TV

This Haunts Me: Shaggy as Sebastian in "The Little Mermaid LIVE!"

Who forgot his claws? Was it you, Shaggy?!

ABC13 Houston

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.

Music Lists

12 Black Indie Musicians to Support on Bandcamp Today

Bandcamp is waiving revenue shares today, and you should support POC artists.

Today is another Bandcamp Friday, meaning until midnight tonight, the platform will be waiving revenue shares and letting artists take 100 percent of profits.

Now more than ever, as Black Lives Matter protests occur around the world, it's extremely important to lift marginalized voices. The music industry has repeatedly erased Black voices throughout history, despite the fact that most mainstream genres were invented by Black people.


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FILM

The Best LGBTQ+ Movies to Stream This Weekend

Celebrate the passing of the Equality act with these six films.

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a historic civil rights bill protecting the LGBTQ community.

The Equality Act extends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, including employers, landlords, and public accommodations such as restaurants and hotels. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "No one should lose their job because of who they are or who they love." While it's yet to be seen if the bill will pass through the Republican-controlled Senate, The Equality Act is the first step Congress has made to elevate the rights of the LGBTQ community to equal importance as racial equality and religious freedom.

Celebrate the groundbreaking bill by watching the best LGBTQ films available to stream right now.

Blue Is the Warmest Color (Netflix)

Nominated for a Golden Globe, this 2014 French coming-of-age film follows two teenagers as they meet and fall in love. Adele (played by Adèle Exarchopoulos) is a dissatisfied teenager who meets an older art student, Emma (played by Léa Seydoux). The film is celebrated for its emotional intensity, as the two form a life-changing bond.

Blue Is The Warmest Color - Official Trailer youtu.be


The Handmaiden (Amazon)

Based on Sarah Waters' novel Fingersmith, Park Chan-wook's adaptation is set in Japanese-occupied Korea. Sook-hee is a young pickpocket who's hired to become a Japanese heiress' maid. They begin a dramatic affair that challenges their families' and society's expectations.

The Handmaiden - Official Trailer youtu.be

Kiki (Hulu)

This documentary explores New York's ballroom and voguing culture (a.k.a the "Kiki" scene). A worthy complement to 1991's celebrated documentary Paris Is Burning, Kiki features several LGBTQ youths of color expressing themselves in New York's drag scene in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kiki (2016) - Trailer youtu.be

Carol (Netflix)

Set in 1950s Manhattan, Carol captures the torrid relationship between a young aspiring photographer, Therese (Rooney Mara), and an older woman in the midst of a divorce, Carol (Cate Blanchett). Based on the 1952 romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, the film features some of the best performances of 2015.

Carol Official US Trailer #1 (2015) - Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett Romance Movie HD youtu.be

Appropriate Behavior (Amazon)

Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, The Bisexual) debuted in 2015 when she wrote, directed, and starred in this feature about a closeted bisexual Brooklynite. The comedy follows Shirin (Akhavan) struggling to appease her traditional Persian family while trying to save her relationship with her girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson).

Appropriate Behavior Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Comedy HD youtu.be

G. B. F. (Netflix)

Darren Stein's teen comedy stars Michael J Willett as Tanner, a gay teen who comes out of the closet and instantly becomes the most popular boy at his suburban New Jersey high school. Everybody wants to claim him as their "gay best friend." Natasha Lyonne plays an encouraging teacher while Megan Mullally plays an overbearing mother. The film satirizes the notion of objectifying gay people as a trendy symbol while depicting Tanner's genuine, enduring friendships.

G.B.F. Official Trailer 1 (2014) - Natasha Lyonne, Evanna Lynch Movie HD youtu.be


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.