I’m starting to be seriously impressed by the structure of Milo Murphy’s Law. Because it’s becoming clearer that it’s structured around a season arc, rather than an episode-by-episode arc. This wouldn’t be impressive–it’s the go-to structure in the Netflix era, after all–except that this is a series of 11-minute absurd cartoons, not a series of intense 45-minute drama episodes.
In a drama, the season arc becomes clear very early on, and you expect certain threads to build to a big show-down in the last episode of the season. But with Milo, you expect 11 minutes of random humor. The show is so unpredictable and off-the-wall, everything looks like a one-off joke. So when some of those running jokes start to thread together and affect the plot, it comes as a delightful surprise.
For example: The “Mr. Draco might be a vampire” bit from “Athledecamathalon” looked like a random running joke that didn’t affect the rest of the episode. Then the joke ran into a couple of other episodes (on rewatch, I found out that Mr. Draco showed up in “Career Day” as well–the running joke was running before we realized it had started).
Then in “School Dance”, the off-the-wall running joke unexpectedly runs headfirst into the one clear plot arc of the season–the time-traveling pistachio protectors. The kids defend their teacher from what they think are vampire hunters. The time travelers interpret the incident as proof that Milo’s a pistachio-hating time-traveling counter-agent. The silly running joke has suddenly steered the plot into a whole new direction.
It’s delightful. And it’s all the more effective because the low-key, laid-back weirdness of the show lulls you into going along for the ride and not looking for the connections. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here–but I’m not going to start making predictions. The show’s design makes it more fun to go with the flow and see what happens.