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The Great Julie Andrews Experiment
February 28, 2019

When I mentioned to a co-worker that I’d never seen Mary Poppins, she responded with disbelief and, to be honest, disgust. More shock came when I said I’d never seen The Sound of Music either.

It’s a bit odd, considering I love musicals. I just never got around to watching them. I don’t really know why. But which to watch first?

The topic came up because I mentioned wanting to see Mary Poppins Returns but only because I adore Lin-Manuel Miranda. But I wasn’t sure if I should see it before I watched the original. However, I was generally more interested in watching The Sound of Music because of the storyline.

So, I put it to a vote on social media. Here were the results:

Twitter

Mary Poppins: 46%
The Sound of Music: 54%
28 votes

Facebook

Mary Poppins: 62%
The Sound of Music: 38%
45 votes

Mary Poppins (write-in): 5
The Sound of Music (write-in): 4

Percentages averaged together but not the write-in votes because they DIDN’T COUNT and also I just couldn’t be bothered to see if they voted properly in addition to commenting:

Mary Poppins: 54%
The Sound of Music: 46%

Mary Poppins triumphed, but just barely. And so, I watched Mary Poppins first.

I feel like I might wake up next to the bloody head of a carousel horse for saying this, but Mary Poppins just wasn’t my jam. The character of Mary Poppins was great. Adorable. I liked her a lot and wished it was more of her and less of the horrible father. Adored her. Tough but delightful. The song “Spoonful of Sugar” was really fun and I definitely sing it around the house sometimes in my best Julie Andrews voice. I also appreciated the singing suffragette mother. The movie could have used a lot more of her character.

However, I found the kids super annoying and Dick Van Dyke’s accent was [insert descriptor of the terrible accent that has been made fun of a million times before] and there was basically zero plot or conflict until (what felt like) four hours into the movie. Conflict is my lifeblood when it comes to enjoying a story.

I wish I enjoyed it more, I really do. It just wasn’t for me.

The Sound of Music was much more to my taste. Great music, a love story, beautiful Austrian scenery, and a more grown-up premise made it much more enjoyable for me. It made me want to go back and watch Doctor Dolittle (1967)—one of my favorites—real bad.

 

With that being said, The Sound of Music had its moments too.


And then there was Liesl’s response to having her first kiss that made me laugh for about 17 years:
“WEEEEEEEEEE!”

It was sweet, albeit with an unsatisfying ending. But still more my style.

What about you? Which Julie Andrews classic do you prefer?

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Jillianne Hamilton is the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle and the Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire trilogy. Learn more.

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