Friday Questions will not be seen this week so that we can bring you this special program. Friday Questions will return in its normal time next week. But now, we proudly present: PETER PAN THE DAY AFTER.
The very fact that everybody is talking about PETER PAN LIVE today makes it a huge success in my book. How often in these days of 900 channels (600 of them featuring cooking shows) does the country experience a shared event? And you had to watch it last night because it was live and you knew it would be the topic of conversation in every school, office, and maximum security prison in the land.
Oh, and it wasn’t all that bad. Certainly not like that SOUND OF MUSIC train wreck last year when all of America was screaming, “Bring on the Nazis already!” And PETER PAN LIVE was an enormous undertaking. Kudos to the hundreds of people behind-the-scenes who pulled off this highly ambitious project with no room for error. Yes, there were wires but no nets.
Do I have quibbles and snarky comments? Oh yeah. It wouldn’t be me otherwise, but on the whole I thought everyone involved should be applauded for a job well done.
First off, Allison Williams surpassed my expectations as Peter. She can sing well enough, crow well enough, and if she threw every teenage boy into a frenzied state of sexual confusion, well, so be it. At least we had Clarissa there to explain it all to you.
On the other hand, Christopher Sleep-Walken – what the fuck was he doing? Even for Chris Walken he was clueless. If there ever was a “lost” boy on the set it was Walken (who you know I normally love). Half the time he couldn’t remember his lines and the ones he said were probably snippets of dialogue from DEER HUNTER.
Now let’s go through the show:
The opening scene was slow and endless – the MUPPET BABIES version of DOWNTON ABBEY. Nana, the dog, however, knew her cues better than Christopher Walken. Did they have to make the wires SO noticeable? They couldn’t have found clear wires? I mean, we know it’s a special effect, but if they’re going to do that, why not just have a Teamster come into the set and double check her harness?
The best singer and most accomplished actress in the entire production was Kelli O’Hara and she disappears for 2 ½ hours.
Maybe it’s because I saw the original Mary Martin versions but some songs like “I’m Flying”, “Wendy”, and “I’ll Never Grow Up” still get me every time.
Off to Never-Never Land. First stop: a gay bar with a pirate theme. When they all started prancing around with tambourines all I could think was “where were the cowbells?”
And what was with that strange pirate musical number that cut to commercial while Walken was straining to hold the last note, and then after five minutes of spots, they went back to him choking the note to death for ten more seconds, and then another five minute commercial break? I bet Walken thought he was on the entire time. Either that or he didn’t know he was on television at all.
Lots of cleaning went on at Never-Never Land apparently. The pirates were swabbing the deck and the Lost Boys were sweeping their pad. I was beginning to think we were watching Felix Unger’s childhood wet dream.
The Lost Boys should be called Lost Men. Was there one of them under 35? Really. I would not have been surprised to see Woody Allen in short pants as part of the group. And what was with the German schoolboy uniforms they all wore? Did wardrobe get a deal on the costumes from SPRING AWAKENING?
It was only mildly creepy that 35-year-old men wanted a 25-year-old girl to be their mother. But let’s be real – PETER PAN is a pretty weird story no matter who does it. Children are abducted. Hot girls play young boys. Father-figures play the villain. And there’s more killing than an episode of 24.
I’m assuming the show got big ratings. If I know Mark Burnett, this spring expect to see SURVIVOR: NEVERLAND on CBS.
Update: The ratings were disappointing. Down 46% from last year's SOUND OF MUSIC. Either the novelty has worn off or they should have gotten Lady Gaga to play Peter.
Tiger Lily was pretty hot. I think Cher wore that same outfit during her Vegas stint. Her tribe consisted of authentic native-professional wrestlers. Glad they didn’t sing “Ugg-a-Wugg.” That’s a song that belongs in “Never-Never-Again Land.”
Those wildly day-glo Neverland outdoor sets that just exploded with every color in the rainbow looked like the backyard in every Disney Channel family sitcom. Hey, NBC, we all have color TV’s now. It’s no big deal.
Was that a sad crocodile? Did they hire a second grade class to design and build it? So scrawny. Hook shouldn’t be worried, even if he’s eaten. Clearly this is the one bulimic crocodile.
When the Lost Boys were kidnapped it looked like one was holding a Torah. Never growing up means putting off your Bar Mitzvah indefinitely.
So let me get this straight – the Captain’s name is James Hook and he just coincidentally lost a hand and has to wear a hook? Thank goodness his parents weren’t the Dickless family.
Certainly one of the highlights of any production of PETER PAN is when Peter addresses the audience and asks children to clap and show they believe in fairies. I’m sure when I saw this as a kid it wasn’t at 10:45 at night. But we didn't have Wal-Mart back then.
In the big climactic scene when Hook blames Wendy for all the misfortune saying that a woman on the ship was bad luck, how I was hoping he’d slip and call her Natalie Wood.
During the program they invited viewers to Live Tweet. If I may be cynical for a moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if NBC didn’t care whether you hated the show. As long as you were tuned in. Hate-watchers count in the ratings just as much as adoring fans. And by suggesting people Live Tweet, knowing they were going to get crushed, they were encouraging hate watching. If this is the case, NBC, Allison Williams deserved better. She worked way too hard to be held up as a target.
Yes, part of the fun of a big live event is goofing on it. And when you take the big stage you have to know that’s part of the bargain. But all kidding aside, adapting Broadway musicals to television is incredibly difficult. It’s so hard to capture the thrilling experience that only live theater can provide. Add to that, all the commercial breaks – each one lasting as long as a normal theatrical intermission. So imagine trying to weave a magic spell when you have twelve intermissions during your show. And for the most part, you’re not using seasoned Broadway veterans who know how to keep the energy up for an entire performance. In this case you're using a former movie star who is a caricature of himself. For all those reasons, I give PETER PAN LIVE high marks.
Allison, feel free to crow.