I love you, “Repo! The Genetic Opera.” I love you like a high-school cheerleader loves her abusive, immature, angst-ridden boyfriend. You ignore me, disrespect me, make promises that your plot never fulfills, but there’s something in the way you wear your eye-liner, that keeps me coming back.
I love you, “Repo! The Genetic Opera.” For all the wrong reasons.
When we’re together, at first, you’re so much fun. You take me to cool places, play me your weird songs, introduce me to insane friends and tell me a story that’s so dense with pathos that my inner-14-year-old girl screeches with glee. It’s like a Rocky Horror Grand Guinol.
Quite frankly, you’re everything I dreamed of, scribbling away in my Junior High unicorn journal.
You tell the story of a future where organ failures run rampant and a company, GeneCo, that rises to fill the void. But, organ transplants don’t come cheap and if you can’t make your payments, they send the Repo Man, Nathan Wallace, a legal assassin, to retrieve GeneCo’s property. From there we meet, Rotti, the terminally-ill president of GeneCo, his three children vying for the company after their father’s death, a Graverobber, who traffics an illegal pain-killer, and Shilo, Nathan’s sick daughter, locked away in a tower. Yeah, I keep a flow-chart close at hand.
And, it’s all told against the backdrop of a city that is equal parts dystopian and beautiful, with vibrant special effects, timeless set design and songs that combine Wagner, Rammstein and German folk. At first it’s such gothy, silly, black-lit fun!
But, as the night wears on, you get lazy, inattentive. Your songs lose their thrill, your sets all go away, except for one bland opera stage, your back-story requires a cheat-sheet and you wrap up your plot with a mountain of exposition, leaving plot-holes the size of Paul Sorvino’s breakfast.
And, when you leave me, my friends remind me just how bad they think you are. How your music is “too repetitive,” your story “too confusing.” And, your third act sucks.
And, you know, I can’t disagree with them. The story is unnecessarily complicated, the flash-backs do kill the momentum, Alexa Vega really can’t sing. And, your third act really does suck.
But, they don’t understand you. They don’t see the passion with which you were created. Your flair for going way too far. Anthony Stewart Head tearing up the scenery. Paul Sorvino as a great opera villain. Bill Moseley, Ogre and even Paris Hilton managing to not suck and Terrance Zdunich playing history’s sexiest Christian Death fan. Your sets are amazing, your death scenes are awesome and most of your songs straight up kick-ass.
You’re not perfect, but you’re a work with insurmountable potential, and if you fulfilled it, we’d all be complaining you were too popular.
So, “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” I will return to you tonight, as I have many times before, and as always, you will hold my attention for about 30 minutes and then squander, neglect and abuse me for another hour, leaving me to feel embittered, dirty, wishing you would change.
Just take your Ministry t-shirt and go.