Last month, NBC aired its most recent live staged production of a beloved Broadway Musical with Jesus Christ Superstar starring John Legend. I watched it. It was pretty good. But I’ll watch just about any musical you put in front of me, EVEN IF IT’S ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER. According to The Hollywood Reporter, their next offering was supposed to be Bye, Bye Birdie, the innocuous family show. The movie version of BBB starred Dick van Dyke and Ann Margret’s breasts in a tight sweater (Do you think Mad Men’s Sal ever came out?). Goofy and just a little bit sexy; a perfect choice for network TV. But BBB kept getting delayed so NBC decided to go with their next safest choice: Hair!
I wonder if anybody at NBC has ever actually seen Hair? I have and it’s not exactly family-friendly, especially given #thesetryingtimes. And I’m not talking about the full frontal male nudity, which the show is known for. I’m talking about the frank political, sexual, and racial themes the show grapples with. Here’s what NBC has to say about Hair:
“I’m overjoyed that James Rado and Galt MacDermot are trusting us with their masterpiece Hair, one of the most original shows ever conceived for Broadway with one of the greatest scores,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt. “These songs are part of the vocabulary of popular music, and this rebellious story of young people protesting and standing up for what they believe in is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. This will be the perfect live event, and I’m looking forward to seeing Craig and Neil, along with our partners at MGM and the original creators bring the audience to their feet as they experience these beloved songs and recognizable young characters.”
Great! Now Robert, you are aware that the second song of the show is called “Sodomy”, right? Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool!
Ok, so maybe that one’s a little too risque for prime time. Maybe just skip to the next one? Let’s see, it’s called “Colored Spade”. It’s one of my favorite jams. Nothing iffy about that in Trump’s America! I mean, I won’t sing it in public, but I’m sure you can get Kanye or somebody to do it!
No? Ok, “Black Boys/White Boys” maybe? Or how about “My Conviction” which is basically an ode to drag? I’m not saying Hair isn’t a family show. If I had children they’d have been exposed to enough subversive material by age 5 to start their own toddler cult. But I am saying that whoever at NBC green-lit this is probably still suffering from the long-term effects of LSD. It’s a no-win situation. Either they chop Hair’s big, bushy mane off at the roots, or they show it as-is, and watch as their Network gets napalmed to kingdom come. Either way, I’m in. I love drama!