Schmigadoon, the hilarious parody on Apple TV+, is aimed at those of us who adore musical comedy.
Created by Den Kaurio and Cinco Paul, the team behind the Despicable Me franchise, it’s introduced by a bickering young couple: Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key). They’re physicians who hope to re-spark their romance by embarking on a ‘relationship retreat,’ featuring a backpacking trip deep into the woods.
Suddenly and inexplicably, they find themselves trapped in a whimsical, candy-colored realm – a magical town called Schmigadoon – inhabited by jubilant singers and dancers.
The atmosphere is wholesome, squeaky-clean and defiantly sexist. They’re warmly welcomed by the Mayor (Alan Cumming) and sternly criticized for traveling together before they’re married by the prim ‘n’ proper preacher’s wife (Kristin Chenoweth).
A lusty farmer’s daughter (Dove Cameron) flirts with Josh, while a sullen carnival worker (Aaron Tveit), who operates the Tunnel of Love, is smitten with Melissa.
Delighted Melissa is eager to sing along, but dour Josh is not. “You know how much I hate musicals,” he complains. “People don’t just burst into song in real life.”
But they can’t leave – according to the local leprechaun (Martin Short) – until they find true love.
If you’re a musical comedy fan, you’ll recognize references to Brigadoon, Carousel and Oklahoma! Plus allusions to Finian’s Rainbow, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Annie Get Your Gun, The Music Man, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and The King and I…the cream of the ‘40s & ‘50s crop.
Plus, there are appearances by Jane Krakowski, Jaime Camil, Fred Armisen, Ann Harada and lisping Liam Quiring-Nkindi.
With experience in sketch comedy, writers Bowen Lang, Ariana DeBose, Julie Klausner, Allison Silverman and Kate Gersten are devilishly clever, while director Barry Sonnenfeld, producer Lorne Michaels and choreographer Christopher Gattelli keep the joy brisk and bubbling.
FYI: If the concept seems familiar, perhaps you’re remembering the movie Pleasantville (1998).
On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Schmigadoon! is a satirical 8 – a six-episode summer trifle on Apple TV+.