How I love you, ‘Schmigadoon!’

Apple TV+ musical comedy series returns for a second season

Casey Wiederhold, Associate Photography Editor

Musicals have overtaken my life since I was young, so it’s no surprise when I discovered the Apple TV+ series “Schmigadoon!” in 2021 that I would enjoy it. The series is a musical comedy with a continuous storyline, so you have to start from the beginning to understand what’s going on.

The first two episodes of “Schmigadoon!” season two premiered on April 5, and I immediately ran to my computer to watch. The episodes of the series run at about 30 minutes each, which is great for a quick watch in comparison to musical shows, such as “Glee.” “Schmigadoon!” takes viewers through different eras of musicals. The first season references the 40’s and 50’s with musicals such as “Brigadoon” and “The Music Man.” Season 2 takes us into the 60’s and 70’s eras of musicals, with the title of the second season referencing “Chicago.”

When I started episode one, I had lost interest at first. The episode displays a sequence of Josh Skinner (Keegan-Michael Key) and his now wife, Melissa Gimble (Cecily Strong) going through their life after finding true love with each other immediately following the ending of the first season. I did not enjoy just how long the sequence was, however, it was a good way to segue into the reasoning for finding Schmicago. Skinner and Gimble are struggling to conceive and so they now are searching for Schmigadoon to find happiness.

Upon returning to Schmicago, Skinner and Gimble are met with a “Pippin”-esque opening number with a narrator, voiced by Tituss Burgess, leading the way to introduce the pair to their new location. We get glimpses of most of the new characters, including Alan Cumming as a version of Sweeney Todd.

The opening number of the second season was better than the first seasons. I already am humming the lyrics to myself as I carry on with chores around my dorm. It’s a musical number that is not quite as bouncy and uplifting as one would expect it to be, but it sure is a catchy number.

The series is quick to introduce Jenny Banks (Dove Cameron) and the Emcee (Ariana DeBose), who are imitations of Sally Bowles and the Emcee from “Cabaret” Banks has one of my favorite songs of the first episode, a version of “Mein Heir” titled “We’re Kaput.” When “Schmigadoon!” references musicals, they do it right and have everything written as a parody of the original song. Cameron shines in the role of Banks, straying far from her Disney days and bringing the house down with this number.

The first episode ends with Skinner being arrested for the murder of one of Banks’ backup dancers. The creators had shown this in the trailers, so I knew there was a murder. But I’m excited to find out how the mystery is going to be solved. I love a little mystery in my shows because it makes them so much more enjoyable.

I did not hesitate to skip the autoplay and go right to the second episode.

The second episode opens with the narrator introducing viewers to Skinner being in jail and the possibility that he might be put into the electric chair for being accused of murder. From there, we are quickly introduced to Aaron Tveit’s character Topher, a direct inspiration from “Hair” and “Godspell.” Topher performs a power ballad about trying to find himself titled “Doorway to Where.”

I will take any opportunity to express my love for Tveit, but this musical number was comedic gold. This role of Topher is a turnaround from Tveit’s current role as Christian the composer in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.” I’m excited to see where he takes Topher and what else his character has in store, since at the end of the episode Skinner and Topher escape the jail on a bus.

Bobbie Flanagan (Jane Krakowski) is the bigshot Bob Fosse, “Chicago” inspired lawyer. Flanagan utilizes her beauty to sway the press into saving Skinner from the conviction that awaits him. I found Flanagan’s scenes to be comedic because the orchestrations in the underscore are seductive, as well as upbeat in certain areas.

Bringing the story back to Gimble, she now works at the club alongside Banks, the two become a duo that I find interesting. The two are polar opposites and Banks is the optimistic “I want to be a star” type of person, whereas Gimble just wants to save her husband.

I enjoyed getting to hear more of Strong’s vocals. She sang two songs in the second episode and I have a feeling she has more coming. Strong has a strong alto voice, something I love hearing because I am also an alto. I’m so used to singing the lower parts of songs and enjoy hearing them when other women sing the same parts I do.

The second episode dove more into the plot than the first one did. Since the first episode usually sets up the plot for what is going to happen. I have no idea who committed the murder in the series, but I know it was not Skinner and Gimble since they found the body. I love ‘Schmicago’ and can’t wait to see where the journey takes me.