Slightly Irrelevant BMC Discourse We Need To Stop Avoiding
I had my friend aid me in this but here’s a thing I realize we don’t talk about a lot. I just wanted to shine some light on it. Don’t be afraid to discuss this with me please, I’m open to opinions!
Here goes nothing.
Michael Mell is Jeremy’s sidekick/best friend, his “player one”, as he says. He is a POC in the musical, but is white in the book. Michael is also a drug addict, to mainly weed. I’m guessing it’s to help cope with his mental illness (anxiety, social or not, depression (although not clearly stated, I’m guessing it’s there), as well as dependency issues). He really only gets one song that focuses on his character (Michael In The Bathroom: Act 2) that also helps develop his character for the viewers.
I love Michael as a character as much as everyone else, but I feel like some people have replaced Jeremy with him. I understand that he helps represents the POC community and shines light on mental illness in a way, but I also feel some of us have gone too far. In a way, though, it seems a little unusual to solely rely on Michael as a form of comfort. Maybe you can relate to him, but that does mean you should completely ignore everyone else? Not really.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Heere is the main character. He’s your average nerdy, hormonal teenager that has anxiety. His only friend is Michael, and he’s pining after Christine Canigula, a happy-go-lucky girl that has a passion for theatre. In the musical, it says that Jeremy only signs up for the school play just to get closer to Christine. While that is true, the book says Jeremy has past experience in theatre and did it to get to Christine and for the sake of theatre. It may not be clearly stated, but it’s hinted at.
In the musical, he uses his Bar Mitzvah money to buy a SQUIP from the back of a Payless Shoes store that heard from Rich Goranski, a boy who has been SQUIPPED for a while. That would mean Jeremy is obviously Jewish, something we don’t see very often in musicals/books (to what I’ve read/seen). While he has the SQUIP, it regularly tells him he is worthless, should kill himself, etc. as well as physically abuses him in the process (gets electro-shocked when he thinks about masturbation, makes him work out to the point of exhaustion, etc.). It especially happens when he thinks of sex, which is typically normal for teenage boys his age. Jeremy is also very needy and lonely, and doesn’t get attention by his parents as often as he needs, so it would be very clear he does a lot of things on his own, and makes his own decisions. He may seem independent, but in reality Jeremy Heere needs more love than he gets.
Back to the main topic, he’s a very important character. In fact, he’s the main character. “That’s obvious!” you say, but is it really? Let’s get back to Michael. Joe Iconis states that nobody in the musical is straight, so everyone basically shoved as much as they could onto Michael LGBT+ wise. A common one is that he’s gay, which I fully support, but we also forget that in the book Michael had hooked up with a girl at the Halloween party at Jake Dillinger’s house (she isn’t mentioned after that). As much as I appreciate Gay Michael Mell, I also dislike it. A lot of fans of Be More Chill tend to gravitate toward male gay characters and over-exaggerate them. This is very common on Tumblr, a social media site used to share posts and blog.
It, in turn, puts most of the spotlight on Michael, rather than Jeremy, who has much more character development and personality than his best friend. While it is fun to play around with characters and changing them up for your enjoyment, please do not make them overused. I’m very tired of scrolling through posts about Be More Chill and seeing things for Michael. He has become an overused character in the fandom for this musical, and I feel as though we should all take a minute to calm the hell down and evaluate ourselves. When you make a side character the main character, the whole plot changes. People attempting to get into Be More Chill only focus on Michael rather than Jeremy or the others, which is wrong. Stop making an underused character overused.