Having tried to introduce this musical to friends of mine and their first response was: “that’s the musical with those nervous gay kids, right?”
I must say I am disappointed that we, as a fandom, are leaving the impression that this is what Dear Evan Hansen is about.
Let’s go over it again, shall we?
Dear Evan Hansen is a complex musical about Evan Hansen, a boy with anxiety.
He gets wrapped up in lies he compulsively made trying to keep up the act he was friends with Connor Murphy, a boy with unstable mental health and anger issues who commit suicide.
He pulls in his friends Jared Kleinman and Alana Beck for help with the project he’s created, only to abandon them without even realizing it when he gets everything he wants.
(I am not saying these two are innocent, but they were hurt by Evan.)
(Also, do not erase their high functioning anxiety and insecurities!)
He has tricked the Murphy family and his community that he was close with Connor. While helping everyone connect, he is ripping apart himself and others with these lies.
In the end, he hurt people.
He hurt himself. He survived and is okay now. It’s not the closure we would want and expect from the end of a story, but this story is about life.
Life doesn’t always have closure.
Zoe got hurt.
Jared got hurt.
Alana got hurt.
Heidi got hurt.
Mr. and Mrs. Murphy got hurt.
Connor got hurt.
Hurt and mental illness. This is the story.
Don’t erase it.
Learn from it, instead.
I am not saying that this is all the story is and that shipping anything in it is wrong. I MYSELF SHIP STUFF! I just want the message to be seen. This post highlights the dark and painful parts of Dear Evan Hansen.
I am not saying the show is not happy.
It really can be. It really is.
Evan created a place where people could learn they are not alone! Alana and Jared were part of it! The Murphy’s healed. Everyone healed, as well as they got hurt.
Just because I say one thing, doesn’t mean I cancel out the other. They coexist.
Why I Love Connor Murphy (and why his character isn’t an innocent one)
Hello y’all, I’ve seen Too Much discourse in the DEH fandom recently on the part of people liking Connor and not liking Alana and Zoe enough, so here’s some of my thoughts on the matter (in no perfectly organized order) as well as some headcanons that I have which are supported by evidence in the show.
Connor Murphy was clearly a deeply fucked up kid. Signs of different mental illnesses should have been abundantly clear to his parents from the get-go, but they obviously weren’t (outward violent aggression towards teachers, isolation of himself from other peers, etc.) Connor was clearly crying for help in the only way that he could, through violence, and it’s clear that his dad was resistant to putting him into therapy. Then, (I’m assuming in middle school/early high school) he got into hard drugs (which ones we’re never explicitly told) and attempted suicide. Finally, after that, he goes to rehab, but the ride isn’t over yet.
Zoe mentions him banging on her door threatening to kill her for ‘no reason.’ so we can assume some things.
1. Connor was either high or mid-manic episode. 2. He did not have full control of his actions.
This, of course, could never excuse abusive behavior, but it does explain it and gives room for us to assume that this was before rehab. After rehab, he comes back to school, and I’m going to assume that though he had gotten better, he wasn’t quite good enough. He started self medicating with pot and other less harmful/addictive drugs (”I don’t want you going to school high, Connor.” the way this line is delivered makes me assume that Mrs. Murphy knows Connor smokes pot and cares but only in the context of school.) to try and calm his depression/bipolar/psychotic NOS (I believe he was schizophrenic.)
Connor Murphy was not excusable in his actions, but I love him because he was a tragic character who reminds me of myself. And besides, none of the characters in this show are perfect.
Now, getting to Connor’s mental state during the week that he killed himself:
Very up and down, we see him being nice to Evan (signing his cast, laughing with him, etc.) in one scene, but in the next he sees Zoe’s name and instantly becomes extremely paranoid/panicked because he thinks that Evan is out to get him. He’s constantly worried about being labeled a “freak” (due to constant bullying from almost everyone.) And he keeps the note for two days in his pocket (not at school) and kills himself with it still there.
Connor Murphy was mentally ill and his mom was the only one who gave very much of a shit about it (Zoe did too, I think, but she didn’t know how to deal with it.) and that’s all, Connor Murphy deserves our love not because he was a good or nice character, but because he had the potential to be.
I mean, imagine if he had been properly rehabilitated and continued therapy?