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Series / Schmigadoon!

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"Romance in musicals isn't always logical. That's why they usually let the songs do the heavy lifting."
"Once ye have entered Schmigadoon
'Tis true, ye won't be leaving soon
Within its borders ye are bound
Until at last true love ye found
But till ye find it, ye must stay
Where's life's a musical every day!"
Oscar the Leprechaun, "Leprechaun Song"

Schmigadoon! is a musical-comedy series developed by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio for Apple TV+. Barry Sonnenfeld directed the first season and executive produces. Alice Mathias and Robert Luketic directed the second season.

The show premiered in July 2021. Doctors Josh Skinner (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa Gimble (Cecily Strong)'s four-year-long relationship is faltering. While on a hike, they stumble upon the mysterious town of Schmigadoon, which appears to be in a perpetual Golden Age musical productionnote . While there, they meet a host of colorful theatrical archetypes — the friendly mayor Aloysius Menlove (Alan Cumming), the hapless reverend Howard Layton (Fred Armisen) and his imperious wife Mildred (Kristin Chenoweth), local "bad boy" Danny Bailey (Aaron Tveit), perky Farmer's Daughter Betsy (Dove Cameron), gentle schoolmarm Emma Tate (Ariana DeBose), and intelligent but old-fashioned Doc Lopez (Jaime Camil). However, they're soon informed by a Leprechaun (Martin Short) that they cannot leave Schmigadoon until they find true love...

Season 2 premiered in April 2023. Josh and Melissa, seeking another type of fulfillment, now find themselves in the world of Schmicago, the time of 60s and 70s-era musicals. The population includes a Lemony Narrator (Tituss Burgess), the perverted business owner Octavius Kratt (Patrick Page), and most of the first season's principals in roles that reflect the new setting. After Josh and Mel stumble into a murder mystery, a familiar Leprechaun requires them to achieve a happy ending in order to escape Schmicago.

In January 2024 it was announced that Schmigadoon was not renewed for a third season, though all the episodes and songs were written.

Schmigadoon! provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the sixth episode, Emma calls New York "the greatest city in the world" like Hamilton does. Her actress, Ariana DeBose, was a member of the original ensemble.
    • Cecily Strong gets to do her popular drunk act seen with several of her characters on Saturday Night Live.
    • A red-and-gold "xylophone" vest akin to Enjolras's is seen in the background of some shots of Topher (Aaron Tveit), calling to mind the film Tveit played him in.
    • In the second season premiere, Josh complains that there are too many people singing at the same time. Keegan-Michael Key made the same complaint parodying Javert and "One Day More" on his own sketch show.
    • Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth portraying a couple who Would Hurt a Child in an Annie parody could remind some viewers of The Wonderful World of Disney's Annie (1999), in which Cumming and Chenoweth portrayed Miss Hannigan's co-conspirators, Rooster and Lily.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Josh takes Topher's place as leader to a band of hippies while Melissa takes Jenny's spot performing at the Kratt Klub. The attention distracts them from their plans to escape Schmicago.
  • Artistic License – Child Labor Laws: Justified. Who's going stop the orphans from bartending at the orphanage? Miss Codwell actively discourages potential parents from adopting, and makes them sleep in cages, so this is just another unregulated misdeed.
  • Affectionate Parody: Not for nothing is the show called "A musical parody made by people who love musicals." There's plenty of ribbing to be had, but the massive love of the genre clearly shines through.
  • Ambiguous Ending: While we do see Josh and Melissa crossing the bridge in the first season finale, we don't exactly find out if they found true love or if they even made it back to the woods. The Season 2 trailer and premiere both reveal that they did.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Schmigadoon resembles early 1900's small town America similar to Carousel and The Music Man but features The Baroness sporting a 1940's car and outift. Schmicago is definitely more modern, but somehow hosts characters based on Sweeney Todd and Hair, which are set around a hundred and twenty years apart. Lampshaded when Josh suggests that they kill baby Hitler while they're in Schmicago.
    Melissa: What year do you think this would even be?
    Josh: I don't know. It's very unclear.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Kratt's death is celebrated with a musical number.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In a quiet moment in the middle of "Lover's Spat" Melissa asks Josh if he believes they are in true love. His attempt at dodging the question convinces her that he doesn't.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Melissa describes '60s and '70s as "darker, with more sex and violence and imperfect rhymes" compared to the Golden Age ones. Josh gets hung up on the "imperfect rhymes" part, commenting that it doesn't really matter.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Howard, being the town reverend, uses a Bible quote to give Josh advice about love.
  • Audience Murmurs: The ensemble in "Welcome to Schmicago" uses "peas and carrots, peas and carrots..." to simulate the sound of a whispering crowd. Josh and Melissa complain they can't understand them.
  • Babies Ever After: "A Happy Beginning" briefly shows a pregnant Melissa and Josh excitedly watching an ultrasound reading of their imminent first baby.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Josh and Melissa debate over sending Dooley after Kratt, realizing it will end up in violence. Subverted when Dooley fails two separate times. Double Subverted when Kratt pulls a gun and Miss Codwell gleefully crushes him with a chandelier.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Along with Melissa, the audience briefly meets Doc Lopez (the elderly small-town doctor) in the opening song. Out of options in the fourth episode, Melissa trudges along to his practice, resigned to how after all her education, she's just going to wind up as his nurse. The old man opens the door, then reveals that the Doc Lopez hiring a nurse is his handsome son Jorge.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: Emma's opinion of New York, where Josh and Melissa are from.
    Josh: I really need to get back to New York.
    Emma: But you can't! I mean, it isn't safe. It's filled with gambling and crime and poor souls who've tried to make it big but can't go back home because of foolish pride.
    Josh: See, that's what I love about New York.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Shortly after Melissa delivers a baby, she encourages Doc Lopez's father to have wilder sex with his wife. Smash Cut to the old man's funeral.
  • Boredom Montage: After the second season premiere returns Josh and Melissa to their own world, they suffer two years of monotony with their respective jobs and Mel's failed pregnancy tests, until the couple begins wondering if they can willingly visit Schmigadoon again.
  • Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: Farmer McDonough is introduced surrounded by his multiple lovely daughters and threatening people with his shotgun. Deconstructed by Emma, who points out that in doing so he does not give his daughters any agency.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Josh and Melissa break up in the second episode then go on to have parallel romantic journeys: they first try to move on with people based on attraction (Betsy and Danny respectively), then form deeper, more intellectual and emotional connections with Emma and Jorge. But at the last minute, they realize what they really want to do is work on their relationship, and try to cross the bridge together.
  • Butt-Monkey: Pete the Milkman is the perennial offscreen victim of projectiles, with characters yelling "Sorry, Pete!" when they see that they've hit/shot him.
  • The Cameo:
    • Martin Short appears in the premiere as the magical leprechaun who finally convinces Josh and Melissa they're in a musical world.
    • Peppermint appears briefly in the opening number as a fortune teller.
  • *Click* Hello: The second episode ends with Farmer McDonough crashing his daughter Betsy's picnic with Josh and pulling his gun at him after catching them kissing:
    You better start proposing, son.
  • Colorblind Casting: Lampshaded; Melissa points out that the musical theater ensemble is populated by people of color as evidence that Schmigadoon is semi-modern.
  • Contrasting Sequel Setting: Season 1's town, Schmigadoon, is a midcentury Sugar Bowl with bright colors, friendly townsfolk, and pleasant surroundings. Season 2's town, Schmicago, is a dark Vice City populated with shady archetypes. Melissa, who had adored Schmigadoon, is less comfortable in Schmicago; Josh, who had disliked Schmigadoon, finds that Schmicago is more up his alley (at least until he's accused of murder).
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Dooley Blight covers Vince's ears when Miss Codwell threaten to slice meat right off of his-while pointing to Vince's bottom. They do sing about making the children into meat without anyone looking perturbed. Not even the children.
  • Crowd Song:
    • "Schmigadoon!", the Welcoming Song sung by the town ensemble.
    • "Corn Puddin'", a Call-and-Response Song between the town men and women about their love for corn pudding.
    • "Lover's Spat", where the townspeople discuss lovers' quarrels through verses and choreography.
    • "Cross that Bridge", where all the single women in the town sing about the importance of getting married quickly and cross the bridge with Josh in his effort to find true love and leave Schmigadoon.
    • "How We Change/Finale", the finale number where the Schmigadoonians resolve to be more open about themselves. This is signified by a more modern style — instead of the midcentury numbers they've been singing all season, this one is more in the vein of late-century numbers by Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz.
  • Dance of Romance: "Suddenly", a love number where Emma dances with Josh and Doc Lopez dances with Melissa. The number incorporates elements of the Ländler in its choreography as a visual nod to a romantic dance in The Sound of Music.
  • Dead Sparks: At the beginning of the show, Josh and Melissa have been dating for four years and their relationship is in a rut.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Josh and Melissa are modern doctors from the "real world" who are at odds with Schmigadoon's patriarchal, old-timey values (eg. reacting negatively to the suggestion a man should smack his girlfriend if they are fighting). The villainous Mildred Layton keeps a stern eye on any deviations from the puritan handbook (even destroying books).
    • Due to outdated gender roles no one believes Melissa is a doctor in Schmigadoon or Schmicago.
    • Melissa, being an OB-GYN, often finds herself in conflict with the town's outdated views on gender and sexuality. She makes a scene at a picnic basket auction (really a front for buying a date with a girl) and nudges the mayor to come out of the closet. Against Doc Lopez's orders, she delivers a baby conceived out of wedlock (even giving them a sex education lesson in the process) and encourages his elderly parents to have sex.
    • Season 2's Darker and Edgier setting, Schmicago, shows that despite sex, violence, and general iniquity being commonplace, attitudes haven't progressed all that much. "Do We Shock You?" tries to push the envelope with scantily-clad ladies singing about crossdressing, light BDSM, tattoos, and the fact that one of the dancers has had a female orgasm. Josh and Melissa are unimpressed.
    • Schmicago has a female lawyer in Bobbie Flanagan, but Bobbie is dismissive of any woman becoming a judge.
  • Diagonal Billing: Keegan Michael-Key and Cecily Strong receive this treatment in the second season's end credits reel.
  • Disarm, Disassemble, Destroy: In episode four, Farmer McDonough pulls a gun on Josh to force him to marry his daughter Betsy. Emma Tate simply snatches the weapon from him and disassembles it. She then proceeds to tell off the farmer for trying to force men into marrying his daughter and how this actually shows a lack of belief in his daughter's worth in his eyes.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Season 2's plot is kicked off by the muder of Elsie Vale, a dancer at the seedy Kratt Klub/brothel.
  • Distant Duet: "Suddenly", sung by Emma (at the school) and Doc Lopez (outside his practice) to Josh and Melissa respectively. At one point Split Screen is used so the couples can dance together.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: In season 2, Josh and Melissa can't help but react with familiarity to the Schmicagoan characters because they so strongly resemble the Schmigadoonians (out-of-universe, are played by the same actors) they befriended in season 1.
    • On seeing angry butcher Dooley Blight:
      Josh: It's the mayor. Hey, Mr. Mayor!
      Melissa:...I don't think that's the mayor.
    • Inverted when Melissa has to point out Jenny looks like Betsy, whom Josh was forcibly engaged to in Schmigadoon.
    • Lampshaded with Miss Codwell:
      Melissa: Very different, yet, somehow, still mean.
  • Dream Ballet: Defied. Melissa is by herself in the wilderness and about to have a formative moment, when the lighting turns purple and a similarly dressed dancer approaches her. She then puts a stop to the whole affair, disparaging dream ballets and saying she has no time for them. The lighting reverts and the dancer walks away.
  • Driving a Desk: Countess Von Blerkom drives an obviously stationary vehicle over an obviously projected background. She even takes a break from driving during her musical number!
  • Dunce Cap: Emma, the schoolteacher, puts a red dunce cap on Josh during "With All of Your Heart" (a number about how he shouldn't give up so easily).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Pretty much the entire plot revolves around this concept, particularly Season 2, where Josh and Melissa’s quest is to bring happiness to the residents of Schmicago in order to return home.
  • Everything Except Most Things: When Josh is in a panic over Farmer McDonough trying to kill him after breaking off his engagement to Betsy (which the farmer had forced at gunpoint in the first place), Melissa tries to reassure him telling him that "nobody gets killed in a musical"... only to immediately defeat her own point by citing four well-known musicals in which someone does get killed. An even more alarmed Josh replies, "that sounds like all the musicals!"
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: In the final episode of season 2, Kratt is offed when Miss Codwell cuts the rope on the chandelier hanging above his forced marriage ceremony to Melissa.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Carson is Emma's illegitimate son, not her much younger brother. Nobody in the town knows, not even Carson himself.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the town bake sale, Aloysius buys some of Howard's rhubarb squares and shares them with him, to the latter's delight. Howard is in love with him.
    • During "Tribulation":
      • Mildred includes "wanton women having children out of wedlock, rowdy men using filthy language" as one of the things going to ruin Schmigadoon. The finale reveals that Nancy, the woman pregnant out of wedlock because her family didn't approve of the way her sailor boyfriend swore, is secretly her daughter.
      • In the same song, Mildred also warns of how the current changes will lead to "neon signs, smoke-filled rooms / Billiard parlors and painted ladies"; Season 2 of the show takes places in "Schmicago", which indeed contains all these things.
    • Codwell's number "The Worst Brats In Town" uses "brats" to refer to the plucky orphans who populate Schmicago. Dooley's reprise of it uses "the worst brats in town" to refer to his sausages. Initially just a bit of clever wordplay, but as this is the Sweeney Todd-esque plotline, they realize that they can refer to the same thing.
  • Firefighter Arsonist: Played for Laughs in "How We Change," the last episode of the first season. During a scene where the townsfolk are confessing secrets and revealing Hidden Depths (and being congratulated by the protagonists), the town firefighter confesses to being an arsonist.
  • Fix Fic: Josh and Melissa must create a happy ending in to escape Schmicago. Melissa points out that these musucals typicaly don't have happy endings, so they've essentially been assigned to create one of these from the inside out.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • At the beginning, the managers of the retreat that Melissa and Josh are attending warn them not to wander too far and reassure them that the weather will clear up soon. Cut to Josh and Melissa being lost for hours as rain pours around them.
    • Melissa announces her intention of encouraging Doc Lopez's parents to have sex, ending with "And finally, in spite of you, they are going to truly live!" Cut to Doc Lopez Sr. in a casket, after his heart gives out during sex.
  • Girls Behind Bars: The song number "Bustin' Out" features three women singing about leaving a bad boyfriend with sexy prison imagery and choreography: black and white striped minidresses, handcuffs, and chains.
  • Graceful Loser: Subverted and lampshaded. Based on her knowledge of musicals, Melissa assumes that Doctor Lopez's fiancé, the Countess Von Blerkom, will gracefully step aside once she realizes that the Doc is in love with someone else. She is wrong and winds up stranded in the middle of nowhere, having been forced out of the car at gunpoint by a determined Countess.
  • Greek Chorus: The ensemble serves as this during Season 1, as approriate for Golden Age musicals. The main difference being they're explaining things to Josh and Melissa rather than directly to the audience. This causes them to butt in with large, exuberant numbers while the couple is trying to talk. Season 2 replaces them with a Lemony Narrator.
  • Happily Married: Josh and Melissa achieve this in Season 2, where they share several romantic moments during and after their wedding, and their biggest onscreen tribulations result from circumstances beyond their control (such as their difficulties conceiving a child).
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • After Mayor Aloysius Menlove sings a song that's obviously about loving men, Melissa asks him if he's gay. Being an old-timey musical character, he interprets this as her asking if he's happy, so he responds that he tries to be.
    • Riffing on the same joke, Aloysius's wife Florence, who sings a song about her "queer" husband — "queer" in the sense of strange, because he's not like the other men in town and is instead kind, gentle, and In Touch with His Feminine Side, even if he's not as sexually aggressive as she would like. Throughout the song Melissa's facial expressions show the differences in how she and Florence define "queer".
  • Heartwarming Orphan: All of Miss Codwell's orphans are adorable, making it strange to watch her complain about them everytime she's on screen, especially for things like being sick, and not eating. They even dance around without complaint when Miss Codwell and Dooley Blight talk about making them into meat to sell to in Mr. Blight's butcher's shop.
  • Hidden Depths: As it turns out, many of the townspeople are more than their two-dimensional theater roles: for example, Harvey the innkeeper would like to be an actor. Letting these secrets and facts air out leads to the resolution to be better in the more modern finale number "This is How We Change".
  • Heel–Face Turn: The entire town of Schmicago, including The Dragon Seargent Rivera, put aside thier issues and band together to rescue Josh and Melissa from Kratt.
  • Homage:
    • The central premise is a homage to Brigadoon (note the title), about two tourists who chance upon a mysterious, stuck-in-the-past town that only appears every century. Instead of finding Brigadoon through true love, one has to find true love to leave Schmigadoon.
    • The majority of the songs in both seasons are homages to specific songs from classic musicals, which are listed on their own page.
    • Though it's not referenced in song, the scene in S2 where Kratt threatens Josh's life to get Melissa to marry him, before being killed by a falling chandelier is a clear nod to The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Immediate Sequel: After "How We Change" ends the first season with Josh and Melissa crossing the bridge out of Schmigadoon, "Welcome to Schmicago" begins the second season with the duo landing back in their own world.
  • Inherently Attractive Profession: Played With. The McDonough sisters fawn over the fact that Josh is a doctor, but the townspeople are less impressed whenever Melissa brings up her own medical credentials due to Deliberate Values Dissonance.
  • Instant Birth: Just Add Labor!: Parodied. Melissa and Josh deliver a baby and note that it was an incredibly quick birth and that the baby even came out dry. They Hand Wave it to the musical universe they're stuck in.
  • Institutional Apparel: The male prisoners of Schmicago are decked out in black and white striped jumpsuits.
  • Kazoos Mean Silliness: Following Melissa's advice, Josh tries to progress his story along the lines of The Music Man, where the protagonist gives his love interest's little brother a trumpet. Instead, the only thing he can pick up on short notice is the inherently more hilarious kazoo, and gives it to Carson. The little boy is delighted and starts blowing out silly kazoo notes.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: In contrast to all the unwanted children running around Schmicago, Melissa and Josh are not able to conceive despite trying for some time.
  • Literal Metaphor: Before "Cross that Bridge", Josh spins a yarn to the unmarried women of the town about a family tradition involving crossing a bridge to know that he wants to end up with a woman (really, he's trying to find "true love" to get out of Schmigadoon). The women, who have chalked up being unmarried to "crossing that bridge when they get there", sing that in this case, they are literally crossing a bridge to get married.
    "It's not a metaphor
    Oh no, it's something more
    It's a literal bridge!"
  • Love Triangle: Between Doc Lopez, Melissa, and Countess Von Blerkom, to whom Doc Lopez is engaged.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Good Enough to Eat" is an Annie-esque cheery, upbeat number with a lot of children in the ensemble. The lyrics are about turning said children into meat for the butcher to sell.
  • May–December Romance: The elderly Octavius Kratt is having a dalliance with the young performer Jenny Banks.
  • Meet Cute: The very first scenes depict Josh and Melissa's first meeting. Melissa's chocolate bar got stuck in the hospital vending machine and Josh instructed her to kick it in a certain spot. When she does so, snacks come pouring out of the machine. Sparks fly between them and they proceed to date for many years.
  • Midword Rhyme: The number "The Worst Brats In Town":
    Miss Codwell: If by chance you're searchin'
    For an urchin
    I got your merchandise right here
  • Minor Character, Major Song:
    • Lampshaded by musical theater fan Melissa, who notes that Countess Gabriele Van Blerkom (the Baroness-esque Disposable Fiancé character) gets a showstopping number to herself for some reason.
    • The Emcee from Season 2 has very little to do but gets an extended Dreamgirls-style number simply telling the audience the show is almost over. Especially noticeable in a show that already has a seperate narrator who also addresses the audience.
  • Moral Guardians: The Mothers Against the Future, who prefer to keep the town old-fashioned and conservative. They dispose of books they consider bad influences, subvert the mayor's authority, and dislike Josh and Melissa's newfangled ideas.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: A mix of "Alternate Universe", "All in their Heads", and "All-Maestro Cast". The musical numbers only happen in the magical town of Schmigadoon, where Josh and Melissa are trapped. Danny reacts with confusion when Melissa congratulates him on his song, indicating he wasn't physically aware he was performing, but Melissa is conscious of how she makes up verses on the fly.
  • My Car Hates Me: Josh and Melissa's car fails outside Schmicago. When they try to flee a crime scene, it won't start, and they find a leprechaun beseeching them to stay in Schmicago once more.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Octavius Kratt introduces himself with "Kratt, Octavius Kratt". Since he's tall, intimidating, and has a deep voice, Josh and Melissa are sufficiently cowed.
  • The New Rock & Roll: In a parody of Roxie Hart's press conference scene. Bobby can apparently get accused murderers in The Roaring '20s themed downtown portion of Schmicago declared innocent by having them say their minds were corrupted by jazz. It appears to work well enough until Josh goes off-script.
  • New Season, New Name: The second season intro gives the full title Schmigadoon!: Schmicago, although Apple TV+ files all of the episodes under the shorter name.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: After Melissa's one-night stand with Danny, she ends up leaving his house without tasting the breakfast he made when he starts freaking out about how is he going to provide for their child (Melissa tries in vain to tell him she has an IUD, so she's very unlikely to actually be pregnant).
  • Nude Nature Dance: Played for Laughs. The hippies Josh falls in with express their dismay at the state of Schmicago and say they have to get back to the natural order of things... that is, nudism. A whole musical number about it.
    Topher: Ooh, flowers don't wear pants, so why should we...?
  • Ode to Food: "Corn Puddin'" is sung by the townsfolk about how much they love the savory dish, with a sprinkle of Double Entendre on top.
  • Oh, Crap!: Right after mayoral-candidate Mildred lays down a vicious trashing of the town's people, Howard dryly announces that it's time to vote.
    Mildred: I hope you all die and go straight to hell because that's exactly where you idiots belong! I hate you!
    Howard: All right. Time for the vote.
    Mildred: I'd like to explain exactly what I meant by that.
  • Old People are Nonsexual:
    • Doc Lopez tells his elderly parents that they are "too old for the act of love" when they try to borrow lube.
    • Averted with Codwell and Dooley, however, as they seem to have a very strong if awkward and creepy attraction once Josh and Melissa get them together.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: Subverted. After Danny and Melissa's night together, Danny starts worrying about how to provide for their potential baby... all the while ignoring Melissa, who's trying to tell him that there won't be a baby because she has an IUD.
  • The Oner: The entirely of the number "Tribulation" is shot in one take and is about 3 minutes long as Mildred circles the town square.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Miss Codwell has children tend bar, sleep in cages, verbally abuses them, and when Dooley Blight comes wanting meat, Codwell offers them up to be slaughtered. None of it seems to faze them in any way.
  • Out with a Bang: Melissa defiantly informs Doc Lopez that contrary to his way of thinking, his parents can and should have sex, and she'll help them expand their sex position knowledge. The scene then cuts to Old Doc Lopez's funeral as the Reverend gently announces to the congregation that the old man's heart gave out while performing the Egyptian hucklebuck.
  • Politically Correct History: Inverted and played with. Schmigadoon appears to be stuck in the late 19th century, with people of different colors who would not be allowed certain positions in real life, (not to mention the mayor being homosexual would have caused a huge scandal) but the magical nature of the town justifies elements of semi-modernity. Melissa chalks it up to Colorblind Casting.
  • Practically Different Generations: Emma, who is in her late twenties, is schoolteacher to her elementary school-aged brother. Subverted — this is a cover story as he is her illegitimate son.
  • Real After All: Naturally, Josh and Melissa assume this weird town is some huge role-playing tourist attraction. They even play on the "cliches" the townspeople embrace. It's when they can't cross the bridge and, more importantly, a leprechaun appears and vanishes before them that the pair realize they're stuck in some weird musical world.
  • Real Is Brown:
    • Relatively speaking. Flashbacks to Josh and Melissa's relationship in the "real world" are lit darker and without much saturation, in contrast to the bright artificiality of Schmigadoon.
    • In the season 2 finale the final shot ends with Josh and Melissa turning a corner in New York City and the screen going from desaturated to a more natural color balance signaling their dour state from the beginning of the season is starting to lift in the real world.
  • Ridiculous Exchange Rates: Parodied. These are musical versions of the 1910s and 1920s, so Josh and Melissa have more than enough money with anything in their wallets. How two out of towners came to so much money or the viability of 21st century currency is never questioned. Melissa manages to buy the services of a top-level defense attorney for $20. Kratt only pays $10.
    Melissa: Ten dollars? Girl, be corrupt but have some pride.
  • Romantic False Lead: Danny and Jorge for Melissa; Betsy and Emma for Josh. All four helped Melissa and Josh realize that they wanted to get back together and work on their relationship.
  • Running Gag:
    • Someone throwing a projectile will inevitably hit Pete, who will yell "Ow" offscreen, followed by "Sorry, Pete!"
    • Melissa saying "Yee-honk" to surprising developments.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Farmer McDonough catches Josh on a picnic with his daughter Betsy and forces him to propose at gunpoint.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Melissa asks why an old-timey musical town should be any weirder than Thor summoning Mjolnir.
    • Josh describes Schmigadoon as "if The Walking Dead were also Glee".invoked
      Melissa: You watched Glee?
      Josh: I was aware of it, yes.
    • A number of the dramatis personae of Schmigadoon are inspired by classic musical theater characters:
      • The leprechaun who explains the rules of the premise alludes to Og.
      • Farmer McDonough to Andrew Carnes, as the overprotective father of a flirtatious daughter who forces an outsider to propose to her with the barrel end of his gun.
      • Nancy shares her name with the female lead of Oliver!, though she's not as straightforward an homage as the characters listed above.
    • Anytime writing is seen on town signage or on Emma's chalkboard, it's likely a reference to Golden Age composers. Even something like a list of states and their dates of admission into the Union is a shout-out note .
    • Josh explains the Air Bud rule to Carson.
    • In season 2, a kidnapped Josh attempts to stall by using Air Bud as a parable (again) - after apparently doing so with The Goonies.
    • Melissa complains that their Schmicago room is like a season of American Horror Story. Notably, American Horror Story also re-used a Production Posse of recurring actors, as Schmigadoon and Schmicago do.
    • This exchange from "Do We Shock You":
      Chorus Girls: There's no norm we won't transgress; look, there's a man and he's wearing a dress!
      Melissa: I mean, I've seen every season of Drag Race so...
    • Shots of Schmicago exteriors in "Bells and Whistles" show buildings named for some lyricists and composers the season takes its pastiche from: Fred Ebb, Jerry Herman, John Kander, Stephen Sondheim, and Stephen Schwartz. Similarly in season 1 there is a shop called Hammerstein's frequently seen in the background, and the list of parent-teacher appointments in Emma's classroom includes parents with the names Willson, Berlin, Lerner, Loewe, and other golden-age composers.
  • Snow Means Love: Josh and Melissa first confessed their love to each other in the snow.
  • Stealth Pun: Melissa finds Dooley Blight, season 2's Sweeney Todd parallel, by following a clue to Quick Street. "Quick" is a synonym of "Fleet".
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: It turns out Melissa has somehow believed the term "dog eat dog world" is actually "doggy-dog world." Her logic is "dogs don't each other, it makes no sense!" Josh tries to argue how literally no one else on Earth uses that phrase but eventually gives up, even admitting Melissa's version makes more sense, but she still uses it.
  • Take It to the Bridge: The protagonists enter Schmigadoon by crossing a mysterious bridge in the forest.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Some of the townsfolk introduced in the first episode are named for musical theater men: Marcellus, Barnaby, Enoch, and Curly.
    • Betsy's sisters are all named after classic musical theater ladies: Laurey, Carrie, Nellie, Fiona, Cindy, and Tootie.
    • In season 2, the cabaret girls at the Kratt Klub are named after the orphan girls in Annie: Annie, Kate, Molly, Tessie, Duffy, and Pepper. The only exception is Elsie, who is named after a dead friend of Sally Bowles that is mentioned in the title song of Cabaret. This is because Jenny is based on Sally and Elsie's murder in the first episode drives the plot.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The Narrator sings "And also someone's gonna fry" before flipping a switch on a sparking electric chair. In the finale, the villain Octavious Kratt is electocuted when a chandelier is dropped on him.
  • Welcoming Song:
    • The eponymous song, "Schmigadoon!", where the townspeople welcome Josh and Melissa to the town and introduce some of the noteworthy folks.
    • "Welcome To Schmicago", the opening number of season 2.
  • Wretched Hive: Schmicago is essentially a few different flavors of this held together by a monopolistic energy mogul making it something of a Company Town. The most liveable place appears to be a hippie commune that looks like a junkyard.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Most of the chorus has unnaturally white base and very bright lip color and eye shadow to make them cute to the point of being offputting. Most of the leads and romantic interests are spared this, save for Mildred and Betsy who are borderline cases.

"Happy endings don't exist
But here's a pearl you may have missed
Every day can be a happy beginning."


"Get Out" in harmony

A pissed off Jenny and Topher sing at the protagonists to leave.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / GetOut

Media sources: