Monday, September 08, 2008

Review of Jerry Springer: The Opera

Read "Jerry Springer" and "the Opera" together and you think "low-brow" meets "high-brow." That could be interesting, right?

No. It's low-brow all the way to hell.

If you're like me and have already gotten a handle on the "voyeurisma" and patheticness that talk shows like Jerry Springer's perpetuate, then "Jerry Springer: the Opera"* will not make you think at all. Well, maybe you'll think "oh, I guess this is entertaining... sometimes..."

I don't care that it made fun of Christian stuff, that it portrayed Jesus as kind of a jerk, etc. I watch South Park. Making fun of Christianity can be really funny, especially when the jokes are incredibly wrong. Too bad "Jerry Springer: the Opera" wasn't written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. They would have made it great. (Hint to Stone & Parker: rewrite it as a movie! I'd watch that.)

I don't care that the profanity is unrelenting. It was so filled with curses that they became boring. It was funny when the chorus said "a Chick with a Dick." It got less funny when they repeated it over and over again with the same intonation.

That was "opera"? Trite white-trash cliches repeated in various registers in an "operatic" style? I'm not an operagoer, but I've listened to a few. I didn't know what the singers were saying, but it sounded like something interesting at least. Again, I'm not an expert, but I also don't think you can call this play an "opera" without actual opera singers and a bit more grandiosity in the music.

I think "Jerry Springer: the Musical" would have been a better thing to write. Then the writers would have been under some more obligation to write lyrics that were interesting. Or that told a story.

My Final Negative Thought: There was a point at which I turned to my date and said, "Did we accidentally sneak into The Producers?" There is a recurring number that sounds just too much like "Springtime for Hitler." There's even a similar dance number.

But there were good things: several of the actors were good. Jerry was fantastic and delivered lines like a champ. The Devil was perfect and deserved a better show. All of the ensemble played their parts well. Diaper Man was hilarious. Diaper Man's lover sang a nice song, the only nicely written one in the play. The energy of the cast punctuated the boring profanity and made me smile in spite of myself.

But apparently other audiences found this catastrophe great. It's been selling out all over. They extended the run here in DC (until today, so this review's a bit pointless). The popularity of this unthoughtful, boring, low-shock-value "opera" reminds me of the movie within the movie Idiocracy. You know, where the most popular movie of the future is called "Ass" and is just a 90-minute-long shot of an ass. When it farts, everybody dies laughing.

*I guess the Studio Theatre has a resident geek; this production has an extensive writeup in the Wikipedia link.


Missy said...

That's interesting. I was supposed to review it and ended up going out of town but I've heard NOTHING but good things about it. Who knew?

aak said...

Go figure.