So, over the summer, Jagged Little Pill premiered at Harvard, and I’ve just discovered it’s going to be on Broadway in the Fall. WOOHOO!!!!
Let’s get this out of the way right now… The music IS FUCKIN’ AMAZING! I am a huge Alanis fan and love her music and this musical was everything I could have ever wanted music-wise.
Unfortunately though…the plot was… errrr…um… pretty shit.
The musical focuses on a family and all the problems they have in the Post-Trump era. The musical has only one rounded character (meaning a character that isn’t just a one-dimensional walking stereotype) and that’s the mom who is part of America’s opioid crisis. SHE IS A FUCKING AMAZING ACTRESS WITH AN AMAZING VOICE. The Tony goes to…
Aside from her the problems begin, and let’s dive into them here..
Celia Gooding plays the daughter Frankie, who is black and adopted by a white family. She is also a wonderful actress with a powerful voice. However, her storyline is just fucking crap. She blames every single thing in her life on being black.
Frankie is dating a…I don’t know…the musical doesn’t actually give clear signals about this. In the beginning you assume Frankie is dating another girl, a tomboy type lesbian. But as the play goes on it’s revealed that her girlfriend doesn’t like being called a girl. Whether it’s a story about her being trans or just gender nonconforming is unknown, all we know is that anytime someone addressed the partner as a girl, the partner has a mental breakdown and runs of crying… (so there’s another problem)
Anyways, so Frankie cheats on her partner with a cis-man. Her partner finds out and gets mad at Frankie, and Frankie is like, “You don’t understand! I’m black in a white family. You don’t know what I go through!”
Dear Jagged Little Pill Musical, I know you want to be all woke, but being black isn’t an excuse for cheating on someone… This play feels like it was written by a bunch of really entitled white people who know nothing about oppression and just thought that all these people’s problems could be sourced from their minority status. It doesn’t work that way.
Later in the play Frankie runs away from New York City because she “feels” (With absolutely no proof, because she comes from a very privileged family who love her) that her family doesn’t love her because she’s black.
When her parents find out, once again Frankie goes, “You don’t understand what it’s like to black!” and the whole family is like, “OMG You’re right! How could we be so stupid?”
Once again, Jagged Little Pill musical… THINK ABOUT THIS ONE…
If you were a parent and you had just discovered your child had ran away, you’re not going to be like, “Oh but she’s black…I guess we gotta understand that she’ll never truly feel loved… oh well..” NO
A parent would be like, “WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU??? I’M COMING TO GET YOU! ARE YOU SAFE? USE THE CREDIT AND GET A HOTEL ROOM UNTIL WE GET THERE, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’D PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER LIKE THIS! DO YOU KNOW HOW SCARED WE ARE??????”
By having the parents be like…. “whatevz, black gurl gonna’ do what she do” only makes it seem like they actually don’t love her.
This brings me to Frankie’s Partner:
Frankie’s gender-unknown partner is just a fuckin’ punching bag the entire show. Someone at school calls her a girl so she cries and mopes and walks away. Her mom tells her to be more like a girl, then she mopes and walks off stage, and then Frankie cheats on her, and she sings You Oughta Know, and the whole audience goes batshit fuckin’ crazy over it…and I’m like….NOOOOOOOOO. NO. NO. NO. This character is such a weak pushover that she doesn’t deserve a stand ovation. Whether she’s trans or just non-conforming, she still needs to be a human. She needs self agency. She can’t just run around stage crying and being sad the entire fucking play. Give me something more please?
And then… oh lord, there’s the girl who gets raped at a party.
So this girl gets raped at a party, and of course nobody believes her. Because nobody ever believes women….. And she’s mentally ruined and thinks about suicide and all that stuff, and you know everything ever is the fault of men. And then there’s a rally held for her to inspire her and show her that she’s loved… and people on stage are holding up #METOO signs and #TIMESUP signs, and then randomly these black people come on stage and start waving around #BLACKLIVESMATTER posters, and Im like…. A white girl was raped… why is this turning into a black lives matter moment?
The point is this, This show victimizes women, victimizes black people, and victimizes the trans (or non-binary…it’s never stated) so heavily, that it’s unreal. It’s like, White men are bad, and everything that ever happens to anyone is IS COMPLETELY THE FAULT OF WHITE MEN.
Have you ever seen that sketch on SNL about liberal high school kids trying to make a play with meaning, but it just comes off as offensively stupid?
Jagged Little Pill the musical feels like that a lot.
Me and my friend had literal moments during the show when we had to hold back laughter because it was just so….bad. Like literally, it was as if the creators of the show had concept of reality.
And I’m not the only one who thinks this, check this quote from The New York Times,
“At least for now, this well intentioned and intermittently thrilling musical makes you want to applaud its efforts at “wokeness” while also wondering if wokeness has become just another form of virtue signaling. It feels like what might have happened if the Tribe from “Hair” had actually made it to college”
Or this quote from Variety,
The real downside is that with so much going on, our interest and empathy are unreasonably stretched.
Or this from the Patriot Ledge,
It’s a lot of heavy stuff to digest and after two-and-half hours, Cody wraps up the conflicts as if to mimic a Shakespearean finale. She ties together the ends of plot strands perhaps too neatly to be believed.
THE POINT IS THIS JAGGED LITTLE PILL: I AM ON YOUR SIDE, AND I LOVED THE MUSIC AND A LOT OF THE STORY FROM THE HARVARD RUN OF THE SHOW… BUT I EXPECT THE BROADWAY VERSION TO NOT BE SO SILLY IT’S LAUGHABLE.
In the meantime, check out a song from the cast recording that was just released, Ive been playing it on loop in the shower:
~ The Dark Horse
(Not proofread #Sowwyz!)