Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (Spoilers Galore)

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is the most wide-spread internet phenomenon since bacon. (Really, have you noticed the memetic rise of bacon lately? It seems like there's bacon everywhere.)

It's by Joss Whedon, starring a bunch of people from disparate but equally nerdy sources, and it's a musical, and it's free but only available until Sunday, etc. It's even fairly steampunk-ish, in the appearance of the sympathetic Dr. Horrible and his lair/apartment. Well, now the third release is out, and I have to say:

==========If it needs to be said, the spoilers are below==========


A friend of mine and I were talking at work about what would be the worst way to end it: I suggested that Penny might die as a result of Dr. Horrible's fiendish plot, while my friend suggested that it would be worse if Dr. Horrible became good.

Well, now that we've seen the end, we know that Joss Whedon decided that he really did want to ruin his instantly beloved series, and he chose door number A. Which leads to the question: why? Before the final part was released, I was speaking with another friend of mine, and he reminded me that Joss-face Whedon-face had previously inserted melodrama into an otherwise happy and light-hearted plot (see: Buffy), and he was apt to do it again.

Which only leaves me to wonder why he would do it again. Why, after everyone and their blog went out of their way to give him free publicity and glowing praise, hyping it to the sky before anyone knew how it would end, would he stab us all in the throat by giving it such a disappointing, depressing ending? Why the sudden shift in tone? I can only compare it to the miscarriage story arc in Ctrl+Alt+Del. Well, that and a kick to the nuts.

I watched the last few minutes of Dr. Horrible, including the end credits, waiting for Joss to say, "Psyche! Now this is the real ending..." I mean, the tragic death of Penny happens with five minutes left, so there was plenty of time for it to all have been Dr. Horrible's imagination, or for a time-traveling superhero to give him another chance, or for him to invent a Life Ray to go with his Death Ray, or.... But nothing. Just bleak blackness of depressing darkness.

I have just under thirty dollars in iTunes store credit, and I had already decided to buy the Dr. Horrile season pass. Now I can't get myself to do that. I want to support these actors, all of whom I like, and Joss, who I hope will make more stories that don't feature his fetish for barefoot girls kicking butt, and the medium of digital delivery. But I can't support this. It's not a good product.

So here's my alternate ending: everything is the same until the point where Captain Hammer knocks down Dr. Horrible and sends his Death Ray flying. But in my version, Penny picks up the Death Ray and, having obviously realized that Captain Hammer is a douchebag, she shoots Captain Hammer with the Death Ray and becomes Dr. Horrible's evil queen, Bad Penny.

That would have been so much better, don't you think? Now we can only hope that Joss will come up with an "alternate ending" for the DVD. I have to say that there's a part of me that's hoping for that: that the whole ending was a marketing ploy to get people to buy the DVD, in order to see the real, happy ending. If only....


bluefish said...

I don't know. A lot of it, I feel, becomes about the evolution of a supervillain. A good supervillain should have a reason for being evil, and, despite all the silly singing, Dr. Horrible does a pretty good job documenting that change from starry-eyed wannabe to hardened master criminal.

I agree that there is a thematic issue here, but Joss is trying to make a point, so let's just pat him on the head and let him. It's his story, after all.

Kawaika said...

Did you read about where this was filmed?

Kawaika said...

Oh, and in case you care, a blog I visit once in a while actually did mention Dr. Horrible, and the following comment was made:

"Just be warned: while it's funny as hell, it's still a Joss Whedon product.

Anyone who has EVER seen his work will know what that means."