On the show, Perfect Harmony, one of the characters exclaims holy crap at one point, and that is what I was thinking too, but for different reasons. Okay, quick premise. Music teacher takes over small-town church choir and gets them to pull together. That’s what I knew before the show started, and while I don’t want to discount the Glee factor, it’s a half-hour comedy show. Nope, I went with cancellation as my prediction.
Then I watched the show. The premise is a bit more involved than that, but not much. First, the music teacher lost his wife, he brought her back home to be buried in her small town, and now he’s ready to kill himself rather than go on. However, just as he reaches for a bottle of pills, he hears a REALLY bad choir singing and playing the piano, and he refuses to die with that as his final listening experience. He goes in, tries to tell them what to do, and then passes out. When he awakens, he finds them all hoping he’ll use his music expertise to help.
Second, it turns out that in addition to all of the choir being a bunch of misfits, another choir always wins a local competition every year. And it just so happens that the pastor of that church refused to let the wife be buried in his cemetery, so the music director decides to stick around and help the choir try and beat the other choir out of spite.
If this was a movie, you’d see it be a struggle for them to all come together and then finally in the end, they would win it all by learning some lesson about love, and friendship, and believing in themselves, or some equivalent ridiculous crap. Probably with some quiet church mouse rising to the occasion and singing her heart out like never before. But this is TV, so more like Glee, or a dozen other shows, it would normally take a whole season of practicing, with some setbacks, etc., until the end, when in the last couple of episodes it would almost come together, maybe some dark betrayals, maybe some tears, and then a final win near the end. This show? They get ready for a show in 20 minutes of air time, including some rehearsals, go on stage, do their thing, and sing a song the music director never ever heard them sing before. He’s totally bewildered.
Bradley Whitford plays the music director. I loved him in West Wing. I liked him in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He blew me away in The Mentalist. Fantastic, creepy. But some of his comedic attempts leave me wanting less. He needs a really good comic partner, and the shows don’t tend to give him one. And he is TERRIBLE here. He’s funnier when he plays it straight, and terrible when he goes for humour.
Anna Camp plays the simple leader of the misfits, and piano player. A single mother, she’s all rainbow and sunshine. And while I haven’t seen her work much on True Blood, she’s okay here. Except when she sings. She’s not BAD, it’s just the whole choir is a totally different group when singing — like they all have two roles, one while talking and one while singing, and they’re not the same characters. And not in the sense of “let it go”.
Other members of the choir are played by Tymberlee Hill, Will Greenberg (Abby’s), Shanice Williams, Rizwan Manji, Dominic Burgess, Desi Dennis-Dylan, and Geno Segers. They’re all good, but hard to tell if they will hold up over time.
But I’m lost. 21 minutes after the opening, they’ve had their first competition and it’s over, and they’ve invited the music guy to stay. But what’s the premise? Where does it go after the competition?
I have no idea. And I don’t really care either. There were a couple of mildly amusing lines, but that was it.