Galavant treads over tired clichés, still manages humor

Photo courtesy of ABC

Imagine going to New York to see a Broadway musical, but instead of seeing it all at once, having to watch it over four weeks. That’s exactly what ABC’s Galavant is, albeit without the magic that comes with seeing a production live. Galavant brings a humorous perspective of the Middle Ages not seen since the days of Monty Python. The mini-series follows the story of Sir Galavant, a brave knight known throughout the land, whose lover, Madalena, is kidnapped by King Richard, only to choose to wed him instead of Galavant. The show brings us to a year later, when Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta of Valencia approaches Galavant to travel to fight King Richard and save her kingdom. With that, the musical adventure of Galavant and company begins.

Lyrics for the songs are written by famed composer Alan Menken, who worked on Disney films such as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, as well as Glenn Slater, who worked with Menken on the former. Over the two episodes of the show released so far, only three songs have appeared, making Galavant seem a little slow-paced for a musical. Of these songs, “Maybe You’re Not the Worst Thing Ever” is the funniest. The song implements the cliché of two characters who start out hating each other, in this case King Richard and Madalena, as well as Galavant and Princess Isabella, but end up liking each other, even if it is just a little. The first song sung, “Galavant,” is a little stretched out, with dialogue breaks in between stanzas, making this song last for what seems to be seven minutes.

On the whole, Galavant seems to implement many clichés. The first episode revolves around many sexual jokes as well as toilet humor, which gives way to chuckles, but rarely is laugh out loud hilarious. The second episode, titled “Joust Friends,” has less toilet humor but still has sexual jokes. There are also jokes centering on male characters feeling emasculated, such as when Galavant practices jousting with the Princess and loses, as well as when the King tries to act masculine in front of Madalena, only to start sobbing and asking for a hug again.

The show features some dialogue that is very cliché as well, such as when Galavant says that the forest was too quiet, only to encounter a band of fighters as well as an overused inspirational quote given by the princess. The show even includes a montage scene with motivational music, something that has been seen plenty of times. These clichés, despite not being funny at first, later come to be viewed as intentional additions to add to the absurdity of the show.

A surprising addition to the show is John Stamos (Full House) who plays Sir Jean Hamm (surprisingly not played by John Hamm). Although not recognizable at first, Stamos’ presence is a good inclusion of a household name among a sea of unknown actors and actresses. Future guest stars include “Weird Al” Yankovic, as well as Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Galavant will definitely appeal to those whose humor revolves around sexual innuendos and jokes about butts, but, fortunately for the creative side of the show, it will also appeal to anyone who enjoys musicals. If you enjoy both, you will have an excellent time watching this show. If you only enjoy one of these aspects, you’ll still have a show that will entertain you for an hour on Sundays. Galavant provides a unique television experience that combines humor and music rarely seen on the small screen and it deserves recognition for its humorous song lyrics as well. The epic tale of Galavant will end its first season on Jan. 25, but until then, tune in every Sunday at 8 PM on ABC to watch as Galavant and company head off to fight King Richard in a typically musical and hopefully funny fashion.