Who forgot his claws? Was it you, Shaggy?!
Today's greatest threats to civil society may be climate change, the 2020 presidential election, and live versions of Disney musicals.
Despite the combination of curiosity, nostalgia, and skepticism that keeps viewers tuning in to ABC's live productions of musicals, it's not like we like them. Are we entertained? Surely, but for all the wrong reasons. When The Little Mermaid Live! aired last night, Twitter was interested in how the 1989 beloved classic would be staged before an audience. After all, it's been 30 years since songwriters Alan Menken and Howard Ashman gave the world "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl," and "Under the Sea."
What aired was a bogus bastardization of Broadway musical numbers, creepy puppeteering, and a watch party of the original animation, as the "live" musical was a disjointed mix of animated clips and live performances. Even with Queen Latifah breathing life into the production with a sonorous performance as Ursula and a decent, if pitchy, showing from 18-year-old Auli'i Cravahlo (Moana), ABC's constant commercial breaks advertising the upcoming Disney+ streaming platform made it clear that the whole production was just "the most expensive Disney+ ad" made to date.
But above all, what cannot be unseen is Shaggy's role as Sebastian. Yes, the officious, suck-up crab and side kick who represented every nerdy teacher's pet who tried to sit with the popular kids in the cafeteria but ended up a tattle tale by recess. Most notable about his performance as the iconic crab was the fact that Shaggy, rather than matching the staging and rest of the cast's costumes, simply wore red pants and a red, boxy faux leather jacket. Some viewers saw Michael Jackson from Thriller ghost-walking along the bottom of the sea and haunting Ariel, while others saw Shaggy doing a good job playing Sebastian if Sebastian were a 51-year-old philandering reggae singer.
Queen Latifah strutted across the stage with full tentacles, Cravahlo was rendered immobile by Ariel's fish tale for whole scenes, and, oh yeah, children dressed in full red crab costumes scuttled across the stage during John Stamos' harlequin rendition of Chef Louis's "Les Poissons." But Shaggy apparently got a pass.
To be clear, ABC's resident costume guy, Robert Mills, came to his own defense. (Apparently his title is "senior vice president of alternate series, specials, and late-night," but realistically, all we know him as is "the crab costume guy" now). Mills tweeted, "For those wondering, Shaggy wore crab claws in early rehearsals and it looked ridiculous." Then he answered public demand by tweeting a photo of Shaggy wearing the claws behind scenes, closing the loop of the masochism and cartoonish hellscape that is modern entertainment on ABC.
What's worse than Sean Spicer, Trump's former Press Secretary and traitor to the American public, being cast on ABC's Dancing with the Stars? Sean Spicer remaining on Dancing with the Stars because of Trump's encouragement to get his 66.5 million Twitter followers to keep voting for him. And you know what's worse than that? Shaggy cast as Michael Jackson playing Shaggy as Sebastian.
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Cats in tuxedos are here to lend you their strength.
2020 is on fire.
From the COVID-19 pandemic to the racist police epidemic to freaking murder hornets, let's just throw 2020 out. Yes, the entire year.
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These great live-action Disney movies could be just over the horizon.
Disney's all about two things right now: live-action remakes and sequels—or, whenever possible, doing both at the same time.
But eventually, Disney's going to run out of beloved, animated classics to drag into the real world. Luckily for them, we've composed a list of some of our best live-action Disney movie ideas, which they're welcome to mine when the ol' well of hackery runs dry. All we ask for in return is a mere footnote in the credits. So while you recover from the live-action Lion King and wait for the live-action The Little Mermaid and then the live-action Mulan, keep in mind that these great Disney movies could be just over the horizon:
Live-action Frozen isn't a matter of "if" so much as "when." It's happening, and when it does, you can bet your bottom dollar that the casting choices are going to be controversial. After all, who could Disney possibly cast as Olaf? Josh Gad would be far too big for the Olaf costume, so he's not an option. They could probably get Peter Dinklage to do it, but he most likely wouldn't want to denigrate his career like that. Maybe they could size Olaf up a lot and cast John Cena, but at what point would he go from "goofy mascot" to "snow golem that must be destroyed?"
Live-Action Toy Story
If you think the costumes in the live-action Cats movie-musical are horrifying, just wait until you see what live-action Toy Story has in-store. Woody will be played by Chris Pratt, and all of his limbs will be slightly elongated with CGI. He'll also move around with a palsied limp to emphasize that he is, in fact, a floppy doll. Buzz Lightyear will, of course, be Randall Park with all of his articulated joints portrayed through makeup. The scene that will truly show how far technology has come will be the one where Andy, a real child, picks up both Chris Pratt and Randall Park and throws them around the room.
Live-Action Finding Nemo
Live-action Finding Nemo is just a live stream of a fish tank. It's kind of like the Yule Log but branded by Disney, so there's a lot more merchandising potential. Children will delight in watching their favorite fish like Nemo and Dory and Firefly (that's the name your kid gave to the small yellow one, and you don't have the heart to tell him it's not canon) swim around the tank and eventually die. Don't worry though, they'll be replaced.
Live-Action Beauty and the Beast II: Lumière's Revenge
Everything ended happily ever after for Belle and the Beast, but not so much for poor Lumière. Now caught between two identities––that of a sentient candle and that of some average Frenchman with a feather duster fetish––Lumière decides to seek out the witch who cursed him in the first place and force her to turn him back into a candle. But with no leads on how to find her, Lumière seeks help from the only person he can: his old pal Cogsworth. Ewen McGregor reprises his role as Lumière, but Ian McKellan has bigger projects so he's been replaced with f**king James Corden.
Live-Action The Little Mermaid II: Enter the Multiverse
In this long-awaited sequel to the live-action The Little Mermaid, Ariel enters a riptide wormhole or whatever and ends up in an alternate version of The Little Mermaid where Ariel is Asian. THEN, black Ariel and Asian Ariel enter another wormhole and meet Muslim Ariel. This continues until they gather up a whole group of minority Ariels to stand up against an army of very angry middle-aged white dudes who are outraged over the ethnicity of a character in a movie for children. But who is the mysterious red-headed cartoon lady leading the outraged dude army, and how can the Ariels possibly defeat her?
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