Weekend Binge

Is a world of musical numbers Utopia? Or is it Hell on Earth?


Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every week, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.

The Musical: Schmigadoon!

Can a show both parody and pay homage to a certain genre, while kind of wanting to actually be the thing it emulates? Well sure–look at Deadpool in the context of the superhero genre. But can that work in a musical?

To answer that last point, we refer to this week’s Weekend Binge entry: Schmigadoon! The six-part series stars Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong as Josh and Melissa, a couple on a hike to try and salvage their failing relationship.  A wrong turn leads the pair to the village of Schmigadoon, a picturesque village where everyone performs song and dance routines similar to those found in Golden Age musicals. Matters get complicated when the pair learn they can’t leave the town until they find true love, which signals an end to their relationship. The two begin dating around town…and hilarity ensues.

Director Barry Sonnenfeld of The Addams Family fame helms each episode of Schmigadoon! with the same love of camp silliness that made that movie so fun. And, like The Addams Family, the success of Schmigadoon! depends largely on its cast. Strong reveals herself a talented and compelling actress beyond her usual SNL hilarity, while Key proves that his wonderful, leading-man turn in The Prom last year was not a fluke. The supporting cast includes Alan Cumming, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Kristin Chenoweth, Fred Armisen, and Peppermint–all stage song and dance vets that put their ample gifts to good use. Musical fans will rejoice in trying to recognize the series’ many allusions to classic musicals including Carousel, The Music Man, Brigadoon, Oklahoma and the like.

At first, the cynicism brought by Josh and Melissa might seem like Schmigadoon! wants to poke fun at classic musicals, and at times, the series does just that. At the same time, given the giddiness with which the show approaches its musical numbers and all the buried references to Broadway canon, we suspect that Schmiagdoon! actually has an abiding love for Golden Age musical theatre, and would like to be counted among the screen’s greatest musical romps. For the most part, it succeeds in doing all three. Given that the show also ends on a mild cliffhanger and that series creator Cinco Paul has said has more seasons in mind, we think it an appropriate time to binge on Schmigadoon!. Try to resist the urge to sing along.

Streams on AppleTV+.