Oklahoma! Is Surprisingly Pervy
2018-07-07, 9:11 p.m.
So on Saturday I saw Oklahoma! again. This is not my favorite musical (when my tastes run toward Avenue Q and Book of Mormon and Hamilton, this will not surprise you), but it’s in our season tickets for the summer and eh, it’s fine.
It’s been a few years since I last saw it and I was kinda like...”y’know, I didn’t remember it having so much discussion of porn before.” But seriously, this show is kinda dirty. Will brings back some kind of lady peephole telescope thing from Kansas City, Jud has porn up on his walls for all the guests to see when they come in, Ali Hakim sells porn, etc. This is perhaps not the kid friendly show you thought it was.
“It is Aunt Eller who carries out the first sexual act, which, like everything else in Oklahoma!, is disguised with a down-home flavor. She is seen daydreaming and churning butter (a subliminally phallic gesture), no doubt dreaming of her younger, sexual days. When Curly chats with her, she keeps her eyes focused on him, surveying him and continuing her phallic strokes.”
She even literally auctions off the girls at the social like a whorehouse madam."
Interesting fact: this musical is, I guess, Titanic-sized because the theater made a big deal about how they had to start on time and cut the intermission by 5 minutes. The first scene ran a solid hour and once they needed to change to the second scene at 9 p.m, a lot of the audience just started getting up and running to the bathrooms to the point where the announcer had to say “THIS IS NOT INTERMISSION.”
Anyway, if you haven’t seen Oklahoma! recently, the plot of it involves two love triangles, one of which is silly and cute and the other would be silly and cute except it involves a stalker/likely murderer.
Let’s cover the “fun” one first: Ado Annie is a girl who can’t say no, she literally loves the one she’s with, she ain’t at all particular. She got boobs a year ago, guys are interested and she is GOING FOR IT. Ado Annie would do well with polyamory but sadly that’s not an option for her. While one boyfriend, Will, has been out of town in Kansas City, she’s been flirting around with the peddler Ali Hakim. Ali definitely wants to fuck Ado Annie but not marry her, and when her dad finds out about this he brings out the shotgun, forcing an engagement. Ali is unthrilled at losing his freedom.
However, AA’s dad previously told Will (who is a ridiculous spendthrift) that if he could come up with $50, he could have Ado Annie. WHAAAAAAAAAAT? You like, are selling your kid? When he says this, did he mean he wanted Will to pay him $50, or is $50 what he expects the two of them to live on? Is this some sort of engagement challenge? What the shit is this? It’s never really clear. What IS clear is that when Will wins $50 in some sort of contest in Kansas City, he immediately spends it all on presents for Ado Annie, missing the point. I guess he thought just having earned $50 at some point at all counted? When Ali finds this out, he very sharply has Will sell off all the gifts to get $50 again...
Except then Will wanders into the box lunch auction (more on this fucked up thing later), hears that Ado Annie’s lunch is being auctioned off for a few bits, and immediately yells out “$50!” I had an ex-boyfriend who could blow his paycheck in 12 hours (yeah, I kept track). Will can blow his in less than 12 seconds. Will is sweet but his stupidity pains me. Ali immediately has to outbid him (I guess he has more money than anyone else) to make sure that Will keeps his $50 and bride. Most folks in this musical are pretty stupid (because hick stereotypes, I guess), but not Ali because he’s not from around here.
Soooooooooooo ...yeah. Ali ends up in a shotgun marriage with someone else more annoying by the end, because karma. Fun, right?
As for the other plot: Curly and Laurey like each other. Well, Curly likes Laurey and is obvious about it and Laurey pouts and says how much she doesn’t like him like she’s a six year old. This would be a cute sort of thing except instead of going with Curly to the box social, she foolishly agrees to go with Jud, the creepy hired hand that Laurey flat out admits to her aunt that she’s afraid of because he’s always staring at her, plus he’s got his porn collection out in the open along with his various weapons in the smokehouse he lives in. Laurey’s aunt, alas, blows this off.
There is a notorious “dream ballet” (weird) in this musical which apparently is brought on by Laurey dosing herself with smelling salts, to communicate the message that if Laurey marries Curley, Jud will kill him and kidnap her into wife slavery. Approximately. Oh lord.
Curly goes to visit Jud in his porn palace and tries to talk Jud into killing himself, which is all kinds of fucked up because as far as we know Jud hasn’t really done anything at this point to warrant that. Except that Jud then basically indicates that he burned down the home of his last employer because the girl turned him down, and Curly somehow doesn’t take the hint about this. I don’t know how much he red flags about Jud pulling a gun on him either, but it is the Old West so who knows. Anyway, Jud is lonely and just wants some love, man....and he’s got a ‘tude and won’t take no for an answer. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that he gets a hold of one of those porn tubes except it’s rigged to stab you in the eye, and he tries to use it on Curly except Ali warns Laurey’s aunt to stop them. Ewwww. Yeah, so far nobody is taking a hint about any of this. ANY OF IT.
The aforementioned fucked up “box social” is some kind of super sexist fundraiser where womenfolk make a basket of lunch, dudes bid on the lunch, and then get to have a date with the girl and eat her lunch. Man, they can’t even take a girl out for lunch, she has to make it for them? Anyway, this becomes Serious Business when both Curly and Jud give up their entire life’s fortunes just to try to prevent the other one from having a date with Laurey. Curly manages to raise more money by selling all his cowboy shit (how’s he gonna do his job?) and wins, and Jud then acts so creepy and threaten-y to Laurey that she fires his ass and kicks him off the property.
Lemme quote from the TV Tropes page about this:
“Laurey is horrified over this, weeps over this, has nightmares over this. Curly would rather see Jud dead than let him go through with this. Curly sells every prized possession he has to stop this from happening. And in the end Jud DIES over this. The crime? Asking Laurey out on a date, taking her to a party, and bidding on a picnic basket. To be fair, he does stalk her.”
Naturally, Jud shows up after the inevitable wedding with murder in his heart, Curly somehow accidentally kills Jud, and there’s a very fast and silly kangaroo court held right then and there to claim it was self defense so Curly can go off on his honeymoon. O happy day!
Oy, this is more fucked up than you thought.
In other news, there is a disabled guy who sits behind us at shows and tonight when he found out Mom was single...he proposed marriage. (His mother was all, “wife of the day,” so I guess this is a common thing for him.) I asked Mom what he said since I didn’t hear it and she said yes and he said all right, and then the subject changed...
I really want to know what Roger thinks of that one :p.