Unfortunately for Carrie Underwood, it seems that her performance in NBC's live version of The Sound of Music was doomed to fall short of the original film starring Julie Andrews. Shocker — an Oscar-winning film can't be recreated in earnest by a pop star and the guy from True Blood. But it wasn't just a lack of acting ability — sorry, Carrie — or our inability to stop picturing Stephen Moyer secretly draining the townspeople of their blood while Underwood's Maria sings to the von Trapp children (seriously, where was he for most of the first half in which she's supposed to be falling in love with him?), it was the many ways in which the contemporary production seemed almost more old fashioned than the film that came out in the '60s.
Of course there are some elements that just aren't fair to compare: It wasn't exactly possible to find Underwood spinning, Andrews-style, in a field of wild flowers atop a hill so beautiful, you'd think it was drawn in a Disney movie. It was a live broadcast, after all. Sound issues don't exist on a large scale film production once it has reached its audience, and yes, NBC's production hit some bumps, but again: live TV, people.
But even when taking those elements into consideration, the stark contrasts between our favorite version and the version we watched with morbid curiosity are considerable and definitely worth pointing out with brutal honesty.
The Julie Andrews Pixie Cut
Throughout the NBC version, Underwood seems as if she's trying to convince us she's worthy of the words and songs she's uttering, but the wonderful thing about Maria von Trapp is that she knows everything she's saying is correct. Andrews' Maria knows it and her no-nonsense haircut knows it too. Plus, she gets to wear awesome hats that would have made Underwood look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
Maybe if Underwood had gone a little Jennifer Lawrence for us, she would have appeared more like the feisty Andrews' Maria and less like someone whose inner monologue throughout the show consisted of one sentence: "Am I doing it now?"
The Captain Was a M-A-N
Christopher Plummer's Captain von Trapp is the only we'll ever need, as far as I'm concerned. First, he looked like he was old enough to have all those identically-dressed children and he was still incredibly handsome. Second, his suits actually fit him. Third, he's actually in the movie looking longingly at Maria during all those Act 2 moments when he's supposed to be falling hopelessly in love with her. Finally, when he finally kisses her, he does it as if an entire hot spring of pent-up passion is bubbling up inside of him, but he's manages to keep it to a soft, tender, romantic rumble.
Moyer looks like someone off camera is yelling frantically into an ear piece with instructions on how not to kiss a woman like you might also eat her entire face out of an anger one can only assume is built on hunger.
Lastly, Plummer sings "Edelweiss" like a damn M-A-N. It's called strength in vulnerability, folks. Try some. You'll like it.
The von Trapp Children's Uniforms Were, Well, Uniform
The only discrepancy was the fact that Liesl's dress was far more form-fitting that her siblings' were, but when you're wearing white stockings and a sailor suit that goes down to your knees, you can get away with showing off a few curves.
See Also: Liesl Was More of a Badass
When she was singing "16 going on 17" with Rolf, she wasn't naively hanging out in the forest at night where wild animals and danger abound. No. She was on her father's ridiculously beautiful property, stealing away from the rain and dancing like she was Ginger Rogers and Rolf was Fred-freaking-Astaire. No rolling down a hill in place of waltzing here, folks.
But more importantly, Liesl wasn't just a badass on the dance floor, she was the one breaking the rules. She was the one leading the romance. In the 1965 version, while Rolf is singing to Liesl about taking care of her while simultaneously pushing her away out of respect for her father (excuse me while I ralph a little in the corner over here), Liesl is totally playing him. He thinks she's a naive little girl, so she plays right into that and in the end gets exactly what she came for: a super romantic moonlit dance and a little kiss. Get it, girl.
The NBC Liesl, in the year 2013 mind you, was all too happy to be exactly the naive girl Rolf sings about. For shame, modern woman. For shame.
Laura Benanti's Baroness Wore It Better
The funny thing about the original film is that The Baroness' clothes were always slightly awful and by the end of the film, I found myself wishing for the billowy white shirts and corsets that Maria was rocking, despite the fact that I'd probably look like I was working the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. Benanti, however, looked stunning in absolutely everything she wore as the Baroness. Damnit, woman. Aren't we supposed to dislike you for being a wet noodle on this whole Nazism thing?
Where Are These Hills You Sing Of, Young Carrie?
I distinctly remember the NBC set having one, singular hill used for absolutely everything, and no matter what was happening in the scene, it always looks like nighttime. I get it, you have limited space and building a hill for national television is expensive, but you couldn't get yourself one daisy-laden knoll for Maria to spin on and sing about the hills being alive? No? She had to sing on a hill that looked like it was covered in moss and trees that looked like they were moist and rotting? Give us a couple of wildflowers, or something, NBC.
And because I just whipped us all up into a frenzy, let's get our hill fix with the original trailer for The Sound of Music, which fixes everything. Trust me — I've already used it three times between Thursday night and this morning.
Image: NBC (3); Fox (3)