Sunday, February 24, 2013

Truth in Dr. Horrible

After watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog for the first time, I sat for several minutes, trying to absorb everything and saying things like "That was really weird.... I don't understand..." A few years and a couple re-watchings later, I can identify the parts that make it a story I love as well as one that leaves me unsatisfied. And I think that's the point.

It's about a man who, disillusioned with the appearance of "good" in the world, has decided the best way to fix things is to become an evil genius. The problem is that he's got too much good inside of him. He falls in love with a girl who helps the homeless. He won't have an evil showdown with someone in a park, because there might be kids there (also, because Johnny Snow isn't actually his nemesis.) His real hatred is concentrated on the face of "good" that only masks a bully. By the end of the story, we're left wondering who's really the hero (if there is one), what constitutes good and evil, and whether people can actually do anything about it.

My favorite song in the show is called My Eyes/On the Rise. It shows the world through the viewpoints of Billy, also known as Dr. Horrible, and Penny, the girl of his dreams. To him, everything is crashing to the ground. To her, it looks like the world might finally be changing for the better. Neither of them are right.

What am I getting at? The story is meant to leave people hanging. There's not a happy ending, though you could say that Dr. Horrible got everything he wanted. I think the point at which the story turns for me, where a lot of the conflict lives, is in that song. Some people see good everywhere. Some people see evil everywhere. But people accomplishing both good and evil live alongside each other. Sometimes they're mistaken about which side they're actually serving, maybe because they don't fully understand the world.

There are so many viewpoints and so many arguments that some call what is good, evil, and what is evil, good, and can get away with it. Perceptions of truth are so warped that people can't see what's actually happening. They're blinded by ambition, or a mission, or even love.

Dr. Horrible, in a humorous way, calls attention to some of these things. There's not an intended Christian message, but I think the story can give Christians a lot to think about. We believe in good and truth. Why can't others see it around them? It's a broken world. Lots of evil has been done trying to fix it. What can we do about it? Since we claim to serve good, let's do good. Let's give reason for hope. And let's stick close to truth, or we may find ourselves pursuing something lesser.

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