Thursday, July 17, 2008

"'The Hammer' Is My Penis"

The second act of Dr. Horrible is almost, I have to say, better than the first. More quotable lines, more angst in musical form, more hilarity, and more insightful ponderings from our blogtastic almost-not-quite-there super villain. My favorite part is probably when Dr. Horrible comes back to his lair after a failed heist, ruminating on the idea that he may not want to be so specific in his blog as "apparently, the LAPD and Captain Hammer are among our viewers". For anyone who caught the Emily Gould scandal (or, for that matter, any blogging scandal in the media or among friends), it seemed particularly apropos.

Captain Hammer is terribly, wonderfully cheesy -and kind of an ass. And Nathan Fillion plays him beautifully, from brushing off a homeless person's touch to deciding to take Penny because Dr. Horrible/Billy wants her. The Captain represents the very worst in superheroes, guys who save the world mostly because it gives them fame and adulation.

And poor Billy is still sympathetic, still lovable, and still in love with his laundry girl. Turning more toward evil. I pretty much think his exchange with Penny works well for both himself and Captain Hammer:

PENNY: Sometimes people are layered like that. There's something totally different underneath than what's on the surface.

BILLY/DR. HORRIBLE: And sometimes there's a third, even deeper level and that one is the same as the top surface one... ...Like with pie.

And then there's Penny herself. I didn't really see the attraction in Act 1. I'm blaming this partially on my being incredibly hetero but also partially because I expect a hell of a lot out of my Whedon women. And Penny really didn't touch much of that, until now. Sweet, self-deprecating, and following her own philosophy -one that competes with both Dr. Horrible's and Captain Hammer's (that is, if Captain Hammer had a philosophy)- Penny comes off much more realized in this episode than the first. And she's fun and funny, and the viewer wants more for her than Captain Hammer; or even, sad as it is to say, Dr. Horrible. But if she's got to end up with one of them, I -at least- am rooting for Dr. Horrible.

And on that note, "Oh goodness, look at my wrist. I gotta go" -watch Act 2 of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog... ...again. 


jjfs85 said...

It's kind of strange how the viewer is led to connect and relate to the "evil" character while his nemesis, traditionally a "good" character, is made out to appear shallow and egotistical which really disconnects with the viewer. Whedon is an amazing writer and really deserves the success he's finding (so far) in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog.

petpluto said...


I think it comes down to philosophy in a way. We're led to see Dr. Horrible's philosophy; and it isn't that he hates people or that he just a tremendous egotist. It is that "the status is *not* quo. The world is a mess, and I just need to... ...rule it". So, he wants to change the world for the better, but through nefarious means.

Meanwhile, Captain Hammer seems to just enjoy getting the girls and beating on the poor nerds. I mean, maybe his philosophy is deeper than that, but we're not seeing anything other than "I get what you want" and that his day ends with him saving women who then fawn over him. And brushing off birds and old people.

It is definitely a product of amazing writing, and shakes up a certain conventional writing technique. Which is totally Whedon.