January 23, 2022

‘Annie Stay!’ Is the Final Dying Breath of Really feel-Good TV

6 min read

It is a preview of our popular culture publication The Every day Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior leisure reporter Kevin Fallon. To obtain the total publication in your inbox every week, sign up for it here.

I feel, maybe, we’ve got reached peak “it’s good to look at one thing good” tv.

For some time, this was a vacation deal with. A demonically deranged Sound of Music? A Christmas reward. An unhinged Peter Pan? A winter hug. That Hairspray live performance? Nicely… that was truly good and I refuse to shade it.

However within the final two years (LOL at us now including an “s” to “12 months” whereas speaking about our COVID reality) issues that we eat from a degree of grace as a result of they’re cheerful and well-intentioned aren’t simply annual treats. They’re constants.

The Every day Beast’s Obsessed

Every thing we are able to’t cease loving, hating, and fascinated by this week in popular culture.

We’ve spent these—once more—years giving thanks for the diverting, healthful antidotes to our cynical, nihilistic existence. High quality doesn’t matter when the general public service is that this important: making us really feel pleased despite [gestures at the world] all of this.

And but, every thing has a breaking level.

Annie Stay! was an excellent model of the musical Annie. That isn’t meant as a praise.

We may convene a salon to debate the questions that this present brings up from a 2021 perspective. What’s Annie, if not authorities propaganda? Why can we reward Hamilton when Annie pioneered the thought of Cupboard conferences as a musical quantity? Who might be courageous sufficient to permit Daddy Warbucks to have hair? And, largely, how have we gaslit ourselves into considering Annie is an efficient musical?

That is the place the strain lies. I could make enjoyable of so many facets of Thursday night time’s Annie Stay! broadcast on NBC, however these issues are a difficulty with the fabric itself and, largely, to not do with the healthful enthusiasm with which the manufacturing was mounted. And, on this chilly December night time, it was a real hoot to snuggle into my throw blanket with a glass of wine and do as my sexuality compels: Assist Megan Hilty’s profession in any approach, form, or type.

It’s rewarding to see that “hate-watching” has advanced to “begrudging appreciation-watching.” These reside variations of Sound of Music and Peter Pan have been Sufferers Zero and One of many “hate-watching” phenomenon, the place folks tuned in with ravenous giddiness to mock and insult.

As an individual who adores musical theater and day-after-day needs he was proficient sufficient to do it, it’s a pleasure to have these reside musicals broadcasts, each for households to look at and for bitter homosexual males drunk and alone on their sofa. Once I scrolled by way of Twitter Thursday night time, I noticed folks poking enjoyable, certain. However it was largely within the spirit of “aren’t we fortunate that this even exists to make enjoyable of?”

The query stays, nevertheless, of how lengthy we are able to simply really feel fortunate, and never really feel owed. As in owed one thing good. Or how lengthy we’ve got to say, “Nicely, it was good to see one thing good,” when one thing like Annie Stay! airs, as a result of every thing else about our lives is so horrible.

I didn’t get pleasure from being confronted with my sleep-paralysis demon—Harry Connick Jr. in a bald cap—on this unassuming Thursday night time. I didn’t must reflexively applaud (from my sofa?) after essentially the most proficient musical theater refrain members within the trade sang a protest tune about Herbert Hoover. I didn’t must see Mrs. Pugh have her goals dashed as a result of Oliver Warbucks might be working by way of dinner and suppose, “I wish to know her story.”

And but, I cried. Sure, I cried whereas watching Annie Stay!. I’ve turn into a parody of myself.

Celina Smith, the younger lady who was forged as Annie, is astonishing. The fantastic thing about her efficiency although wasn’t simply the preternatural belting to “Possibly” and “Tomorrow”—which, to proceed my level about this being a worse musical than we bear in mind, each occur within the first 10 minutes of the present—it was within the stunning emotion and pathos she delivered to the e book scenes. Annie has a notoriously horrible script. That is an award-worthy accomplishment.

We’re all blessed when Nicole Scherzinger is performing for us. In some unspecified time in the future we are going to all must reckon with the truth that Nicole Scherzinger is the best entertainer of our technology. That she hasn’t been given the showcases she deserves is Hollywood’s personal embarrassment, however at the very least she makes a meal out of each morsel she will get. Do your self a favor and get hold of her efficiency as Maureen in Hire on YouTube. Google “Nicole Scherzinger” and “Phantom of the Opera” and put together to your jaw to drop. I can’t in good conscience advocate that anybody watch the TV-musical model of Soiled Dancing, however know this: She was in it, and gave the efficiency of a lifetime.

We’re all blessed when Nicole Scherzinger is performing for us. In some unspecified time in the future we are going to all must reckon with the truth that Nicole Scherzinger is the best entertainer of our technology.

I used to be impressed by simply what number of completely different characters Taraji P. Henson performed Thursday night time. I’m unsure which was Miss Hannigan, however she was having quite a lot of enjoyable and so was I. No matter there may be to say about Annie, “Simple Road” slaps, so we have been fortunate sufficient to see it carried out by Henson, Tituss Burgess, and Hilty. Megan Hilty, without end flawless. (Is there a task on this planet extra enjoyable to play than Lily St. Regis?)

The youngsters have been nice. That is 2021 Annie. Being precocious and capable of harmonize isn’t sufficient. Now we’re flipping. We’re doing aerials. We’re turning “By no means Totally Dressed With no Smile” into such a bop that Kevin is getting up and dancing together with them.

There’s a tune about New York Metropolis known as “NYC” that includes faucet dancers, a former contestant from So You Suppose You Can Dance, and who I can solely assume was a current Tisch grad belting for her life. It was a riot. It was lunacy. I might be singing it in my head each time I go away my condo for the following two weeks.

This stuff have been all… good. However Annie Stay! was dangerous. And I hate myself for saying it. I really feel like I’m not allowed to say it.

We’re nonetheless on this area the place we’re supposed to understand the hassle and intention of something like this. Every thing is darkness, and listed here are some proficient folks making an attempt to carry some mild.

Nicely, in the event that they’re so proficient then why isn’t the sunshine slightly brighter?

It is a messy overview as a result of I’m not even actually panning the present. I genuinely beloved all three hours of watching Annie Stay! on Thursday night time. When else are you able to cancel all plans since you’re about to look at Nicole Scherzinger jauntily whisper “we obtained Annie” and Taraji P. Henson reside her life whereas making a cartoon mess out of Miss Hannigan?

I’m simply extra interested in once we’re going to permit ourselves to have requirements once more. I’ve appreciated good issues for some time now. However sooner or later, Promoting Sundown isn’t a enjoyable distraction, it’s truly the worst present on tv. Emily in Paris isn’t escapism; it’s absolute trash made so that you can neglect you’re watching whilst you scroll by way of your cellphone. And Annie Stay! isn’t only a vacation occasion, however one thing value adjudicating as tv.

Then once more, who’s the asshole who’s going to write down the “That Annie Factor They Did on NBC for Households to Watch Collectively Was Unhealthy” piece? I assume, at this level, it’s me.

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