Previous installment: Part I
Act I.V: Once Valjean adopts Cosette, the story jumps forward again! We now find ourselves in Paris in 1832, where we can instantly tell that times are tough because those gross poor people are everywhere again.
Poor People: LOOK DOWN, LOOK DOWN
YOU'VE HEARD THIS SONG BEFORE
BUT NOW – WE'RE DRESSED
LIKE GRIMY PIMPS AND WHORES
Gavroche: Except me! [bowing to the audience] Bonjour! I'm Gavroche, the lovable street urchin and your new narrator!
The Audience: We're already an hour into the show. Why are we getting a narrator now?
Schönberg: He's not. He's just a character who directly addresses the audience from time to time to explain the how the status quo has changed in the ten years we skipped.
The Audience: You just described the exact function of a narrator.
Schönberg: Shut up.
Gavroche: IN WEST SAINT MICHELE I WAS BORN AND RAISED
IN THE GUTTER IS WHERE I SPENT MOST OF MY DAYS
CHILLING OUT AND SCROUNGING FOR MORSELS OF FOOD
AND PICKING THE POCKETS OF SOME WEALTHY OLD DUDES
My Readers: [facepalm]
Old Beggar Woman: HEY GET OFF OF MY BEGGIN' CORNER
Young Prostitute: NO YOU GET OFF MY WHORIN' CORNER AND STOP SCARING AWAY MY CUSTOMERS
Old Beggar Woman: MAYBE YOU'D HAVE MORE CUSTOMERS IF YOU DIDN'T GIVE THEM ALL SYPHILIS
Young Prostitute: OH NO YOU DI–IIIIN'T
The Audience: [sighing] Calm down, girls. You're both pretty.
The Audience: Not even remotely. Now go away.
A Pimp: Actually, that old beggar woman was the hottest piece of ass here in the Rue Putain until the pox fucked her face up and made her go crazy.
The Audience: Gross.
Boublil: So... practice safe sex, y'all.
Poor People: WE CAN'T AFFORD CONDOMS
[Enter a group of students, led by Enjolras (who is charismatic, sexy, and generally awesome) and Marius (who is a useless fucking moron). Guess which one we'll spend more time with.]
Enjolras: OCCUPY PARIS, BITCHES
The Audience: [swoon]
Marius: I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO DO THAT STUFF HE JUST SAID
The Audience: Fuck off.
Poor People: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GIVE US SOME FOOD BECAUSE WE'RE LITERALLY STARVING TO DEATH
Rich People: YOU'RE ONLY POOR BECAUSE OF YOUR BAD DECISIONS AND TERRIBLE WORK ETHIC AND IF YOU REALLY WANTED TO BE SUCCESSFUL YOU'D PULL YOURSELVES UP BY YOUR BOOTSTRAPS LIKE WE DID
Poor People: … wait, seriously? It's that easy?
Rich People: Ahahahahaha no. We were born rich.
Poor People: Aw.
Rich People: And even if you work your way up into the middle class, we'll still treat you nouveau-riche assholes like shit because we're just fundamentally better than you.
Poor People: Goddammit.
Marius: ONLY ONE MAN CARES ABOUT THE PLIGHT OF THE POOR
The Audience: You?
Marius: What? No. I mean... I care, but what I meant was ONLY ONE MAN IN A POSITION OF POWER CARES ABOUT THE PLIGHT OF THE POOR
The Audience: The Bishop of Digne?
Marius: No. Dammit. ONLY ONE MAN IN A POSITION OF POWER WHO IS ALSO NOT A MEMBER OF THE CLERGY CARES ABOUT –
Enjolras: Jesus Christ, Marius. [to the audience] It's General Lamarque.
The Audience: Thanks, Enjolras! You're so handsome!
Marius: YES IT'S THAT GUY BUT HE'S VERY SICK FOR SOME REASON AND HE MIGHT DIE
[Everyone glares at the young prostitute on the corner.]
Young Prostitute: IT WASN'T ME I SWEAR
The Audience: Sure it wasn't.
Enjolras: I ADVOCATE VIOLENCE AS A MEANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Gandhi: Yeah, let me know how that works out for you.
Enjolras: I ALREADY HAVE EVERYTHING PLANNED OUT WE'RE GONNA HAVE THESE KICKASS BARRICADES AND NOTHING WILL BE ABLE TO STOP US
Michael Collins: So instead of waging an effective urban warfare campaign and blending into the general population whenever you're not shooting your enemies in the face, you're going to proclaim your intent to overthrow the government and then just stay in one place and let the entire French army descend on your position?
Enjolras: It's foolproof.
Michael Collins: [facepalm]
The Audience: Goddammit. Why are the pretty ones always so dumb?
Poor People: THE SUN – HAS GONE
TO BED AND SO MUST I
LOOK DOWN, LOOK DOWN
AUF WIEDERSEHEN, GOODBYE
Gavroche: NOW A COUPLE OF GUYS WHO ARE UP TO NO GOOD
WANT TO CAUSE SOME TROUBLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD
[Enter M. and Mme. Thénardier, looking even sketchier than they did the first time around.]
The Audience: We didn't even know that was possible.
Me: I know, right?
Gavroche: They used to run an inn, but it closed as soon as everyone realized it was a complete shithole and stopped drinking there. And now they run a gang of pickpockets!
Thénardier: It's amazing how much overlap there is between those two skill sets.
[He gestures for the gang to gather around.]
Thénardier: Okay, so everyone knows what they have to do. You start crying to attract some marks, and you keep an eye out for the police with... DAMMIT ÉPONINE WHERE DID YOU GO
Mme. Thénardier: She's busy lusting after some students.
Thénardier: grumble grumble lousy no-good daughter
[Éponine scampers across the stage to go see Marius.]
Éponine: ♥ ♥ Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, Mariuuuuuuus ♥ ♥
Marius: Oh – hi, Éponine! How's it going?
Marius: Are you and your parents running your pickpocket schtick again?
Éponine: Yeah, but I'd rather spent time with youuuuuuuuu
Marius: [is completely oblivious]
Éponine: What are you doing with all those books?
Marius: I'm a student. Books come with the territory.
Éponine: Pffffft. Reading is overrated! I'm plenty smart on my own!
My Readers: we see what you did there
Éponine: I could have gone to school if I wanted to, but I've already learned everything I need to know from my life on the streets!
The Audience: That's too bad, because the Paris Community College is offering a course that might be pretty useful for you. It's called “Asking Out Hot Boys 101: How to Actively Secure Your Own Happiness Instead of Sitting Around and Feeling Sorry for Yourself and Waiting for Him to Notice You.”
Teenage Girls in the Audience: OH – EM – GEE YOU GUYS CAN JUST SHUT UP BECAUSE ÉPONINE IS PERFECT AND WONDERFUL AND MARIUS IS SUCH A JERK FOR NOT KNOWING THAT SHE LOVES HIM AND IMMEDIATELY LOVING HER BACK BECAUSE THAT'S TOTALLY HOW EMOTIONS WORK AND STUFF
Everyone Else: Thanks, Taylor Swift. Now be quiet; the adults are talking.
Marius: It's kinda cute how you think your simple, feminine brain is capable of understanding complex concepts!
Éponine: And I think it's cute how you style your hair!
The Audience: This is the worst flirting ever.
Éponine: ♥ ♥ ♥
[Valjean enters with Cosette.]
Marius: BRB, I have to go fall in love with someone else now!
[Marius bumps into Cosette.]
[Thénardier beckons Valjean into a corner.]
Thénardier: How do you do, good sir! Would you be able to spare some change for a poor, destitute – HOLY CRAP IT'S YOU
Valjean: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Thénardier: YOU'RE THE GUY WHO BOUGHT COSETTE FROM US
The Audience: YOU CAN'T BUY HER SHE'S A HUMAN BEING
[Thénardier's thugs grab Valjean.]
Valjean: You must have me confused with someone else!
[They tear open Valjean's shirt to display his sweet prison tats.]
Valjean: Well, this is awkward.
Éponine: OH SHIT IT'S THE COPS
[Javert enters with several police officers and they break up the scuffle.]
Javert: HOW DARE YOU PEASANT SCUM ATTACK THIS DECENT GOD-FEARING RICH MAN
Thénardier: But Monsieur Inspector –
Javert: Shut up, lowlife. [turning to Valjean] You're safe now, sir!
[Valjean has disappeared with Cosette.]
Javert: … ?
Thénardier: By the way, that guy was totally an ex-convict.
Javert: HOLY SHIT IT MUST HAVE BEEN JEAN VALJEAN
The Audience: Because Jean Valjean is the only parole violator in all of France.
Javert: SHUT UP I KNOW IT'S HIM
[The other police officers run off to look for Valjean.]
Thénardier: Sooooo because I wasn't robbing anyone important, can I go?
Javert: Yeah sure whatever.
[Everyone clears the stage so Javert can brood.]
Javert: SOMEWHEEEERE OUUUT THERE
BENEATH THE PALE MOONLIIIIIIIGHT
SOMEONE'S RUNNING FROOOOOOM ME
AND HIDING IN THE NIIIIIIIGHT
My Readers: No.
Javert: AND EVEN THOUGH I KNOW HOW VERY LONG I'VE FOLLOWED HIM
IT HELPS TO THINK THAT I JUST MIGHT BE FINALLY CLOSING IIIIIIIIN
AND WHILE HE RUNS AND STAGGERS THROUGH THE COLD AND DAMP NIGHT AIR
HE KNOWS THAT HE WILL VERY SOON BE CAPTURED BY JAVEEEEEERT
The Orchestra: Huge crescendo into the final refrain!
Javert: SOMEWHEEEEERE OUUUUUT THERE
BEFORE THE MISTY DAAAAAWN
I'LL CLAP HIM IN IROOOONS
AND AT LAST I'LL –
HAVE CAUGHT JEAN –
Javert's Fangirls: [swoon]
Gavroche: That police guy thinks he's so great, but I'm way more awesome than he is. In fact, I'm pretty much the main character of this whole damn show. Just wait and see – I'll be alive and kicking when everyone around me has gone the way of the dodo!
Victor Hugo: It's cute how you think that.
[Gavroche leaves as Éponine enters.]
Éponine: That girl looked so familiar... if only I could remember who she – HOLY CRAP IT WAS COSETTE
Marius: Hi, Éponine! Is there any way you could track down that girl I bumped into before?
Éponine: Why thank you, Marius – I'm glad you're safe too! And no, no one in my family was hurt or arrested in that huge scuffle before.
Marius: Well I am glad you're safe, but it's only because I'm going to use you to stalk some random girl.
Éponine: She looked like a stuck-up, spoiled bitch.
Marius: She was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen!
Marius: Oh, don't be that way. You don't count – you're such a good friend that I hardly even think of you as a girl at all!
Marius: Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease find her for meeeeeee I'm so in looooooooooove
Éponine: FINE JUST STOP WHINING
Marius: YAAAAAY ÉPONINE YOU'RE THE BEST
Éponine: And you're a jackass.
The Audience: This is why Éponine needs a Sassy Gay Friend.
[Marius and Éponine go their separate ways. The scene changes to the ABC Cafe, which is presumably located somewhere along the Rue Sésame. Enjolras and the other students are inside, drinking and planning their glorious revolution. The other students all have names – Combeferre, Courfeyrac, Grantaire, etc. – but good luck telling them apart.]
The Students: Everyone in Paris is extremely dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, so we can definitely count on them to join in our glorious revolution!
The Audience: Definitely.
The Students: I mean, it's not like they'd say that they believe in some sort of political cause and then not do anything about it except sit around and whine... right?
The Audience: Of course not. That would be hypocritical.
Enjolras: That's right! If there's one thing we can count on, it's the willingness of the average person to put his or her life on the line instead of just sitting on their asses at home and staying safe!
The Audience: Yeah, you guys are pretty much fucked.
[Marius walks in.]
Enjolras: MARIUS WHY ARE YOU LATE
Marius: I met a girl today! I'm in love!
Grantaire: WOOOOO MARIUS IS GOING TO GET LAAAAAID
[Actually, you can always tell Grantaire apart from the others because he's a huge bro and he's drunk all the time. He's kinda great.]
Grantaire: GRATUITOUS DON GIOVANNI REFERENCE
Enjolras: Shut up, Grantaire. [to Marius] Look, man – you need to decide what's more important to you: some random girl you just met, or planning and participating in a bloody revolution.
Grantaire: YEAH MAN BROS BEFORE HOS
Enjolras: You're not helping.
Marius: But... but... she's pretty!
Enjolras: You know what else is pretty? Our vision of a utopian France where everyone is treated with dignity and respect! WON'T YOU HELP ME ACHIEVE THAT GOAL
Marius: But I wanna get laaaaaaaaid
Grantaire: That's what prostitutes are for, bro.
Enjolras: For once, I agree with Grantaire. Women are a dime a dozen –
Grantaire: Actually, the good ones are more like twenty francs...
Enjolras: – but freedom is priceless!
Schönberg: Could you make your point again with some sort of color-based metaphor?
Enjolras: With gusto!
[He picks up a checkerboard from a nearby table.]
Enjolras: THE RED STANDS FOR BLOOD AND THE BLACK STANDS FOR ALL THE BAD STUFF THAT WE'RE SICK OF
The Students: YEAH
Marius: [whining] The red stands for my heart and the black stands for my despair if I can't be with her!
Enjolras: MARIUS IT'S TIME TO MAN UP AND STOP BEING A LITTLE BITCH
Marius: But –
[Just so everyone knows, this next line is a direct quote:]
Enjolras: WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR LONELY SOUL
The Audience: Aaaaand this is why Enjolras is awesome.
Everyone: WOOOOO THE RED STANDS FOR BLOOD AND THE BLACK STANDS FOR ALL THE BAD STUFF THAT WE'RE SICK OF
Enjolras: So, boys – we don't have much time left! Do we have all our weapons and supplies?
The Students: Yuuuuup!
Grantaire: We're running a bit low on Natty Ice, bro.
Enjolras: Go home, Grantaire; you're drunk.
Grantaire: … are you not?
[Gavroche rushes in.]
Gavroche: HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS GENERAL LAMARQUE JUST DIED
Enjolras: MY BROTHERS THIS IS THE SIGN WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR TO BEGIN OUR GLORIOUS REVOLUTION
The Audience: … what would you guys have done if he'd gotten better?
Enjolras: Shut up. TOMORROW WE SHALL RAISE THE BARRICADES AND ALL OF PARIS WILL RALLY BEHIND US
The Audience: You hope.
Enjolras: I WANT EVERYONE TO GET UP AND GO TO THEIR WINDOWS AND SHOUT “WE'RE MAD AS HELL AND WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE”
The Students: YEAH WE ARE GONNA BE SINGING SOME ANGRY SONGS WHILE WE'RE FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES AND A LOT OF US ARE PROBABLY GONNA DIE BUT IT'S ALL FOR THE GREATER GOOOOOOOD
Everyone: HOORAY FOR MARTYRDOM
[The scene changes to Valjean's house on the Rue Plumet. Cosette is standing out in the garden.]
Cosette: oh man I don't understand all of these feels I'm experiencing right now
The Audience: And what do these feels feel like?
Cosette: Well, I feel excited and confused and a little scared and also kinda hungry.
The Audience: That's probably love.
The Audience: Yuuup. God only knows why, though; Marius is a complete fucking moron.
Cosette: But he's so pretty!
The Audience: Sure, if you go for that sort of thing. Also, the hunger is probably unrelated to you being in love, so you might want to eat a sandwich or something.
Cosette: I'm so excited! I just want him to come and find me and take me in his arms... I've been alone for so long that I never imagined having someone to share my life with!
Cosette: You don't count, dad; I can't make out with you.
Fanfiction Writers: Challenge accepted!
Everyone Else: Gross.
Valjean: It's okay. I know that you're almost a grown woman now, and you probably want some company other than the old man who keeps you locked up in the house all day.
The Audience: … when did this show turn into Sweeney Todd?
Cosette: Well, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if you'd tell me some stuff about your mysterious past! Or maybe explain why you felt the need to run away from those police officers today.
Cosette: But –
Valjean: Noooooooope. You're still to young to hear that story.
Cosette: DAD I'M EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD I'M A GROWN-ASS WOMAN NOW
The Audience: By the standards of the time, she's practically a spinster already.
Cosette: OH GOD I'M A SPINSTER
Valjean: CALM YOUR TITS YOU'LL FIND OUT THE TRUTH WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT
[Valjean goes back inside. Marius and Éponine enter on the street outside the garden gate.]
Marius: MY GOD I'M SO CLOSE TO THE WOMAN I LOVE I'M PRACTICALLY IN HEAVEN ALREADY
Éponine: That sound you hear is me throwing up in my mouth.
Marius: THANK YOU ÉPONINE YOU'RE THE BEST TOTALLY PLATONIC FRIEND A GUY COULD EVER ASK FOR
Éponine: Oh, for fuck's sake.
The Audience: You know, you could always tell him how you feel.
Éponine: No thanks, I think I'm gonna sit here and keep suffering in silence.
The Audience: Hey, we didn't know you were Catholic!
[Marius approaches the garden gate.]
Marius: WAY, WAY DOWN INSIDE, HONEY YOU NEED
I'M GONNA GIVE YOU MY LOVE
I'M GONNA GIVE YOU MY LOVE
WANNA WHOLE LOTTA LOVE
Cosette: [coming to the gate] I do want a whole lot of love!
Marius: My name is Marius! What's yours?
Cosette: I'm Cosette!
Marius: Is it weird that I had someone follow you back to your house after I bumped into you on the street today?
The Audience: Yes.
Cosette: Not at all! I think it's romantic!
Marius: This is wonderful! We're together at last!
The Audience: [vomits]
Éponine: I know, right?
Marius: I WANNA GIVE YOU EVERY INCH OF MY LOVE
I WANNA GIVE YOU MY LOVE
WANNA WHOLE LOTTA LOVE
Marius: SHAKE FOR ME, GIRL
I WANNA BE YOUR BACKDOOR MAN
Cosette: Whooooaaaaaaaaa. Slow your roll, motherfucker.
Marius: Too soon?
Cosette: Ummm... yeah. That's, like, third date material at the earliest.
Éponine: [sadly] He never offered to be my backdoor man...
The Audience: That's probably a good thing. Marius is pretty much the worst ever.
Marius and Cosette: WE LOVE EACH OTHER SOOO MUUUUUUUUCH
Éponine: EAT A DICK
[Montparnasse, a member of Thénardier's gang, enters and notices Éponine.]
Montparnasse: The fuck are you doing here?
Éponine: I could ask you the same question.
Montparnasse: Oh, nothing. We're just gonna rob this house.
Éponine: Fuuuuuuuck. [to herself] On the one hand, I'd love to see Cosette and her old man get robbed blind – but on the other hand, Marius would hate me if he thought I was involved with this.
[Thénardier enters with the rest of the gang.]
Thénardier: Okay, everyone; here's the deal. The guy who lives in this house bought a little girl from me about ten years ago – and since he's rich and we're poor now, I think we should collect some interest.
Éponine: That's not how interest works.
Thénardier: Who the fuck are you?
Brujon: She's your daughter, moron.
Thénardier: Oh. Huh.
The Audience: So it's either really dark outside or he's got some serious dementia.
Me: Can it be both?
Thénardier: Go home, Éponine. We don't need you for this job.
Éponine: You don't need anyone because he doesn't have anything worth stealing and maybe we should leave him alone!
Thénardier: I have never been more ashamed to call you my daughter.
Montparnasse: Just stay out of our way, all right?
Éponine: I'm going to stop you from robbing that house, one way or the other.
Thénardier: And how exactly do you plan on doing that?
[Éponine used SCREAM! It's super effective!]
Montparnasse: FUCK LET'S GET OUTTA HERE
Thénardier: GODDAMMIT ÉPONINE THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T STEAL NICE THINGS
[The gang scatters.]
Marius: Éponine, you totally scared away all the bad guys! That was totally awesome!
Éponine: [blushing] Well, I don't like to brag, but –
Marius: Cosette! This is Éponine, the girl who brought me here! She just saved you from a gang of robbers!
Cosette: Ohmygawd Éponine thank you sooooo much! Maybe you can be a bridesmaid when Marius and I get married!
Marius: Someone's coming! Let's hide!
[Marius and Éponine scurry away as Valjean enters from the house.]
Valjean: WHAT THE HELL WHO JUST SCREAMED
Cosette: Oh, that was totally me. There were some creepy-looking dudes outside of the gate and I got scared.
Valjean: OH SHIT IT MUST HAVE BEEN JAVERT HE'S CAUGHT UP WITH ME AT LAST
The Audience: Okay, this is an intervention. You and Javert are obviously obsessed with each other, so can you guys just hate-fuck and get it over with?
Boublil: I think you guys might have misunderstood the meaning of the term “intervention.”
The Audience: DON'T RUIN OUR FANTASIES
Valjean: COSETTE PACK YOUR SHIT WE'RE GETTING THE FUCK OUT OF PARIS FIRST THING TOMORROW
Cosette: But daaaaaaaaaaaaaad –
Valjean: JUST SHUT UP AND DO IT
Schönberg: And now for the big ensemble finale, where all the characters close out the act by singing about important events that are looming in the next act!
Boublil: It's super original and no one's ever done anything like it before!
Leonard Bernstein: Ahem.
Boublil: … sorry.
Leonard Bernstein: Damn straight.
[One by one, all the main characters appear onstage and announce their plans for the second act.]
Valjean: We're going to get the hell out of town!
Cosette and Marius: OH NO WE MIGHT NEVER SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN BUT OUR LOVE WILL BE ETERNAL
Éponine: I'm going to make Marius finally notice me by participating in the revolution! What could possibly go wrong?
Enjolras: SOON WE SHALL ERECT OUR BARRICADES AND SPREAD GLORIOUS REVOLUTION THROUGH A SMALL SECTION OF THE PARIS SLUMS
Marius: Should I follow Cosette to wherever she's going, or would that be kinda creepy?
Javert: I'm going to go undercover and infiltrate the rebel movement so I can learn their plans!
The Audience: That's a terrible idea for two reasons. First of all, everyone knows who you are because you walk around shouting “I AM THE LAAAW” and telling every criminal you encounter to remember your name.
Javert: Yeah, but –
The Audience: And the second problem is that the entirety of the rebel plan consists of erecting shoddy walls in the middle of the city and sitting around waiting to get shot at. Why bother risking your life when their cause is already doomed to spectacular failure?
Javert: HOW DARE YOU QUESTION ME
The Thénardiers: We're gonna loot some corpses! Hooraaaaaay
Marius: [to Enjolras] Well, since my lady-love is leaving town, I guess I'll stay and fight for freedom or whatever.
Grantaire: WOOOOOOO LET'S RAISE THOSE BRO-RICADES
Schönberg: And when is this all gonna happen?
Everyone: AT THE END OF THE DAAAAAAAAY
Boublil: No, goddammit. That number already happened.
Leonard Bernstein: [growls]
Everyone: ONE DAY MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE
[End of Act I.]
Next installment: Part III
Next installment: Part III