Galavant has now aired. Its first two episodes, A New Season (AKA Suck it Cancellation Bear) and World’s Best Kiss were inexplicably slapped together for the season two premiere and repeated viewings have, admittedly, made the show grow on this reviewer. It is difficult to dislike a show that has Kylie Minogue and Simon Callow in its season two premiere.
Minogue is a personal favorite and Callow (who was easily the best thing in Four Weddings and a Funeral) is a delight no matter what he is in. Although it was interesting to hear Vinnie Jones sing, albeit with a very short little verse, once one got past the tunes all sort of sounding the same, the series became more entertaining.
The lyrics are funny as are the some of the sets. Princess Isabella’s “royal cell” looks amazingly like a big-sized “Polly Pocket” vanity case and while American audiences may not “get it,” the likeness to this 1990s girly toy popular in England, made at least one viewer laugh a lot.
(The fact that Karen David, who plays Isabella, is 5’3″ tall helps create the illusion, it has to be said.)
There are bits of the show’s “double episode” season two premiere that could upset the more politically correct in the audience. The entire “Enchanted Forest” gay pub schtick was funny, the very fact that “gay icon” Minogue was used in the scene was, in itself, hysterical. The gag where Richard and Galavant escape via the nonexistent “Ladies Room” is also pretty giggle worthy. This could offend those who think this could be in poor taste…
The jokes, as pointed out in a previous season two preview/review are unremittingly flung at the audience and, to be fair, most are pretty damned funny. Even the songs, once one gets past that “Blah-de-blah-de-blah-blah” delivery (of all but the death song later in the season), have a lot of clever and witty jokes included in the verses, and some choruses.
Apart from the songs, the storyline is pretty funny as well, although it does rely on an adolescent level of delivery, ie. fart jokes et al. But…
There are many things that work well, once you get past those songs.
Things that work well:
The entire amulet gag.
The “Skype” amulet and crystal headed cane gag “Marry Harry, you’re gross…and a brown cow.”
The argument between Vinnie Jones (as the newly titled King) and the Queen, played by Mallory Jansen. “Who threw my painting in the toilet (moat)?”
Richard pulling the “golden sword” out of the “stump” (which may have been meant to represent a stone as in “Sword in the Stone.” (And in keeping with the “juvenile” level of humor the object is called the “hero sword.”)
The cast all bring something to the table. Brit actor Joshua Sasse and Missouri-born Timothy Omundson make a great double act and their reluctant “bromance” is entertaining. Omundson delivers his lines with all the panache of a true upperclass English twit:
“Hey. Can you get cancer from walking? Because I really feel like my feet are getting cancer.”
Jansen is brilliant as the beautiful but “mean-girl” Queen as is David as the plucky heroine doomed to marry her pant’s wetting 11 year-old cousin. Luke Youngblood is good value as the “assistant” to the King, who almost gets thrown in the moat (toilet).
Galavant manages to make fun of everything. From replicating the opening of The Brady Bunch to parodying the Sword in the Stone, nothing is sacred and no comic stone is left unturned.
After the two episode’s end, with the second one coming pretty close to matching the first for hilarity, Richard pledges his help to Galavant only to find that, despite having the “hero sword,” his kingdom has vanished.
Final thoughts on the return of Galavant:
Vinnie Jones is funny. There is no doubt that the former footballer turned actor can do comedy. Granted Jones has done so before but generally more as an actor and less as a comic performer, but, in a pantomime sort of way, he is funny and effective.
Once one gets past the “sameness” of the songs, as in tune, not lyrics, the comedy of the show shines. Kudos to Darren Evans, as Chef, who manages to make the line about keeping one daughter and throwing the rest to the “white walkers,” quite funny.
It should also be mentioned that it is not necessary to watch the entire first season to “get the jokes” as they are not all plot specific. For instance, the whole “Enchanted Forest gag” does not require previous knowledge of any plot points.
Galavant is a fun comedy which parodies musicals and provides a lot of “earworms” for the viewer. One word of warning, do not overthink it, doing so takes the attention away from the clever and witty. There are a plethora of guest stars who impress in their own right, Simon Callow and Kylie Minogue in the first two episodes alone, not to mention the tiny cameo by John Stamos.
Repeated viewing helps, because the show does grow on you…