Schmigadoon season 2: a flopped follow-up

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Schmigadoon season two follows Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (Cecily Strong) back in their own lives, yearning for the reimagined world of Schmigadoon and their 60s and 70s inspired music. This time around, season two of Schmigadoon brings Josh and Melissa back into a musical world. Instead of the vibrant and upbeat Schmigadoon, the pair find themselves in Schmicago. Touching on some Stephen Sondheim, this season was expected to be dark, sultry and still a comedic follow on from Apple’s acclaimed comedy. 

Schmicago has its own set of rules with familiar faces playing completely different characters. Guided by a horde of dancers and a narrator (Tituss Burgess), the musicals of the 1970s have more sex and violence, which is very different from the wholesome town of Schmigadoon. While the tone of the town has changed, the overall comedic stylings hasn’t which leads to a bit of a mismatch on screen. While Josh and Melissa understandably have the best one liners, the rest of the characters seem a little misplaced in what the show runners were clinging to from the previous season. Rather than dive right into the gritty, dark comedy, season two of Schmigadoon feels as if it is being overly cautious with their genre change. 

One of the wonderful things about both seasons is how it showcases Broadway stars. Just like the previous season, the Broadway stars seem to be out in force and getting more chance to show off their vocal range. Jenny Banks (Dove Cameron) is a parody of Sally Bowles and Topher (Aaron Tveit) is a combination of characters from Pippin, Godspell and Hair. When these two come together, it almost makes up for the lacklustre songs and plot lines that are confused as to what they want to be. These two had a chance to shine in the previous season, and while they did, hearing them together will make viewers want more duets between the pair. 

Another great character must be Bobbi Flanagan (Jane Krakowski), a female parody of Billy Flynn from Chicago. Krakowski is magnetic whenever she is on screen, and her numbers are one of the most entertaining throughout the season. While Bobbi Flanagan isn’t shown much, her brief presence will leave a brilliant lasting impression.

The first season of Schmigadoon found a way to make characters feel new and refreshing, unfortunately the same cannot be said for Schmigadoon’s second season. Miss Coldwell (Kristin Chenoweth) is a combination of Miss Hannigan and Mrs. Lovett, while Dooley Flint (Alan Cumming) is clearly based on Sweeny Todd. While Cumming has one of the best songs, the show tries too hard to be too much like the musical’s they are parodying instead of making them more dynamic and original. Characters such as Emcee (Ariana DeBose) and Sergeant Rivera (Jaime Camil) barely get the screen time they deserve, and while they shinned last season, it’s a wonder why they weren’t shown more this season other than the final episode. 

In general, season two of Schmigadoon fails in comparison of the last season. Instead of loosely basing characters and settings from other musicals, season two gets lost in its own confusion. The writers had tried to put too many elements from darker musicals, and while those musicals are great on their own, they don’t work well when it’s all combined. The writers have gone for aesthetic over plot, which could have worked better had more effort been put into it. 

Jenny Banks, the character inspired by Sally Bowles, has to win the Most Valuable Character. She is integral to multiple plot points of this season, it’s just unfortunate that the character wasn’t used as much. Had the writers focused more on Jenny and her back story, the season could have been a much stronger season.


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