All Singing, All Dancing, All Mirroring!

It’s Lacan: The Musical!

Ok, not really. But I did want to talk more about the Broadway adaptation of Legally Blonde and the ways in which it, in many ways, goes beyond the source material in terms of the Lacanian narrative.

To take the two examples I brought up in class; the first is the scene revolving around the prosecution’s witness. In the film, he’s given the name “Enrique,” and his boyfriend is called Chuck. In the show, by contrast, he is “Nicos Argistacos” (which got a huge laugh) and his boyfriend is “Carlos.” In short- the pool boy is way more “foreign” on stage than he is on the screen. This sets up nicely for the musical number centered around him; “Gay or European,” which goes like this

“Is it relevant to assume/that a man who wears perfume/is automatically radically fey?”

“Gay or foreign fella?/The answer could take weeks/They will say things like /’ciao bella’
while they kiss you on both cheeks.”
And so on. Ultimately he’s found out when Elle successfully deploys “the Bend-and-Snap” and he doesn’t react.
The other song, which we discussed in a bit more detail, is, of course, “Take It Like A Man.” 
“Here you’ll become what your suppose to be. You think you can’t but you can/Think of the guy you want most to be. Here’s your chance to make it, so take it like a man.”
So overall, how would this relate to the Lacanian narrative as we’ve discussed it? The fact that the show contains a musical number for comic relief wherein the comedy revolves entirely around outward appearance and mannerisms, and another in which the show all but states directly to the audience that the only real lawyers are those who look like lawyers. What do you think?

2 thoughts on “All Singing, All Dancing, All Mirroring!

  1. I have not seen the Legally Blonde musical but I disagree that the pool boy on screen is not depicted as foreign. He has an exaggerated accent and is sporting a silk button down with the Virgin Mary on the back. That seems extremely stereotypical to me.

    Other than that I believe the narrative is fairly consistent in the Legally Blonde musical of advocating for persons to dress and present themselves in a manner that allows them to be easily categorized. The idea that “it could take weeks” to determine whether the man is gay or European seems contrary to the interests of those performing the song. The message of both songs dictate that one should dress in a way that allows others to easily understand their identity on first sight and avoid social misunderstanding.

    Okay so I know this is totally pointless, but I am irritated every time I watch Legally Blonde by the pool boy’s lack of motive. Why on earth would he lie under oath about an affair with Mrs. Windham? Why would he degrade and perjure himself with no recognizable gain? The only possible explanation I could think of would be that Chutney is paying him off, but it still does not add up. It was blatantly not integral to the plot to clear up what happened to the pool boy but I for one would like an explanation for his behavior and a follow up on what consequences he faced for his unnecessary lies.

    • As far as the pool boy’s portrayal, touché. I guess that, having seen the stage show earlier, I was expecting him to be lot more over-the-top than he was even in the film itself.

      And touché again as far as the central message in Legally Blonde about outward appearances. Interesting idea that the story is bemoaning that not everyone in it is as immediately categorizable as, say, Elle’s classmates, who are relegated to a few scenes of being comic relief on the basis of what they look like.

      I assume he was being paid off, although in a formalistic sense the scene is there to show us that Elle can use her non-lawyer intuition to do Cool Lawyer Things. Doesn’t answer your question, but it’s all I’ve got.

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