Twitter gets a bad rap, and approximately 87% of the time it’s deserved. But I cannot quit an application that occasionally gives me massive, unexpected joy bombs. Here is last night’s:
when characters in musicals transition from speaking to singing pic.twitter.com/YwZwsIZOBN— chopped liva (@realchoppedliva) August 27, 2019
You’ve probably already seen it. I hope you’ve seen it, multiple times, and played it for your coworkers several times this morning. But it doesn’t get any less good, because (as I had to explain to certain proprietors of this site, who SOMEHOW didn’t find this hysterical) none of these are ‘real’ musicals – the creator, @realchoppedliva, is writing comedic bits based on tropes in all musicals, and they are hilarious, and yes, I’m going to move to Boston with my cousin.
What’s most amazing, though, is that her 51,000 RTs and counting speak to a growing acceptance of musicals and stories told through song - how they can be modern and funny and it’s not all just a retread of the stress and eyerolls you felt hearing about your high school’s production of Oklahoma. Which… it’s about time!
This is everything good – Graham is one of those performers who makes everyone relax when she’s onscreen, even if she’s not one of your personal favourites. She’s that talented and confident onscreen, and has that winking/knowing thing that means she can sell just about anything, knowing that you both know she’s in on the joke. And that’s going to be incredibly important on this show, because the premise goes further than even Crazy Ex-Girlfriend did: Zoey, played by Jane Levy, can hear the innermost thoughts of people around her expressed in song. It’s a tall-ish order, but I buy that Levy, who is much more talented than her level of name recognition indicates, can pull it off, and the supporting cast includes Skylar Astin from the Pitch Perfect franchise and Mary Steenburgen who – did you know she’s a songwriter now? And that she’s apparently really good at it? (Also, I have to applaud NBC for this strategic scheduling – just as we’re nursing the pain of losing Ted Danson’s Michael when The Good Place ends, this show premieres midseason, so he’s still around in spirit! Well played.)
There are lots of strong/fun/smart actors who can really sing here, including Graham, and I’m unreservedly excited. But I also love the behind-the-scenes of it all – Graham is a recast in this role, after Carmen Cusack played Zoey’s boss in the pilot. And of course, Lauren Graham has had an incredibly close friendship and business partnership with Mae Whitman since Parenthood. Aaaaaand, guess who Mae Whitman’s best friend is?
Not that I think Lauren Graham needed that connection to get the gig – like I said, she’s very well-known and respected – but I just love the way you can always trace things like this, and how happy we get when people we like, like each other… kind of like how you follow the ups and downs of the romantic lives of the twelfth graders who were the leads in Guys & Dolls in high school when you were in ninth grade on the stage crew. What, just me?
As a final note, this show is created by a Gossip Girl writer, and executive produced and directed by a Girls director so it’s definitely meant to be in a young adult space. Combined with the upcoming Katy Keene and my new obsession, Good Trouble, we definitely need a name for this new genre. Millennials, as we know, are now approaching 40, so the lead characters in these shows, in their early 20s, are really at the top of the next generation. Post-Millennials? I don’t know - and I wonder if TV will have a better term than the publishing world’s accurate-but-not-exciting ‘New Adult’. Thoughts?