Musical Monday: Fiddler on the Roof

Posted on October 01, 2007

Yes, it’s Fiddler on the Roof!

Sort of.

You see, neither of us had ever seen this movie and when it came time to pick a flick for our next entry, because it’s such a classic and because we can half-sing at least 3 of the songs already, we figured it would be a fun choice.

About 40 minutes into it, the expectant smiles on our faces began to fade a little and about 2 hours into it (with more than an hour to go), the look on our faces was more akin to one of horror.

Now don’t get us wrong, it’s a wonderful film. Really it is. And the songs are rich and intricate and beautiful and they mesh perfectly with the fantastic performances (especially Topol’s) and gorgeous cinematography. So, what was the problem?


Honeys, this was quite possibly the least gay musical ever committed to film.

There is nothing campy about this film. No Ann Miller shaking the blues away, no Judy in a shitty dress, no big production numbers, no Gene Kelly’s ass, and not a feather or sequin to be found anywhere. And (sorry Paul Michael Glaser fans) not one hot man to look at. Sure, Motel’s a big girl who seemed more excited at the prospect of owning a sewing machine than actually bedding Tzeitel, but even he couldn’t give us the big gay fix we needed.

Then there’s the subject matter. Are we, a couple of GoyBoys, really going to make jokes about pogroms and forced evacuations? Really? We’re bitchy, but we’re not that bitchy. And even if we were that bitchy, there’s not a lot of material there from which to craft laugh-out-loud jokes, not to our eyes anyway. We’ll leave the pogrom jokes to the Jackies and Sheckies of the world.

Not that this was a depressing film by any means. There’s certainly plenty of light-hearted moments and humor to go along with the fantastic songs and somehow, it even manages to make an ending that by all rights should be wrist-slittingly depressing into something a little uplifting. If you haven’t seen it, we recommend it . We just can’t find a way to make fun of it without being assholes about it.

So. Fiddler on the Roof. Great story, fantastic, hummable songs, many of which have become such an integral part of pop culture that you’ll be surprised how many of the lyrics you already know, beautiful cinematography, terrific performances. Unfortunately, it’s just about the most heterosexual musical ever made. If you came here for screencaps and bitchery, you’ll have to be satisfied with song clips instead.

Next week, since we’re starving for some feathers and sequins, we think it’s about time we dove into the Fred and Ginger pool, don’t you?



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