Let me talk to you a second about WICKED: The Musical.
It came out when I was in college. When it hit, it was inescapable. Everyone was telling me how great it was, everyone was telling me how it changed their lives… everyone was telling me it was the greatest thing to ever happen ever forever. After a while, I began to suffer what TV Tropes calls “Hype Aversion.” The more I heard people gush about it, the less I wanted to see it. The more people told me I JUST HAD TO SEE IT, the more I said I never will. The more I was told it was beyond reproach, I felt more and more need to reproach it to Gehenna and back.
Hey! Gehenna is in the spellcheck!
Anyway, I remember every musical theatre major, minor, fan or even casual fan losing their blasted minds over this show, and the endless bombardment caused eyerolls, grunts, and eventually outright distaste. Sometimes, fans can just be too much, y’know?
But overall, I still was convinced it was a good show. Or at least one that didn’t stink out loud. I mean, that many fans wouldn’t like something that was completely reprehensible; I’m sure it has its good parts. The few clips I was forced to see or listen to seemed competent enough, even if some folks said it was better many years ago as a book and not a musical. Underneath all the annoyance with the fans, the over-saturation and the cloying amount of love it was getting, I felt convinced that there was at least something decent at the core that allowed it to deserve accolade… and then it lost the Tony to a foul-mouthed show featuring orange puppets talking about their dicks.
I can’t help but feel like all of the concerted effort to force everyone to admit Wicked was the best show evarrr worked against it in the end. In fact this year, 13 years after it premiered and I entered college, I caught two of the songs on an old mix CD my wife left in her car.
And they’re amazing.
They really are great.
It really is as good as they said. But, unfortunately, too many people said too fast how good it was and it turned me off. I know now I missed out on the fun in 2003 getting on the hype train (because, let’s face it, Wicked is probably going to be a landmark show in Broadway history) but coming to it later after everything dies down made it so much more effective and enjoyable of an experience. Going into it fresh, without all the baggage, allowed me to appreciate it for what it was, not what everyone told me it could or should or would be.
If you take away anything from this little nugget of the internet, I hope it will be this: you may like something, and think it’s the best thing in the world, but the more you try to evangelize it and convince someone like me that I have to like it, not that I might like it, will only lead to no one being satisfied for years. Give me some time to discover it on my own, and you’d be surprised at how we might end up in the same fandom… but you’ve got to give it time. Let it breathe… but don’t Let It Go. I’m so sick of hearing about that overexposed song.