Web Video / Musical Hell

A Video Review Show created by Christi “The Diva” Esterle in 2012, Musical Hell is hosted by Diva, a demon With An F In Evil who has been shuffled off onto a small expansion shelf somewhere between the third and fourth circles of the Inferno. There, her job is to evaluate and punish the sins of the worst movie musicals ever created. The series posts once a month to RVT, RT Gomer Productions, and its own site.

Musical Hell runs in tandem with ‘’Know the Score,’’ a Lighter and Softer companion piece that discusses soundtracks, film and stage musicals, theme songs, and any other form of “dramatic music” that happens to strike Diva’s fancy.

     Musicals on which Diva has passed judgement: 

Musical Hell provides examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative: The series premise is identifying and punishing the “sins” of its subjects. Inverted with the “Saving Grace,” which highlights positive elements that shine out in spite of the rest of the film.
  • Actually Pretty Funny
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Probably to be expected in this case.
  • Berserk Button: Descendants ends up pushing one of hers, with their appalling rap/trip hop/WTF cover of Be Our Guest
    Sin Card: DID YOU JUST
  • Bizarre Human Biology: In the review for Glitter, Diva makes the off-hand comment during the closing that the film "makes me sick to my three-and-a-half stomachs".
  • Call Back:
    • Diva brings up Pierce Brosnan's lack of singing talent, first touched upon in the Mamma Mia! review, a few times, notably in the Grease 2 review ("Ugh, it's like an entire chorus of Pierce Brosnans!"), as well as when she touches upon The Bee Gees' lack of acting prowess in the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band review.
    • During the Rock of Ages review, exactly ten episodes after her review of The Pirate Movie, Diva feels like she owes an apology towards the Pirate King and his attention-grabbing crotchpiece when she gets to Stacee Jaxx's introductory scene, in which he's seen with an even more outlandish crotchpiece.
  • Catch Phrase: "Greetings Mortals, welcome to another session of the infernal court in Musical Hell~ I'm Diva, your judge, jury, executioner and— [title that relates to whatever musical she's reviewing]"
  • Christmas Episode: Four so far: Mame (though only one sequence/song in it involves the holiday, it's "Close enough for government work"), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — The Movie, The Swan Princess Christmas, and The Nutcracker: The Untold Story.
  • Classically Trained Extra: One of the main sins of Spice World was its criminal misuse of a supporting cast far more talented than the leads, including Roger Moore, Richard E. Grant, Bob Hoskins, Meat Loaf, and Rocky Horror creator Richard O'Brien.
  • Creator Cameo: Not a direct one, but as pointed out and shown in this video, Diva was given a brief break from her job in March 2016 due to Christi Esterle appearing on Jeopardy! and winning a trip to New Zealand.
  • Dance Party Ending: At the end of the King and I episode, complete with Creator Cameo.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Diva marked down The Nutcracker in 3D for this, pointing out that the fantasy world was inexplicably more depressing than the real one... despite the fact that the film is set in central Europe right around the time the Nazis and other tyrannical governments were rising to power in real life.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: At Long Last Love got a sin for this.
  • Ear Worm In-Universe: The ones found in Mamma Mia! are especially vexing, as is “Wonderful Christmastime”, which turns up in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — The Movie.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Diva is more haughty and superior-sounding in the first few installments, before her harried Punch Clock Villain persona was established.
  • Ending Fatigue: The last and greatest sin of Can't Stop The Music was the fact that its entire last third consisted mainly of, to quote Diva, a "self-congratulatory victory lap" for the main characters.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Diva can get rather repulsed by some of her subjects, especially movies that are lazy, cynical cash grabs.
    • While acknowledging that his film adaptation of A Little Night Music was terrible, Diva couldn't bear to condemn Hal Prince.
    • The ending of Glitter features, for the first time, Diva getting genuinely angry at a film, arguably to the point of Christi Esterle herself breaking character. Specifically, she was incensed by the fact that the film blames the heroine's breakup with her psychologically abusive boyfriend (and his subsequent murder at the villain's hands) on her, with Diva stating it's in the running for the worst film she's ever reviewed due to this.
  • Evil Is Petty: “I’m a demon. I don’t do fair.”
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: If she's feeling lazy, she'll just condemn those involved with the current offender to this.
  • Foreshadowing: In the session for The Pirate Movie, Diva points out that Mabel "dresses like a reject from Xanadu", the same Xanadu she ended up taking on sometime later.
  • Fun with Subtitles: Diva occasionally likes playing with how she names the sins.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Repo! The Genetic Opera, Jekyll & Hyde, RENT, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street are ultimately acknowledged as such, with the last of these being the first movie to receive two Saving Graces.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: “What the Here?” among many others.
  • Infernal Bureaucracy: Naturally. It is Hell, after all.
  • Ironic Hell: Her punishments tend towards this, with a side of Cool and Unusual Punishment.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Eventually counts the myriad puns in Rock and Rule as a sin after one too many of them.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: “Greetings, mortals, welcome to another session of the infernal court in Musical Hell. I’m Diva, your judge, jury, executioner and [something pertinent to that episode’s topic].
  • Minion with an F in Evil: She tries, but she’s not very good at it.
  • The Mockbuster: On "Musical Hell TV," she's done full-length commentary/snark tracks for two mockbusters, The Secret of Anastasia and The Secret of Mulan.
  • Oh My Gods!: “Sweet Lucifer!”
  • Overly Long Name: “Diva” is a pseudonym; her true name is apparently two hundred and sixty-seven syllables long.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Diva is ultimately just a demonic bureaucrat doing her job.
  • Really 700 Years Old: According to the intro to "Rock of Ages", Diva is a "child of the '80s...well, 2080s...BC...it's close enough."
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: According to the Musical Hell site, Diva isn't sure if reviewing bad musicals is their punishment or hers.
  • Shout-Out: Monty Python clips are brought up in abundance.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Diva was surprised when she found Rock and Rule to be this, and doesn't condemn the characters or production staff to anything, instead opting to order them to study self-help books.
    • Earlier, she also has this reaction to Repo! The Genetic Opera, concluding that it's neither as bad as its detractors say nor as good as it wants to be. To date it's the film with the least sins on the show, and was awarded its first-ever Saving Grace.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Throughout the Rock of Ages review, Diva constantly mispronounces Julianne Hough's last name like "how", when it's actually meant to be pronounced like "huff".
  • Tempting Fate: She decides not to punish The Apple and its makers because she finds it So Bad, It's Good and mockingly asks what her superiors are going to do about that. Cue the reveal of her next assignment: The Swan Princess Christmas. "Oh, me and my big maw..."
    • Diva makes this mistake a lot. At the end of the Phantom of the Opera review, she declares the movie to be the worst possible thing that could happen to the musical...then she sees her next case.
      Oh, fuck..."
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The mob from The Phantom of the Opera (1925) comes after her as she tries to explain Shock Treatment's complex relationship with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, ultimately deciding that it's best described as a Spiritual Successor. It doesn't placate them ("Oh, you people are impossible"), but she soldiers on with the review anyway.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: If she sees something exceptionally good about a musical she's reviewing, she'll list it as a "Saving Grace."
  • The Unintelligible: Diva's bailiff.
  • The Unpronounceable: As mentioned, Diva's real name is 267 syllables long... but even she can't pronounce "Terrance Zdunich."
  • The Voice: Artistic representations exist, and she’s been known to manifest as a burst of flame or inside an inanimate object, but Diva herself is never seen onscreen.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: In Diva's opinion, Gene Kelly's Old Mentor character in Xanadu would've made a much more interesting protagonist than Michael Beck's wangsty wannabe artist.

Know the Score contains examples of: