What’s it about? A world full of monsters needs heroes, and a world full of heroes needs healers. Wandering warrior Alvin doesn’t have a healer with him, so it theoretically should be good news when a dark elf named Carla turns up mid-beast-battle and offers her services. The trouble is, Alvin can’t stand Carla—and, thanks to the curse she accidentally placed on him, any attempt to ditch her will lead directly to his death. Oops!
I think how you feel about this premiere will largely depend on a few things: how you feel about the “two characters who don’t really like each other get handcuffed together and must go on an adventure” trope (magical edition), how you feel about goofy fantasy comedy, and how you feel about Carla. There are some funny elements to be found in My Healer, but the question is whether or not they mesh and whether or not the premise can sustain itself over multiple episodes.
The good stuff first: this is a show that’s committed to being silly, assuming a degree of knowledge about fantasy settings and tropes and messing around with them. By far the best instance of this is the horned bear “magibeast” that Alvin is valiantly battling at the beginning of the episode, a wild fantastical monster that politely stops trying to maul the hero when he gets into an argument with Carla—and even steps eloquently in to mediate a moment later.
The bear-beast even carries the two protagonists to her “burrow”—a beautiful little log cabin decked out with the armor, weapons, and treasure of warriors she bested in her younger, wilder days—and helps Alvin recover from the injuries she inflicted. Yes, the bear-beast is a lady. When Alvin realizes that this growling monstrosity is, in fact, a fuzzy-wuzzy middle-aged housewife, it throws him for a loop and further leads to the shift in their dynamic.
It’s dumb, evoking Shrek’s “oh, I mean of course you’re a girl dragon!” but honestly Mrs. Grizzly is my favorite character in this episode so I’m willing to let it slide. There’s even a gag in which she and Alvin promise to fight without remorse the next time they run into each other… to keep up appearances, of course. In their downtime, heroes and monsters get on just fine, but there’s a certain expectation of clashing swords and fangs that they simply must adhere to. I’ll give ’em this one, the idea of on-the-clock monsters is pretty funny. Don’t think too hard about it, and giggle along as they sheepishly explain all this to a concerned Carla.
What are we to make of Carla? I really wish I could tell you, but her characterization feels oddly all-over-the-place. She’s a pious and softly-spoken healer who is also bitingly selfish, implied to have gotten into the healer business so she’d have a job where people were constantly in her debt. Yikes? But again, kind of funny as a setup, subverting the expectations and clichés attached to certain character classes. But something about her character writing just doesn’t let this land properly, and she ends up feeling bafflingly inconsistent rather than an entertaining study in contradictions.
Maybe it’s the way she swings between being typically cutesy and more cold and charmless. Maybe it’s the clunky pacing in her introduction, in which she literally appears out of nowhere in the middle of Alvin’s fight with the beast-bear-housewife and offers him her healing services like a door-to-door salesperson, but without any of the customer service pizzazz. Sometimes she’s deadpan, sometimes she’s super emotive (mostly when she’s getting all weepy). It’s just… a bit odd, like she’s rotating through a list of character traits.
All this distracts from the more structurally iffy aspects of her character. I’m not sure if she and Alvin are being set up as love interests or not (the framing suggests it even if they don’t have much chemistry right now) but if they are, expect shenanigans: we know from handy onscreen data cards that Alvin is 30 years old, while Carla, a dark elf, is about 70 but looks and functions like a teenager. This handily provides us with the “don’t worry, she only looks way younger than him” excuse for any sexualization down the track. This episode is fan-service-free, and again, who knows if these two are going to end up together? But my hackles went up and my eyes rolled.
I don’t have much to say about Alvin; he’s so much of a Potato-kun that he doesn’t even have a face. No, really—there’s a running gag that we never see it, hid first by his helmet then by strategically-placed objects or camera angles.
Which, honestly, was actually pretty funny. They could’ve given him cooler armor if it was going to make up his whole character design, though.
Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer! looks deeply silly, riffing on fantasy tropes in a way that did get a (confused, delighted) chuckle or two out of me, sliding its female characters into eye-rolly clichés but at least having the decency not to perv on them. If all the side characters are as surprisingly charming as the monster housewife, I might stick around, but I feel like the off-kilter characterization of the lead and the lack of energy between them will end up grating on me. See what you think.
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