On hating musicals while making plans to watch Buffy; On The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which I don’t hate

Last night was a rerun of Buffy: The Musical, Joss Whedon’s annual stunt episode of the show (two seasons ago, there was the silent episode, then the “no background noise” episode. In 2001, it was the “background singer” episode, I guess.) Not a Buffy fan, but with the gushing reviews from last fall still fresh in my conscience, we sat down to watch it. [note: Stephanie Zacharek’s Salon.com review is dripping with the vampire-inspired ecstasy that so scared the Victorians. You want to offer her a cigarette by the last paragraph. In the mean time, here’s a site with enough mp3 files and lyrics links to restage the whole thing at home.]
Anyway, it was pretty interesting, especially for the unexpectedness of it. Favorite lines were self-referential: “Off we go to stop the killer/ I think this line is mostly filler.” And it was pretty game of the whole cast to sing. Makes me wonder, what if Catherine Deneuve hadn’t been dubbed in Jacques Demy’s Umbrellas of Cherbourg? Cherbourg is a bizarre (if you think about it) technicolor classic where garagistes offhandedly sing about fixing the fuel injector on a Mercedes. Thanks go to Agnes Varda, whose tireless efforts to restore and rerelease Cherbourg in 1992 brought the film–and her former husband’s reputation–new life.
[Chicago Reader has a looong, impassioned article from 1996 about Demy and coming to love Cherbourg. Buy Cherbourg here.]
Even though I hate musicals (with the exceptions noted previously), or maybe because I hate musicals, I feel compelled to make one. If only to rationalize writing about Buffy, The new project I’m working on (in addition to the feature-length story incorporating Souvenir) is a musical. I guess I’d better add streaming to the site.