Stuff We Love

The "Dr. Horrible" Love Train

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I've been meaning to get to the latest, possibly over-hyped, big thing on the Web since it went live yesterday — Joss Whedon's "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," the Web-exclusive three-part musical. I just took 13 minutes to watch the first episode, and I have to say I'm on the love train.

If you want to learn about the musical, check out the coverage on the L.A. Times webscout blog. I can't tell you any better.

But what I CAN tell you is that once upon a time, when I was in a completely different line of work, I was the assistant dramaturg on a play starring one Neil Patrick Harris. This was back in 1993, right after Doogie Howser and before he appeared in one of my favorite flicks. It was also well before he revealed his comic genius with his cameo in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

I didn't get to contribute very much to the play, but I did get to watch Harris work, and I have been singing his praises ever since. He revealed a sure, instinctive talent for comedy, especially the type that I consider the highest form—physical comedy. Neil Patrick Harris is a wonderful pratfaller. He and I didn't get to talk all that much, but when we did, we talked about comedy.

I couldn't be happier that his career is going well. Watch Dr. Horrible, (the next episode goes live tomorrow) and maybe he'll make more musicals!

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Thanks for hyping Joss Whedon's new project. The more the merrier I say! If Firefly had been hyped more perhaps it wouldn't have been canceled either.

Doogie's okay, but I'd watch this because of Nathan Fillian. Now there's a handsome and funny man. My wife and I agree on this although she may be a touch more emphatic on the point.

Assistant dramaturg? There's something I've never heard of. It sounds like someone who carries around Gandalf's potion bag. Rather than being cute, however, perhaps I should ask what does a dramaturg do?

Starship Troopers? It's clear we have little chance as Netflix friends. I was the one who rented it and I almost walked out. Neil's role was about the best thing in the film. Suitably chilling. Considering his competition was Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards, however, this might be damning with faint praise. This totally blows my notion that Jeopardy winners are the types who strong coffee while watching Kurosawa and Kieslowski films.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 3:59 PM | 7-16-2008

Worth watching Dr. Horrible -- even if it didn't boast Whedony/musical goodness, which it SO does -- for NPH's delivery.

And his little shoulder dance.

Sent by Glen | 4:37 PM | 7-16-2008

Love it!

Sent by lisa in LNK | 4:54 PM | 7-16-2008

After a long day on the thesis, this is the best thing to come home to! Genius.

Sent by Summer Ash | 5:57 PM | 7-16-2008

That is awesome! Thanks for sharing, Tricia

Sent by Susie | 6:02 PM | 7-16-2008

I'm on the train too. I can't wait for parts 2 and 3.

Sent by Sleestax | 8:03 PM | 7-16-2008

How am I going to find out about cool stuff like this without the BPP?!

Sent by Jenniffer | 12:45 PM | 7-17-2008

ooh, I've become an NPH-ite. I think it started on one of his scary guest appearances on Homicide or Law and Order (can't remember). Doogie's got skills. Sorry I never saw him in Assassins, but Dr. Horrible will do fine.

Tricia--I'm a recovering dramaturg, too. Did you ever see Dan Hurlin's gorgeous ONE-MAN version of A Cool Million? I'm sure Neil Patrick brought the comic darkness, but seeing one guy do that whole story was extraordinary.

Sent by Martha Garvey | 3:49 PM | 7-17-2008

What is a dramaturg? I looked it up in the dictionary and it says something like an expert in the theater.

"Hey, you look like a theater expert. Here's some money."

What a job!

Sent by Dave Wiley | 5:45 PM | 7-17-2008

Nathan Fillion is awesome as well. He was on one of Whedon's shows called Firefly and it got canceled in its first season, but has a huge following. So, guys, put that on the list of great things gone to soon next to ya!

Also, Joss Whedon has done it again and I loved the story of how both Nathan Fillion and NPH were asked to do this. They both said YES! before Joss could even describe it to them. I listened to two different podcasts and their stories were almost identical!

Sent by Natasha | 7:14 PM | 7-17-2008

@Martha Garvey,

No I didn't see the show you describe. Sounds like it would have been way better. The problem with "Luck, Pluck and Virtue" was...well what WASN'T its problem? I'm glad to meet another recovering 'turg. What do you do now? Were you in LMDA?

Sent by Tricia, NPR | 7:53 PM | 7-17-2008

@Dave Wiley,

For a definition of dramaturgy, start here: http://www.lmda.org/blog/WhoWeAre/AboutDramaturgy

Sent by Tricia, NPR | 7:58 PM | 7-17-2008

@Tricia: No I didn't see the show you describe.

Firefly is the best thing I have seen on television ever. Nothing else is even close. You need be neither a fan of Joss Whedon nor science fiction to love it. Even my mom liked it.

Like many of the show's most passionate adherents my wife and I bought two copies of the DVD. One was for ourselves and the other was a "conversion kit". We managed to convert 9 other couples into fans which was far from the record for the local Browncoats. Twice people gave the loaners back with in a week because they had decided to buy their own copy. This show is good. Anyone who hasn't seen it yet should buy it, rent it, borrow it, or steal it -- watch at least two episodes. If you don't like it I'll write you a personal apology.

@Tricia:"For a definition of dramaturgy, start here"

Thanks. I have never heard of this job before. Our local theater troupes lack the budget for such things, but it sounds very useful.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 10:40 PM | 7-17-2008

Well, I have to tell you, unless you're in Hollywood, the Wheadon-verse or constantly reading blogs, this internet musical is completely unknown. So *you* may well see hype, but it's pretty contained to specific internal groups.

I am a huge Firefly fan, but I don't read the blogs anymore. I check the news on Google every day. So even I'm kind of the person who should know about this, but I stumbled across it two days ago on Google news and then it was gone. Utterly gone.
Like firefly, it's like people in the know, know--but everybody else who would love it can't get a hold of it until much later.

So more hype, more hype, more hype. It's pure comic gold, and I couldn't be more delighted to see NPH, who still echoed Doogie to me. God, yes, the shoulder dance.

Sent by Thursday Next | 10:30 AM | 7-18-2008

Talk about Firefly on the soon-to-be too-soon-gone BPP blog is sad to the power of sad.

Sent by Maura @m_a_u_r_a | 11:42 AM | 7-18-2008