Well last night’s live version of The Sound of Music could be the best thing I watched on TV this year. It turned out to be such a horrible disaster that you couldn’t help but fall in love with it. While I could (more than) easily discuss the acting all the live long day, I’d rather focus on the plot. Because it turns out that this feel good’s story full of ridiculousness. Which only became more apparent last night when there wasn’t Julie Andrews’ voice or an actual set to distract you. So let’s walk through it and discuss it like adults.
The story opens in a very dark abbey. I don’t know if there was a sale at Yankee Candle or something, but these women seem intent on using candles to light the entire place. (Now I’ll admit this could be traditional, everything I know about nuns I know from Sister Act.) The nuns are seen walking around and trash talking Maria. Sure they’re doing it in song, but I think we all know that setting insults to music doesn’t make them any less insulting. How do you solve a problem like Maria? I don’t know. Maybe talk to her about them. But that could just be the adult in me speaking though.
Meanwhile Maria’s out and about making verbal love to the mountains. “The hills are alive with the sound of music…because I’m singing….in the hills…and that is music.” She returns to the abbey and Reverend Mother is all like, “so, um, I just got a call from God, and well, he thinks that you might not be the best, um, okay, how do I put this, the best representative of him.”
“Is it because I’m so full of music and life?” Maria asks back.
“No, it’s because you seems to have mistaken this abbey for a karaoke bar, and frankly no one can stand you. But on the upside, I’d like to sell you to a local man who’s looking for someone to watch his kids.”
“Sell me Reverend Mother?” Maria sang out.
“Yes and no. He’s agreed to pay you in curtains.”
“Oh well that sounds sounds swell then, I’d love to go!”
So Maria goes off to Captain von Trapp’s house with a smile on her face — completely oblivious to the fact that she essentially just got fired from an unpaid internship with the Church. La de dah do re mi, everything’s great.
Upon arriving at the von Trapp family mansion, Maria learns that her new boss only communicates via whistle. Which would be normal if he were a dog or a tea kettle. But seeing that he’s a grown man, it’s slightly off-putting. Naturally Maria tells him this right away. “I will not answer to a whistle,” she proudly says, “only to the babbling of a brook or the chirping of a bird or the wing of a butterfly.”
“You’re an idiot,” he says back to her, “yet I have a boner right now. Whistle me that.”
After beginning the long and tedious process of falling in love AND introducing her to his many children, he leaves for a trip. Because nothing says “negligent father” quite like leaving your children with a stranger who spent her money buying a guitar and not a change of clothes. While he’s away, Maria teaches the children to sing and how to be happy. Also how to wear curtains.
“But Maria,” Liesel surely confided to her, “as you may have noticed from our grand staircase, we’re very rich and can afford to buy clothes.”
“Nonsense,” sang Maria, “why waste money on clothing when there’s a perfectly good tablecloth in the cupboard. Why if you could see how happy Marta was with her dinner napkin skort, you would just cry.”