Galavant

‘Galavant’ S1 premiere recap: Time to man-up

KAREN DAVID, LUKE YOUNGBLOOD, JOSHUA SASSE

Isabella finds Galavant and whips him back into fighting shape. (Photo credit: ABC/Nick Ray via Disney Press Site)

If you watched tonight’s enchanting “Galavant” premiere, then you finally understand what all the hype has been about. There is so much to love about this magical show and this hour definitely beckons you back for more. One small taste and you are instantly hooked. So sit back, relax and enjoy our giddy ride into the colorful world of “Galavant.”

The series opens with “Galavant’s” addictive titular theme song. Since this sweeping song and hilarious expository opening sequence was cleverly used as the show’s trailer, most of us were singing along. Fans already knew that the evil King Richard literally stole Madalena away from the heroic Galavant. We were even aware of this fairytale’s modern twist: The brave knight solitarily storms the castle to rescue his beloved (Love how he just tells one of the guards to simply fall down. Silly little moments like that add up to the overall hilarious tone of this show. It is so gratifying to watch!), but Madalena chooses fame and fortune over love. Ouch! So poor Gal sulks away with his tail between his legs and ego brutally bruised. He spends the following year nursing his broken heart with an abundance of booze. That is until he receives a wake-up call.

Princess Isabella of Valencia seeks out Galavant. She finds him living in filth and cringes at the scent of his musk. He’s abandoned his knightly duties and spends his days wallowing. When Isabella begs Galavant for help, he tunes her out and denies her request. Come on Gal, heartbreak does not excuse bad manners. This respected knight has most certainly plummeted off of his pedestal, as we learn when Isabella and Gal reprise the theme song and explain how low Gal has sunken over the course of the year. The overweight, sluggish knight seems like a hopeless cause, so Isabella storms out in a frustrated huff. Meanwhile, King Dick still hasn’t been able to “do it” with his manipulative Queen.

Technically, King Richard is supposed to be the villain of the story, but you just can’t hate this guy. Timothy Omundson is a scene stealer as the clueless, goofy, childishly bullying monarch. Seriously, if Gareth was not constantly by his side and if the terrified young Chef did not feed him, we really aren’t sure how the King would survive. He orders executions just for the fun of it and rubs morose tragedies in his victims’ faces. He acts selfishly and without thinking. Ironically, he has chosen a Queen who is very calculated and controlling.

In many ways, Madalena is the real villain of this story. She breaks the hero’s heart, disregards her wifely and queenly duties by carrying on an affair with the jester, and she is constantly antagonizing her husband. Especially when she uses Galavant’s sparkling reputation as a means of knocking the King down a peg. When she retreats to her room with the jester, Richard expresses his disdain for Galavant with the graphic and catchy number, “She’ll Be Mine,” which vividly describes all of the sordid ways he’d like to dispose of Gal from decapitation to castration. Once the knight is out of the picture, King Richard believes he can finally have Madalena all to himself. Yeah, right. Nonetheless, the oblivious King sets a plan into motion.

As the rest of the episode reveals, Isabella has been blackmailed into luring Galavant into a trap back at King Richard’s castle. If she fails to do so, King Dick will kill her parents. The sweet and spunky princess really has no other choice. Unfortunately, when she made that promise, she didn’t realize how much she would end up liking the downtrodden knight who comes from a family of lovers. Nonetheless, she convinces Galavant that he will have the opportunity to kill the king and rescue his beloved Madalena if he helps her save Valencia. And with that, Galavant, his squire Sid and Isabella embark on “A Hero’s Journey.” When this cute song leaves our lackluster muffin-topped knight breathless, we know he’s in for trouble.

Galavant is totally broke, so they enter him into a jousting tournament to make some extra cash. As fate would have it, Galavant must defeat his archrival, Sir Jean Hamm (delightfully played by the ageless John Stamos.) Jean turns out to be a bit of a douche and he has a thing for telling “Yo Mamma” jokes. A little cheesy, but still hilarious. Gal is a hot mess, so Isabella buys him some time and whips him back into shape. Cue the stereotypical training montage!

In another fantastic Disney trend, our sweet Princess is badass. Gal is afraid of getting knocked down again, so Isabella sets him straight. “Any man can get knocked down. The hero is the man who gets back up.” You may expect to hear Chumbawunba’s “Tubthumping,” but what we get instead is so much better. Alan Menken has created the perfect “Eye of the Tiger” spoof, including cheeky lyrics listing all the animal parts needed to be victorious in battle. We really need a lyric video for this one because all the action overshadows this rockin’ track sung by Sebastian Bach. After Gal’s workout, Isabella buys some extra insurance and gets Jean totally wasted. The result is the funniest and least action-packed joust ever.

In a very realistic moment, Galavant trained so hard that he can barely move. Luckily, Jean is too drunk to be any better. Two knights in shining armor creep towards each other at a painstakingly slow pace. First one on his feet is the winner. Gal musters up enough strength to stand and wins the joust in the lamest way. Isabella gleefully jumps on him in celebration. Gal is beginning to feel like himself and is eager to take down the evil king. Speaking of King Dick…

As the Chef spoon-feeds Richard his meal like a baby, Gareth suggests that it is time for the King to man-up. Maybe then Madalena won’t be so turned-off by him. Gareth takes the king to his room, a room so masculine that it smells like testosterone. When Richard asks Gareth for a hug, we learn that the last time Gareth hugged a man it was his father and he squeezed him to death. Whoa! Don’t mess with Gareth. Vinnie Jones is so stellar in this role, it feels tailor made for him.

That night at dinner King Richard tries to be butch. He takes charge of conversation, drinks ale, burps…basically acts like the polar opposite of his girlie self, but it makes no difference in the end. Madalena opens up about her troublesome childhood and the heartache she overcame when her pet goat was slaughtered for dinner, but she’s still a big fat meanie. After the heart-warming-ish, “Maybe You’re Not the Worst Thing Ever,” we think there may be hope for the King and Queen, but she crushes his dreams. Madalena warned him not to make her hurt his feelings. Heartbroken, King Richard runs into the arms of the only person he can trust: Gareth. Jones and Omundson’s hug is disturbingly sweet! You can tell that Gareth has a soft spot for his king and that is an endearing quality in a henchman.

We also see feelings blossoming between Isabella and Galavant. Will her betrayal get in the way of their potential romance? Will Gal continued to be blinded by his love for mean Madalena? Will King Richard ever win Madalena’s heart? Will the evil King’s plan prevail?

Keep tuning in to find out! “Galavant’s” extravaganza continues next Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC. Catch an encore broadcast of the premiere Saturday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m.

What did you all think of “Pilot” and “Joust Friends”? Are you in love with this phenomenal show? What was your favorite line/moment/song/joke/dance/scene? Are the songs already playing on loop in your head?

Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more scoop. Congratulations to the cast and crew for an extraordinary premiere knight! This is one of the most captivating, charming and talented casts on TV. The singing, dancing, acting and comedic timing is all brilliant! We really hope to see more “Galavant” extravaganza events in the future.

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