By Jordan Reynolds, Staff Writer
A few things were revealed about the late and great Ludwig van Beethoven on “Great Minds,” the new miniseries hosted by Dan Harmon on the History channel: including that Fur Elise was a breakup song, and that all of his great masterpieces had some raunchy lyrics.
The show aims to revisit the so-called ‘great minds’ of history, with a new guest star each week portraying a famous historical figure.
Jack Black guest starred as a confused Beethoven, having just been transported from his grave into the 21st century. Dan finds him a hearing aid, and when he plays the iconic masterpiece ‘Beethoven’s 5th Symphony’ the man behind the music claims that it sounded completely different in his head.
Harmon and Beethoven then travel to an old-fashioned pub, where Harmon tries explaining the state of society today. He describes the controversy around reproduction rights currently going on, and Beethoven says that babies are like songs: masterpieces, but if they’re a mistake you get rid of them. A slightly unnerving metaphor, but it reveals that Ludwig van Beethoven would have been pro-choice in his day. He then takes to the piano, and by the end of the night he has the whole crowd singing “your poop is you… my poop is me.”
Amongst the many revelations about the genius were that “poop in your butt, poop in your pee, poop everywhere you never thought a poop would be” were intended as the lyrics to his fifth symphony; and that his father “put the beat in Beethoven” alluding to the abusive past of Michael Jackson’s father during the Jackson 5 years- a joke that, like most of the others, didn’t feel funny at all.
All in all, the show was trying too hard, and most of the jokes fell flat. An immature Beethoven singing about the friendzone isn’t exactly laugh-out-loud funny, and when Beethoven finally began to disintegrate due to the short time period of Harmon’s time machine, I was relieved that the monstrosity was coming to an end.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for historical comedy, and with the rise of Hamilton I can understand the desire to hop on the history train. However, “Great Minds” was poorly executed, and the only upside is that the premiere episode set the bar pretty low so it shouldn’t be difficult for following episodes to improve.
“Great Minds” airs Thursday nights at 11:30pm on the History channel.