Book of Mormon

Sara and I recently found some time to go see The Book of Mormon.

I love musicals, but it’s much harder to get to them now that we have kids. I realized the last time we saw a show was The Addams Family, which was almost exactly 3 years ago. I liked Book of Mormon much more than Addams Family.

I would recommend it to anybody who doesn’t mind a little profanity. It starts slow, but by the 4th song or so (Specifically “Hasa Diga Eebowai”), there’s no question this is a show by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the guys from South Park (actually, this made me think more of Team America: World Police). Blasphemy is probably too light of a word for it. Considering musicals are generally thought to be family friendly, just be prepared for it and you’ll have a good time.

I don’t think Stone and Parker ever get enough credit for being clever. Yes, they try to intentionally shock you, but that’s not all they are. If it was, South Park wouldn’t be going into its 15th season. Book of Mormon is exactly the same way: there are cheap laughs because they are shocking (AIDS jokes, baby rape jokes, frog rape jokes, dysentery jokes, etc.), but there’s also a larger picture behind it all (tolerance, learning to be yourself, hard work pays off, religion can be silly but we love it anyway, etc.). That’s the part that makes this all work. In fact, if you take away a few small parts, Book of Mormon works surprisingly well as a traditional musical.

Knowing who made this show, I was wondering how badly Mormons would take this show. So I was pretty surprised to find 3 full page ads in the program for the LDS Church. And actually, having seen it, I have to say it’s a lot harsher on Ugandans than it is on Mormons. Sure they tweak their nose a little bit over some of the stranger beliefs, but at the end of the day the Mormons come out looking pretty good. Quite frankly, if you look very hard into any religion, you can pull out all kinds of weird stuff and make it sound ridiculous. I hear worse about Catholicism every day. If the worse you can say about a religion is, “They’re overly nice people who help the world, but have you seen their silly underwear? And, come on, they can’t drink coffee??” then I guess that’s not so bad. (Note: Uh, yeah, there’s worse things they say about the religion, especially in relationship to repressing gays and people of color, but I’m making a point here.)

In summary, the show was really good. It was blatantly offensive at times, witty at others, laugh-out-loud funny, and had catchy songs. What more could you ask for from a musical? (Okay, I guess you could ask it to be a little more politically correct, but if you’re asking that, then this is probably not for you.)

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