Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Be More Chill

Go To

The cast and characters of Be More Chill. Note that this will mostly refer to the musical.

    open/close all folders 

    Jeremy Heere 
Portrayed by: Will Connolly (2015 original cast), Will Roland (2018 off-Broadway cast and 2019 Broadway cast)

I'm never gonna be the cool guy / I'm more the one who's left out / Of all the characters at school, I am not the one who the story's about
Click here to see his appearance in the 2015 production. 

Our protagonist, a painfully mediocre teen who's just trying to survive high school.

  • Above the Influence: Jeremy may have a massive crush on Christine, but he's not going to take advantage of her while she's brainwashed by the SQUIP.
  • Adorkable: He's often soft-spoken and socially awkward, and his attempts to flirt with Christine are as sweet as they are hard to watch. This is toned down in Act 2 thanks to the SQUIP's influence.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He's definitely into Christine, but has a lot of subtext with his best friend Michael. Also has both subtextual tension and actual encounters with many of his other peers, both male and female. Additionally, the SQUIP is supposed to take on the form that will appeal to and seduce the user; his SQUIP looks like Keanu Reeves.
    • The Broadway production seems to support this. During the opening number, More Than Survive, as he arrives at school, he runs away from a group of pretty, popular girls, ostensibly too nervous to be seen by them. But then he does the same for the guys...
    Jeremy: (Frantic) Girls! ... (more frantic) ...boys!
  • Break the Cutie: Oh, yes! First, he's always been bullied and outcast by his peers, which has severely impacted his self-esteem. He mentions having "meltdowns" that land him in the nurse's office, which, combined with his general behaviour, points to the probable existence of an extreme anxiety disorder. Word of God has confirmed his self-hatred has been severe to the point of suicidal thoughts prior to canon. Recently, his mother walked out on him, leaving his father depressed to the point that he can't function, let alone take care of him. And now, he's got an emotionally, physically and sexually abusive (not to mention eventually megalomaniacal) AI to contend with. Fun.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: So much trouble could've been avoided if he'd just ask Christine out, but he's too scared of rejection to even talk to her at first. In the end, he shows his Character Development by asking her out to lunch, which she gladly accepts.
  • Character Development: His arc in the story centers around learning to be comfortable in his own skin.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The show opens with him attempting this. It's a running theme with him until the SQUIP puts a stop to it.
    Jeremy: But I am a masturbator...
    SQUIP: We'll fix that.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He's introduced at the very top of the show trying to get off to pornography before school, establishing him as a single, uncool "loser." Given his luck, it loads slowly, and he has to get ready for school before it can.
  • Gibberish of Love: He is incapable of saying anything to Christine until he gets the SQUIP.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: He doesn't have a high opinion of himself, to say the least. It gets much worse with the SQUIP's abuse.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: He's a geeky underdog, but he doesn't enjoy being an outcast. The whole reason he gets a SQUIP in the first place is that he wants to fit in and get his crush to notice him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: His "The Reason You Suck" Speech to his father is cruel, but not the least bit inaccurate. Despite the SQUIP's influence, it clearly comes from a place of genuine hurt and neglect.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: His SQUIP's advice typically leads to him acting like this, though he has shades of jerk behavior even without the SQUIP. That said, he genuinely just wants to fit in and when push comes to shove, he'll do the right thing and he helps save his classmates at the end. The casting even calls for an emphasis on Jeremy having 'sweetness' and 'warmth'.
  • Jewish and Nerdy: He's confirmed to be Jewish (at one point saying that he blew his Bar Mitzvah money on a Wintergreen Tic-tac), and he's certainly quite a nerd before the SQUIP begins to influence him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: This and What the Hell, Hero? drive the plot of the show.
  • Nervous Wreck: By his own admission, "Freaking out is [his] okay."
  • Parental Abandonment: His mom walked out on him and his father, and his father is so emotionally distraught that he hasn't actually been a parent in quite a while.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The show ends with him awesomely putting the not-quite-dead SQUIP in its place.
    Jeremy: Of the voices in my head, the loudest one is mine.
    The SQUIP: Jeremy...
    Jeremy: The loudest one is mine!
    The SQUIP: You can't get rid of me that easily—
    Jeremy: The loudest one is mine!
  • Socially Awkward Hero: If he wasn't so painfully awkward and insecure, we wouldn't have a story. He's implied to have some kind of social anxiety disorder at the source of this.
    Jeremy: Once again there's been a takedown / But I guess it could have gone worse / At least I didn't have a breakdown / And have to go to the nurse...
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: He becomes a lot nastier after gaining the SQUIP...
  • Took a Level in Kindness: But fortunately, he matures, ditches the SQUIP, and becomes much nicer again.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The show is something of an extended one for him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Much of his behavior and actions after taking the SQUIP qualifies, but special mention goes to agreeing to ditch his best friend Michael, and block him out for months. Then there's his argument with Michael at the Halloween party, where the SQUIP is off and he's the only one to blame for treating him like dirt.

    Michael Mell 
Portrayed by: George Salazar (2015 original cast, 2018 off-Broadway cast, and 2019 Broadway cast)

High school is Hell, but we navigate it well / because what we do, is we make it a two-player game

Jeremy's geeky best friend.

  • Alliterative Name: Michael Mell.
  • Adorkable: And he seems to be aware of it, too, gladly telling Jeremy that dorks like them are cool in college for the same reasons they're considered uncool now.
  • Ambiguously Gay: It's never clear if his feelings for Jeremy are platonic or romantic. He doesn't seem to be very interested in girls, though.
  • Badass Normal: In addition to just being a regular (if weird) high schooler, he's the only member of the main cast aside from Mr. Heere to not be Squipped and gain the subsequent abilities that come with it. This doesn't stop him from figuring out how to defeat the SQUIPs on his own and being the one to save the day.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He arrives at the last second to save everyone in "The Play".
  • Break the Cutie: His is possibly the most prominent one in the show. Jeremy, his best and only friend since childhood, abandons him for the sake of popularity and the chance to get a girl he likes. Then when Michael tries to warn him about the danger he's in, crashing a party full of popular kids in the process, his efforts are rewarded by being yelled at, called a loser to his face, and left to have an anxiety attack in a bathroom. No wonder he's the one who sings the show's Signature Song, you just wanna give the poor kid a hug.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Probably comes with the stoner territory, but the sillier and more fanciful of his lines definitely qualify him like this.
  • Cool Loser: He's cute, funny, and kindhearted, but to his classmates, he's just the antisocial headphones kid.
  • Cuddlebug: He's very physically affectionate with Jeremy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like almost everyone else in the show, he has his sarcastic moments. He is a teenager, after all.
  • Despair Event Horizon: What he goes through at the Halloween party leaves him utterly despondent. Thankfully, it doesn't take.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: His way of coping with his fallout with Jeremy is getting extremely high and burning keepsakes from their friendship after the Halloween Party.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Michael's first appearance has him cheerfully greeting Jeremy and commenting that there's no sense in wasting time trying to be cool, so they may as well just own their loserdom. He also supports Jeremy's efforts to get Christine's attention and comforts him after he gets made fun of. So... a friendly, laid-back Cool Loser who's the best friend a guy could have? Sounds like Michael, alright.
  • A Friend in Need: It takes some persuasion from Mr. Heere, but even after Jeremy's betrayal, he shows up at the play to rescue him and the rest of the cast from the SQUIPs. When Jeremy asks him about it later, he laughingly credits Jeremy's father with the idea.
  • Has Two Mommies: Very casually mentioned in the revised script. According to cast and creatives, coming from an LGBT+ household full of acceptance made Michael grow up very loved and is responsible for the kind of friend and person he is today.
  • The Heart: By far the most nurturing force in Jeremy's life at the start of the show. He's physically affectionate, encouraging, gentle, funny and unapologetically weird. Michael is even described by cast members as having "every gesture filled with love and acceptance".
  • Heroic BSoD: Happens when he has a panic attack in "Michael in the Bathroom" after Jeremy not only rejects his last-ditch effort to warn him about the SQUIP, but rejects him cruelly.
  • Hidden Depths: Different points of the show hint towards this, but "Michael in the Bathroom" especially reveals that under the warmth and silliness, Michael has his own demons to contend with, particularly when it comes to struggles with mental health, codependence, and self-worth. He also mentions during "The Play" that he's actually jealous that Jeremy is trying to be popular.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: In "The Play", it's how he and Jeremy fight the Squipped cast members.
  • Keet : Fits this trope to a T. Whether it's getting the food he wants, vintage sodas, video games, being told of his value to another person, things working out for Jeremy (or appearing to), or especially showing up right in the nick of time to save the day, Michael's regular demeanor is a ball of energetic optimism and excitement.
  • Nice Guy: He's very pleasant and friendly, even when Jeremy blows him off.
  • No-Sell: Refuses the temptation of taking a SQUIP from early on in Act 1.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: It's incredibly jarring to see Michael upset, anxious, or angry. It also tends to correlate with how serious things are going to get in the plot.
  • Shipper on Deck: He's encouraging of Jeremy's efforts to talk to Christine.
  • Ship Tease: With Rich in the 2018 revised script.
  • The Stoner: He repeatedly mentions getting stoned in his basement as one of his preferred pastimes. Later in the show, he does it to cope with Jeremy cutting him out of his life.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: He gives up on Jeremy after the Halloween party. Mr. Heere snaps him out of it in half a song.
  • True Companions: With Jeremy.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Has a whole song about the loneliness and hurt he feels when his one friend, the equally-unpopular Jeremy, rejects him in favor of social climbing, but he's absolutely beloved by the fans.

    The SQUIP 
Portrayed by: Eric William Morris (2015 original cast), Jason Tam (2018 off-Broadway cast and 2019 Broadway cast)

Don't freak out, and don't resist / and have no doubt, if I assist / you will / be more chill
Click here to see its appearance in the 2015 production. 

The supercomputer that ends up in Jeremy's head.

  • Adaptational Villainy: In the book, the SQUIP genuinely wants to help Jeremy. In the theatrical version, it desires to Take Over the World.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The moral of Be More Chill? Don't put all your faith into a tiny supercomputer that implants itself in your brain, because it might turn out to be evil and hellbent on world domination. Or something like that. Also, self-acceptance!
  • Ambiguous Allegiance: While the SQUIP definitely prioritizes its own interests, it's hard to tell if it's also genuinely trying to help Jeremy in its own twisted way.
  • Big Bad: It turns out to be the main villain of the story.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: It seems helpful, likeable and charming at first, but it gradually reveals itself to be a pretty nasty piece of work.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Heavily implied to be the source of its villainy. As a supercomputer incapable of feeling emotions, possessing a conscience, or properly reasoning right from wrong, the SQUIP's sole focus is on producing effective results based on the user's (and as it evolves and grows more powerful, its own) goals. The SQUIP therefore operates on whether or not any one action, no matter the cost, will produce the intended result, disregarding things like consent, free will, and emotional wellbeing in the process.
  • The Chessmaster: The SQUIP is a quantum supercomputer, so it's frighteningly good at engineering favourable outcomes for itself. Just for starters, it gets Jeremy and Brooke together by having Jeremy first spark her interest through calculated praise, then accurately predicting (and possibly causing) the death of Eminem and manipulating Jeremy into convincing Brooke that he's a big Eminem fan so that she will try to comfort him, culminating in them making out behind the school. Had it not been for Michael and his obsession with 90s memorabilia throwing a Spanner in the Works, the SQUIP would have enslaved the entire school, and eventually the whole world, almost effortlessly.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Has no qualms about resorting to torture to get its way. On teenagers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frequently sarcastic towards Jeremy.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Or, in this case, cannot predict good; this is justified in that as a computer hellbent on producing favourable results for the user no matter the cost (and often at others' expense), it sees no benefit and hence no reason for people to act erratically, loyally or selflessly, something crucial both to the show's denouement and its message.
  • Evil Is Cool: Justified, as its primary function is to make misfits popular and teach them to be cool. invoked
  • Evil Is Sexy: Incredibly suave, charismatic, and seductive in personality, and always cast as a very attractive actor. It also offers to appear as a "sexy anime girl" to better instruct Jeremy. The sex appeal is most likely a tactic to better influence hosts. The writing seems to lean into this, too:
    The SQUIP: I'll tenderly guide you / Just take me inside you / Forever...
  • Expy: He (intentionally, according to Joe Iconis) functions very similarly to Audrey II.
  • Kick the Dog: The SQUIP is a dog-kicking machine — most notably when it pressures Jeremy to get rid of Michael, and when it drives Jeremy to the brink of tears with its verbal abuse. As the show progresses, its actions grow steadily crueler.
  • Lack of Empathy: It has no consideration or care for Jeremy's emotions, or mental health, or that of those around him, and no qualms about causing horrible pain and stripping the students of their free-will. Probably not surprising, since it's a computer and literally incapable of empathy.
  • Light Is Not Good: In the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions, it dresses purely in white costumes, but it's still as mean as ever. This trope becomes Subverted as the show goes on, as its outfits gain more and more silvery and black accents, with its final form being a black set of robes aglow with LED lights.
  • Manipulative Bastard: About 90% of what it says is pure manipulation, and it is good at it.
  • Never My Fault: Any time things go wrong, the SQUIP is quick to either blame Jeremy's own (perceived) shortcomings or the students' 'human error'. When Jeremy does everything it instructs and Christine points out that things are worse than ever, it decides to target the latter issue by brainwashing all of humanity to act as perfect, emotionless, and predictably as machines 'for their own good'. Otherwise, it outright regards its abuses of Jeremy as favours he doesn't appreciate or brought on by himself. Additionally, it covers up upsetting incidents with lies.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Is very touchy-feely, especially with Jeremy, with whom it acts extremely possessive, and, in Jeremy's hallucinations, with Christine. Again, possibly intentional in how the discomfort this causes pushes someone to act.
  • Not Quite Dead: The end of the show implies it's not truly gone, just unable to outright control Jeremy anymore — which fits, given that it's a metaphor for mental illness and/or the pressure to fit in. You can never outright get rid of that, but you can get it under control so it won't consume your life. Indeed, the last lines of the show indicate that even if the SQUIP is still around, Jeremy will be able to handle it from now on.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: Despite the SQUIP's insane calculation and planning skills, it seems to have a blind spot for genuinely noble actions. Michael sticking to Jeremy despite Jeremy treating him like dirt gets the Mountain Dew Red into Jeremy's hands. Then Jeremy freeing Christine instead of taking advantage of the situation finishes the SQUIP's plan.
  • Not So Stoic: Its normally calm, controlled, polite demeanor starts to crack as it reveals its true intentions, and shatters altogether when Christine drinks the Mountain Dew Red, destroying it. The SQUIP's last moments are spent screaming and calling out for Jeremy.
  • Pet the Dog: At the tail end of "Be More Chill (Part 2)", in just about its only display of gentleness, the SQUIP carries an exhausted Jeremy to bed, tucks him in, and ruffles his hair, talking to him in a manner that, in the words of the script, "[is] very father/son after the ballgame." Becomes quite creepy when you realize it's intentionally doing this to gain Jeremy's trust and further control him, possibly taking advantage of Jeremy's strained relationship with his own father to do so.
    The SQUIP: Sleep well, slugger. You have a big day tomorrow.
  • Say My Name: Frequently pulls this on Jeremy, likely to gain his attention and to command him. Its last words are simply it screaming "JEREMY!" as it shuts down. When it appears to be Not Quite Dead in the finale, it does the same thing again, with a lot less force.
  • Saying Too Much: Threatens that Jeremy "doesn't wanna end up like Rich", allowing Jeremy to deduce Rich's meltdown at Jake's party was triggered by his SQUIP and why he was asking for Mountain Dew Red.
  • Shipper with an Agenda: It encourages Jeremy to go after Brooke, and later Chloe, all in the name of making Jeremy cooler, which will allegedly help him get Christine.
  • The Sociopath: No empathy, no emotions, no moral qualms about mind control, only out for itself... but of course, what else can be expected of a machine?
  • Surfer Dude: Jason Tam's version of the character talks like a very nasty, abusive version of this, evoking a Bill & Ted-era Keanu Reeves, whose form he is said to have taken. Downplayed in that this is only prominent in his earlier scenes of Act 1, as his upgrading forms and unfurling villainy in Act 2 cause him to adopt a more silky, otherworldly tone.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Notably averted.
    • The first law states that a robot can't allow harm to come to a human. While the SQUIP does at first follow the letter of this one, it officially breaks it when it sets up Jeremy to nearly be raped by Chloe, even if he just sees it as getting Jeremy laid by any means necessary. Arguably, conditioning its users with electric shocks prior to this incident could qualify as physical harm, too.
    • The second law states that a robot must obey orders given by a human. The breaking of this one is obvious right out of the gate — instead, it gives the orders.
    • The third law states that a robot must protect its own existence, except for when doing so would interfere with the first two. The SQUIP certainly does protect its own existence... at the cost of the two laws above.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Ironically (considering its primary function is making users happier through popularity), by the end of the show, its villainous actions have most of the cast reviling it. Amongst fans, the SQUIP is one of the most popular characters, owing to its cool sci-fi concept, humour, sex appeal, and show-stopping musical numbers.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In "The Pitiful Children", the SQUIP sings about how pathetic Jeremy was beforehand and how it intends to improve not only him, but also Jeremy's peers who it comments are also in pain. This reaches its ultimate culmination in "The Play". Of course, one has to question how good these intentions are to begin with, considering the SQUIP's priorities...
    The SQUIP: I'm going to improve your life, Jeremy - if I have to take over the entire human race to do it!
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Contends that the frequent physical abuse it inflicts on Jeremy is only ever a means of correcting actions and traits that make him a "loser", and stops whenever Jeremy complies. During the climax, when physical pain has lost its effect on him, the SQUIP more or less says this exact line to Jeremy when it hurts Jake instead to subdue him.
  • Villain Has a Point: During "The Pitiful Children", it tells Jeremy that all his fellow students, even the popular ones, are just as insecure and scared as he is, deep down. It's only saying it to manipulate Jeremy into doing its bidding, but well... any teenager can tell you it's not too far off the mark. (For that matter, so can anyone who has any memory of being a teenager.)
  • Voice of the Legion: As it grows more powerful.

    Christine Canigula 
Portrayed by: Stephanie Hsu (2015 original cast, 2018 off-Broadway cast, and 2019 Broadway cast)

I don't always relate to other people my age, except when I'm on the stage.

A theater geek and the object of Jeremy's affections.

  • Adaptational Name Change: Downplayed. In the book, her name was spelled Canigila.
  • Adorkable: Her passion for theater is so immense, it's hard not to smile along with her when she talks about it, and she's even described as 'sweetly dorky' by the script. Also, the scene with her and Jeremy on the couch during Halloween definitely qualifies her for this.
  • Allergic to Routine: What's one of the reasons why she loves acting?
    Christine: Most humans do one thing for all of their lives / The thought of that gives me hives!
  • Alliterative Name: Christine Canigula.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: She admits in "I Love Play Rehearsal" that she has "a touch of ADD".
  • Break the Cutie: The fire at Jake's house does a number on her emotionally, as she cries and admits she has no clue how to help her suffering classmates.
  • Character Tic: Whenever she finishes a song, don't count on the last two lines rhyming. She does this at the tail end of both her big numbers, "I Love Play Rehearsal" and "A Guy That I'd Kinda Be Into". According to the creators, this is to illustrate not only her quirkiness and how she's an outside-the-box type of person, but how Christine as a whole subverts expectations, both from Jeremy and the audience, of a typical love interest character. Also plays into O.O.C. Is Serious Business during the climax; the SQUIP making her sing rhyming lyrics demonstrates how its brainwashing would strip her of her essence in favor of conformity.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Easily the biggest one in the show, which only endears her further to multiple characters.
  • Designated Love Interest: Jeremy doesn't seem to know anything about her aside from her name, not even realizing she's into theater, but he's obsessed with her to the point of spending six-hundred dollars on something that might help him get her. Subverted in that she gets a lot more development than your standard musical leading lady as the plot goes on. Jeremy's realization of her own vibrant internal life and personal struggles as an autonomous person is integral both to his character development (in learning everyone is struggling as much as he is, and to view her with greater respect) and the plot.
  • Genki Girl: Oh, yes. She frequently runs around with her arms outstretched like airplane wings, making whatever sound comes to mind, she's prone to extensive delighted Motor Mouth rambles about her dream bizarre performance art, she'll re-enact her favourite characters on request, and she's generally very upbeat and determined. While this tends to isolate her from her classmates, both Jeremy and Jake find it only adds to her charm.
  • Hidden Depths: While talking to Jeremy, she reveals she has trouble emotionally connecting to her peers when she's not acting, and that the idea of only doing one thing for the rest of her life is nothing short of horrific. She cares about a variety of causes, particularly gun control and feminism. In the 2018 production, this is developed further, as she has several lines added revealing she's known about SQUIPs and their true, dangerous nature long before Jeremy ever got his, and that she turns to theater when also feeling at a loss to help her many, many suffering classmates. She's empathetic is to the point that she starts hurting and feeling severely guilty after the events of Halloween when she hears what happened to Rich and Jake.
    • She's also hinted to be almost as much of an outsider as Jeremy and Michael, as she's seen getting picked on by Chloe and her posse, and at the Halloween party, despite Jake's efforts to include her, differentiates herself from "the popular crowd".
    • And of course, at the end of the show, she admits that while the idea of a SQUIP horrifies and angers her, after briefly having one, she can see why someone would fall prey to it.
    Christine: It's embarrassing... to find out, deep down, I just...want things to be easy.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Makes many.
    Christine: Uh, hello, guy who's been Pucking his way through the cast of Midsummer.
    Jeremy: I'm not — ''pucking?''
    Christine: You like that? Just made it up. Boo-yeah.
  • Nice Girl: Perhaps the kindest member of the whole cast.
  • Oblivious to Love: She has no clue Jeremy has a crush on her — which is a testament to how socially awkward she herself is, since he is not subtle.
  • Only Sane Man: Of the characters who know about the SQUIP and what it does, she's the only one who realizes right out of the gate that getting one is a terrible idea. (Even Michael, who does eventually catch on and try to warn Jeremy, didn't fully realize at first.)
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When such a warm, peppy girl gets angry, you know whoever caused it has screwed up bad.
    • Additionally, during the climax, when she tells Jeremy she loves him, he immediately knows she's been possessed by the SQUIP and forced to say those things because her lyrics rhyme, while Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion is her Character Tic.
    Jeremy: That is not Christine.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: In the book, she tends to use extravagant words, then ask Jeremy if he knows what they mean. She'll also go on speeches and tell Jeremy not to interrupt.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Her attraction to Jake, who she ends up dating briefly.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Christine's very intelligent and introspective, once you get past all her rambling and moments of awkwardness and goofiness. She's particularly passionate about Shakespeare and well-informed on political issues. It's noticeable to the point that Michael urges Jeremy to compliment her on this.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: By her own admission, she doesn't connect well with other people her age. The theater appears to be her main (if not only) social and emotional outlet. She goes through a mini-arc of her own navigating her place in the school's social circles when Jake, the most popular guy in school, takes a liking to her.

    Richard "Rich" Goranski 
Portrayed by: Gerard Canonico (2015 original cast, 2018 off-Broadway cast, and 2019 Broadway cast)

It's pre-programmed! It's amazing! Speaks to you directly / You behave as it's appraising / Helps you act correctly
Click here to see his appearance in the 2015 production. 

A popular kid who's as short as he is terrifying. He kicks off the plot by telling Jeremy to buy a SQUIP.

  • Armored Closet Gay: One gets the impression his constant gay jokes were him (or maybe just his SQUIP) overcompensating.
  • Bi the Way: Realizes he's bisexual after his SQUIP is deactivated.
    Rich: The ladies are gonna get to know the real Richard Goranski... and the dudes. Oh my god, I'm totally bi!
  • Establishing Character Moment: Is introduced shoving Jeremy into the lockers, threatening to kick his ass, calling him names, and defacing his backpack as part of a homophobic prank on him and Michael. Definitely a bully.
  • Hidden Depths: Underneath the asshole bully exterior, he's a nerdy bisexual kid from an abusive household with a strong enough moral code that he resists the Squips' plan to take over the world at incredible personal risk. Earlier scenes hint at this, as he seems genuinely apologetic and eager to befriend Jeremy when given the chance.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: It's pretty obvious that beneath all the bluster and aggressiveness, Rich is just as insecure as Jeremy, if not more so.
  • Jerkass: As a result of his SQUIP. When not under its influence, he seems to be a decent guy.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie: Although he's introduced as the bully, he arguably suffers the most in the entire show. He was such a loser in freshman year even Jeremy and Michael don't remember him going to the same school as them because nobody noticed him. He casually mentions that he was immensely lonely and depressed to the point of being suicidal. He then got a SQUIP, which worked to make him popular, but in order to do this forcibly repressed his bisexuality and repeatedly subjected him to cruel electric shocks and likely the same abuse, if not worse, that we see Jeremy's SQUIP inflicting on him. For two years. He also mentions to Jeremy that he has a rough home life with an abusive alcoholic father who passes out every night. Then comes the Halloween party, where his resistance to carrying out the SQUIP's plans cause him to freak out, culminating in him being brutally tortured for fighting back. In turn, he sets fire to his best friend's house in an effort to stop the SQUIPs, an action that nearly kills him, badly injures his best friend, and ruins his reputation when everyone at school gossips about it over social media and either capitalizes on or laughs at his suffering. The fact that he's able to be as happy as he is at the end after all that is miraculous.
  • The Napoleon: He's pretty aggressive and both Chloe and Brooke note that he's a small guy in "The Smartphone Hour".
  • Not So Different: From Jeremy, as he reveals during "The SQUIP Song". Both have pretty lousy home lives and struggle with their self-esteem (and hence are perfect SQUIP candidates), too.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Rich doesn't appear much in the musical (as himself) aside from telling Jeremy about the SQUIP, which kickstarts the plot.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Getting rid of his SQUIP causes him to mellow out significantly. He goes from derisively calling Michael and Jeremy boyfriends and yelling "Gay!" as an insult to delightedly coming out as bisexual and (sincerely) asking Jeremy if he's dating Michael, and if not, if Michael is single and possibly interested in dating him. He also goes from beating up on Jeremy to gently consoling him through his SQUIP's deactivation. And he hugs Jeremy, Christine, and Michael during the finale, and is seen dancing with all his peers, genuinely happy for all of them.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Depending on your view, Rich either pitched the SQUIP to Jeremy out of a genuine desire to help or because his own SQUIP forced him to. Either way, it isn't out of malice, and he couldn't have possibly realized what would happen, especially since he risks his life trying to stop it once the plan's in motion.

    Jake Dillinger 
Portrayed by: Jake Boyd (2015 original cast), Britton Smith (2018 off-Broadway cast and 2019 Broadway cast)

Never hung with a girl like you before / I don't know if you know it, but I am sure / that for me, you are an upgrade
Click here to see his appearance in the 2015 production. 

High school awesomeness personified, to the untrained eye. Rich's best friend and briefly Jeremy's rival for Christine.

  • The Ace: At first.
  • Big Man on Campus: Even a Squipped Rich defers to him.
  • Break the Cutie: The show isn't particularly kind to him. First, he's abandoned by criminal parents, then he tries to cope by continuing to act like the typical popular guy, dating any girl he likes and throwing wild parties. Then Halloween happens, where he and Christine break up, he finds his ex trying to make him jealous, and eventually, his best friend burns his house down. He then breaks both his legs escaping out the top-floor window. Then comes "The Play", where he gets Squipped and is made to walk on his broken legs when he's forced to attack Jeremy and Michael.
  • Broken Ace: Goes through quite the Trauma Conga Line while maintaining his status as the most attractive guy in school, a heartbreaker, and a top athlete who excels at any pursuit, academic or extracurricular, that he tries.
  • The Casanova: Part and parcel of his popular guy status that he can have any girl he likes; it's at least a significant enough part of his reputation that Chloe and Brooke try to use this to dissuade Christine from pursuing a relationship with him.
    Chloe: Well, he loves to try new things. He just doesn’t always stay with them after he...tries them.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Frequently does so; it comes with the dumb jock territory.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He's introduced bragging about his most recent sexual conquest to Rich.
  • Hidden Depths: The fact that a popular "bro" type like him is interested in nerdy, unpopular Christine certainly says something. During his interactions with her, he mentions that he feels a lot of weight from the pressures and demands of his alpha male status, and part of his attraction to her came from how her moving performance as Juliet gave him catharsis from these tensions. His incredibly tragic home-life also must be the cause of some underlying tension. The Broadway version of "Upgrade" goes a little more into detail on this, as he talks about being tired of being the person everyone sees him as, and sees a chance at a new start with Christine, who's inspired him to be a better person. Additionally, his interactions with both Michael and Jeremy are surprisingly good-natured when he's on his own.
  • Jerk Jock: He gets so much better, though.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's definitely a tool sometimes, but he doesn't seem to be a genuinely bad guy. He's particularly sweet to Christine, and acts very respectful and genuine towards her, in stark contrast to the objectifying way he talks about previous romantic conquests to his popular friends.
  • Minor Living Alone: Jake has lived alone in his huge house since his parents went on the run from the law.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Although he can be a jerk at times, he's never violent - until he thinks Jeremy and Chloe are having sex on his parents' bed.
  • Parental Abandonment: His parents abandoned him and left him alone in their house after getting caught laundering money.
  • Popular Is Dumb: Downplayed, as he's said to be the president of Model UN and the lead in most everything he does, which definitely requires some brains, but he seems to miss a few cues when it comes to people, and refers to a theatrical bow as a "victory dance", among a few other humorously doltish lines that play into this.
  • Romantic False Lead: Christine initially goes after him rather than Jeremy. In the book, she's been dating him for 3 weeks before Jeremy really talks to her.
  • Stepford Smiler: There are some hints that he's not nearly as okay with his family situation as he acts.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Both enforced and horrifically averted by the Squip when he makes Jake (who is on crutches) attack Jeremy and Michael. He forces Jake to walk, but does not heal his legs.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Like the other popular kids, at the end of the show, he reaches out to Jeremy with advice, friendship, and no hard feelings over the SQUIPs.

    Chloe Valentine 
Portrayed by: Katlyn Carlson (2015 original cast, 2018 off-Broadway cast, and 2019 Broadway cast)

Do you wanna hang for a bit? / Just you and me, intimately / talking about all of our feelings and shit?

The hottest girl in school and Jake's jealous ex.

  • Alpha Bitch: She's one of the most popular people in school, spreads vicious rumors, and attempts to sleep with her best friend's date in her ex-boyfriend's parents' bed to make said ex-boyfriend jealous.
  • Establishing Character Moment: She is introduced trash-talking a classmate who supposedly slept with her ex, and smacking down one of her friends who tried to talk over her. In the Broadway version, she yells at Jeremy just for looking at her.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: A significant trait of hers, particularly towards Christine, Brooke, and Madeline. She understands its influence enough to try and invoke this on Jake's part, too.
    Jeremy: (incredulous) Why would you be jealous of anyone? You’re the hottest girl in school!
  • It's All About Me: She doesn't take kindly to anyone other than her, even her own best friend, getting positive romantic attention, especially from her ex, Jake.
  • Kick the Dog: Purely out of pettiness, she gives Christine a Breaking Speech about how Jake likes to use girls and then ditch them when he grows tired of them, and that he's likely already lost interest in her. A lot of her moments are like this.
  • Never My Fault: When she apologizes to Brooke for hooking up with Jeremy, she takes no responsibility as the aggressor in the situation and pins all the blame on Jeremy (who couldn't move at the time) to get back into Brooke's good graces. In fairness to Chloe, she wasn't aware of the SQUIP's control over him at the time.
  • Pet the Dog: She does seem to care about her friendship with Brooke.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Goes as a sexy baby to the Halloween party.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: According to the creators, this accounts for at least some of her actions and jealousy.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: At the end of the show, she mentions feeling "so connected" to everyone who was Squipped (or, from her point of view, dropped ecstasy) during the play. This motivates her to be encouraging to Jeremy in his efforts to ask out Christine, and even more surprisingly, act as a genuine friend to Jenna, who she previously shunned and shut down.

    Brooke Lohst 
Portrayed by: Lauren Marcus (2015 original cast, 2018 off-Broadway cast, and 2019 Broadway cast)

Picked out a costume for tonight / Made sure to get a size that was a lot too tight / You can kinda see my business, but I'll act like I don't know

Chloe's best friend who takes an interest in Jeremy.

  • Adaptation Name Change: The Brooke in the novel never had her last name disclosed. In the musical, she adopts the surname of Katrina Lohst.
  • Beta Bitch: While not as mean as Chloe, she's willing to call a girl slutty for no other reason than pleasing Chloe. Also lampshaded by the SQUIP.
    The SQUIP:(about Brooke) Greet the beta.
  • The Cutie: Lampshaded by Chloe, who bitterly comments that all Brooke has to do is give the "puppy dog" face and boys instantly fall in love with her. Even Jeremy, who spends the whole musical pining after Christine, can't help but comfort Brooke even with the SQUIP demanding he blow her off.
  • The Ditz: She has her moments.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's a blonde, as well as a sweet, good-natured individual.
  • Hidden Depths: The fact that a popular girl like her takes a genuine interest in Jeremy even before his reputation is improved says a lot. Jeremy also learns this during the brief period that they date. She's opinionated about Eminem's sexism, has a favorite place behind the school, and acts far nicer and more compassionate when she's not around her Girl Posse (although there are shades of this shown when she is around them). Brooke also is revealed to struggle deeply with her own insecurities despite her popularity, and although it rarely takes, she's willing to stand up for herself.
    Brooke: I'm not some sexy dog you can kick, Jeremy. I have feelings.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Shallow, popular, and sometimes catty, but overall, a genuinely kind girl.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Dresses as a sexy dog for Halloween since everyone else always goes as a sexy cat.
    Jeremy: It's...original.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pinkberry smoothies and frozen yogurt.
  • The Woobie: Chloe's quite harsh and controlling of her, despite the fact that they're best friends, leaving her with a lot of insecurities. Then the SQUIP has Jeremy date her as a stepping stone to improve his popularity so he can get with Christine. Then she catches Jeremy in a compromising position with Chloe, after previously admitting to him that she was cheated on in the past.

    Jenna Rolan 
Portrayed by: Katie Ladner (2015 original cast), Tiffany Mann (2018 off-Broadway cast and 2019 Broadway cast)

Hey everybody, have you heard?
Click here to see her appearance in the 2015 production. 

The school gossip and part of Chloe's Girl Posse.

  • A Day in the Limelight: Or rather, a song in the limelight; "The Smartphone Hour" lets Jenna take the lead, and additionally allows the audience to learn a little more about her.
  • The Dragon: Becomes this to the SQUIP during "The Pitiful Children" and "The Play"; she helps spread the SQUIPs Jeremy retrieves from Rich's locker, and the script even describes her as 'the final boss' the SQUIP sends out for Jeremy and Michael to defeat as they battle their brainwashed classmates. It's notable that she's the only one able to subdue Michael as he tries to fight.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Chloe and Brooke aren't particularly fond of her, but keep her around because she knows everyone's business.
  • Full-Name Basis: She is nearly universally referred to by her full name by other characters.
  • Gossipy Hens: She knows everything about everyone and passes on the (very embellished) story of Rich burning Jake's house down in "The Smartphone Hour." She's the school gossip because it's the only way she can get her peers, particularly Chloe, to pay attention to her.
  • Hidden Depths: Not that anyone would bother to try and learn about them. It's quite telling that she's the only student other than Rich and Jeremy who willingly takes a SQUIP. She's also easily the warmest towards Jeremy at the end.
  • Not So Different: From Jeremy. She's something of an outcast willing to engage in some morally suspect things in order to feel accepted, struggling with many of the same demons he does. The SQUIP notices this and takes advantage of Jeremy's empathy and compassion for her to further its plans.
    The SQUIP:(about Jenna) So sad...but you can help her.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: