Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Written by Joss Whedon, Zach Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon
Directed by Joss Whedon
An aspiring supervillain, Billy/Dr. Horrible, has a video blog. He wants to make it into the Evil League of Evil, but he also has a major crush on a sweet girl named Penny, and he’d like to date her, except he is very shy and awkward. So mostly he just watches her from a distance. As part of his evil plan, he needs to steal a case of Wonderflonium. He does this by affixing a remote control device to the courier van transporting it, but Penny comes by collecting signatures for a homeless shelter! Billy totally blows it because he’s so distracted by his evil plan, but she does seem a little interested before walking away. He changes to his Dr. Horrible outfit and continues his evil plan, only to be thwarted by the jerk hero Captain Hammer. He’s extremely full of himself and fails to notice that he’s the one causing the most damage, but Penny still thinks he’s the one who saved her from getting run over, and she’s all enamored. Billy takes the Wonderflonium and leaves while they’re singing a duet.
Billy, very discouraged because his archnemesis is dating his dream girl, follows them around on their date and continues working on his evil plans. He attempts a heist but fails, and now the Evil League of Evil’s leader, Bad Horse, expects him to kill someone if he wants to get accepted to their ranks. Billy runs into Penny at the laundromat, but this time they actually interact. He gives her a frozen yogurt and she tells him about her date. They continue running into each other there, and she tries to cheer him up over his employment troubles, but her positive message doesn’t sink in very well because Billy is so jealous over her dating Captain Hammer, who shows up there as well and taunts him about how he’s going to sleep with Penny just because Billy wants her. Billy definitely knows who he’s going to kill now.
There’s a lot of talk in the city about Captain Hammer sponsoring the new homeless shelter for Penny, and Billy is focusing completely on his evil scheming. Which is too bad, because Penny is waiting to see him at the laundromat with more frozen yogurt. At the dedication ceremony for the new shelter, Captain Hammer gives a ridiculous speech that makes Penny realize he’s not the awesome guy she thought he was. She starts to leave, and then Dr. Horrible pops out from under a curtain and uses his freeze ray on Captain Hammer. He then does his supervillain monologue in song form, and by the time he gets to the point (killing Captain Hammer with his death ray), the freeze ray has of course stopped working. Captain Hammer punches him and aims the now malfunctioning death ray at him. It explodes, sending shrapnel in every direction. Captain Hammer is wounded, which has never happened before. He can’t handle it and runs away crying. Billy starts to feel pretty good about how this went down, but then he sees that some of that shrapnel hit Penny. She dies. Devastated, Billy places her body on the gurney and hollowly goes on to accept his position in the Evil League of Evil.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
As the protagonist, Billy is the character we’re meant to sympathize with, but the more times I watch this, the less sympathy I feel for him. He’s pretty much that angry, entitled man-child who thinks the world owes him something. He likes Penny, but why? He’s not interested in her efforts to fix the city’s homelessness problem. He clearly doesn’t actually know Penny at all, or he would realize that she won’t be impressed by an evil overlord. She wants to be with someone who’s just as passionate about helping the homeless as she is, and she definitely wouldn’t find his villainy endearing. I do think he might’ve been able to come around if he and Penny had had slightly better timing. His crush on her might not have much real substance to it, but it could have potentially led to a lot of psychological and emotional growth on his part, but he allowed his evil ambitions and his rivalry with Captain Hammer to get in the way of that happening. This villain origin story is kind of like a Greek tragedy. The protagonist brings about his own downfall because of his flaws.
Poor Penny. All she wants is to help homeless people and meet a nice guy who will support her in her pursuits, but the only guys interested in her are the cocky jerk who thinks he’s awesome and will pretend share her interests to get in her pants, and the “nice guy” who’s angry at the world and will pretend to share her interests to get in her pants. Neither of them actually cares about Penny as a person. And she, in her quiet determination, is actually the most heroic character in the story.
Captain Hammer is like a dude-bro caricature. He’ll sleep with a girl he’s not even interested in just to stick it to a guy he doesn’t like, he always gets what he wants, and everyone thinks he’s amazing even though it should be pretty clear he’s an idiotic bully.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.