Except for death and paying taxes, everything in life is only for now!
Multiple-Tony Award-winning musical about a group of friends in a New York City neighborhood trying to live out their dreams, despite such mundane obstacles as trying to hold a job. The show is loosely based on and inspired by Sesame Street, though it handles adult themes such as sex, drinking and pornography. Much of the humor is crude and the language is quite foul, and there is one on-stage depiction of puppet sex, so despite appearing to be a children's show, it is very definitely for mature audiences.At least one song from the show, "The Internet is for Porn", has become incredibly popular on the web after being used for a number of user-produced videos.All of the characters except for Brian, Christmas Eve, and Gary are puppets. The singers are on stage, dressed in black, and although the audience is supposed to ignore their presence, they tend to act along with their characters. The puppets are supposed to represent humans, although the two monsters (Kate and Trekkie) are treated as a separate race, just like white, black, etc., and are distinguishable by the fact they're plush, while the other puppets are slightly fuzzy felt.Now has a developing character sheet.
An Aesop: What you get with "Sesame Street for adults." But on the other hand, they're good Aesops.
Affectionate Parody: The creators of the show have an admiring attitude towards Jim Henson's works (and a number of them actually worked for Henson, to the point that they had to convince them not to sue over the similarities to Sesame Street).
They were thrilled when Jane Henson (Jim Henson's widow) saw the show and loved it.
Animated Actors: Fairly ambiguous; just like the actual Muppets, the characters often appear in amusing interviews, videos and other events where they interact with the crowd and talk about their experiences on the show, though it's unclear whether they're treating the play as a play or as an actual series of events.
Bittersweet Ending: Princeton realizes he may never find out what his purpose is, and he may not even have one, and that every good thing in life is only temporary. But at the same time all the bad things in life are only temporary too, and instead of worrying about the future, it's best to just enjoy what you have for now.
Black Comedy Rape: In the Concert version of "The More You Ruv Someone" Kate is replaced by a chorus which at one point blurts out "Stab Him, Rape Him!".
Blackface: Word of God says that the Hungarian localized version replaced Gary Coleman with Michael Jackson to avert this trope. This way, the character could be played by a white actor and still be considered African-American.
Bowdlerise: Avenue Q: The School Edition. This version was still made by the original creators but with some of the the more offensive and provocative jokes removed in order for it to be "more accessible".
"The Internet Is For Porn" is replaced with "My Social Life is Online" where Trekkie Monster is re-characterized as a "stay at home monster" who only interacts with others through social networking sites.
"My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada" and "You Can Be As Loud as the Hell You Want" are removed in their entirety. Shortened instrumental versions are sometimes played during the scene transitions where the song would normally take place.
The Bad Idea Bears put less emphasis on alcohol and their suggestion for Princeton to hang himself is cut.
Mrs Thistletwat is renamed Mrs Butz and "the Slut" part of Lucy's name is dropped entirely.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Give us your money" to audience. The performance has random monsters running throughout the audience with hats. (The money that they collect is donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.)
In the UK at least this leads to some Lampshade Hanging when one of them (usually Brian) comments that British money is no good in New York.
When the touring production went to Manchester, they receive a weekend for two in Liverpool, and comment on how "that isn't worth anything!"
Broken Aesop: "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist". The message is that everyone's a little bit racist, but the way that it's presented makes it look like it's okay to be an asshole, because everyone does it. For example, when Kate, Princeton, and Gary laugh at Christmas Eve's accent in front of Brian, and then tell him to "come off it," when he defends her, they aren't being racist, they're just being assholes.
There was also one for Rod near the end, in that Christmas Eve is explaining to everybody that she has her first client, and mentions that it's Rod. Then we hear what sounds like a gunshot. It was only the cork to a bottle of champagne coming off that Rod opened however.
Evolving Music: "For Now" was originally written with the line "George Bush is only for now". When this inevitably came true, the lyric began to be replaced with several other things over its various runs, usually tied to current events.
"George Bush was only for now."
In the London production of the show, George Bush's name was replaced with Gordon Brown sometime in 2009. (Two nights after he lost the 2010 election, this line prompted a standing ovation.)
Or in Australia, "Tony Abbott is only for now." (He's the Federal Opposition Leader, and hilariously nuts.)
One of the most recent US showings went with "Fox News is only for now."
Glenn Beck is also a common replacement for George Bush in recent US showings.
In the California regional showing, it's "Prop 8 is only for now".
Similarly, in North Carolina it's "Amendment One is only for now".
During the mid-2009 off-Broadway run: "Swine Flu is only for now"
Mid-2010: "BP is only for now".
The UK tour (Late 2010) had: "Lib Dems are only for now.", referencing the unpopular move of the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition with their near polar opposites in Parliament, the Conservative Party.
The final performance on London's West End (Oct 2010): "This show is only for now".
It also appeared in the recent Singapore tour.
The UK tour (Feb 2011) is using: "Jedward is only for now."
In a Columbus, OH showing, it was replaced with "John Kasich is only for now", referencing the Ohio governor who had recently made the unpopular decision to turn down stimulus money meant to build up a rail travel system.
A Chicago production in 2012 had "Chick-fil-A is only for now" (Chick-fil-A is a Christian fast-food chain that revealed it gives money to anti-gay charities, which got it a huge boost from conservatives and a banning in Chicago. A few months later they claimed they wouldn't donate to anti-gay charities any more)
In one Boston University production (November 2012) it's been changed to "TWINKIES!" (It also changed the Empire State Building to the Prudential Center, as well as many other local/school-specific references.
The Face of the Sun: Show opens with a Sesame Street-like video of the sun shining and smiling ("The sun is shining, it's a lovely day") until clouds marked with various companies appear ("But you've got lots of bills to pay!").
Fantastic Racism: 'Monsters' sometimes face mild discrimination - with their only biological difference being fur as opposed to... cloth... covering their bodies.
Well, Kate is pretty much a fuzzy human, but Trekkie looks like he stepped out of a sexually frustrated version of Where the Wild Things Are.
Homoerotic Dream: Rod dreaming about Nicky confessing his love for him is what prompts Rod to finally accept that he is definitely gay and that he's in love with Nicky.
Hypocritical Humor: Christmas Eve does not seem to have a positive opinion of the Jews ("They have all the money!"). Guess what kind of wedding she has later.
Then again, considering Christmas Eve is probably marrying a Jewish man (Brian) it's very likely she said that stuff about Jews as payback for Brian's accidental use of the racist "Oriental" slur to describe her.
And then you realize that Brian just lost his job and in "It Sucks To Be Me" she was complaining that they can't pay their bills...
Further played with and semi-subverted when Nicky introduces Rod to Ricky, a gay guy identical to the Nicky save for his clothes.
Informed Judaism: If Rod and Ricky's wedding photos are any indicator, it would seem Rod is Jewish.
Christmas Eve and Brian may qualify considering what kind of wedding they had.
Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Averted by Christmas Eve in the song "It Sucks to Be Me" where her being Japanese prevents her from getting a job at a Korean deli or Chinese restaurant. However it's sometimes invoked through casting: some of the actress' playing the part have been of a different race, for instance the London production had a Filipina in the role at one time.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Insistently averted: "I'm Gary Coleman, from TV's Diff'rent Strokes / I made a lot of money that got stolen by my folks!" (In the original Broadway production, and most subsequent American shows, Gary Coleman is played by a woman. For the London production, who might not know the show, Gary Coleman is played by a man.)
In fact, the characters seem to think the difference between monster puppets and human puppets is more striking than between human puppets and human... humans.
The audience can easily be lulled into ignoring the actors onstage who are controlling the puppets. This can be jarring when the cast comes out for the curtain-call at the end without the puppets in their hands. ("Who's that guy?")
However, in various in-character interviews and events, the characters seem to be aware that humans and puppets are different (they sometimes reveal themselves as Animated Actors). One video featuring Rod even treats puppets as a separate race, with him calling himself "the first Republican Puppet-American".
Sadist Teacher: Kate's boss, Mrs. Thistletwat. She actually lampshades this herself as she's firing Kate, saying she never should've hired a monster:
Kate Monster: Well, better a monster than a crabby old bitch!
Mrs. Thistletwat: Crabby old bitches are the bedrock of this nation!
Kate: Whose life sucks more, mine or Brian's? Rod and Nicky: OURS!
Take That: In "It Sucks to Be Me", the chorus involves Brian, Kate, Rod and Nicky all singing about how dreadful their lives are; cue Gary Coleman talking about his life, and everyone agrees that his life sucks the worst.
[Alt. Chorus] All: It sucks to be you. Kate: You win. All: It sucks to be you. Brian: I feel better now.
Rod: ...an afternoon alone with my favorite book: "Broadway Musicals of the 1940s"
Trekkie: In early drafts Trekkie monster was this - that got changed due to potential copyright issues, but the name remains.
Tsundere: Christmas Eve, especially in her (mostly) solo song "The More You Ruv Someone (The More You Want To Kill Them)"
Twofer Token Minority: After Christmas Eve marries Brian, she is now a Jewish Japanese woman, or as fans put it "a kung fu Jew"
Unexplained Recovery: After being hit in the head by a coin Lucy's head falls off (twice) on the way to the hospital (off stage) but she survives and becomes an Evangelical Christian, similarly at the end of the show it's revealed that The Bad Idea Bears have become Scientologists.