Allison Williams Says You Can’t Hate-Watch Peter Pan Live!: “It Falls Apart Instantly”

Allison Williams in "Peter Pan"
Allison Williams knows all about hate-watching, but she says viewers can't watch NBC's Peter Pan Live! special with a cynical eye Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Hate-watching — unlike Allison Williams — will not fly during NBC's Peter Pan Live! special. The Girls actress is well aware of the public's less-than-favorable reaction to last year's The Sound of Music Live! (despite boffo ratings), but she believes that cynics will eat their words when they're transported to Neverland with her and the rest of the Peter Pan cast on Thursday, Dec. 4.

"I will say this about last year: Today's audiences like to watch things cynically. And I'm on a show that's cynical in tone so I'm no stranger to that," Williams, 26, told The Daily Beast ahead of the big event. "Hate-watching is a thing. It's a whole way of watching something, and it's not an audience that's natural to a non-cynical performance."

This musical — which debuted on Broadway in 1954 and has been performed three times for television — is nothing but non-cynical performances. "Peter Pan, you cannot watch cynically. If you do, you're going to hate it, no question," she said of the production, an adaptation of J.M. Barrie's classic 1904 play and 1911 novel. "It falls apart instantly."

Her costar Christian Borle — who experienced the hate-watching backlash firsthand when he appeared with Carrie Underwood in 2013's The Sound of Music Live! — weighed in as well, telling The Daily Beast that he doesn't "understand the impulse to tear down," especially from other people in the industry.

"I don't mind going on record saying that I was mesmerized by the actors in our community who were so snarky about Sound of Music on Twitter," shared Smash alum Borle, who plays Smee and Mr. Darling. "I just thought, 'Don't you ever want to work for NBC? They're reading all of this.' Also, just be nice." 

Williams, for one, has "full faith" that everything will work out for the best, and that viewers will fall in love with the show just as she has. "People will hear the opening strings of music that they know deep, deep down in their heart, and it will make them nostalgic again," she told The Daily Beast. "And they'll crumble."

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