FLAK: No word can describe this – NBC Sound of Music Live Review

DISCLAIMER: We don’t actually hate Carrie Underwood, more the casting crew for casting a country singer to be part of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

Now let us begin…

Carrie Underwood’s occupation: professional butcher of Rodgers and Hammerstein musical numbers.

Do you know those TV movies that people make for ungodly reasons, and how awful they usually are? Well, NBC has added yet another one of those to the devastatingly long, nightmarish list, with the Sound of Music Live…

Broadcasted live on NBC on December 5, 2013, “The Sound of Music Live”, is an excruciating three-hour television adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical of the same name.

There are spoilers from this point onwards. But if you haven’t seen the Sound of Music yet you’re very late to the party.

If you haven’t, go watch it. That’s the Julie Andrews version. If you decide to watch this version, you’re sick in the head.

We start in the church of terrible choreography, run by the Broadway legend that is, Audra McDonald. They realise that the rebellious Maria (Carrie Underwood) wasn’t present during their prayer of terrible choreography. Yes, Maria is off in the hills of painted backdrops, artificial leaves, and fuzzy background noises. She sings the roaring theme song in a lower pitch, and with confusing facial expressions. “Oh, bring back Julie,” we cried whilst watching.

However, after a while, we did start to think that maybe even Julie Andrews wouldn’t be able to save this production.

In the mountain scene, we notice the background noise. An audible fuzziness can be heard in the background. Seriously, is no one listening to the thing with headphones on?

Probably not, because then they would have to hear Underwood’s singing.

Back at the church of terrible choreography and even more terrible lighting, we hear some of the sisters gossiping about Maria (not very religious of them),  under such dim lighting that we can’t make out any of their faces.

They belch out with queries on how to solve the difficult problem of Maria. The answer is, nothing can solve a problem like this Maria… and considering that they say that a lot in the song, they’re pretty correct. A word to describe this Maria; abhorrent.

So, Underwood is sent to the Von Trapp family, but not before flaunting the fact that she had permission to sing in front of everyone in the hallway like an obnoxious 2nd grader who just got a question correct in class, and, of course, not before a horrifically choreographed musical number.

At the Von Trapp house of orange lighting and bad marching, we sit through a painful scene of Underwood and the Captain (Stephen Moyer) who barely look at each other whilst acting (however, as this was live in the literal sense, Moyer probably purposefully didn’t look at Underwood so he wouldn’t get the giggles from her AWFUL acting).

We do get to meet the children.

After a slower tempo version (grr) of “Do Re Mi”, and we cut to the forest (with the tiniest slimmer of reason behind it), and witness a love affair thriving in the hills of painted backdrops, artificial leaves, and fuzzy background noises that Maria was poorly waltzing through at the beginning,  between Rolf (Rolf Gruber) and Liesel (Ariane Rinehart).

After butchering the musical number, they butcher yet another number in the bedroom, in which Carrie Underwood teaches the kids false-information on how thunder storms work (which – suprisingly, considering she wants to be a nun – didn’t feature something about how God creates thunder. Either that or we had given up at this point).

It is around this point that we meet Elsa (Laura Benati) and Max (Christian Borle). And it is around this point where the captain finds out that his children were singing, which causes him to fire Maria (which we cheered about). However, he hears the children singing to Elsa and forgives Maria (which we smacked our heads on the table about).

(We’re going to speed it up a bit now, or we’ll be ranting until the end of time.)

Elsa insists on having a party, but still pretends to have a headache so she doesn’t have to meet everyone.

One of the children (we can’t remember which one) starts dancing with Maria. However, the obnoxious Captain tells him he’s no good at it. So he dances with Maria himself. During the dance, they basically fall in love with each other, which causes Maria to go into a skitzophrenzic panic and run away.

The children sing a goodnight song, in which young Gretl (Sophia Anne Caruso) flaunts her inability to sing and also falls asleep in front of the fountain knowing that Daddy will just carry her to bed.

Maria sneaks away from the Von Trapp household… by going through a wall. Of course, the wall actually opened up to a door that leaded to the church, which is actually quite well done but we don’t like it.

McDonald, after hearing of Maria’s return and the fact that she no longer speaks to anyone, invite Maria to her office, where she sings a song. The song itself (“Climb Every Mountain”) sounds beautiful, mainly due to the fact that Underwood doesn’t sing in it. However, she is still in the scene, meaning we have to see her poor, cringeworthy reactions, which include a very, very awful attempt at crying.

With newfound determination, Carrie Underwood returns to the Von Trapp household (considering the clothes she was wearing though, we were surprised that she didn’t reveal that she’s going to start a new career as a Pan-American flight attendant). Elsa and Captain break up, Maria and Captain instantly kiss and the deafening background noises start to get louder and LOUDER.

They get wed to a song that mocks Maria. Meanwhile, McDonald doesn’t let Underwood become a narcissist and tells her that she’s beautiful. Hopefully she didn’t mean her singing.

After the wedding, Maria and the Captain go on a honeymoon and Max secretly signs the family up to sing in a concert without their permission, but ends up singing anyway so they can sneak out of the country.

After the concert, they don’t come back to claim the first prize, instead hiding in obvious spots. However, Nazi’s are awful at finding, so they are able to escape the country through the hills that were previously mentioned.

You see everything about this movie, from the sounds to the choreography to the lighting to the acting, is plain awful. The only genuinely good things about this movie are the lavish sets that they had (Though the backdrops were terribly cheesy) and Audra McDonald, whom sung beautifully. Also credits to the radiant Laura Benati.

But through the monstrosity that is, “NBC’s The Sound of Music Live”, you must praise them for attempting to show live theater on screen, which is a risky thing because many people today don’t listen to or even enjoy R&H music. However, they did butcher the production. We have not yet seen their newest adaptation (for obvious reasons), but we can only hope that  they have improved (obviously not with the part about celebrities singing musical theater)

Let’s make the conclusion short and sweet: watch Julie’s, not Carrie’s. Fact.

– KT & TJ

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