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Cousins, C. (2014). The Book of Mormon, by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez. Premiered New York, 2011, and London, 2013, directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 4(2):221-223.
(2014). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 4(2):221-223
The Book of Mormon, by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez. Premiered New York, 2011, and London, 2013, directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker
Review by: Candis Cousins, Ph.D.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, co-writers of the TV show South Park and of the musical The Book of Mormon, are in a long line of generative American male couples in film and theatre—Laurel and Hardy, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, George and Ira Gershwin, Lerner and Loewe, Martin and Lewis, just to name a few. The Book of Mormon itself is in a long tradition of Broadway musicals centred upon two people overcoming obstacles to becoming a couple. Couples on the musical stage have struggled against prejudice (Tony and Maria in West Side Story), against self-destructiveness (Billy and Julie in Carousel), against social class (Professor Higgins and Liza Doolittle in My Fair Lady), and against psychological ambivalence (Adelaide and Nathan in Guys and Dolls).
The Book of Mormon is the story of two young men, newly trained missionaries, who are assigned to work and live together as a proselytising team in Uganda. Elder Arnold Cunningham—short, insecure, and socially inept—idolises his partner Elder Kevin Price who is tall, attractive, successful, and self-obsessed. Kevin sings “You and me (but mostly me)”, laying out his fantasy of doing “something incredible / That will blow God's freaking mind” while Arnold pipes in with his promise to come along and watch.
In Uganda, they find impoverished villagers, struggling with famine, AIDS and the rule of a psychopathic, homicidal warlord. The greatest problem facing the evangelists would seem to be convincing the villagers that the Mormon scripture holds the secret to their happiness and salvation, but we soon find out that their mission cannot be fulfilled given the nature of their relationship to each other.
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