls Isabella Galavant’s beard. Hahaha, because it’s funny to call somebody gay! Headdesk.) The only person I really liked was Gareth, King Richard’s right-hand man, but that’s mainly because Vinnie Jones is one of my favorite random character actors and I’m always happy to see him pop up in things.

It also seemed initially promising that their version of a medieval kingdom wasn’t lily white. Isabella is played by Karen David, who’s South Asian, even though the actors playing her parents are both white, and thus far there’s been no unnecessary explanation as to why she doesn’t look like them. But then they set her up to be dishonest, and this is how they promote her character:

The only other PoC so far is Sid, who’s Galavant’s squire or servant or something. Eesh. And at one point Galavant jokes about their brown bodies getting raped if they stay in the woods overnight. Fuuuuuuck no.

I really wanted this show to work, but I don’t know if I’m gonna make it through the rest of this season. And there are only six more 30-minute episodes. Meh. At least it wasn’t all bad…

By [E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

7 replies on “Galavant — It’s No Robin Hood: Men in Tights”

Oh……we didn’t hate it. We recognized it wasn’t great, but we had a lot of fun, especially since it seemed to realize that it wasn’t especially wonderful. We looked at it as “Some tv executive thought that this would be a great idea, and when people humored him, he kept going. And then the writers just went with it.” And that’s what made it worth watching, imo, that everybody on this was just COMMITTED to it. Plus, I love shows with characters that I don’t have to like. I don’t have to champion a single character on that show because they’re all terrible people. This makes me happy. Also, who doesn’t love the “traditional love duet” being called “Maybe You’re Not The Worst, After All.” It’s tongue in cheek. I like it. I will defend it to the…well, not to death and not to the pain, probably not even to the kitchen. But we’ll be watching again next week.

I was also really looking forward to this, but was also unimpressed. I adore Timothy Omundson and was thrilled to see Vinnie Jones, but the whole show is one terrible sexist trope after another. The whole “the king needs to be fed” scene was so, so awful. When Gareth called Isabella fat or chunky or whatever, I was just over it all.

I’m sure if the writers were called out on the horrible sexism, they’d say “but Isabella is strong and smart!” Hollywood seems to truly believe that making one lead a smart and strong woman gives them a green light for sexism, which pisses me off.

So disappointed.

Yeah, the show just does not work. I’ll probably continue watching it, because I need something to watch before Downton Abbey, but it’s very meh.

On another note, it seems ABC is trying to experiment with the 8-to-10-episode–or even shorter–seasons they do over in England, and even limited series like they do.

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