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Date Posted: 06:53:16 10/10/12 Wed
Author: cjl
Subject: Heroes and Villains (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog; spoilers)

Hi guys. Long time, no see.

I don't know if anybody else saw the Dr. Horrible special on the CW last night. I'd never seen the online webisodes, so outside of knowing the general story outline and the main actors, I was completely unfamiliar with the series. I was exepcting a light-hearted parody of the superhero genre.

But this is Joss. I should have known better.

The dark turn at the end completely surprised me. But in retrospect, it was almost inevitable. Because I now realize that--aside from playing around with the usual genre tropes--Joss was asking some serious questions with this concept: What makes a hero or a villain? What do we as a society hold up for adoration? What makes a person truly evil?

In the beginning, Billy/Dr. H. was a screw-up, a joke of a would-be supervillain, but he wasn't necessarily eeeevil. He was more of a disillusioned idealist, someone who'd had a bellyful of society's idiocies and wanted to destroy the Machine. His warped idealism echoed against Penny's purer, small-scale ambitions, and they developed a tentative rapport. Very sweet.

Then Captain Hammer came charging in, and it all went to hell.

The Captain was the definition of deceptive packaging. He looked like a Marxist's dream of a proletarian superhero--denim pants, muscle tee, industrial gloves and boots. But he was a vain, condescendng jackass, incapable of any love but self-love, contemptuous of the people who worshipped him. He was everything that Dr. H. hated about society in one obnoxious package, and when they had the confrontation in the laundromat, Billy/Dr. H. had a focal point for all of his rage.

It's only logical, of course, that Billy couldn't pull the trigger on his death ray and the "good" Captain could do it with no problem.

Who was the hero and who was the villain?

But once the Captain did pull the trigger, the world turned upside down. Billy got everything he ever dreamed of--and lost it, at the same time. When Penny died, the last of his idealism died with her, and he willingly became the newest celeb du jour of our shallow, media saturated society, soaking in the money, babes, and power.

The League of Evil had its newest star. Billy was gone, and he was truly Dr. Horrible.

I could waste time praising NPH's maginificent singing, and how Nathan Fillion raised preening to an artform, but that's probably been said elsewhere and often. I'm just going to close out by saying how good it felt to see the Mutant Enemy monster ("Grrr! Arrgh!") staggering across the screen again. Been awhile.

Peace, everyone.

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