Wake Me Up Before You JoCoBroPro

Friday, June 15, 2007

With the JoCoFo(rums) a no-go, I’m posting this here, which is appropriate because it’s fairly lengthy. Fairly.

This is my proposed synopsis of the JoCo Forums’ Jonathan Coulton Broadway Production. It’s way too long and unwieldy, but hey, I’m more of an idea guy (read: lazy guy) — I’ll leave the arguments about what to trim to everyone else.

My really long writeup follows this jump-cut.

The time: A future much like the present, except for all the differences. The place: A small town in the mountains, where the streets are wide and still (Flickr). BRADLEY wakes up and goes to his job as a computer programmer (Code Monkey). He flirts hopelessly with BETTY, the vivacious receptionist, and offers to meet her for drinks the next night (Drinking with You), but she turns him down, because she has already agreed to have dinner with another of her gentleman callers. Heartbroken, Bradley reminisces about all the other times life has let him down (Big Bad World One) and makes an appointment to see DR. MARTIN. He returns from the appointment armed with a thick stack of prescriptions and a whole new outlook on life.

Bradley returns to work the next day full of vim and medication (I Feel Fantastic). He brushes off a surprised Betty, who then soliloquizes about her own lost love, whom she vaguely remembers from their days in the incubation ward (Womb with a View). Bradley and Betty run into each other again at dinner, having both been stood up by their respective dates, and he reveals to her that he’d submitted his resignation that day to his manager ROB, being, as he puts it, tired of stressing out over deadlines. She reads into his behavior an assertiveness and gumption that she has never seen in him before. Before she knows it, she is excitedly pledging to support him in finding something to do with his life that is fulfilling in creative way. They leave, overjoyed. Well, she’s overjoyed. He’s feeling kinda mellow.

Flash forward a few lengths of time in their relationship. Betty is now Mrs. Brad, but she’s not quite as overjoyed as she once was. Bradley, for his part, is still feeling kinda mellow. He’s still on his regimen of pills, and he’s found creative fulfillment by imagining elaborate scenarios in which they are bailed out of their financial woes by a wealthy Lady Bountiful (Millionaire Girlfriend). She is struggling to provide for them both on her receptionist’s salary (I’d suggest Bills, Bills, Bills, if it weren’t a cover). He promises to stay with her, at least until they’re rich enough for the divorce settlement to be worth something (Till the Money Comes). She finds her solace the same place, oddly enough, that he found his: Dr. Martin — but in an entirely different manner. Slowly, some of the changes in Betty’s personality begin to penetrate Bradley’s chemical haze (Betty and Me). Soon Dr. Martin is encouraging her to experiment with somewhat more permanent physical alterations, with which Bradley is none too pleased — in a mellow way, of course (Better).

Finally, Betty finds her miserable marriage too much to bear. She leaves a “Dear Bradley” letter on what’s left on their pillow after the latest accident with her new weapons system, and runs off with Dr. Martin. The freedom the doctor promises her turns out to be not another word for “nothing left to lose,” but instead, another word for “captivity in his mountain lab in the mountains” (Skullcrusher Mountain). Martin describes to her the vision of the future he has held since he was about yea high (The Future Soon). His vision of her future, though, involves the technology he is developing, which aims to accelerate her evolutionary process artificially, leaving her as the Omega-form, the Star-Child, the final ideal form of life as it was intended to be, or some such tosh. (I don’t know, I don’t read sci-fi.)

Horrified, Betty engages her stealth devices and jet propulsion systems and tries to make a break for it. SCARFACE, Dr. Martin’s T-1000 assistant, tracks her down and casts her into a convenient dungeon thousands of feet underground, where she is startled to hear the lamentations of a sentient giant squidlike sea creature (I Crush Everything). The dungeon abuts an immense subterranean lagoon where the creature now abides. The sea creature reveals, in its hauntingly beautiful squid language, that it is LAURA, object of Dr. Martin’s childhood affections and subject of his first tests of his evolutionary device.

Bradley, meanwhile, has discovered that Betty has left him. Appalled by his own behavior in driving her away, he looks up Dr. Martin’s secret lair in the telephone directory and rushes over to try and win his wife back. One elaborate dramatic showdown later, Dr. Martin fires his diabolical ray at Bradley, reversing his evolutionary process. Bradley becomes more and more simian (De-Evolving). The doctor sends Bradley down into the same dungeon. But as they reach the dungeons, Betty discovers her Go-Go-Gadget-Convenient-Device-That-Bores-Holes-In-Dungeon-Walls. Water rushes into the dungeon, and Betty and Bradley escape. Dr. Martin manages to make it into his own golden submarine, but as he tries to make his getaway, the submersible is seized by an octopus, some kind of octopus (or squidlike creature), tearing its shell apart, letting the lagoon get in. The submarine undergoes rapid depressurization; Dr. Martin’s insides are made outside (Octopus).

Betty and Bradley reach the secret laboratories. Bradley’s evolutionary decay continues to worsen. Betty tries to cheer him up, telling him she’ll still love him even after her artificially increased number of chromosome pairs is about six times that of his artificially decreased number (When I’m Twenty-Five or Six to Four).

Sorry. That was awful. Lemme try that again.

Betty and Bradley reach the secret laboratories. Bradley’s evolutionary decay continues to worsen. He is becoming a more and more simple lifeform. As she watches him, Betty discovers phylogeny recapitulating ontogeny (obscure bio joke — here’s the Wikipedia link). The reversing evolution renders him closer and closer in appearance to an embryo she seems to recognize. Her heart skips a beat as she realizes that Bradley must be her long-lost love from the incubators.

(Actually, he probably isn’t. All embryos tend to look somewhat similar. But let’s not tell her that now.)

In her moment of joy, she is struck down with the knowledge that she is helpless to save the man she loves from turning into the prokaryote she loves. They are rescued by Scarface the T-1000, who now recognizes their right to exist. Wordlessly he turns the ray onto Bradley, who turns back into a monkey before their eyes — but evolves no further, due to a technology failure that is extremely convenient for plot purposes. Instead, with Scarface’s assistance, they make a copy of Bradley’s brain and insert it into one of those cyborgs that seem to be lying about in mad scientists’ lairs. Cyborg-Bradley apologizes to Bionic-Implant-Betty for his behavior, or at least for the behavior of his meat form (My Monkey).

And they all lived happily ever after until the overrides that Scarface implanted into Cyborg-Bradley’s system triggered and transformed him into a ruthless killing machine, the first of many such machines that brought about humanity’s downfall in the robot wars that Dr. Martin had envisioned since he was yea high.

The end.

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8 Responses to “Wake Me Up Before You JoCoBroPro”


  1. Bradley’s name is up for debate (as is the whole thing, I guess), being the only one that isn’t derived from a JoCo song. Based on the monkey-twist (mon.key.twist, v.: what one does to a monkey wrench) that occurs near the end, I suppose his name should be Butler Brian Dennehy.

  2. Shruti Says:

    Haha, this is good, and quite clever. I’m just stunned that you managed to fit so many of his songs into this and tie them all together.

  3. Jon Who Says:

    Okay I’m taking longer than I thought I would, so far so good though.

  4. Bry Says:

    No problem, Jon, writing it took longer than I thought it would, too.

    (I’ve just caught and fixed a basic error of biology. Honestly, I do know how many chromosomes we’re supposed to have! How mortifying.)

  5. Robbie P Says:

    This made me laugh out loud as I read it, mainly because of the fact you managed to fit the plot around so many songs while still maintaining the humour and relative credibility of the whole thing.

    I think the point at which I started laughing was around “I Feel Fantastic”, reaching a peak at “Octopus” and continuing to the end… I do like the way you managed to get the entire chorus of “Octopus” into one paragraph while still providing a detailed synopsis…

  6. Andrew T. Coleman Says:

    You forgot shop vac when they first get together, and de-evolving when Dr. Martin announces his plans.

  7. Andrew T. Coleman Says:

    Sorry for double posting: opening up the movie with “Monkey Shines.”

  8. Bry Says:

    Hey, Andrew, thanks for the comments — “De-Evolving” does in fact appear (use Ctrl-F if you need proof), but you’re right, “Shop Vac” probably could’ve made it in there.

    “Monkey Shines”, of course, was released almost a full year after I wrote this; it might work, except if I’d been planning on it as a theme song the plot would’ve gone a little differently, I suspect.

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