Oh, the haters were out last night for Carrie Underwood’s performance in The Sound of Music, broadcast live on NBC. But who cares if the producers couldn’t — as someone wished — dub her acting? It wasn’t about trying to best Julie Andrews. No one could (though I dare say that Carrie is the better yodeler). It’s about enjoying another version of an old favorite.
Was it comparable to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole giving us a new version of ”Over the Rainbow“ ? Hardly so, as there was no chemistry between the leads and Carrie’s lovely renditions had more pop power than subtle nuance. (My biggest complaint actually was that Rolfe was totally miscast, looking like someone out of Gold’s Gym, not Hitler-Jugend.) But Audra McDonald — despite being far too young for the part — was a Mother Superior to be reckoned with, and the rest of the cast performed delightfully.
And for all that was lacking in Carrie’s performance, when there were tears in her eyes you felt she was genuinely touched by what was happening on stage. Especially singing the lines “somewhere in my youth, or childhood, I must have done something good.” A pure heart shines through.
The other problem that the naysayers had? The Walmart commercials. One reviewer called the series of ads shown throughout the show — featuring a family with twelve children happily interacting with one another — “obnoxious.” Bah, humbug.
But who cares what the mainstream reviewers say? The big news is that the broadcast was a ratings success. It was the highest for a Thursday night NBC show since the finale of ER four years ago. And the show maintained more than 80 percent of its audience over the three-hour broadcast.
You hear that network producers? Families are dying for new, friendly content. We don’t need Lady Gaga with the Muppets (a ratings bomb). Give us well-produced, wholesome content and we come running. How about My Fair Lady next?
If you missed it, forgot to record it, or can’t wait for it to come out on video on December 17, check your local on-demand channel. My cable company currently has it for free.