Galavant: “Two Balls” / Comedy Gold” – Satire, Songs & Easter Eggs

The musical extravaganza known as Galavant is back; and with more songs, laughs and incredible character development, it’s hard to believe that this is only the second part of the series. Then again, it is only 4 parts, each being two episode. Regardless of how you want to count it, Galavant has reached it’s midway point, so let’s take a closer look at what happened on this week’s episode.

A Catchy Catch-Up:

Whenever a new show premiers, you wonder what was exclusively for the premier and what will be a continuing gag. Additionally, you also start hoping for little things that weren’t necessarily a part of the show; but would make perfect sense. Thankfully as Galavant entered it’s second part – composed of the episodes “Two Balls” and “Comedy Gold” – our questions and wishes were answered as we got a catchy little recap song – a musical memorandum if you will.

galavant-tv-review

A “previously on” segment is always important when there is so much stress on Plot, and with Galavant only being a 4 week extravaganza a helpful little catch up is just what we need. Though this isn’t necessarily because we forgot anything that happened; but rather just because it’s fun to see how the material can be turned into a new song. From familiar portions of the song to new additions that remind us of how Madalena is moving ever so slightly – or sharply – “ bitchward”, we got a quick laugh and back in the mood for more musical medieval mayhem.

I’m Going To Sidneyland!!!!!!!!:

Hey Galavant, you had an awesome premier! So what are you going to do now? Why they’re going to head to Sidneyland of course! We haven’t gotten to see much of Luke Youngblood’s character yet; but from the perfect delivery of his lines to his incredibly sarcastic asides, Sid is awesome! Though he’s not just awesome, HE’S JEWISH!

 Sid: “You know the expression, it takes a village?” Galavant: “No, I don't think that's been invented yet.”

Sid: “You know the expression, it takes a village?”
Galavant: “No, I don’t think that’s been invented yet.”

As if there weren’t enough comparisons of this show and Mel Brooks’ works, the song and dance about Sid and his Jewish heritage really capture the classic style of Jewish humor that is just so loveable. Though beyond the laughs of Sidneyland, there was also a lot of heartfelt character growth as Sid is treated as the hero and Galavant his eager squire. The fact that Galavant has this role-reversal moment so early on in the show is incredible; but then again the season is almost halfway over now. Either way, most shows usually spend an entire season with an oblivious self-centered character and don’t let him ‘see the world from another perspective’ until the season is almost over. So having Galavant realize now – episode 3 technically – that he’s “nothing but a jackass in a fancy metal can” was really a great move.

*reads* “’I’m so jealous of the girl that gets to be your wife – love mom –‘ Ugh” – Galavant

Though just as Galavant realizes who he really is, he must also remind Sid who he is – not the side-kick squire; but the man who is true to himself. Whether Sid comes clean about his deception or not isn’t important, as Galavant places his pride aside and vows to support his valiant and true squire in any way he can. *holds back tears* I’m sorry *sniffle* I’m getting all verklempt. Let’s move onto the next topic.

The King That Doesn’t Get It . . . Gets It:

In the first part of Galavant, we saw how the King shockingly realizes “I’m such a bully” after the cook informs him that he’s killed the last several generations of cooks in his family. This isn’t a mean-spirited or evil king, he just doesn’t get it – in many ways. The first of which is how he spent the majority of “Two balls” trying to make the Valencians feel welcome, which is a little late considering he’s massacred the vast majority of their population. The remaining Valencians must not only endure seeing him pick his teeth with splinters from their sacred Elder Tree; but also sit through an “ill-conceived and short-sighted” ball featuring Executioners as the band – who’s music also seems to kill.

“How man Valencians does it take to win a war… more than you had.” - Jester

“How man Valencians does it take to win a war… more than you had.” – Jester

Though whereas the King might not understand why all his well-mannered gestures come across in poorly, he does come to understand something else: his wife’s infidelity. After a round of ‘Let’s Roast The King’ goes horribly wrong, the King learns from the Eunuch that his wife is cheating on him with the Jester. The King however refuses to kill the Jester; but instead wants to learn how to “satisfy my wife like you have… my God we have a strange relationship!” What follows is nothing short of Comedy Gold!

Comedy Gold:

As I said last time, some people probably don’t get the comedy in Galavant. Beyond the general anachronisms, there’s also juxtaposed comedy where something traumatic in the show is actually hilarious for the viewer – and none do it more than King Richard. When he keeps “attacking” the Jester with the fake sword, he thinks it’s hilarious; but the Jester keeps flinching in fear. If we were the Jester, the King would have a pretty messed up sense of humor. Though we’re not the Jester, so what he [the Jester] sees as “not comedy” in that situation is actually comedy gold for us.

The same can be true of the rest of this comedy-training scene. Another example is when the Jester is trying to teach him that humor is all about taking people by surprise, to which the king pushes one of his guards off the balcony. A horrible thing to witness in the context of the show; but for the audience it is hilarious – even more when the king responds “What? He [the guard] was surprised!”, thus it had to be funny.

Jester: “How man Valencians does it take to win a war… more than you had.” 

Though just as things that are ‘not funny’ can be presented as hilarious, so too can ‘funny’ things come across as serious – which makes them funny. Allow me to explain; but basically this is an extension of the ‘straight man’. For example, the King is the biggest push over and wimp in the show, and is failing at being funny. Yet when the Jester is about to throw a pie in his face and the King coldly says “I dare you”, it’s perfection! This moment of seriousness is also comedic gold as well as when Gareth himself draws his sword after the king thinks of throwing more pies in his face. A pie in the face is hilarious; but seeing such an extreme ‘not funny’ response to it makes it all the funnier for us [the audience].

Self Referential Humor – Music and Eunuchs:

Though this whole back and forth of funny/not funny isn’t the only type of deeper humor in this show. We can’t forget about the self-referential humor, and this episode focused almost entirely on the constant stream of musical numbers. At several moments in the show, we see a character or Galavant role his eyes, sigh or flat out voice an annoyance with the growing number of musical numbers (ie: Sid’s family’s squire, Galavant’s sigh before the Pirate shanty, etc).

I’ll admit that the songs in this episode weren’t as catchy as the first one; but the fact that the show is acknowledging that some viewers are probably getting tired of the musical numbers by now is an excellent touch. Though the songs are still hilarious within their own right, with layers of self-referential humor to be sure – such as how Galavant, Isabella and Sid begin arguing over who gets to sing the “big finish”.

Galavant King Richard

The other great moment of self referential humor comes when the king speaks with the Eunuch. Sure the line of people kicking him in the crotch and not feeling anything was funny; but the best moment is when the King asks him what the Valencians used to do for fun, to which the Eunuch replies that they “used to have balls”. Eunuchs of course are males that have ‘had their balls removed’, so saying ‘they used to have balls’ is filled with irony. So when the king turns to Gareth laughing hysterically and says you can’t write stuff like that, it’s funny because they actually did write that stuff – because this is a scripted show.

Group Dynamics 101:

Let’s face it: it’s not a fairytale unless there’s some moral of the story; and “Comedy Gold” had that moral for us as we follow Galavant, Isabella and Sid. Their group dynamic this episode – as well as their song – is all about them working together in perfect sync all the time. Though that isn’t always a good thing as they start to get on each other’s nerves.

The introduction of the Pirate King (Hugh Bonneville) and his group help to point out as well as resolve this issue as they too used to be a ‘well oiled machine’ until they couldn’t agree upon anything and remained stranded. In the end, our heroes not only mend their differences; but also join forces with the pirates as well – leaving all their petty differences behind and picking up the song from the beginning of the episode.

Isabella’s Dilemma:

Though just as there were too many things our heroes shared, there are also things they haven’t. Galavant is of course thinking about Isabella more and Sid still resumes the role of ‘third wheel’ whenever Galavant and Isabella starting singing to each other – “My God, get a room you two”! Though it is Isabella who actually comes clean in the end to Galavant – or at least she tried.

Isabella explains how she is working for the king as well as how she tried to villainies Galavant in her mind so that the whole job could be easier. Sure, Galavant never heard any of this; but it does give us the audience a great glimpse into Isabella’s head. She is the exact antithesis of Madalena is so many ways. Whereas one is motivated by selfishness and not caring who she hurts, the other is motivated by saving her family and even then can’t bring herself to hurt Galavant. We know that Galavant is going to find out very soon. In fact, judging by his and the kings parallel situations, I’m willing to be he’ll find out midway through Part 3.

Isabella: “…and maybe that makes me all sugar and spice and everything nice, but lord knows much prefer that over rudeness, sarcasm and back spasms.

Galavant: “Bit of a stretch.”

Isabella: “I trained in monologues not poetry!”

I love the badass character of Isabella; but it was nice to see the kind and intellectual side of Isabella this episode. And hey, even though we didn’t SEE her badassness, we know it was there as she and Sid took on all the pirates. The point of this episode overall was the continued rounding out all the characters, and Isabella is always one expressive princess – after all, she is trained in monologues!

Easter Eggs, Anachronisms & Other Multi-Media References:

  • At both the beginning and end of “Comedy Gold” we see Galavant and the gang fighting about/making up over Trail-Mix. Galavant apparently only eats the raisins and despises cashews and Brazil nuts (Obviously, none of these things were around during the Medieval Times)
  • Rather than look at Valencia’s deep traditions of spontaneous unscripted theater as magical and heartening (like usual fairytale works), he simply asks if Valencia – “the worst place ever” – is really worth saving.
  • Gareth believes himself to be funny and proceeds to say an almost entirely censored sentence, to which the King responds “Good Lord Gareth, do you kiss my ring with that mouth?”. The usual saying is mother; but the king changed it to ‘ring’ according to normal traditions of royalty – and Godfather-ness.
  • When Galavant holds the sword by the blade and hands it to the Pirate King (Hugh Bonneville), he cuts his hand very badly when the Pirate King takes it from him. This is a direct reference to all those sword fighting scenes where someone hands someone else a sword in a similar manner and yet somehow NEVER get cut despite holding the serrated edge.
  • During the negotiation scene between the leader of the Pirate King (Hugh Bonneville) and Galavant, the Pirate Leader asks to hold onto the ‘girl supplies’, to which Galavant asks ‘why do you want the girl supplies. A funny request to be sure; but it could actually be a reference to how other modern day pirates – Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Hook (Once Upon A Time), etc – all seem to wear eyeliner.
  • When the Jester (aka Steve) is dragged off to the dungeon, he pleads that he at least be allowed to change his clothes because “they’re gang colors” – the rise of prison gangs and symbols is of course a modern happening.
  • We got another Game of Thrones reference when Galavant asks Sid and Isabella how they took over the Land-Pirate Camp. Sid responds that it was an amazing battle “better than anything at Castle Black” – the scene of a massive battle in Game of Thrones 4th
  • Additionally, the Eunuch is a prominent character in Game of Thrones as well, this could have been purposeful or just a funny coincidence.
  • During the ‘comedy training scene’, King Richard tries observational comedy with “have you ever noticed have leapers have pieces falling off of them? What’s that all about?” The phrasing is a style/form made famous by Jerry Seinfeld.

Hugh Bonneville Pirate King

Did Galavant really not hear anything Isabella said about it being a trick? Who knows? He still seems pretty determined on saving ‘Madalena’; but maybe we’ll find out that he did hear her and is keeping it to himself right now. Either way, *sings* So with only 2 more parts to go, come back for next week’s show, and of course my review of GALLLLL-AAAAA-VANT!

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