I've always maintained that titles matter more than people think, but I'm amending that to include that fine details do too.
On Schmigadoon! Season 1 Episode 3, the parody powers are out in full force, but you're liable to miss the best moments if you're not listening carefully to the lyrics.
In addition, Danny Bailey's headlong dive into the darkness of Carousel's themes and Florence Menlove's love lament are stand-out performances by Tveit and Harada, respectively.
Even more impressive than the musical talent we've already come to expect is the clever construction of this particular offering.
The opening flashback to the Nebraska "destination wedding" serves several purposes beyond some humorous anecdotes.
First, it establishes the relationship dynamic between Melissa and Josh as they develop from the magical candy couple at the start to the bickering hikers they become.
Melissa: Would've been nice if we'd danced together.
Josh: I know. But line dancing, wedding, the whole... I hate it. You know how much I hate it.
Melissa: Yeah, but you left me up there alone. Which I hate.
By leaving Melissa to dance solo, Josh chooses to put himself first, a choice he repeatedly makes as he tries to escape Schmigadoon.
Next, it introduces the "Froimsen Feeling" mythology that Josh co-opts to convince the townswomen to cross the bridge with him after he uses it to break off his engagement to Betsy.
Lastly, it demonstrates exactly how deftly Josh can deflect any discussion of marriage, something Melissa mentions after stumbling upon Betsy showing off her ring.
Their discussion about the three worst moments of the wedding throws back to Josh's comment on Schmigadoon! Season 1 Episode 1 about sharing dislikes. It's all so nicely connected.
Melissa: Granted, this place is a little insane.
Josh: Thank you. It's important to me that we can hate things together.
All that in what could've been a three-minute throwaway opener. See? Details!
I really appreciate that Melissa gets to play the expert on musicals, applying the tropes to their reality, as well as commenting quite astutely on several problematic aspects of the genre as well.
While Josh, unfamiliar with musicals, tries to apply real-world logic to Betsy's overt sexuality counter to her actual age -- whatever that is -- Melissa recognizes that women were often portrayed in very two-dimensional ways.
Josh: By the way, that girl is apparently much younger than she looks.
Melissa: Yeah, I tried to warn you. Have you not seen 'Sound of Music'? Liesl's sixteen going on twenty-nine.
The fact that every woman in town gathers to admire Betsy's ring -- and then not long later, lines up to cross the bridge with her suddenly-ex-fiancé -- lends a lot of credence to that stock style.
Oh, women were so underwritten in early musicals.Melissa
But then, in contrast, we get to hear from Florence Menlove, who truly loves her husband, who is truly not into women. At all.
My favorite line from Florence's solo is probably, "I wish I could free him/So I could finally see him/The way he truly is and let him shine."
Florence Menlove is a character wholly unique in the genre.
The closest I can come to making a comparison with canon is Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins, who is both subservient and subversive, or Nancy from Oliver!, who is tragically devoted to a man who is also incapable of loving her (although in total contrast to Aloysius in every other way).
Ann Harada, as Florence, gets to demonstrate some excellent comedic timing and cadence. She says more with a single blink than all the incredulous firemen in town could convey about lady doctors.
How are you finding your rooms at the Inn? I always use a long piece of string tied to the doorknob.Florence
And you really have to pay attention to her spoken lines because they have a way of ending up somewhere you don't expect.
But the true brilliance of the writing here is layered into the one ensemble number, "Cross That Bridge," which all happens to be titular (Ah-ha! Right?).
You probably caught and chortled a bit at the operatic delivery of, "It's not a metaphor/Oh no, it's something more/It's a literal bridge."
BUT! Did you catch the two verses of fatalistic feminine thinking blended into the harmonies?
Not only is there, "Every day you're hesitating/Is a day your looks are fading," but the truly amazing lyric line is, "All the gals who dilly--dally/End up dying in an alley." Seriously.
While Melissa's attempt to explain modern contraceptive methods to Danny illustrates that she hasn't completely given into the rules of engagement, it's Josh's complete disregard for Reverand Layton's advice that demonstrates that he really hasn't invested in the experience.
Josh: I'm stuck here because apparently there's no way for me to find true love. Whatever that means.
Rev. Layton: Well, the Good Book has something to say about that. True love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. In other words, it's a lot of work. So, it's probably not something you find. It's probably something you make.
The fact that he jumps on the idea that Emma Tate will be his ticket out of Schmigadoon proves true both his fears about his own inability to build a real relationship and Melissa's accusation that he can't be bothered to work on theirs.
Melissa: It's like you are incapable of doing anything but whatever takes the least amount of emotional effort.
Josh: For the record, I don't know how you define effort, but there was a huge dance number.
And this ties back to the Nebraska wedding where his own dislike of line dancing overshadowed any thought of Melissa's embarrassment.
So will his self-interest in wooing Emma Tate and getting out of Schmigadoon be enough motivation for him actually to work at a relationship?
Meanwhile, despite her setbacks at the picnic basket auction, Melissa seems to have found her way into the path of a very attractive medical professional.
At the recent virtual press day, creator Cinco Paul commented that the role of Doc Lopez (the younger) was written specifically for Jaime Camil and, considering the smolder he had cranked up as he made his entrance, I expect we will see some epic sparks between the doctor and his new nurse.
So... Josh and Emma, Melissa and Jorge? I feel like a square dance should make an appearance next week where the partners can swing around and switch a few times.
And where does this leave Danny and Betsy? Do they just fade into the chorus until the curtain falls?
How well did you pay attention to the details? Hit our comments with your favorite moments!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.