Bring back the cast, we'll have a blast
Discussing the days of yore
Moments like these sell DVDs
(We need to sell more
We've only sold four!)"
Commentary! The Musical is a commentary track on the DVD version of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, where the cast - Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible), Nathan Fillion (Captain Hammer), Felicia Day (Penny), writer/director Joss Whedon, co-writers Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon, and several of the supporting actors - reunite to discuss the making of Dr. Horrible in the form of a musical featuring self-bashing songs such as "Better Than Neil" and "Ten Dollar Solo". The official lyrics and liner notes can be found here.
This may be the first and only DVD Commentary to earn its own TV Tropes page.
Commentary! The Musical contains examples of:
- Adam Westing: The cast & crew play exaggerated, more absurd, versions of themselves.
- Artist Disillusionment: The subject of Joss's song, which is so depressing it drives everyone except Neil out of the studio.
- As Himself: Everyone in the cast is pretending to be a version of themselves.
- Author Filibuster:
- Joss Whedon's songs (one about the writers' strike and the other about how DVD extras like commentaries and making-of features destroy the narrative of the original work) come off less like Take That, Us and more like plain old Take That!.
- Joss actually wrote most of the songs, including those two - which means a lot of the Take That, Us songs are all his fault. Or it could be bunnies.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: Nathan's reaction to the song about the Writer's Strike.Nathan: Say, that's a fascinating piece of information...if you're a boring person!
- Blatant Lies: Is Nate trying to say he's Better than Neil with his song "Better Than Neil"? No, no, no! It's just an old sea shanty his mother taught him! Because he's from pirate blood!
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: It's already a commentary, but when one song is entirely about the song itself Jed notes that it's like "breaking the ninth wall". ("It's pointless" - the only reason to include it is to show off.)
- Buffy Speak:
Felicia Lofty... Artness?
- Nathan manages an entire line of Buffy Speak in "Better Than Neil". Some of them make little or no sense:
- Catchphrase: Felicia Day's "I don't discuss my process!"
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Pretty much all the cast & crew come across as this.
- Comedic Sociopathy: The entire cast and staff are played as completely self absorbed and disinterested in anything other than expounding on their own amazingness and/or existential angst.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Felicia's song "The Art" is supposed to be about her serious, thoughtful approach to her craft, but is twice derailed by thoughts of Nathan's dreaminess.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a commentary and a musical.
- Fake Nationality: "A Persian or a Cajun/or an Indian or an American Indian/Played by a Mexican"
- "Why don't you sit in the corner over there by Steve and if we have time left over..."
- Also in "Better (Than Neil)", "Who's got the high score on Ninja Ropes?"
- Gag Dub: Commentary! is 38% funnier when actually watched as a commentary track over Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: After the first song is over and they're only "half-way through the first shot" Nathan panics and declares "We're all gonna die!" Maurissa slaps him and actually tells him to "get a hold of yourself".
- Hypocritical Humor:
- "We won't have those awkward pauses..." in the intro, "Commentary". Humourously, it's exactly synchronised with the other piece of Hypocritical Humor: namely, "Wow! Sarcasm! That's original!", and both are followed with awkward pauses - the one in Commentary! is much longer, though.
- Also, Joss commenting on the evils of DVD extras and how they ruin the original narrative, in an over-the-top DVD commentary musical, one of several DVD extras. Although it may have been the extreme overabundance of them that he was complaining about, rather than merely their use.
- The song "Nobody's Asian in the Movies" is commenting on a problem to which Joss Whedon's own TV series Firefly contributes.
- "I Am" Song: "Moist"
- I Banged Your Mom: In "Ninja Ropes", Neil "told you How I F*** ed Your Mother".
- I'm Standing Right Here:Nathan Fillion: But Maurissa, you co-wrote the movie. Why not just make yourself Penny instead of Monkey-Face?Felicia Day: I'm standing right here!Nathan Fillion: With a face like a monkey.
- It's All About Me: is actually the name of one of the songs - sung by the various extras, and explaining how it is, in fact, all about them...
- Last-Second Word Swap: "My wonderful me-ness, my hammer the pe-ople can tell that I'm awfully swell..."
- Lounge Lizard:
- Nathan Fillion turns the smarm factor up to eleven on "Better Than Neil".
- Simon Helberg is arguably an even better example with his song "Nobody Wants to Be Moist." He even has a tinkly piano solo!
- Metafiction: It's a musical commentary track on commentaries. It probably spends more time commenting about how it's not a very good commentary than actually commenting on Dr. Horrible. The most commentary-ish song is Felicia's 'The Art', but that's full of her Blatant Lies and Self-Deprecation. Neil finally attempts commentary in the penultimate song, only to realise he doesn't know anything about production and can't remember anyone's names.
- Money, Dear Boy: Zach's excuse for why he got involved in a musical product in the first place.
- Mundane Made Awesome: "Ninja Ropes", in the best possible way.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: Apparently, everyone involved in the making of ''Dr. Horrible''.
- Old School Introductory Rap: The song "Neil's Turn" has Neil Patrick Harris attempting this, with predictable results.Neil: And I can rap!My name is Neil,and I'm here to say:[five seconds of absolutely abysmal faux-beatboxing]...No, I can't rap.That was painful.
- Overly Narrow Superlative:Jed: Let's all pull together and make this the best musical commentary ever!
- Painful Rhyme: In "Nobody's Asian in the Movies," the line "groupie in the chorus" is rhymed oddly. At first, it's like this "if there is a part there for us/it's the groupie in the chorus" (for us/chorus). However, later on, you get "if your movie is a bore/just watch the groupie in the chorus", (bore, just/chorus)... "Commentary (Reprise)" lampshades this with the lyrics "The lazy phrasing betrays how well this pays".
- Race Tropes: Many are explored (and mentioned by name) in "Nobody's Asian in the Movies", including the stereotyped Asian who is a goofy mathematician, Korean grocery store owner, or ninja, or who speaks Engrish. "Me Love You Long Time" gets passing nod, too.
- Sanity Slippage Song: Just before "Neil's Turn", Neil drives everyone else out of the room in a fit of being The Prima Donna, but over the course of the song realises that not only can he not do the entire commentary himself, he can't think of anything insightful to say and he can't remember the name of the boom operator he liked. The music gets increasingly erratic and agitating, and he doesn't know where it's coming from, and the rhymes he thinks of as he struggles to keep up with it reveal thoughts about himself he's in denial about.
- Self-Demonstrating Song: "Ten Dollar Solo", as mentioned above, is completely about itself.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: One of the extras pays Joss ten dollars to get her own solo. Neil pays him fifteen dollars and changes the song into a duet.
- Shameless Self-Promoter: Felicia Day's mentions of her web series The Guild, which she works into her song "The Art":Felicia: But its not about The Guild
Id be killed
If I shilled
For The Guild
On somebody elses time
Then again, I sort of was killed
- Shaped Like Itself: In "It's All About the Art":Magic as a magic thing/And lovely as love
- To The Guild, How I Met Your Mother, Doogie Howser, M.D., One Life to Live and an iPhone game, among others.
- Stacy comments in "Ten Dollar Solo" that the remake of Fame will be better and less depressing than the original. Said remake is directed by Kevin Tancharoen, brother of Maurissa.
- In "Zack's Flavour" mentions that the musical doesn't need to be 'pretty' or 'witty'. Compare with the line from West Side Story (1961), "I feel pretty and witty and bright." from "I Feel Pretty". Or compare to The Producers 'Shows should be more pretty, shows should be more witty' from the song 'Keep it Gay'.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
- In Ten Dollar Solo:Ten dollar solo/not bad so far/there's internal rhyme/although not every instance/and the meter is occasionally a little bit bizarre
- And a painfully obvious one in "Better Than Neil":My wonderful me-ness/My hammer, the pe—ople can tell/that I'm awfully swell
- In Ten Dollar Solo:
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Immediately before "The Art", Felicia says "I certainly wasn't thinking about how cute Nathan is!"
- Take That!:
- Probably embodied best in Nathan's song, "Better Than Neil", a three-minute-long Take That! against the main actor Neil Patrick Harris. Although he claims that it's a sea-shanty that he learned from his pirate mother.
- "Songs can hurt like a fist."
- The previous comment is also said while, on-screen, the actor's character is being beaten up by the singer of the previous song.
- Of course, the song also implies that Nathan himself is either painfully jealous and in denial, downright delusional, or both, so it could be said to be mocking him just as much if not more.
- Take That, Audience!: "Hope you had fun / 'Cause now we're done / You've listened to every word / Seeing it through / Makes each of you / A huge f***ing nerd!"
- Take That, Us: The entire cast personally participates in putting themselves down at one point or another for humor.
- Joss Whedon is a cheap sell-out in between moping about exactly that.
- Zack Whedon is a particularly pathetic wannabe rapper.
- Neil Patrick Harris is a secretly megalomaniacal (and possibly bipolar) Attention Whore.
- Nathan Fillion is in denial about not being as talented as his costars. In the first song alone:All: Well talk about the writing
Well probably say Its great!
And the acting So exciting
Except for Nate
Nathan: I phoned it in.
- Felicia Day is a self-promoting blabbermouth in between desperately trying and failing to be deep and artsy.
- Maurissa Tancharoen thinks "math" is a verb.
- The rest of the cast severely overestimates their importance.
- Steve's Song has Steve Berg singing about how incredibly minor his role is.
- Nobody's Asian in the Movies - Joss Whedon has been slammed for the fact that Firefly had no Asian characters, despite being set in a culture heavily influenced by China.
- Felicia has a vestigial tail. Not That There's Anything Wrong with That.
- True Art Is Angsty: Parodied, of course. (With Self-Deprecation, as Joss Whedon is known for putting his characters through the wringer.)Neil Patrick Harris: An Internet musical is a wacky idea that's zany! Where did it come from?Joss Whedon: It came from pain.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: In Felicia's pretensions, anyway.Perfect, mysterious, comes from above
- What Could Have Been: Parodied in Zack's Rap.I wrote all the good lines and I made them funny,but I was only in it for the horrible money.Plus some were cut out, cause Joss is such a wuss hecut my line for the girl, The Penny is my p***y.Not to mention my whole Moist storylinewhere he gets caught selling blow at the rest stop and serves timeand then he gets out and tries to get his sh*t togetherand teaches art to underprivileged kids at the local high school, but things take an interesting turn when an old gambling buddy comes to collect. See, its his former life coming back to haunt him. You cant outrun your past. See? Get it? Thats the point, Joss. Its compelling! Whats going to happen to these kids?
- Writers Suck: Maurissa reminds the others that Dr. Horrible came about because of the 2007 Writer's Strike:Maurissa: Does everyone remember the Writer's Strike of last year?
All: I, er, um, er...
Felicia: ...what's the writers do?