Hit The Bricks is a Musical Audio Play about the the adventures Jessi Hugson and Wallace Williams through The Land of Oz, about a hundred years after L. Frank Baum left off. It started as a Kickstarter project, and officially premiered released on Jan 29, 2020. It's written and directed by PJ Scott-Blankenship, and brought to life by a host of voice actors, sound designers and musicians.
When Jessi and Wallace decide to investigate a mysterious old house, they find themselves suddenly swept by twister into the Land of Oz, where they meet up with many of its colorful inhabitants (some of whom are old familiar characters, some of whom are original to this story), and end up on a quest to find Dorothy, Ozma, and a host of other missing power players.
Hit the Bricks contains the following tropes:
- Adaptational Sexuality: Though Smith & Tinker never actually appeared in the Oz books, when they were mentioned there was nothing to indicate that they were a gay couple. Here they are specifically mentioned to have been a couple, and they even had a son, Jacoby.
- Arc Words: "If no one remembers you, do you even exist?"
- Ban on Magic: As in many Oz works, magic has to be specially sanctioned by those in charge. However, the current ruler is Jack Pumpkinhead, who seems especially keen on enforcement, to the detriment of our protagonists.
- Dystopian Oz: Downplayed compared to other Darker and Edgier Oz stories. Oz is still a colorful and cheery World of Pun with friendly Muchkins and talking animals, but it's gone downhill over the past century. Dorothy, Ozma and the Wizard are missing, Glinda and the Scarecrow are trapped in separate places and unable to help anyone, and Jack Pumpkinhead, who is trying to rule the Emerald City in the absence of Ozma and the others, has gone rotten (literally; his pumpkin head has rotted) and is controlled by evil spiders.
- Has Two Daddies: Jacoby is the son of Smith and Tinker and specifically refers to them both as his fathers.
- The Heart: Wallace. He's a sweet, sympathetic and kind-hearted guy who just wants to help, and who is always trying to keep the more cynical Jessi's spirits up.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In the backstory, Glinda resolves to some rather questionable methods in order to stop the increasingly evil and power-hungry Sissy. She's not proud of herself for it, and is really reluctant to go through with them, but genuinely feels that she didn't have any alternative.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lurline. She's a snarky and pessimistic witch in training with a very haughty and unfriendly attitude, and she loves to complain, but she's not a bad person.
- MacGyvering: Jessi's got a real talent for this. Already in the prologue she mends Button-Bright's magic umbrella with a stick of bubble gum, and after that she pretty much comes up with some kind of contraption to help herself and her friends out of trouble roughly Once an Episode.
- Mythology Gag:
- Much like in The Chronicles Of Oz, the phrase "What did the Woggle-Bug say?" appears here, as a reference to the newspaper serial Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz.
- The Sawhorse lists off various ways to pronounce the word "Kalidah," telling Jessi and Wallace that different people pronounce it differently. Various adaptations of the Oz series have indeed disagreed on how the word should be pronounced.
- Sissy can't remember the name of the Good Witch of the North, calling her "Locasty-poo." This of course references that the Good Witch of the North didn't have a name in the original book, but later books, stories and adaptations have switched between naming her "Locasta" and "Tattypoo" — the former was the name L. Frank Baum gave her in the stage play adaptation, and the latter was the name she was given in the book The Lost Princess of Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson.
- According to her backstory, Glinda was originally going to be the Witch of the North — though circumstances changed and she instead became the Witch of the South. This is of course a reference to how she is indeed presented as the Witch of the North in the 1939 movie.
- Like in several other adaptations, the four witches of Oz are revealed to be sisters... well, three of them are. The Good Witch of the North, "Locasty-poo or whatever her name was," is unrelated to them and was originally Glinda's mentor, and Glinda was supposed to take over as the Witch of the North after her. After Glinda fell out with her sisters, Mombi was brought in as her "replacement" — Mombi was not related to the others by blood but was essentially "adopted" as the fourth witch and called "sister" by the others.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It becomes increasingly obvious as the first season goes on that most of the problems Oz are currently going through are the direct or indirect results of Glinda's I Did What I Had to Do actions in the distant past.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. Lurline Quelala is named after the fairy queen Lurline.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Four Sisters in the backstory generally only call each other by their nicknames: "Captain" (the oldest sister), "Sweetheart" (the wisest sister), "Sissy" (the prettiest sister), and "Baby" (the youngest sister). We know that Sweetheart is actually Glinda, but the other four don't get their true names revealed, though "Captain" and "Baby" are respectively the Wicked Witches of the West and East.
- Parting Words Regret: Jessi is especially anxious to get home, as her last conversation with her mother before leaving was an argument.
- Prequel: Segments at the end of each episode involving the Four Sisters take place far in Oz's past, and are in fact the backstory of the Witches of Oz.
- "Setting Off" Song: "Hit The Bricks," sung by Jessi, Wallace and the Sawhorse as they travel to the Emerald City, and then again by Jessi, Wallace and a somewhat reluctant Lurline as they set off on their quest to rescue Dorothy, Ozma and the rest.
- Shown Their Work: It quickly becomes obvious that PJ Scott-Blankenship really knows his Oz canon. Already in the prologue we get appearances of not only Button-Bright and his magic umbrella, but also much lesser-known characters like the Little Pink Bear, the Foolish Owl and the Wise Donkey. Throughout the series there are several callbacks to some really obscure parts of the books, some of which become quite important to the plot.
- The Smart Guy: Jessi's definitely smarter than the average young fantasy protagonist. She's good at figuring out how things work and how to use that knowledge to her advantage, she's good with logical deduction, and she's got a knack for thinking outside the box and MacGyvering.
- Spin-Offspring: Both Lurline and Jacoby are the children of established Oz characters. It's downplayed a little, since their parents never appeared in any Oz books in person, but were just referred to by other characters:
- Title Drop: In episode 1x2, when Jessi, Wallace and the Sawhorse are going to the Emerald City from Munchkinland, Scraps tells them to "hit the bricks," and the Scarecrow clarifies that she means to follow the yellow brick road. A few minutes later, the three are singing a "Setting Off" Song song titled, well, "Hit the Bricks."Were gonna hit the bricks
Gonna hoof it til we make it
Gonna hit the bricks
Its easy once you try it
When you hit the bricks
Theres really nothing to it
All you gotta do is hit the bricks
- World of Pun: It's been a hundred years, and while several things have changed in Oz, this aspect of it hasn't. Any given character may launch into a Hurricane of Puns at the slightest provocation.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Jessi dyes her hair blue, which makes her rather popular among the Munchkins. Eureka, who is of course pink, thinks blue is a garish color for hair.