Ultra Vires


Follies 2016 Review: 👍

David Pardy (4L)

Alright, everyone, I’m going to keep this review positive so that Aron Nimani doesn’t write me a response.[1]

Nah, nah, I joke. Even if a shirtless Aron holding a foam sword and wearing a plastic Viking horn cap weren’t hissing dark and twisted threats into my ear as I write this, I would confidently say that Follies 2016 was the best Follies I have ever seen. So fetch. And if you disagree, shut up.

Whatever Rona Ghanbari and her team did, it worked. Phenomenally. (Apparently there was a lot of cutting, adjusting, rewriting, etc. in the Writer’s Room.) The pacing of the show was fluid and nice (that may also have been the effects of alcohol, but that’s just part of the experience); the music was legitimately great (not “great” like you say to your niece at her 5th grade school performance); the skits were witty as fuck (for lack of a better word); the jokes were topical (more on this later); there was a perfect amount of professors (strong, but not too much, and their jokes were not granola old-person jokes); and the one serious bit about the TRC Recommendation #28 made everything seem somehow less douche-y than a bunch of type-A corporate-minded soon-to-be suit-wearing lawyers showcasing their talents in front of everyone (more on this later).

The diversity of joke material this year was really impressive (and I don’t mean “diversity” in the sense of David St. Bernard being in every frame of the U of T Law promo video). Dora the Explorer, The Reasonable Man, Vikings, Intro to Crime, the “Artistic Min” interpretive dance, “Uptown Firm,” and the Firm Stereotype videos (and more, as per below) were all original. And by original I mean that the Follies writers either came up with it by themselves or they simply didn’t care to cite the original authors. Oh…and by original, I also mean it wasn’t another joke about debt, tuition, or the new building. Oh…and by original, I definitely don’t mean originalist like Scalia, who the band unabashedly put to shame (bold move, but I was into it).

Rona Ghanbari (2L) and Jordyn Benattar (1L) in the Dora the Explorer sketch - Photo by Alex Wong (3L)
Rona Ghanbari (2L) and Jordyn Benattar (1L) in the Dora the Explorer sketch – Photo by Alex Wong (3L)

“Dickler” (dick Hitler) was hilarious. And the spawning hypothesis that all jokes descend into Hitler or dick jokes was either true or a privileged/patriarchal comment on the status of Jews and women in the entertainment industry (whichever you choose). As a fun mental image to keep you going through the rest of this review, know that Alarie completely lost his shit at the Dickler thing. Like, to him, it was even funnier than that time Joe McGrade showed up to only one out of twenty-four Income Tax classes last year.

The running theme on LexisNexis and Westlaw owning the CircleClerk and PlentyOfFish J dating apps was also really funny. Not just because Gabriel Edelson looks “T to the A, to the S T E Y – girl, you’re tastey” in an old wig. And not just because app-based dating has led to the commoditization of human intimacy (lol!). But also because WestLaw and LexisNexis are an oppressive oligopoly to which many of us will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for using their service that is basically just search such as that Larry Page and Sergy Brin built in their garage for free and open use in 1998. Silly right? Also, did you know that Dave Marshall actually made the CircleClerk and PlentyOfFish J apps so that he could shoot the videos? And also edited thirteen videos in the show? Wow-ee!

The musical numbers were “on fleek” and “#squadgoals” and “trill” AF (whatever the kids are saying these days). It was really nice to go to a club and finally know a couple of songs that were playing (I of course mean those from Les Mis and Frozen). It was also nice that the guy behind me didn’t know the Frozen song because I like to feel superior to those around me. Jake G’s rap was pants-peeingly good and I’m really glad Follies was able to address the issue of white appropriation of black culture (see Macklemore, The Hip-Hop Villain, The New Yorker (March 2016)). Kaley Duff also killed it in every song. I literally cried during One Day More (did I mention I’ve been at this school for four years?). And the {Supreme Chords were tight and made ***Flawless use of inapplicable punctuation.

Follies was mad topical. It covered the safe space debate (Spencer Burger, did you write that skit?), women in the entertainment industry, AI taking over the world, Niblett’s perpetual non-tenure, David Bowie (RIP), Scalia (meh), “Hotline Bling”, Contracts-Gate (which is actually somehow even more topical at time of publication than it was during the show), “Sorry,” White Privilege, etc. It was pretty magical that the Follies crew got alumni to partake in the videos. Also, I’m super impressed that the team managed to make videos and skits about being in the new building when it had only been open for two weeks.

The hosting was magnificent. Bang up job, Harrison and Knee-Tie. You two had some serious stage chemistry. But don’t worry, not like sexy chemistry, but like super straight normal person chemistry. It was cool that you opened with a song. It was also really cool, Nitai, that somebody other than ex-SLS President Natalie Lum-Tai has come out as someone who has imagined Dean Iaccobucci naked.

The acting quality was superb. Jordan Stone, sitting behind me, had some high praise to offer too: “Niblett is surprisingly not a bad actor!” I 100% agree, Jordan.

I was also really into the class war that Follies painted. And by class war I mean the stereotypes that exist between the different class years. I haven’t seen a 1L in the wild yet, so I was very glad to be informed that all 1L’s are terrible boring losers who always study alone and cry like stupid shit-pooing babies. Never fear, 1L’s, I am sure you will all morph into beautiful butterflies who are fun and hot superhumans, just like my 1L year did.

Finally, congrats to the entire crew for your hard work and dedication. Follies is an outstanding tradition to showcase the school’s talents and a helpful reminder that we’re not all weird, ugly lizards pretending to be real people. I really needed that.

2016 Follies Executive Team: Director/Producer – Rona Ghanbari; Heads of Writing – Amir Eftekharpour & Ben Hanff; Heads of Editing – Harrison Cruikshank & Michael Cockburn; Head of Video – Dave Marshall; Heads of Music – Joe McGrade & Sam Levy; Heads of Choreo – Sarah Bell & Arielle DiIulio; Events Coordinator – Sahar Kamali; Logistics Manager – Caitlin Porter; Stage Manager – Alayna Dueck; Props & Makeup – Madison Haas; Tech Manager – Ty Simpson.

Law Follies also raised $1,500 to donate to Lawyers Feed the Hungry.

[1]  To be clear, I actually 100% agree with Aron’s main point in his “Put Up or Shut Up” article.

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