A Flock of SINGulls

A snarky recollection of Junior SING! 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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By The Photo Department

There’s truly no more reliable theme than the ‘80s. Some might say the subject is as hackneyed as knock-knock jokes, while others see it as nostalgia. Junior SING! 2021 gracefully channels the former.

It begins with a playful argument in a poster-riddled record store. We meet our storied heroes between brief musical transitions as “Africa” by Toto hums in the background. If somebody who had never heard of the 1980s before yesterday was told to cook up an opening scene for an ‘80s-themed performance, it would probably look like this sight. After our crew of friends takes turns naming their favorite ‘80s bands, the plot is foreshadowed by talks of Amanda, a 1980s student journalist, in hot water over her 1980s-specific activism. At least, that’s what we think happened. The combined force of “Africa” by Toto and miscellaneous background noise drowns out the actresses’ voices, leading viewers to not realize there is an actual plot until they are granted access to a Google Doc with the script on it.

Lucas (Daniel Jeon) then voices his excitement over an upcoming sit-in protest for the cause of AIDS, to which Jesse (Michael Borczuk) expresses reluctance to attend. The two leave the group movie night (and if you thought for a second that they weren’t watching “The Breakfast Club,” yes, they were watching it) to pick up food as Gia (Michelle Zhang) receives bad news off-camera.

The pair pauses in a stock field to hash out their personal complaints to the tune of “Another One Bites the Dust.” This scene also foreshadows the rest of the performance, with Lucas and Jesse displaying radically different posture and gesticulation. Jesse, in particular, seemed infatuated with the field he is standing in rather than the friend he is actively arguing with. The two make little eye contact for the duration of the scene, only heightening the thick romantic tension that suffocates the air.

We then learn that Gia has been expelled from the university for her article that critiqued the school’s biggest sponsor and are treated to a rendition of Blondie’s “Call Me,” with Kimberly (Christine Lin) and Diana (Sophie Poget) presiding over a chorus of backup vocalists (one of whom seems to be a baby). At this moment, the audience can be sure that the characters will need to fight long and hard against the aforementioned conflict, giving their all against the evil administration that put themselves in such a predicament.

Most of the conflict is then solved as the characters just talk everything out in a few minutes and change. Akin to the corny sitcom odysseys of the past, none of the issues turn out to be anything more than emotional conflicts of interest. Diana persuades Jesse to stop being a basket case, Kimberly convinces Lucas he was being a tightwad, and Gia (actually the massive German protest footage organized by her friends) pressures the headmaster into taking her back.

And just like that, the curtains close on Junior SING! 2021. A haunting tale about… a protest? Something about AIDS? I can say with full confidence that there were Queen references. I think the Berlin Wall was in there too. It seemed like a haunting tale ripped straight off the first page of Google results given the search “‘80s.” The only thing I’ll remember six months from now though is the obnoxiously curly font they slapped on everything and Jeon’s wide stance.