‘‘Opera for dummies, by dummies.’’Essentially The Abridged Series for opera in written form, Smooth Operators parodies gently poke fun at both specific operas and operatic tropes in general.The Smooth Operators team have so far abridged:
This series provide examples of:
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- Anachronism Stew: Frequently lampshaded.
- An Aesop/Spoof Aesop
- Author Avatar: The series’ four creators appear as characters in their own right.
- The Cameo: Minnie Mouse appears as a “collections agent for Euro Disney”, as well as a mortician and healer.
- Either/Or Title: Each opera has multiple alternate titles that change with each act. Sometimes veers into Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle.
- Fan Character: Each opera features at least one fan-created character.
- Framing Device: Each parody begins with the Smooth Operators team attending the opera.
- Plot-Induced Stupidity: Whenever a character is hit by the Opera Character Intelligence-Sapping Ray.
- Portmanteau Series Nickname: “Smoperators”.
- Punny Name: Smooth Operators.
- Trade Snark: Each time the Opera Character Intelligence-Sapping Ray is mentioned.
Così fan tutte
“The maid in the chapel with the revolver. Goodness, I think Lorenzo da Ponte would be most surprised to discover he’d written that.”
- Angrish: Ferrando after it's revealed Guglielmo slept with his fiance.
- Similarily, Guglielmo after Ferrando reveals he's done the same with his fiance.
- Back from the Dead: Don Alfonso.
- Beta Couple: Despina and Fig.
- Canon Foreigner: It’s revealed that Fig is the very same Figaro from the Beaumarchais plays (and related operas).
Inverted-Jabberwocky: A guy whose name is only a few letters away from being “Figaro” and who used to be a barber is flirting with a snarky maid . . . we haven’t accidentally wandered into the wrong opera, have we?
- This is (unwittingly) lampshaded fairly early on:
- Chewing the Scenery: Done quite literally by Despina early in the second act.
- Fan Character: Fig the waiter, Marlena the maid and Ciliegia, Dorabella and Fiordiligi’s pet dog.
- Funetik Aksent: Despina, when disguised as a doctor.
- Fun with Acronyms: Order for the Protection of Earnest Rock Appreciators.
- Gratuitous German: Despina, as the doctor.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: “I can’t carry a tune to save my life – not even one that has handles . . . oh, what a shame this is Così fan tutte and not Xerxes – then I could’ve said something like, “not even one that has Handels”!”
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: Smoperators team members WitchChao and NatureTheZafara express confusion regarding Marlena’s gender when she first appears.
- Manipulative Bastard: Don Alfonso, by his own admission.
- Shout-Out: Multiple, but among the most notable:
Fiordiligi: After acquiring all the necessary accoutrements, I must be sure to cut my hair, rename myself “Ping” and then . . . where does one even find a dragon? Is there a store?
- “The phoenix does exist – where else would we get Phoenix Down from?”
- “They are as fickle as a feather in the breeze!”
- Ciliegia’s name is a shout out to Lucky Star.
- Fiordiligi and Dorabella seem to be involved with the Red Crayon Aristocracy.
- Straw Feminist: Marlena has shades of this.
- Title Drop: Despina supplies (and lampshades) a fairly liberal translation: “They’re all like that . . . hey, that’s a good title for an opera!”
- Theme Naming: Fiordiligi – whose name literally translates as “loyal flower” – is given a series of flower-related nicknames by Ferrando.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Despina, when disguised as the doctor.
- You Need to Get Laid: Fiordiligi, according to Dorabella.
The Marriage of Figaro
Susanna: Madame, could you be thinking what I’m thinking?
The Countess: I think so, but really, why should it matter whether Idamante is played by a tenor or a mezzo-soprano?
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Antonio thinks Bartolo is spying on Susanna and Marcellina for this reason.
- Cherubino also mentions it in the fourth act by way of a rather painful pun.
- Bilingual Bonus: Cherubino’s song to the Countess.
- Calling Your Attacks: Susanna. It later helps Figaro recognise her when she is in disguise.
- Cloudcuckoolander: The Countess borders on this, often lapsing into non sequitur and frequently getting distracted by her own trains of thought when speaking.
- Colourful Theme Naming: The names of the village girls are variations on different shades of red.
- Dirty, Snooping Old Man: Doctor Bartolo.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Cherubino, according to the audience:“Between that voice and those hips, “he’s” not fooling anyone.”
- Early-Bird Cameo: Monsieur Fal, from the third story in the Figaro trilogy, appears briefly in the third act.
- Fan Character: Bavón, the baker’s apprentice.
- Fanservice: Barbarina claims disguising Cherubino as a girl serves only “to appease the silly audience members who like this ‘yoo-ree’ stuff”.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Cherubino certainly seems to think so:“Sometimes I dream about Godmamma, and sometimes about Barbarina, and sometimes about [Susanna] too! And sometimes, I dream about the three of you together!”
- Girly Run: Susanna instructs Cherubino how to do this when disguising him as a girl.
- Hormone-Addled Teenager: Cherubino; possibly Bavón.
- I Want Grandkids: Antonio becomes like this after learning Barbarina intends to marry Cherubino.
- Love at First Sight: Bavón for Cherubino, whom he mistakenly believes will reciprocate; Cherubino promptly sets him straight.
- Medium Awareness: Several characters appear to possess this, most notably the Countess.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Bavón attempts to poison Barbarina after Cherubino agrees to marry her.
- All Periods Are PMS: Used as part of the Countess’ plot to fool her husband:Susanna: Sir, someone in the kitchen told me you had some chocolate . . . I wondered if I might be able to have it.
The Count: Chocolate? At this hour? Whatever for?
Susanna: It’s for her ladyship – she’s become rather… emotional. It’s quite distressing, actually – when I asked her if she was feeling all right, she screamed that she hated me and threw a chair at my head.
The Count: Wretched woman! She does this every month!
- Shout-Out:"Right, and I’m the king of Barataria!"
- "Suck my Rosenkavalier!"
- Figaro is a very important man – he has a tower.
- "We should turn that into a song, the kind that someone in prison would lock himself into the superintendent’s office to play to the other inmates!"
- Some of the alternate names suggested for Cherubino include:
- The contents of Barbarina’s picnic basket are the same as Ratty’s.
- “The signal will be . . . ‘pulsating prunes’!”
- Safe Word: Figaro and Susanna’s is “Portugal”.
- Talks Like a Simile: WitchChao: “Our situation seems to be stickier than a melted caramel chew on a warm gingersnap . . . ”
- Unusual Euphemism: “Show you my snail collection” ultimately becomes this.
- Victoria’s Secret Compartment: The Countess stores pens and leaves of parchment down the front of her bodice.
- Waxing Lyrical: With Loch Lomond, Bohemian Rhapsody and Oh! Susanna.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Smoperators team member SuperMimbles360 may be a budding example of this, expressing a desire to wear a kodona outfit instead of the dress she’s in.
- Yandere: Bavón.
- Yaoi Fangirl: At least three of the village girls ship Bavón/Cherubino.