March 6, 2011
The Book of Mormon is really, really nice
The "South Park" guys' musical, The Book of Mormon, is still in previews, but when this thing opens, it's going to be a gigantic hit. These guys know how to write songs that are breathtakingly vulgar, and as light and catchy as the best stuff Rodgers and Hart ever did. They're funny, they're shocking, and they have a chorus you'll be singing (very, very quietly) all week. People are going to be doing these songs at karaoke bars by this summer.
So is it offensive? I'd seen the "All About the Mormons?" episode of "South Park" [video] from a few years back that actually was pretty mean-spirited. So I was a little concerned that all that unfunny, mean "dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb" kind of stuff from that episode would work its way into the Broadway show, and I'd come out of it feeling like a jerk.
The show is like the opposite of that "South Park" episode. I don't know if they changed their approach in order to have a successful show that people would genuinely love, or if they realized that, as Parker said, "A show that just bashes Mormons for two hours wouldn't be fun."
Sure, there are some aspects of Mormon beliefs that are odd and questionable and easy to make fun of, but what religion doesn't have those? The play includes all that stuff, but it's good-natured and, as many early reports are calling it, sweet. A brave Mormon family who attended the first performance found Matt Stone afterwards to tell him they loved it.
So, OK, one Mormon family thought it was good--we'll see if what happens once Glenn Beck decides to see how it measures up to "Spider-Man".
It's obscene and vulgar and totally profane, but the core value of Mormonism that's referred to over and over again is that you should always be really nice to everyone. As the creators say, it's a pro-faith, traditional, big Broadway musical, with a singing, dancing Johnnie Cochran. By the end it's sincerely devout, in its way. If you want to see it, it's probably a good idea to get your tickets now before all the gushing reviews come out.
TrackBack URL for this entry: