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July 23 2008

A More Horrible Ending. Erin Palette offers her suggestion for a stronger Penny, a darker ending, and an even more horrible doctor.

I can see that the scene she decribed would be more defining of the characture, but I got the impression that Joss wanted to keep some ambiguity to how deep is Dr. Horrible's slide into evil. I thought the ending was perfect. A satisfying illistration that you can't have your cake and eat it too. By trying to make himself worthy of respect, he made her to good for him. Love that!
Actually I think the original Act III is more consistent with the theme of unanticipated events introduced in Act II:

- "Things happen" (and NOT "for a reason")
- "What a crazy random happenstance!"

In Act II Billy & Penny had this somewhat innocent conversation about how life sometimes throws unexpected consequences at you. So in Act III -- in its original form -- we see how deadly these consequences can be.

[ edited by SteveP on 2008-07-23 18:46 ]
I think the ending is much darker exactly because it was an accident. Dr. Horrible believed he could become evil by killing something he hated, but true evil is hurting something you love.

Dr. Horrible would not have had what it takes to kill Penny on his own. Even his turning evil is debatable, because in the end we see him in his apartment, looking like a loser. Maybe he is not happy in the Evil League of Evil.
Tara was also killed by a richochet, not by someone who intended to kill her. A lot of Joss's work seems to be about the wake of your decisions, not the decisions themselves.
"What a crazy random happenstance!"

Err, that's surely a joke because him "accidentally" buying two frozen yoghurts is emphatically NOT "a crazy random happenstance" ?

Events carrying him somewhere he doesn't really want to go is what defines the character (and makes him a tragic hero) IMO. Dr H isn't "all set to kill his nemesis", he very clearly hesitates beforehand, part of the tragedy is that he loses everything because he still had the capacity for self-doubt and mercy (he even tries to warn Hammer about his malfunctioning death ray).
The man who in the first act refused to fight someone in Dooley Park "because there's kids there" is now opening wondering, in song, if "throwing poison in the water main" would change anything in the way the human race behaves.

To me this isn't him contemplating a course of action, it's him basically wondering if anyone would even notice the difference i.e. if a mass poisoning actually is part of the status quo, if the world is a place where that sort of thing happens, maybe not without comment, but as a matter of course, as part of the normal run of events, tragic but "one of those things".

I very much don't believe Billy shooting Penny, it just isn't consistent with what we've seen before. She is one of his objectives, one of the reasons why he wants to disturb the universe, he isn't gonna kill her to do it (even if the "cutting off his nose to spite his face" aspect is true to the character).
Am I getting a slice of the (no doubt huge) trademark pie BTW ?

;-)
I saw the last word from Dr Horrible alone and out of costume as a hint that none of this actually happened. Why else would he be out of costume at that point? And why show it?

But that's just my take on it.
I could see him choosing to kill Cpt Hammer and loosing Penny in the process, but killing Penny just makes no character sense, IMO.
Dr. Horrible has to work himself into killing Captain Hammer, but with just a couple more seconds of reflection he's okay with murdering Penny? No.

Valentyn is correct. He didn't have it in him.

To me a major theme in Horrible is that there aren't bad people as much as there are normal people who have had horrible things happen to them. I'm not defending Horrible or the actions he will choose to take in the future, heinous as they may be. I'm saying that in order for him to be believable, we have to identify with what has turned him bad.

At the end of Horrible as it is, we identify with the villain by saying "Okay, I can see how that would ruin your life." At the end of Horrible as suggested by the article, we would simply say "What an awful person."
Yeah, I don't agree with the alternate ending...but up to that point, it's the best analysis I've seen so far.
Saje, you're right about the "happenstance" being a joke (obviously) -- I stand corrected.

Separately... The unexpected "wake" of Penny dying is what truly took Billy's life in a different direction. Had he killed Captain Hammer as planned, he would have gotten into the ELE but I don't think he would have fundamentally changed. Billy felt that CH deserved to die, so killing him would be justified (in Billy's eyes). But... with his actions inadvertently leading to Penny's death I believe he somewhat "lost his soul" -- as seen in his vacant stare and lack of costume in the final shot of Act III. That is the tragedy -- "well intended" actions can lead to horrible and unintended consequences. And when this happens the protagonist is left with a guilt that can never be appeased.
I saw the last word from Dr Horrible alone and out of costume as a hint that none of this actually happened. Why else would he be out of costume at that point? And why show it?

But that's just my take on it.


Because even though he's achieved "what he wanted" he is sort of hollowed out. Notice also the costume choices, both colors and coverage for him in the "...a thing." moment. Its suggestive of mourning and feeling small or needing to hide a bit. Billy looks ashen, the room is dark, he is wearing only black and grey. He is still not the supervillian he always thought he wanted to be. He's the same scared, insecure Billy that made all of those blog entries, but now he doesn't even have the hope that Penny brought him. A completely pyrrhic victory. Seems like his victory has made him feel nothing aside from (you'll pardon) horrible. He is still Billy, swept up in a tide of events that are side effects or consequences rather than true choices.

Am I getting a slice of the (no doubt huge) trademark pie BTW ?


Trademark pie is very fibrous ;)
And may contain nuts ;).

Billy is not at all cool and calculating when it comes to murder, which is possibly the entire point of the "Dr. Horrible's Turn" song -- he's getting into character, as it were, working up the necessary rage toward his enemy -- otherwise, he'd just kill him and have done with it all.


That's close to my take on the "turn" song. I saw it as partly him working himself up to killing Hammer but also partly about roles. Billy is so close to accepting the super-villain role that he's committing one of the biggest mistakes any super-villain makes and at the same time partaking in one of the role's biggest clichés - he's wasting time gloating and explaining his plan when he should just be killing Hammer.

It's about his inability to create his own role and his need to fall back on the old lies.

(and this is precisely why the tragic ending is a work of genius and a happy one would just be brilliant entertainment - a happy Horrible and Penny walking into the sunset to make little begoggled babies would be great but it'd have a slightness to it. Now it's an epic for the ages)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-07-23 19:21 ]
BTW, how many characters with some version of the name William has Joss had...

ETA: How many evil/semi-evil characters...

ETAA: Make that potentially evil characters...

[ edited by newcj on 2008-07-23 19:31 ]

[ edited by newcj on 2008-07-23 19:52 ]
WSS.

Sue me.
As long as you edit to include the tm we can dispense with any legal wrangling ;) By the by, it may not have looked like it from my initial Part 3 comments, but I believe that the whole thing was brilliant start to finish and I wouldn't end it any other way.
I'm sorry, but...who is Erin Palette again?
WSS,tm especially this part:

(and this is precisely why the tragic ending is a work of genius and a happy one would just be brilliant entertainment - a happy Horrible and Penny walking into the sunset to make little begoggled babies would be great but it'd have a slightness to it. Now it's an epic for the ages)

This is exactly how I feel about it despite my initial dismay at the turn of events.
Wow, I think I would have stopped watching three words into the dialogue.

And on top of that, she wanted the characters to be inconsistent, and the story to make less sense?

Hmm...
Billy consciously killing Penny would be a terrible way to end. It would be completely out of character and make no sense whatsoever. Dr. Horrible is an inept super-villain in almost every way. His capers never go right, hell he can't even get up the nerve to talk to a girl in the laundromat. He can't even murder Captain Hammer when he has the chance. Instead he pauses, his Freeze Ray breaks, and Captain Hammer pummels him and ends up standing over him in apparent triumph.

And yet suddenly, out of nowhere, out of all this ineptitude and squeamishness, he could suddenly find the force of will, the intestinal fortitude, to coldly murder the girl of his dreams. In what way does this make it a better or stronger ending? Blacch! It's the worst ending possible.

The whole point is having an inept Dr. Horrible get into the ELE because of a "crazy random happenstance," not as an act of his own volition. He's inept, he's a nerd, he's a poseur. What he is not is a character with the "will to power" that creates his own destiny.

Enough with the idiot "better" endings. If you don't like it, fine, feel free to say so. But I, for one, think it was about as perfect an ending as you could get.

[ edited by bjarmson on 2008-07-23 21:47 ]
BTW, how many characters with some version of the name William has Joss had...

ETA: How many evil/semi-evil characters...

ETAA: Make that potentially evil characters...


Hmm ...

William the Bloody (possibly nee Pratt)
Liam (variant of William)
Billy Fordham
Billy (from the Ats episode 'Billy')

Who else ?
I think Palette neglected to take into account the fact that Dr. Horrible was attempting to stop Hammer from using the device at the last minute -- maybe not because he was having second thoughts about killing Hammer, but because the Death Ray was now a wild card thanks to it starting to malfunction, and Billy (NOT Horrible, because I personally see a visible division at that point) was concerned about anyone else getting hurt or something unpredictable and dangerous happening. To me, it wasn't just Hammer pointing and shooting and then Penny suddenly becoming a victim of crazy random happenstance. Billy's alarm and warning of Hammer feels important to me somehow, as if that was his last grasp (not that HE knew this) of being Billy and not being trapped behind the Dr. Horrible mask, the way he is after everything is done.

But I just woke up, so I don't know if any of that makes sense. :P
I didn't really see the Dr. Horrible in this version "intentionally" shooting Penny as much as "instinctively" shooting her, and then being horrified at what he had done. My take, anyway.
Just like Dollhouse, what's the breaking point of a person? How far does life's experiences extend into a person's psyche and how much of life's experiences make a person who they are?

No. Making him make the choice isn't as powerful as having the choice made for him and affecting him.

Regardless, she proved to be weak in the end by allowing herself to settle for "okay" despite her obvious feelings growing for someone else.

No. I see no other logical outcome if Billy is to become Dr. H. Otherwise, it would never happen. If Capt. H had deliberately killed Penny, Dr. H. would become a hero instead of a villain. Instead since it ended the way it did, society provides no comfort for his loss. Society has no place in Dr. H's world. They're all useless and pointless.

By killing Penny himself as suggested at that blog, it would prove that nothing would have any purpose to him... not even the ELE.

No. He had to join the ELE, and Act III as it is was the only way it could happen.
I just don't see the point of "No, you're wrong and here's why." And I say that to both sides of the argument. Hey, some people didn't like it, don't explain WHY they SHOULD HAVE liked it. Same goes for people who thought it sucked. Don't explain WHY they SHOULD NOT HAVE liked it. Here's how I will handle it. I did not enjoy the ending and thought that it ended too abruptly and unneccesarily. Plus to find out Hammer had sex with Penny was just disgusting.
If you have to explain to people why they should or shouldn't have like something, you've lost the argument. It's one of the most unfortunate aspects of fandom. I've been guilty of it in the past, it's not the easiest thing to be aware of sometimes.
I saw the last word from Dr Horrible alone and out of costume as a hint that none of this actually happened. Why else would he be out of costume at that point? And why show it?

But that's just my take on it.
phred | July 23, 19:02 CET


That was my thought too after watching it the first time, distracted by all the "OMG!" and "WTF?"s.
After watching it again, immediately, I had a new thought.

Billy = broken.
Billy thinks he can join the Evil League of Evil and have the girl of his dreams: if that isn't a story built from the beginning for a tragic ending I don't know what is.

Dr Horrible is classic tragedy. Tragedies are defined by death - usually deaths that are pointless or absurd and certainly avoidable (thus the tragedy). That the death is predictable is as irrelevant as the predictability of the marriage (actual or implied) at the end of a classic comedy.

Clearly, there aren't a lot of marriages in Joss's work. His work leans more to the tragic side of things. To wish he would to write a happy ending with a happy couple riding off into wedded bliss (at least until the sequel) is probably to wish he were a different writer.

I for one hope he never begins to feel the need to write in order to satisfy an audience.
WSStm.
zeitgeist | July 23, 18:59 CET


Hey! I understood this! And I'm a firm believer in it. So much for Act 3 discussion coming to an end... *cackles*


I think the ending is much darker exactly because it was an accident. Dr. Horrible believed he could become evil by killing something he hated, but true evil is hurting something you love.
Valentyn | July 23, 18:53 CET


I agree with your statement, Valetyn, but I emphasize the "accident" part when applying it to Dr. Horrible. It was an accident that Penny died. That's why Billy is not really evil. He's still Billy, desolate, but the view of him as changed to "evil".

I really don't disagree with anyone on this thread. Except for those who disagree with Saje. To them, I say, "How dare you!" ;)

If anyone wants to dissect this some more, lighting, clothing, phrases have been posted on Act 3's thread. I'm working on figuring out rhythm patterns right now. (Well, not right now, but I will.)
How very dare they ? Not only are they clearly fundamentally misguided, they may also be infringing trademark law ! Remember kids, a vote for Saje is a vote for legalness ! Disagreeing is like saying you hate love ! And puppies ! And puppy love !

;-)
And how exactly are you loving the puppies??
Another, somewhat less thought out, alternate ending (albeit a prediction as opposed to a rewrite):
http://andrewleesotherworlds.blogspot.com/2008/07/dr-horribles-singalong-blog-preparing.html
Well, that one being advanced speculation does at least have the benefit of not trying to "fix" Joss/Jed/Zack/Maurissa's work.

And how exactly are you loving the puppies??

Within the bounds of trademark law, of course. Or its spirit anyway. I like to think.
I liked seeing Dr. Horrible become quasi-evil. Romantic comedies are everywhere. Singing supervillains who sort of get their wish in a tragic way, not so much. It's not often that I like a character as much as Dr. Horrible, and it's very rare that I then feel horrified later at his ability to reach out and take something he told me all along he wanted but that I didn't quite believe he could ever do. And then yet that parting shot leaves me thinking.
That final shot kinda broke my heart.
It was a really good shot. I can't wait to hear the commentary on the last sequence.
Mine broke when he walked through that party all jubilant as the music got kinda distantly upbeat and I realized the ending was not at all what I had expected. The last shot gave me hope, actually.
I dunno. Guess I'm a pessimist because I think he gave up any hope.
I think he realised that he had become what he always wanted to be but at the cost of destroying him mentally and spiritually.
All this commentary made me realize: Billy's act of mercy (hesitation to kill CH) leads to Penny's death. (Also the irony that the good guy had no hesitation about killing a defenseless foe.) If he had been truly evil, then Penny wouldn't have died. (Either CH would have died, or the malfunctioning gun would have killed Billy.) That fits in with the end, where only Dr. Horrible is left, because he feels that any kindness will lead to more pain.

(And this commentary on the commentary makes me think that Mr. Whedon did a better job of tragic descent with a 40 minute musical comedy than Mr. Lucas did in three high budget prequels.)
Simon, I agree. Sort of "What if you get what you asked for... but realize you paid a horrible and non-refundable price to get it?" Sometimes the price is so high that it makes the prize moot. But you can't go back.
Oh please don't go there. Don't mention Lucas. It makes me ranty. ;P
I don't really like the alternate ending in that article, but I do think it would have been better to have Dr. Horrible be more directly responsible for Penny's death. In the real ending, she dies because of an incredible coincidence involving not one, but two equipment malfunctions, a very unfortunate choice of places to stand, and Captain Hammer's deeply stupid choice to fire off an obviously malfunctioning weapon in a room full of innocent people.

Then again, perhaps the fact that the "good guy" killed her is what pushed Dr. Horrible over the edge into true evil.
I guess I'm happier to see him miserable as a supervillain than happy as one. It means there's still some of Billy in there who might decide to change things at some point. Everything else suggested he'd fully embraced his new life of (better) crime, but that last shot made me think he actually had to kind of shut down to be able to do all that.
By the by, it may not have looked like it from my initial Part 3 comments, but I believe that the whole thing was brilliant start to finish and I wouldn't end it any other way.


I'm glad you clarified, because my presence around these parts during this past whirlwind-of-a-week has been spotty, and I thought I remembered your take on Act 3 differently.
I'll disagree with you all and say I would have preferred Palette's ending. There was something predictable about Billy's regret, and a running theme through Joss' work is that most evil can be redeemed. It would have been far more tragic and unexpected if Billy had run full pelt into being truly evil. Penny would have always been there as something to pull him back from the edge, always there but never his. To kill her would be a moment of intense pain instead of a life of it. I'm not saying that killing her wouldn't always be something that would haunt him for the rest of his life, but I personally its be easier to be black than grey. You're evil, but you're secure of yourself and you know where you belong. But the alternative? You'd be torn for the rest of your life in some purgatory.

Having said that, at the end of the day, this was Joss' project and I'll respect anything he does, it was his choice on which way to end it, and that makes it the right choice.
personally its be easier to be black than grey.

Grey's far more interesting onscreen to me. And far more real. Glory was intriguing and somewhat unpredictable when she had no remorse whatsoever, but even more so when human emotions and reservations started to creep up on her.
But, the "everything you ever" wanted line wouldn't be as powerful if he'd killed Penny himself. It wouldn't seem authentic for him to kill her in cold blood and then be mourning her afterwards.

It's interesting to think of what might have been, but I think that Joss made the right choice. The poignancy for me is that he didn't want her dead -- if he did want her dead, even if only for a moment, then the ending would be ruined for me. I wouldn't be able to buy that look on his face in the end.
I forget who made this point originally, because I hadn't noticed it myself until I read it on here, but the third act is mirrored in the first act. Captain Hammer almost killed Penny in the first act by intervening, except she was saved at the last moment. We wouldn't have had that with this ending.
All this talk makes me want to watch the brilliant ST:DS9 episodes "Improbable Cause" and "The Die is Cast". (The second has Ron Moore with the writer credits.) The two-parter opens with Garek wondering why anyone would care about Julius Caesar (since J.C. should have known that Brutus would assassinate him), and ending with him grasping the nature of tragedy.

Got to disagree with Apolcalypse. Billy turning evil does not make him tragic. If he turned fully evil, then there would be no suffering or downfall of the central character. Billy having a blind spot, a weakness of character, that leads to a soul-crushing outcome to his actions, is tragedy.
true evil is hurting someone you love.

If so, then Billy showed his evil when Penny interrupted his heist in Act 1. Maybe we all hurt the ones we love at times by way of inattentiveness. He wasn't pursuing the freeze ray for Penny. Had he not been distracted but hesitant or shy, I could have identified. But he saw the moment and shrugged.

And I also say Captain Hammer chose evil by using lethal, unnecessary force. What's he doing pulling a trigger? That's what he should be discussing with his therapist!

I'd love to hear NF's take on Hammer vis-a-vis Cpt. Reynolds and the Martin Firrell Hero Projects.
All this commentary made me realize: Billy's act of mercy (hesitation to kill CH) leads to Penny's death. (Also the irony that the good guy had no hesitation about killing a defenseless foe.) If he had been truly evil, then Penny wouldn't have died.

Yes, this to me makes it the classical tragedy that Joss defined it as. Billy's strength--the thing that was drawing Penny to him without his even noticing--was that he was ultimately good and compassionate. Thus, the strength that kept him from shooting Hammer ultimately led to his downfall.

It's like Shakespeare.
And I also say Captain Hammer chose evil by using lethal, unnecessary force. What's he doing pulling a trigger?

Captain Hammer is just as much a villain, except he gets away with what he does because everyone lets him. He's a self centered bully but has great PR and people swallow the idea of him as the "hero" because he looks the part. He sure doesn't act it, putting people at risk, being unaware of his effect on people around him, not liking ducks...

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-07-24 01:08 ]
A lot of people still don't seem to get it. Whether Billy/Dr. Horrible is evil or not is beside the point. Nor is he a nice guy. He is a nerdy, egotistical creep bent upon attaining a fantastical goal (membership in the ELE), really interested only in playing with his boy toys to gain some power fantasy. Penny is only interesting to him as a prize to be won. It's right there in plain sight in Act I. Penny walks up and talks to him, finally the connection he supposedly so longs for. But does he ask her to go get coffee, or a frozen yogurt, or to have dinner, or for that matter even continue talking to her? No, he's bothered because she is interrupting his Wonderflonium heist. Sensing his lack of interest Penny retreats, the Dr. appears and sings/brags "A Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do" (soon repeated by the other creep, the egotistical jock jerk Captain Hammer when he appears).

Billy's priority is clearly his own self-interest in his childish Dr. Horrible power games and attaining the ridiculous goal of membership in the ELE, not having a normal relationship with "the girl of his dreams." His fate is sealed. If he abandons the Wonderflonium heist and has coffee with Penny everything unfolds differently. Penny never meets and gets involved with Captain Hammer, and thus can't die in the manner portrayed. Billy is given the chance to step off the path toward evilness, but refuses to take that path. He doesn't want to put in time working on a relationship, he'll just buy Penny off eventually by giving her "the keys to a shiny new Australia." What a creep.
Mine broke when he walked through that party all jubilant as the music got kinda distantly upbeat ...

The party gave me instant vertigo - it's a short little scene but it could be a nightmare you had after eating something that disagreed with you; the strange music, the cowboys bobbing weirdly up and down as Billy passes them in the doorway. And I was nauseous because I could feel where things were going ... downhill ... time out of joint. It's a gem of a scene that leads into total darkness.
On Captain Hammer and the death raygun.

I wonder how many times Dr. Horrible has pointed a raygun at Captain Hammer and had nothing happen.

The Anti-Muscle raygun only makes a clicking sound. http://www.myspace.com/darkhorsepresents?issuenum=12&storynum=2 Captain Hammer grabs it and says "What does this one not do?"

So how many times has this happened before.

Then the Freeze ray didn't work at the SuperHero Memorial Bridge. Took too long to warm up...that would look like another non-working raygun.

Captain Hammer is singing his song when he is hit by the Freeze Raygun. He unfreezes and notices that Dr. Horrible has snuck up on him.

Notice how Captain Hammer finishes his song "Way". Probably doesn't even know he was frozen, didn't even see the Freeze raygun at all and therefore could not realize that one of Dr. Horrible's rayguns had actually worked.

So why should he think that Dr. Horrible's Death raygun would work. And he certainly couldn't know that it would blow up. I was really surprised that he didn't hold the raygun backwards.
You know, I was one of the people who felt the 3rd act didn't fit; however, after having watched it again (and again... and again...) I have to apologize. The ending was simply fantastic. I feel it was perfect as written.

I want my... I want my... I want my D V D...
Although Dr. Horrible was on a spiral down towards being evil, he was incapable of killing Penny. He didn't even want her to see him kill Hammer.

The character building in Act I and II was not forceful enough to allow Horrible to be the type to kill Penny. He couldn't even imagine anyone firing her! How was he supposed to be able to kill her?! He was looking self-conscious when he was preparing to kill Hammer as well. To make the ending of Horrible killing Penny it would have required huge changes to Act I and II

@bjarmson I like the way you put that. Although Horrible may be a creep, he's misguided.
I don't get the creep moniker at all. Dr. H was a faux villain, and a faux villain with a crush on a girl, as Joss pointed out, before he ever knew anything about her, as crushes often happen. You see something you like about someone and that's it, you're gone. A creep would have told Penny about Hammer's plans for her, he would have dropped loaded hints to get her to stop dating him, but Billy didn't (as written of course). The scene with signing the petition wasn't Billy blowing her off, it was just bad timing. Without the Wonderflonium, Dr. H/Billy couldn't carry out his plan which included winning Penny for his own. He says in wonderment, "She talked to me ... Why did she have to talk to me now?"

I think he's an exceptionally sympathetic character, and a creep wouldn't be.
Let me get this straight. A guy who takes a freeze ray and a death ray into a room full of innocent people, knowing that his dream girl is there, and who needs to kill someone to achieve his "goals" is a sympathetic, if misguided, character. I'll admit NPH did a good job of making him appear to be a nice guy, but did you notice how crazed he was at the end of Act II.

There's been too many nice, quiet guys who gunned down large numbers of people for extremely nebulous reasons, for anyone to be this naive. Ever hear about the banality of evil argument regarding all those people in Nazi Germany who worked in the concentration and death camps.

If you were in a gathering of people and someone started shooting a death ray (or just a gun) would you care if they were sympathetic or misguided, or would you just think they were a homicidal maniac. People seem to want to blame Hammer for killing Penny, but it was a peaceful gathering until the sympathetic, if misguided, Dr. showed up with his lethal weaponry. If you take a bomb into a roomful of people and someone gets killed, it's your fault even if it only accidently explodes. I'll stick with my Billy is a creep judgment.
The show wouldn't make sense to me unless Billy was portrayed sympathetically, both by NPH and by the writers. There'd be no drama - cos who cares which of the two creeps prevails?, and there'd certainly be no tragedy - the tragedy of the potential good in Billy that is destroyed by the end of Act III. I don't think it has anything to do with being naive. If this were "real life," undoubtedly we'd look at the facts and think he was a creep - but it's art, it's more nuanced, and it's way more powerful than that, I think.
And even in "real life," many people who do horrible things don't only do horrible things. Billy (like a real person) isn't that easy to describe with one word.
I have no idea how anyone got the vibe that Billy just wanted Penny as a trophy. Were you watching the same thing as me?

Being more interested in the heist at one stage in his life proves nothing, as it's just one point in time. People are not static, feelings change.
The 'creep' perspective is incredibly simplistic IMO, it's looking at the actions without looking at the character nuances, it is, in fact, treating Billy exactly like the one-dimensional super-villain that he emphatically isn't (i'd go so far as to say that showing the man behind the cliché is precisely the "point" of the whole enterprise and as SNT says, the source of most of the drama and tragedy).
That does sound like a truly emotionally satisfying ending to Sing Along Blog, but it assumes that Sing Along Blog is the final Dr. Horrible story.

Mr. Whedon has indicated a desire to do more with the character and explore Dr. Horrible's world further...which is why Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog doesn't make him into a complete monster. The main point of Dr. Horrible as a character is to subvert the "evil scientist" stereotype that pervades comic books(and many hollywood movies), it would be less of a subversion if he actually committed murder.

I also think Dr. Horrible's rise to celebrity like status wouldn't be as bitingly satirical if he had earned his Worst Supervillain Ever headline...it's far funnier and more realistic for him to become cool by accident, not design.
it's far funnier and more realistic for him to become cool by accident, not design.

And it must be a special level of hell, when the villians who compliment the Doctor on his actions are making him remember Penny every waking moment.
I don't get the creep moniker at all.

He follows Penny on her date. He's more than a creep, but that is the definition of creepy.

Billy's strength--the thing that was drawing Penny to him without his even noticing--was that he was ultimately good and compassionate.

Was he really though? He seemed to be, and he certainly reacted badly to Moist's murder suggestions, but he said it wasn't elegant or creative. Not his style. There was nothing compassionate in his objection. He didn't talk to Penny about helping people. Just about wanting to be an achiever and feeling dejected. She seemed drawn to him because he needed encouragement. Toward what, she wasn't really aware.

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