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'Dicks: The Musical' is the Liberal Propaganda of Republicans' Nightmares
Let’s see Lauren Boebert get felt up while watching THIS musical.
Future generations might very well watch Dicks: The Musical as part of a double-feature with Emma Seligman’s Bottoms. Like the latter film, Dicks is uproariously funny, unabashedly liberal, takes place in a heightened reality fit for Looney Tunes, features wild supporting turns by a Saturday Night Live star and a celebrity usually known for something other than acting, and is anarchic to such a degree that it’s seemingly devoid of any real point - which may very well be the point.
Directed by the great Larry Charles (Borat), Dicks stars Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp - who also adapted the screenplay from their UCB show - as Trevor and Craig, the two top salesmen at a company that sells parts for ‘Vroombas’ (which is probably the least-funny joke in the movie). Though initially competitive for the approval of their boss, Gloria (Megan Thee Stallion), Trevor and Craig soon come to realize, via completely ridiculous means, that they’re identical twins separated a birth. Each was raised by a different parent: Craig grew up with their father, Harris (Nathan Lane), a barely-closeted gay man obsessed with a pair of freakish mutants he calls his ‘Sewer Boys’ (on account of him having found them in the sewer), while Trevor lived with their mother, Evelyn (Megan Mullally - someone get this woman a goddamn Oscar), a math-impaired shut-in who speaks with a lisp and carries her vagina around in a ziplock bag (don’t ask - I’ve said too much already). The siblings conspire to reunite their folks, à la The Parent Trap, so they can have the family they always wanted.
Hilarity Complete fucking insanity ensues.
Also, as the title suggests, it’s a musical.
As in Bottoms, nothing and no one is safe from Dicks’ satirical bazooka. The movie opens with text praising Jackson and Sharp for being the first-ever gay men to write anything and for “bravely” playing heterosexuals, is narrated by a God (Bowen Yang) adorned in a series of gaudy costumes that make Mr. Slave from South Park seem butch by comparison, provides Megan Thee Stallion with a number celebrating the ousting of the patriarchy from the business world (complete with a directive to “get on your knees and suck my fucking dick”), and concludes with a song that, both lyrically and philosophically, seems designed to simultaneously offend and prey on the the religious right’s greatest fears.
I do not think that Charles, Jackson, Sharp, or anyone else associated with the film actually believes the thesis its story endorses. I’ve seen one critic compare Dicks to something that might have been made by Troma Entertainment, the long-running independent production company (The Toxic Avenger, Surf Nazis Must Die, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, The First Turn-On!, etc.) known for its sophomoric edgelordism. And while they intended the comparison to be an insult, they’re not that far off: Dicks’ conclusion is just a stone’s throw away from that of one of Troma’s more famously-distasteful movies, which I can’t name here without giving away the gag.
But Dicks is actually far more graphic than that picture, and populated with mainstream stars (in addition to Lane, Mullally, and Yang, Mullally’s husband, Nick Offerman, also pops up by the end, and the Sewer Boys are voiced by SpongeBob Squarepants himself, Tom Kenny). More people probably saw Dicks in its opening weekend than have ever seen the Troma movie in question, which makes it far more “dangerous” than anything Troma has ever produced (at least from the perspective of your Marjorie Taylor Greenes and Ron DeSantises). If you told me the filmmakers’ sole intention was to create something so ridiculously objectionable as to raise Jerry Falwell from the grave only to shock him into dying a second time, I’d believe you.
I can see where some people might find Dicks’ attempts to be subversive and provocative too self-conscious, but personally, I still found the movie to be hysterical. It is, in some ways, a liberal’s logical response to the modern conservative movement, which is itself a culture of trolls, willing to make whatever argument it needs to make to hold onto power, no matter how nonsensical or hypocritical. It takes all of the right’s most hateful rhetoric and reclaims it for the left, much the same way the LGBTQ+ community has reclaimed the slur which appears so prominently in the finale’s conclusion.
Viewed through this lens, even the casting choices seem meaningful: Lane and Mullally were both key players in big mainstream hits that helped destigmatize gay culture in the ‘90s, and Megan Thee Stallion is largely known for her contribution to Cardi B’s “WAP,” a pornographic, sex-positive song that seriously rattled heterosexual white men uncomfortable with women expressing their own desires. The MAGA set keep accusing Disney musicals like The Little Mermaid of being woke propaganda, so Charles and his cohorts created the most outrageous work of woke propaganda imaginable, complete with songs so infectious even a child would love them. Let’s see Lauren Boebert get felt up while watching this musical.
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