Concerning \"On the Rise\" | Act 1, 2 & 3 Discussion, Reviews, Music etc | Forum

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Concerning "On the Rise"
July 31, 2008
11:23 pm
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MrWatch
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Is Penny's second verse refering to Billy or Hammer?

It's this part:

Doc: Anyone with half a brain

Penny: Take it slow

Doc: Could spend their whole life howling in pain

Penny: He looks at me and seems to know

Doc: Because the dark is everywhere and

Penny: The things that I’m afraid to show

Doc: and Penny doesn’t seem to care that soon the dark in me is all that will remain

Penny: And suddenly I feel this glow

While it would seem she is talking about Hammer since she's with him when she's singing, but I'm beginning to think she's talking about Billy, or at least that it's a possibility.  It makes that part even more interesting if this is true, seeing how the two are singing about each other, and while one is singing about the darkness in Billy/Horrible, the other is singing about his glow...

Signatures?
August 1, 2008
3:47 am
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That is an interesting interpretation. I am inclined to agree.

August 2, 2008
1:39 pm
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I don't want to believe that she can think those things about Hammer.  I don't know if her chorus (is the world growing wise...some kind of harmony, later rapture) fits that interp, though. 

Truly, I wish it did.  That would be beyond neat, to know that she sees through Hammer's bravado early on.

August 3, 2008
7:03 am
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I agree with you too, thats a good way of lookign at it. Watchign the show again, you can see she ins't looking at Hammer, and looks more like shes thinking about something. Makes perfect sense 🙂

August 8, 2008
6:43 am
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I hadn't thought of this, but now that I read this, it makes perfect sense. 

After all, she nearly kissed him after singing \"Keep your head up, Billy buddy\" and during \"So they Say\", she was waiting for him with another frozen yogurt. So she'd seen something in him that had attracted her, even though he said he wanted to be like Bad Horse.

August 10, 2008
3:07 pm
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unforgiven91
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interesting intellect there, I can see it both ways but I am leaning on the side of Billy on this one.

August 10, 2008
11:01 pm
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Krissyfoofoo3
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Don't mean to burst your bubble guys.

On the rise happened at the beginning of act II. this was when the only thing Penny knew about Billy was that he did laundry with her, and that he was being rather rude during her homeless shelter pitch. there is very little chance she even thought about Billy in passing during her date with Hammer. Certaintly later she may have had those feelings for billy, like with the frozen yogurt at the laundrymat, but at the point when On the rise was sung, she knew practically nothing about him.

just thought i'd put my two cents in.

August 12, 2008
2:00 am
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Bastian
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I see your point Krissyfoo, but don't forget that Billy is rather infatuated with Penny and he has barely said anything to her, much less gotten to know her. Maybe Penny was also watching him from across the laundromat the same way he was watching her. That would explain the feelings, but something like that woudn't be enough to stop her from going on a date with Captain Hammer, especially considering that he saved her life. Reality is better than fantasy.

I'm tempted to say that she was talking about Billy, but I think that part of the intention of the lyrics was for us to not be completely sure, to leave it as a bit of mystery to hang around Penny.

August 13, 2008
1:18 pm
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diva
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Nah, I think she's referring to Captain Hammer.  When you first start dating someone, there's often this rush of excitement, along with a temptation to believe that feelings and commitment on both sides run deeper than they do (at least in my experience).  Penny is particularly susceptible to this temptation, not only because of her willingness to believe the best of people but also due to societal pressure--she's dating a celebrity superhero who looks like, well, Nathan Fillion, of course she's supposed to be happy!  I think this is also why she struggles with her doubts later on (\"Should I stop pretending/Or is this a brand new day?\")-- she's seen the cracks in the relationship but is reluctant to lose that first glow.  That's the way I see it, anyway.

August 13, 2008
6:21 pm
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I'm not sure. I want to think she's singing about Billy, but honestly, even if I'd been watching and crushing on the guy who's at the laundromat every time I'm there too -- I'd have been pretty weirded out after that rant 😛

then again, I don't think she was offended at all by his behavior during the heist... she was the first to speak to him later at the laundromat, and she was friendly to him. She also wanted his opinion on Captain Hammer. And yes, it did look like she nearly kissed him!

dreams are easy to achieve if hope is all I'm hoping to be ::: music
August 14, 2008
4:44 am
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eand
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Prissi said:

I'm not sure. I want to think she's singing about Billy, but honestly, even if I'd been watching and crushing on the guy who's at the laundromat every time I'm there too — I'd have been pretty weirded out after that rant

then again, I don't think she was offended at all by his behavior during the heist… she was the first to speak to him later at the laundromat, and she was friendly to him. She also wanted his opinion on Captain Hammer. And yes, it did look like she nearly kissed him!


This entire discussion illustrates how in many ways the musical is ambiguous, especially about who is \"good\" and who is \"bad\".  I tend to agree with those who say she is talking about Cap'n Hammer.  However, there is support for it being about Billy/Dr Horrible, or at least a tie in to the song Billy sang in the laundrymat.  I can't recall the exact words, but it was something like \" . . . find a way to tell her that I'm the one to make it real, make her feel the feelings she doesn't know she has\"

August 14, 2008
4:50 am
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“After years of stormy sailing, have I finally found the bay?”

There's also the aspect that she “grew up lost and lonely, thinking Love was fair-tale and trouble was made only” for her.

I'm guessing she doesn't know how it feels to be in love and doesn't recognize when it's not really there and when it's really there.

Love is more than a blind act of kindness (which is what CH did for her… kinda… by throwing her into the trash… just like pretty much everyone else had been doing to her whole life except for Billy). Yet, many fairy-tales have love come from random encounters of kindness. (Just look at most of the Grimms stories.) Innocence is a vulnerability.

Does the irony ever stop in this show? I'm beginning to think that was the whole point of the entire show: irony.

The gamut determines the acceptible range of conditions. It's Genius' Awesome Sauce in an 8oz. glass bottle with a cork stopper.
August 15, 2008
1:43 pm
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MrWatch
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I've been thinking about this for quite a while.  Initially, I liked my idea...  It seemed to work, but then, I began to realize what was already mentioned in this topic, that \"On the Rise\" takes place at the beginning of Act II.  I then had an idea that probably is an act of denial.  I decided that the original flow of Act II was going have \"On the Rise\" be in the middle, perhaps as Dr. Horrible went off to his failed heist, or after thier first talk.  I then decided that if this was the fact, it was to even out the singing throughout the episode, since a different order would have put too many or too few songs in one part.  This would have been supported by that fact that he mentions that \"Penny doesn't seem to care that soon the dark in me is all that will remain\" showing that he thinks Penny would care and her not caring is off the norm.  i.e. before they met in Act I, he obviously wouldn't think she cared.  After they meet, not much has changed.  It's not until after they talk in Act II that I would think he would feel Penny had an opinion of him other than mildly indifferent.  Also supporting this possibility, when Billy asks Penny what she did during the weekend (if she got signatures).  It's implied that her answer of her dating was the scenes we saw in \"On The Rise\" but something doesn't quite add up.  Why would Billy ask a question that he knew the answer to?  And an answer that would upset him to hear in greater detail than he knew, as well?

I admit there's not overwhelming evidence for my theory, but I think the possibility exists that there was some scene switching done at some point.

Signatures?
August 15, 2008
2:25 pm
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Chiaro
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\"Why would Billy ask a question that he knew the answer to?\"

He can't suddenly know how her weekend went. It's a better decision to ask about it, so you can talk about Captain Hammer in detail without getting in detail about how he knows they dated that weekend.

August 16, 2008
3:21 pm
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MrWatch said:

I've been thinking about this for quite a while.  Initially, I liked my idea…  It seemed to work, but then, I began to realize what was already mentioned in this topic, that “On the Rise” takes place at the beginning of Act II.  I then had an idea that probably is an act of denial.  I decided that the original flow of Act II was going have “On the Rise” be in the middle, perhaps as Dr. Horrible went off to his failed heist, or after thier first talk.  I then decided that if this was the fact, it was to even out the singing throughout the episode, since a different order would have put too many or too few songs in one part.  This would have been supported by that fact that he mentions that “Penny doesn't seem to care that soon the dark in me is all that will remain” showing that he thinks Penny would care and her not caring is off the norm.  i.e. before they met in Act I, he obviously wouldn't think she cared.  After they meet, not much has changed.  It's not until after they talk in Act II that I would think he would feel Penny had an opinion of him other than mildly indifferent.  Also supporting this possibility, when Billy asks Penny what she did during the weekend (if she got signatures).  It's implied that her answer of her dating was the scenes we saw in “On The Rise” but something doesn't quite add up.  Why would Billy ask a question that he knew the answer to?  And an answer that would upset him to hear in greater detail than he knew, as well?

I admit there's not overwhelming evidence for my theory, but I think the possibility exists that there was some scene switching done at some point.


I don't think I can speak for the entire \"scene switching\" theory, but I do want to comment on one part. I think Billy asks Penny about her weekend in order to get her to talk about Captain Hammer. He was probably hoping she was having some doubts about dating him (which Billy would just love to hear to stroke his ego) or at the very least he could somehow insert info about CH into their conversation that would make her rethink her decision to date him.

August 17, 2008
3:10 am
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JazzyFizzle said:

I don't think I can speak for the entire “scene switching” theory, but I do want to comment on one part. I think Billy asks Penny about her weekend in order to get her to talk about Captain Hammer. He was probably hoping she was having some doubts about dating him (which Billy would just love to hear to stroke his ego) or at the very least he could somehow insert info about CH into their conversation that would make her rethink her decision to date him.


He did say something:

Penny: “I thought he was kinda cheesy, at first–”

Billy: “Trust your instincts–”

Penny: “–but, he turned out to be totally sweet. Sometimes people are layered like that. There's something totally different underneath than what's on the surface.”

Billy: “And sometimes there's a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one.”

Penny: “… Huh?”

Billy: “Like pie.”

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August 17, 2008
4:26 pm
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xHax
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There wasn't any scene-switching.

Lot's of times people ask questions they know the answer to when they see someone they care about doing something that (at least they think) that they shouldn't be doing or exhibiting suspicious behavior in an attempt to get more information.

He was hoping to find out that she didn't like CH, unfortunately she doesn't see past the facade CH put on to get in her pants, which upset DrH very much so.

September 23, 2008
10:23 pm
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My interpretation is that the line \"he looks at me and seems to know the things that I’m afraid to show\" is directed to Capt Hammer in the scene, but it refers to Billy's line from act 1

\"I just think you need time to know

That I’m the guy to make it real

The feelings you don’t dare to feel\"

Irony. And Penny is, after all, fooled by Capt Hammer until her end. She dies believing he will save them. Maybe she's better off never being disillusioned. 

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September 24, 2008
1:59 am
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As TheGamut and others have pointed out, at this point Penny barely knows Billy, having only spoken to him while gathering signatures. She is singing about CH but subconsciously may be longing (and singing) for a better person than him.

September 24, 2008
2:09 am
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I hate to say it guys, but I SINCERELY doubt she was talking about Billy. The idea is just silly. She didn't even KNOW him yet.

She was very obviously talking about Captain Hammer. The reason she wasn't looking at him was that she was being shy and coy.

But JayJayZee, I think she WAS disillusioned about Hammer. At the beginning of the scene, when he's talking about how great he is for helping the homeless, but saying horribly insensitive things, you can see this look of growing discomfort on Penny's face as she sees him growing ever more offensive, until finally, she's fed up and goes to walk out. She would have left right then (probably to go see Billy), but then Dr. Horrible showed up with the freeze ray, everybody panicked, and she ducked behind the chair. She would have been safe, in the clear, if he'd shown up a split second later.

Isn't that terribly ironic? Billy went there as Horrible because he was wanted revenge on Hammer for stealing Penny's affections, when, if he had swallowed his pride and NOT tried to kill Hammer, if he'd gone as Billy to look out for her, Penny would have come running to him. If Horrible hadn't showed up, Penny's realization of who Captain Hammer REALLY was (an arrogant ass) would be complete, and Billy would have his chance to tell her how he felt.

In a way, it was Dr. Horrible's pride that killed her.

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