Like many Americans, I capped off this year’s joyous Christmas season with a trip to the multiplex to watch Les Miserables. The title should be a tip off to the unrelenting despair set to music which is Les Miserables, literally translated as “please don’t commit suicide in our theater.” Still, I settled in with my husband and unsuspecting mother who probably expected more Boy Meets Girl than Everybody Dies.
As a side note, I’ve always wondered who reads an epic novel about class inequities, sacrifice, French nationalism, death, death, death and wacky inn keepers and thinks, Musical! Then again, who plops down millions of dollars just to stuff up their sinuses and lose all faith in humanity. Me, that’s who! Me and my soggy ilk.
Anyway, after I sat shiva on the movie version, I began to consider a small detail of the musical which, in terms of how I look at life, just didn’t make sense and it wasn’t why a factory full of women would attack one of their own because a guy impregnated her and then went back on tour with the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, not only leaving Fantine without child support but participating in a show where people don’t need to salt their popcorn with Prozac.
My problem is the idea that a large group of students would not only skip school on a regular basis, even before schools texted parents about unexcused absences, but could build a barricade with items most likely procured from their mother’s homes without even one mother calling another and asking, what’s up with that?
Nobody notices that their little Marius is coming home from a hard day of learning how to speak French, with beer on his breath and no new conversational French beyond Viva La Revolucion!
Anyone who has ever mothered would call her son’s friend’s mother and say, “Hi Alice. Have you noticed a distinct lack of French where Brian is concerned?” ( I know these are not typically french names, but I took Spanish in high school when I actually attended high school and therefore speak only English.)
Now you wouldn’t contact Ben’s mother who would leap to his defense and assure you that her baby would never plot a revolution when he was supposed to be in school as Ben’s mother’s a bit of an idiot. You, would, however track down Pierre’s’s mom, as she is reasonable enough to know that any kid will plan a revolution with the wrong friends and a bartender who has never heard the term “under aged drinking”.
This conversation would start a chain reaction and soon all of the mother’s would be springing little questions on their misbehaving sons like, Parlez Vous Frances?” to which the little buggers would reply, “Umm, do you hear the people sing?’ before running out the door with your red table cloth.
And let’s face it; these kids are going to make a barricade with stuff they take from their homes and god knows it won’t be their beds or their laptops. No, these kids are going to take a chair here, a table there, your grandfather’s piano.
There is no way that this would continue to the point where they are downtown in the middle of the day, taunting soldiers while peering through the rungs of your mother’s settee. No. You’re going to say to yourself, “Wait one darn minute. Where is my mother’s sofa?” and then you’re going to lean over the fence and say, “Alice. Are you missing any large pieces of furniture from your hovel?”
And Alice is going to say, “No, but Jaques (that’s a french name, right?) loaded up our best wheel barrel and told me not to wait up. You don’t think those monkeys are blocking off the main street again, do you?”
At this point, these kids have bigger concerns than an armed militia, pissed off that they’re trying to take down the government. At this point, the mothers are heading downtown with absolutely no singing involved, armed with facial expressions that could stop global warming if utilized ten years ago.
Before you can say, “I liked this musical better when the mom’s weren’t involved,” the barricade would be cleaned up and every boy would be forced to apologize to the nice army men before going to bed without supper. And Marius would be forced to tell that nice Cozette that he wouldn’t be able to take her to the prom as he is grounded, mister!
Don’t let this stop you from seeing Les Miserables, however. There’s still plenty of suicide and tragedy even without the barricade and that’s just in the audience.