The Five Most Excruciating Moments From Sound of Music, Live!


Last night, a total of 18.5 MILLION viewers tuned in to NBC’s Sound of Music Live! and if Twitter and our own liveblog was any indication, at least 18 million of those 18.5 million people showed up to hate-watch.

Sound of Music, specifically the 1965 film version, is an intrinsic part of our cultural nostalgia and is therefore something that a lot of us take pretty seriously (too seriously, if we’re trying to get real with ourselves and, YES, I am speaking with the royal “we”). The fact that American Idol winner Carrie Underwood and True Blood‘s Stephen Moyer were cast in the roles of Maria and Captain Von Trapp — the same roles made iconic by the effervescent Julie Andrews and swoon-worthy Christopher Plummer — almost seemed like a personal attack on our childhood memories. What are you going to do next, NBC? Reboot the vacations I took with my family as a kid and cast my parents with Blake Shelton and Allison Williams? JESUS H. CHRIST.

Of course, NBC is not going to do that (unless America really wants to see a movie about a mom and dad’s dull and inevitable rush to divorce) so instead they did the next best/worst thing and turned Sound of Music into a hokey “television event” for us all to watch and have a good time making fun of.

Unfortunately, they even failed in that. Sound of Music Live was bad, but it wasn’t fun bad. No one accidentally tripped into the fountain and none of the Von Trapp children went rogue with an impromptu dance solo during “So Long, Farewell” (although that Brigitta was an annoying fucking showboat, I’ll tell you that). Overall, it was mostly just long and arduously boring.

There were a few stand out terrible moments, THANK GOD. Otherwise all 18.5 million of us would have watched for nothing.

Here are your 5 most excrutiating moments from Sound of Music Live!:

1. Carrie Underwood and Audra McDonald duet on “Favorite Things”

Look, despite all my previous kvetching on the topic, Carrie Underwood is not a bad singer. In fact, she handled most of the Maria singing parts quite capably. That said, she’s a pop singer and putting her next to Broadway superstar Audra McDonald to have them duet was one of the the cruelest and most humiliating things I’ve ever witnessed.

2. “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”

Wow. Watching this as an adult makes it so much harder to ignore how mansplain-y and patronizing this song is. Not that it’s any less mansplain-y and patronizing in the 1965 version, but at least then Rolf and Liesl were in a beautiful gazebo.

Also: Look at Rolf in those shorts.

3. Carrie Underwood’s acting

Again, I’ll give Underwood credit and say that she’s a good singer (not my kind of singer, but still, a good singer). Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about her ability to recite lines with any emotion recognized by humans other than wide-eyed terror, which I guess is its own artistic choice.

4. The failed chemistry

Here’s the thing. When you look at the plot of The Sound of Music from another angle, what you get is the story of a badass, financially independent baroness whose fiancé leaves her for the nanny. (Yes, this is Jude Law and Sadie Frost all over again.) What makes it work, at least in the 1965 film version, is that Plummer and Andrews have such undeniable chemistry that you can’t blame them for ending up together. EVEN THE BARONESS DOESN’T BLAME THEM. (You can watch the 1965 version of the above dance scene here.)

In the NBC version, however, the Captain and Maria treated each other like two people who had just been set up by their parents and were going through the motions so that they could report back that they at least had tried. Of course, it didn’t help that the Baroness was played by Laura Benanti, who happens to have more charisma than Moyer and Underwood combined.

5. Welcome to Nazi Disney World

Nazis are a big part of The Sound of Music — no surprises there, but there was still something a little jarring about seeing a stage plastered in Swastikas on network TV. Then again, the Von Trapps ARE singing at a concert for Nazis, so it’s not like we can blame the set designer for taking creative liberties. We can, however, make fun of other things, like Nazis who spoke in clownish German accents and were all dressed like background actors from the “Zoot Suit Riot” video. (I laughed so hard when one started screaming “ZING! ZING!” instead of “sing.” So congrats, Sound of Music Live! You’ve made the Nazis funny.)

The MOST offensive part of that whole Hitler Party was actually Stephen Moyer’s rendition of “Edelweiss.” What. the. shit. was. that. I can’t believe we all gave Carrie Underwood such a hard time for being cast as Maria when we could have been making fun of Stephen Moyer instead.

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