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Headscratchers: RENT
  • Why did Roger begin the song "Light My Candle" with the words "What did you forget?" You can see it here as the movie version, but it also happens in the original Broadway recording. Clearly, in the movie he can't have mistaken Mimi for Mark, who had just left, and as Mimi has to tell Roger her name at the end of the song she can't actually have left anything there. Seems small, but I mulled that over the rest of the entire movie.
    • Eh? Roger, upon opening the door, thought she was Mark coming back for something he forgot. Not sure how you missed that!
      • Correct. The fact that Mark has just left is EXACTLY why Roger would have thought it was him coming back. Have you never stepped into the driveway, then realized you didn't pick up your wallet or you left your jacket or something? What you do is immediately turn around and go get it. Since a key had just been thrown down to Collins, it also makes sense that there may have been a knock... if Collins didn't have his own key, that's 2 for the three of them to share... someone has to do without. Unless there was only the one key, in which case it makes even MORE sense.
  • Has anyone noticed that, in the stage play, Mark leaves the apartment right before One Song Glory, saying "Maureen calls"—i. e., "I'm gonna go fix Maureen's equipment". Later on, Mark is right back in the apartment with Roger, Collins and, later, Angel and Benny, with no indication that he even went over to the site of Maureen's protest. Then, directly after that scene, Mark arrives at Maureen's performance space, hence his meeting with Joanne and the well-liked "Tango: Maureen". I wonder why that scene wasn't just placed between "Light My Candle" and "Voice Mail #2". Pretty serious gap in continuity.
    • This is explained in the Fridge Logic page. When he walks back in with Collins he says something like "Look who I found" implying that he went to the street, bumped into Collins and Angel and then walked with them to the apartment to have a little hangout (probably persuaded by the goodies Collins brought) and then leaves after "Today 4 U" to attend to Maureen.
    • Equivalent place in the film - Angel had treated Collins...

  • Why didn't Roger use "One Song Glory" as his, well... "one song glory"?
    • If we pretend that by "Roger" you mean "Jon Larson," well ... he pretty much DID, didn't he? It caught on a heckuva lot more than the crap song he did for Mimi. Arguably, it's one of the most famous and catchy songs of the entire show.
    • Considering this is a musical, it's not really a song in-universe. It's just him giving us a bit of exposition, while angsting and rehashing the big events in his life in-universe.
  • What exactly is going on during "contact"?
    • Hate-fucking (for those in bad relationships) or don't-give-a-fuck fucking (for those dying of AIDS)
      • Or mucho masturbation for Mark. And has anyone ever noticed that it's his voice that says "Where'd it go?" That's just weird.
      • When watching the 2008 Broadway DVD version, you can clearly see Mark come out of the sheet and immediately get out of the way while everyone else is saying "It was bad for me, was it bad for you?".
  • How did Roger get enough money for gas to and from Santa Fe, considering the fact that he had to sell an electric guitar just to afford the car?
    • It was the early 90s. Wasn't as expensive to get back then. And maybe he sold some other stuff, too?
    • Also, cars in movies, TV and theater tend to get great mileage, for some reason.
  • How in the world did The Power of Rock somehow make Mimi's fever break? (other than the obvious Her AIDS-infected body would not be strong enough to fight off whatever it was killing her (almost), be it a cold, starvation, anorexia, overdose, or whatever it was that was killing her. (It's implied to be a disease that she can't fight off, but I don't remember it ever being made abundantly clear outside of implication.
    • It's pretty obvious: The Power of Rock combined with Divine Intervention (in the form of a literal Angel).
      • Plus as everyone who ever watched Damn Yankee's music video "High Enough" knows, the power of rock can do anything if you rock hard enough. Even deflect bullets! Ted Nugent proved that!
    • In reply to the Artistic License - Biology note, is it clear that Mimi has full blown AIDS? The show indicates she is HIV positive, but the progression to full blown AIDS is the part that destroys the immune system. It could be just her body fighting off the infection, something that is possible if the body has progressed to full blown AIDS
    • On that note, what exactly was it that almost killed Mimi?
      • It's never made clear, is it? Though for some reason I always assumed hypothermia. I'm probably very wrong.
      • Hypothermia would actually makes sense, if it wasn't for the fever. Possibly tuberculosis or similar respiratory condition - maybe a link back to La Bohème?
    • Christopher Columbus, director of The Movie, stated in commentary (I think?) that he believes Mimi died soon after the musical ended, anyway. Then again, what he did could possibly negate any kind of opinion he has, YMMV.
      • Something like that sounds right. I know Anthony Rapp said something about how someone can get better and die within a week or something, so maybe his word means something more even to the fans that don't like the movie.
      • Agreed. IIRC, Adam Pascal commented that maybe jumping on the table and starting CPR would detract from the "operatic" sense of the sequence. Personally, i always found it difficult seeing that sequence and counting 58 seconds into the Golden Hour with sod-all happening...
      • Collins DID call 911. He was put on hold.

  • Is Angel a transvestite or transgender?
    • I would call Angel a cross-dresser. Generally, transgender people feel uncomfortable appearing or being referred to as their born gender, which is not the case, seeing as we see Angel dressed as a man at least twice, and referring to herself as such in La Vie Boheme. The 'To Sodomy, it's between God and me' choreography also struck me as very un-transgenderlike. The term that Mark uses, 'drag queen', doesn't fit either, because a drag queen is specifically a man who dresses as a woman for the purpose of entertainment. Cross-dresser or gender non-comformist seem to fit Angel the best.
    • This is rather arguable, but she seems to be transgender, based on her behavior. That is, she's a girl in mind and a male in body. She's not a transvestite, because a transvestite would have a male inner identity and a female outer identity, and thus act less, well, feminine... She's not transsexual, because she has not (and obviously will never) undergone the necessary operations.
      • If she's a girl in mind, she's a girl in body, too. Binary transgender people generally don't like being called "physically male, mentally female" or vice-versa. Male or female are just other descriptors of gender, so calling a self-identified girl "male" in any way makes no sense.
      • Also, during the Broadway version of the funeral scene, Angel's walking around the back of the stage draped in a white bed sheet during the eulogies. During Mark's, when he refers to her as "he", she looks at him like, wtf. When Mark corrects himself and says "she", she looks and smiles like, "Thaaats better ^^"
    • I've always worked under the assumption that she considers herself genderqueer or a genderfuck.
    • He self-identifies as male most of the time, but it varies. I figure it's clinched when Collins calls him "he". ("I can't believe he's gone...") Transvestite.
    • S/he self-identifies as female plenty. Collins has probably dated men for a long time, and is not used to the idea of a genderqueer or trans partner, and reverts to the default he by accident, or it could be the fact that the people like Maureen, Joanne, and Mimi, who saw her/im first dressed like a normal (if rather eccentric) woman engaged in conversation fully enveloped in the female persona refer to Angel as 'she' while Collins who saw Angel first in a male persona refers to her/im as a he. Mark and Roger, who saw Angel first in a pretty obvious costume with overdone makeup, vary from he to she. It may be that Angel is genderqueer, and doesn't mind which one is used, so s/he lets her friends call her/im what they want. There's more than three options, and if s/he were a transvestite, s/he would identify as male, and probably have a problem with her/is friends using female pronouns instead of encouraging it. Look up Eddie Izzard's "Transvestite" routine.
    • Since s/he seems comfortable with both feminine and masculine terms ("Brothers!"), genderqueer is the most likely candidate for a label. That said, I don't think Angel and neat labels go terribly well together. Angel is Angel.
      • Yeah, Angel is all of the above, all at once.
      • "More of a man than you'll ever be and more of a woman than you'll ever get."
    • It's possible that s/he is genderfluid, and thus identifies differently at different times.
  • Mimi seems to be appallingly apathetic to the possibility of spreading her disease. As far as we know, she neither knows nor cares whether Roger has the disease or not, and makes no attempt to inform him before trying to have sex with him.
    • Not really. The extent of her interactions with Roger prior to the two finding out about each other's AIDS was playfully flirting with him and imploring him to take her out. The fact that she keeps her AZT and beeper on her at all times would probably mean she intended to bring up the fact that she had AIDS before anything sexual occured.
      • That's only if you take the words of "Take me out" literally. Don't do that. She's talking about a lot more than just going out to a club and dancing. Heroin is involved, and the number of needles is questionable. Also, getting on all fours for a stranger and shouting "I'll let ya make me out tonight!" (with "out" sounding more like an animal noise than a word) goes waaay past playful flirtation.
    • She makes bad decisions, pure and simple. She's a 19 year old kid who's in way over her head but can't really admit it to herself.
    • See below, Fridge Brilliance - to sum up in '89-90, the ways you could contract HIV and AIDS were not mainstream knowledge and there were a lot of myths and not a whole lot of factual information. The dates are also below.
  • Exactly how long has April been dead? 'Cause the way they did it in the production I saw made it seem like she'd just committed suicide. How heartless is Roger for "falling in love" with a drug addict stripper within what seemed like a week of his girlfriend's suicide?
    • IIRC, Roger went through the whole withdrawal period after April died, which means it was definitely more than a week.
      • Rodger hasn't left the house since he started suffering from withdrawal symptoms, and he didn't stop taking drugs until after April commited suicide. When Collins first arrives at Mark and Rodger's apartment, he says something about Rodger not going out/talking to anyone on the phone in the past seven months, so it's safe to say that it's been quite a while since April died (though he's still bitterly depressed over the whole thing, which is reasonable).
    • In the first Tune Up Mark says "(Roger is) just coming back from half a year of withdrawl."
      • Mark says that Roger is "tuning his Fender Guitar that he hasn't played for a year." Considering that he was playing at least at the beginning of his time with April -that is how he met her, at least according to One Song, Glory - this implies that she can't have been dead for more than a year.
      • Thinking about it, I think it's been a few years. "Reason says I should have died three years ago" (no, not just sung by Gordon, also by Roger). Perhaps Roger started his drug addiction to go numb to his grief?
      • April introduced Roger to heroin, so no. (In fact, that's how they both caught it in the first place). He also implies that he quit after April died in his conversation with Mimi in Light My Candle.
      • That line is (according to the DVD features) a reference to the fact that at the time people diagnosed with AIDS were informed that they had five years to live - Gordon is thus implied to have contracted the disease eight years ago.
  • If Mimi was unaware that Roger was HIV-positive until after the "La Vie Boheme" sequence, why did she attempt to seduce him after "Out Tonight" and knowingly infect a possibly clean person with AIDS?
    • She had her stash with her, so I assumed she was asking Roger to shoot up with her so they could go on a bender together.
      • It doesn't help that in the staged version, you can't really see that she has that stash unless you're in the first couple of rows. In the movie, it's easier to see.
      • Aha!
    • ...You guys do know that HIV is also spread through dirty needles, right? Seeing that they're both heroin users, it's probably how they both got the disease in the first place.
      • It certainly *is* how Roger and April got it. Mimi could have also got it through her addiction, but equally easily through unsafe sex.
    • She might have smartened up and brought separate needles that time. Or she might have planned to have Roger use it first.
      • Might have. Or, she may have just been being thoughtless. She doesn't really give one the impression that she is careful about anything.
      • This is actually Fridge Brilliance. The movie is set in 1989 when HIV and AIDS really blew up and people were just learning how it was contracted. AIDS had only been clinically documented in America in 1981 - 8 years after the movie takes place. The fact that a virus precluded AIDS wasn't discovered until 1983. HIV was only used as a clinical term for what people thought were two different viruses in 1986. That's 3 years to know if you get HIV, it becomes AIDS, much less how to prevent it. It's a lot easier to discover how you got something that knowing all the ways to not contract something. And Mimi is a 19 year old S and M dancer. The dates I'm using are academic study dates, not when the information became widespread and public. That's kind of the point of the play. There's a break in La Vie Boheme - "Actual reality, act up, fight AIDS" A lot of them didn't have the information to prevent contracting the virus.
  • Is anybody else bugged that the entire first act takes place within a couple of hours. Somehow it makes some of the songs ("I'll Cover You" comes to mind) somewhat less meaninful. It also gives me a headache trying to come up with an exact timeline for everything...
    • The movie is much worse for this. The movie starts and it's December 24th, 9pm. The sun comes up, goes down, comes up again and it's Christmas Day. What day was in between?
      • Timeline in the film was :- Christmas Eve 2100 - Rent, (Collins get rescued by Angel, cleaned up, offscreen Life Support meeting), OSG, Candle; Christmas Day - (am) Collins comes in with supplies, Angel's entrance, Today for You, Life Support, (pm) Out Tonight (1st verse following Mimi on-shift before following her back to her flat and onwards to Roger's); Dec 26 (Boxing Day to us Brits) - they're on the tube doing Santa Fe, Mark does Maureen's soundcheck... Consider the lyric change in "Out Tonight" - "We won't come out till New Year's Day" as opposed to the stage play's "... Christmas Day".
  • Just what exactly is Roger so upset about in Another Day?. I understand that he's still carrying a torch for April, and that Mimi probably came on a little strong, along with whatever she was actually suggesting they do but he seems to have over reacted for no real reason.
    • He's so sure he's going to die any day now. He doesn't want to let himself get close to anyone.
    • Also considering that in the Broadway version the entire first act takes place in one day, it's entirely possible that he felt she was being too pushy. I mean come on, how would you react if some chick wanted you to shoot up/make out/go out with her possibly only an hour or so after you just met her?
    • I felt he reacted reasonably, he probably held back a bit in fact. Although it's true that Mimi had no way of knowing this, look at the situation from Roger's point of view only. Although the fact that he had lost his girlfriend months before and that he was dying from the disease she gave him was certainly a factor in his anger, the big problem was the fact that Mimi brought along Heroin.
      • This is made clearer in the film version, where he's actually sort of into it (he smiles at her when she climbs through his window) BEFORE she pulls out the heroin and brandishes it at him. He's just gone through a painful withdrawal and taking Mimi up on her offer would negate those months of suffering he spent trying to get clean.
      • Not to mention his last girlfriend killed herself (and or died, in the movie version, it's ambiguous) after passing him the virus. If you listen closely, he hasn't even left the apartment in at least seven months. Then in walks this girl he likes with BUT with the thing that is killing him (he contracted the virus sharing drugs and/or through sex, but mostly likely drugs) not to mention he's a recovering addict, he's got HIV and he's worried about passing it to someone else. (I should tell you./I should tell you./ NO!) His last relationship ended brutally and hypothetically his only contact has been with Mark. Mimi may have been the first person he talked to other than Mark for as much as seven months. (Collins was at MIT for at least that long, Maureen had broken up with Mark. He'd literally just saw Collins and Angel earlier that day after meeting Mimi.). I would have thrown her out for one of those reasons, much less all of them. The only reason his friends seem to take Mimi's side in things is that he's shutting everyone out. They don't know she brought drugs with her. His only fault is in not explaining any of this because he's afraid. (Again, I should tell you/I should tell you.) That's why everyone is so happy when he shows up at the Life Support meeting - because he left the damn house.
    • I figured he was really, truly interested and wanted to take her up on her offer, but from his point of view, he had AIDS, and she did not. He didn't want to spread it to her. His anger spill was a quickly, poorly, improvised idea to get her away. He thought about telling her the truth ("I should tell you, I should tell you..."), but was too afraid. Poor decision making on his part, but understandable.
    • I see it as consistent with his (justifiable) emotional issues. He snaps when Collins and Mark try to get him out of the house and to a support meeting - Angel is not offended and calms them all down, saying he's just tired. He's hostile when Mark tries to get him to go out to dinner or reminds him take his medication. He's withdrawn and moody after dealing with his impending death, his girlfriend's suicide, and his withdrawal for the last however many months, then Mimi comes in and he's overwhelmed because he does like her and that's emotionally dangerous to him.

  • Mimi has AIDS. Mimi and Benny were an item and may or may not have been again. So wouldn't Benny possibly have it too — and Allison too?
    • Not if he uses a condom.
    • About 5% of the population is at a genetic disposition to not get AIDS, despite exposure. Benny could be amongst this 5% and not even know it.
      • Well, that's kinda reaching since there's no indication that Benny isn't HIV positive and just unaware of it. I think the point was the moral implications that Mimi may be not only chancing infecting a clean person, but a married clean person - so she's risking his wife as well.
      • Benny being immune or having unmentioned HIV are both kind of reaching. Benny probably just used condoms, why wouldn't he?
      • Besides, 5-10% of the Caucasian population is immune to AIDS. In the original production, at least, Benny was black.
      • If Benny didn't use a condom, there'd be the additional risk of getting Mimi pregnant, which would have been particularly troublesome after he got married to Allison. There's no reason to assume he didn't just wrap it up.
  • On rewatching the film, isn't there a bit of an incongruity around the lyrics Mimi is singing in Out Tonight when on-shift? "I wanna put on a tight skirt and flirt with a stranger"? Surely that would be a little overdressed for her, seeing that her work attire is G-string, bra and boots? Not so much in the play - but in the film as shot...
    • I think that's a bit strange to say. Mimi can't get a little dressed up for Christmas?
  • The show takes place over the course of one year. This is a widely understood fact. Over the course of this single year, every main character except Mimi meets Angel for the first time on Christmas Eve. (I think, at least. Isn't it at least implied that Mimi knew Angel before "December 24th, 9:00 PM"?) Anyway, at Angel's funeral on Halloween, Maureen says that "you'd find an old tablecloth on the street and make a dress and sure enough, they'd be mass-producing them at the GAP a year later." How would Maureen know "what would happen" a year later if she only knew Angel for ten months?
    • Hyperbole?
    • OP says, "Fair enough."
    • That happened a few years ago, and Angel told her about it later.
  • What really bugs me is that Benny brings his father-in-law/investor to the Life Cafe where all the others are hanging out. "Oh, gee, I have a conservative father-in-law who can make or break my business on a whim. I really need to impress him. I know! I'll take him to dinner at a vegetarian cafe well-known to be a hangout for all my flaky queer artist friends! That couldn't possibly go wrong!" It just seems beyond implausible that the kind of place where a guy like Benny would take a potential investor could also be the kind of place where Mark & company would hang out, and particularly the kind of place that would put up with them hanging around and not buying anything. (And, sure, the waiter tried to kick Mark & company out... but he didn't persist very much, and they were obviously repeat offenders.)
    • Benny brought him to the protest. The Life Cafe is stated to be right next to the protest site. It was probably the closest place to eat and discuss business. Benny probably didn't have enough time to drive/have them driven someplace nicer.
  • "No day but today" seems to be the intended moral of the piece. It's also how Mimi and Roger got AIDS in the first place. "There is no future, there is no past..." Isn't that profoundly fucked up to anyone else?
    • Living for the day doesn't mean living without responsibility, it means not worrying about things that aren't happening yet/have already happened. Roger and Mimi are dying; they don't have time to worry about the future or dwell on the past.
  • Mimi seems to break every golden rule of exotic dancers. 1. She uses her real name. 2. She lives within walking distance of her club. 3. She walks home through dark alleyways completely alone and still wearing her sexy outfits. All of those things are practically laws to abide amongst dancers. Hell, lots of girls have to ask a bouncer to walk with her to her car in the parking lot to make sure she's safe, let alone WALKING THROUGH DARK SLEEZY SECTION OF NEW YORK CITY COMPLETELY UNPROTECTED.
    • She at least walks in the middle of the street, which women in cities are often advised to do late at night (when there's no traffic, obviously).
    • Who says her name was really Mimi? And even if it was, she never gave a last name. Mimi's not exactly a common name in the US, and it's very likely the clientele assumed it was a pseudonym. You really think any of them chatted her up afterwards and bothered to find out her real name?
      • Mimi Marquez. Collins says it during "La Vie Boheme."
      • Yes, but she also introduced herself to Roger with the line "They call me Mimi" that always made me assume that it was her stage name. And Marquez is a generic Spanish name, and you must admit that together they have a very nice ring. Perhaps Mimi goes by her stage name most of the time because she prefers it, she could have an embarrassing name, or one that's hard to pronounce for an Anglophone tongue.
      • Except for in Voicemail 5 Mimi's mom calls her Mimi. And just because Marquez is a common name, does not mean it is a fictional name. Chang is pretty common amongst Chinese characters and is quite nonfictional too.
      • Mimi is the Italian diminutive of Maria, so I always assumed that her name was really Maria Marquez. Collins possibly knew her last name because of Angel, since it is heavily implied that Mimi and Angel were friends before joining up with Mark and Co. As for the walking home from the club, in the stageplay, the entire Out Tonight sequence takes place in Mimi's apartment, so she's not walking home alone. Plus, the exact location of the Cat Scratch Club in relation to the apartment is (to my knowledge, feel free to correct me) never mentioned. Also, you have to remember that this is New York City. "Walking distance" is a little different for people who are used to walking everywhere, since most people don't own cars and taking a taxi everywhere can get pretty pricey. And it was the 90's. Lame excuse, but, honestly, the world seemed a lot safer to people back then, even if it wasn't. And it stands to reason that a girl like Mimi knows how to defend herself. Of course, this is just what I've come up with after seeing the movie, the Filmed Live version, a local production, and listening to the music. I could be wrong, but yeah. That's my opinion.
      • I wasn't saying that it had to be, just that there was a good possibility, if you want to think up a quick name, your mind immediately jumps to common ones, in America, that's Smith or Jones. For Mimi, she might have well thought "I need a new name" and Marquez came to mind, and she liked the ring of it. And maybe Mimi was a pet name given to her by her mother, which she adopted as her fake name to have a connection. Or because, again, familiar things jump to the top of your mind faster.
      • Here's the thing though. A stage name is used to help separate a dancer's job life and personal life. It doesn't exactly work as a stage name if everyone you know, including your family and loved ones refer to you as Mimi outside of work. If Mimi is just a nickname, then it's about as helpful to her privacy as her real name would be.
      • Dancers can and often do use contractions of their real names as their stage names. Crossref Beatrice Ann Benson in the movie adaptation of A Chorus Line - her stage name was "Bebe Benson". It's perfectly possible that these were the lines Mimi was thinking down.
      • That just means another play gets it wrong. Using a nickname everyone calls you as your stage name totally defeats the purpose of taking one in the first place.
      • In the original La Bohème, Mimì sings the line "They call me Mimì, but my name is Lucia."

  • Why is Joanne so ticked off in "Tango: Maureen?" I mean, sure, she told Maureen not to call Mark, but she even says in the song, "... And to top it all off, I'm with you." I would think Mark has the right to be more hacked off, since he's the one who got dumped.
    • Considering Maureen's promiscuous nature it's probably jealousy and suspicion of an ex.
    • She can't work the equipment, she's cold and tired, she hired someone who bailed on her, her girlfriend thinks she's incompetent and stuck her with the wonderful awkward option of hanging with her girlfriend's ex (a relationship Joanne may have broken up) without showing up herself to be a buffer and Maureen called the one person she said she wouldn't - Mark - who of course, fixes the problem in a flash. Not to mention, of the entire cast, she has a real job and is doing this as a favor for her girl. Joanne's had a long day. The fact that Mark so quickly sympathizes with her (even with the possible cheating) implies that this isn't the first time something like this has happened with Maureen.
    • I read one fanfic with an alternate explanation: Maureen told Joanne that she had broken up with Mark for some reason other than "I was cheating on him with you," possibly by telling her Mark had cheated on her to gain sympathy. Thus, Joanne was feeling vengeful against an ex who (to her knowledge) had not only cheated on her Honey Bear, but was also a big enough influence that Maureen would go crawling to the scumbag for him to fix her sound system. Hence the reason why she hired an engineer herself, and why she yells, "She cheated!" as in, "Maureen said you cheated!", which fits with the whole "Maureen lies" theme of the song.
    • I'd be surprised if ANYONE wasn't ticked off in that situation. Her girlfriend won't commit, continually cheats on her with any human being that hollers her way (and later cheats on her in front of her face), and forces her to do something that incredibly out of her area of expertise, only for Maureen to call her ex-boyfriend who she happened to cheat on (with Joanne). Yes, Mark has every right to be angry—but it's implied he was placed in a similar position so instead of lashing out at her, he allows Joanne to air her grievances and share his similar experiences with her which later help them to become very close friends by New Years Eve (to Maureen's chagrin).

  • How'd everyone afford AZT in the late 80s/early 90s. Aren't AIDS drugs kinda prohibitively expensive?
    • Ever heard of black markets?
    • They know the right people and places to find hard drugs. They can probably find people and places who have "good" drugs too.
    • Street vendors are selling AZT during the "Christmas Bells" sequence in the play.
  • If Roger, Mark, and Maureen are respectively based on Rudolfo, Marcello, and Musetta, why is it that Roger's the one obsessed with Musetta's waltz? Why not something that Mimì sings?
    • Because it's not an exact replica of the opera. And Mimi is a dancer, not a singer.

  • Why is Benny dating Mimi? Doesn't he have a wife? How come no one in-show addresses this?
    • Near the end of the play, it is mentioned that "a little birdy" told Allison about Mimi. I always assumed no one really cared enough about Benny's wife to tell her or somehow Benny had isolated her from the group. He had corrected them more than once when they used her nickname, "Muffy", in conversation.
    • Collins implies that the "little birdy" was actually "an Angel".
    • The whole thing is kind of glossed over and quickly dealt-with (there's not even a terrible amount of angst regarding the Benny/Roger/Mimi triangle when you really get down to it). It's an odd aside, and really just doesn't get delved into.

  • How come Maureen and Mark don't have AIDS? Maureen is a Depraved Bisexual and Mark her ex-boyfriend. With the play being set in the 90s, Maureen probably had lots of unprotected sex, how come her more monogamous friends caught it, but she didn't?
    • Some people are just Born Lucky.
    • Many of the others were gay or heavy drug users — both groups with the highest chance of catching AIDS. Maureen slept around, but maybe just stayed away from druggies. And yeah, just lucky — huge groups of people in New York caught AIDS, but there's a higher percentage of the same groups who didn't.
    • Or, here's a weird idea, maybe Maureen simply preferred to not get pregnant and thus used condoms when sleeping around. Or alternatively, she preferred to not contract any other STD and thus also used protection when sleeping with other women. Maureen is a bit older than Mimi and pardon me, a bit smarter too. And it's not like you automatically give no shit about your health because you are promiscuous.
    • Or a bit of WMG: Maureen and Mark have the Delta32 mutation which originated in the village of Eyam. Eyam was a tiny village that volunteered itself to catch the Plague and then quarantine themselves. The Plague ran its course over 14 months and out of a population of about 350 people, about 27 people survived and this was a good thing because the plague was known to wipe out villages in two days, tops. Later on during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, there were people who happened to not catch it or if they caught it, they'd get better. Genealogists later discovered that these people were relatives of those villagers from Eyam, who had the Delta32 mutation, which was something that made them immune to most sickness. If both parents had D32 in them, you never got it and if only one parent had it, you'd get but it wouldn't be harmful to you at all. Some scientists even believe D32 is what's keeping Magic Johnson alive after surviving with HIV after 23 years.

  • This isn't a question so much as an "It Just Bugs Me", but the fact that most of the first Act takes place within a few hours tends to make some of the emotions the characters feel a bit contrived. For example, Angel singing "I'll Cover You" to Collins when they've only just met or the conversation between Benny and Mimi in "La Vie Boheme". "We're taking it slow"? No, not really. In the space of a couple hours, they gave an exposition on their lifestyles, had a dramatic fight, made up and went on a date where she met his closest friends. I'd say that's pretty quick if not completely normal.
    • The pacing in theatre can be odd that way (characters fall in love at the drop of a hat, and within a few scenes we see a full-blown couple), but it's especially notable since Rent puts a strict timeline down to represent all of this. Things happen so quickly that you can't help but wonder that the entire play works better if you assume weeks passed between the opening and the riot/"La Vie Boheme" portion.

  • In "Happy New Year B", when Benny asks Mark to film his granting them a key to the building, everybody gets all indignant and Roger says "Oh, I see, this is a photo opportunity." Did it occur to nobody that maybe Benny was trying to put on the record his permission to live in the building. I can see Maureen reacting like that, cause she doesn't think before she speaks, but Roger, Mark, Angel and Collins all heard Benny offer to guarantee on paper their rent-free tenancy, and Joanne is a lawyer. One might expect them to realize that by putting the matter on film, Benny was making it so they could legally be residents and not just squatters. Benny is occasionally a jerk to his former roommates, but most of his actions are motivated by a desire to improve the neighborhood.
    • Benny just kicked Roger and Mark out, they feel betrayed by the eviction and with it realize that no part of Benny was the friend they knew. Mark gets a job and they decide to squat, then Benny comes along and graciously offers a no-rent agreement and suggesting it be filmed. Now, I know that Benny meant it and you know Benny meant it, but at this point, all the gang knows is that Benny pretty much doomed Roger and Mark to the streets and as soon as Mark has some possible pull, Benny's scrambling to get on his good side.
  • Why is Mark deciding to work for Buzzline presented as "selling out"? I can understand his perspective; he's a serious documentary filmmaker and doesn't want to work for a tabloid, but Alexi Darling seemed genuinely interested in his documentary when he told her about it. She also offered him a well-paying job on an escalating scale just because he happened to be in the right place and the right time, filming everything as usual. Yes, he's working for tabloid media, but he also now has the resources and an outlet to make his dream a reality. Are we supposed to agree with him?
    • Furthermore, this would give him a couple years' experience for him to move on to a more respectable media outlet in time.
    • His saying this represents an attitude in the "DIY" 90s, where success automatically meant you (or your work) sucked. A true artist would rather make art on his own terms and keep it locked up in his bedroom than make mainstream pulp that lots of people would see. It doesn't make sense, but people sometimes talked that way back then (even if they didn't feel that way). Usually, it was a way to cover up bitterness at not being successful, or to show off for one's friends, but not always.

  • How much cash does Collins have? On one hand, he's mentioned to (probably) be living in a shantytown circa "Take Me or Leave Me" (Valentine's Day or so?), needs Benny's help paying for Angel's funeral, seems to get the cash for gifts from either Angel's gig or hacking AT Ms, and has a far better relationship with the rest of the cast than the obviously-rick Benny. On the other hand, he was a professor at MIT and got sacked only just before the play started, which had to have gotten him a solid paycheck.

  • How is Roger paying for his meds?

  • Joanne graduated from Harvard Law School during an economy when that was still a pretty good shot at a pretty good job. Why is she hanging out with a bunch of underemployed quasi-artists in Alphabet City? Doesn't she have her own friends?
    • Maybe she does. But the show isn't about them.


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