Overachieving high schooler with a not-so-secret crush? Check. Best friend who wants to drag him and their not-so-cool friend to an epic party? Check. A 12-hour period once a year where all drugs and alcohol are legal, leading to a musical number? Uhh… check?
The Binge, Hulu’s new teen comedy, is a bro-comedy riff on the Purge movies: In the near future, drugs and alcohol are illegal in the U.S., but once a year, everyone 18 and over can freely drink and take as many drugs as they want for 12 hours. Griffin (Skyler Gisondo) doesn’t want to participate in the Binge, which his principal (Vince Vaughn) has warned the school against, Scared Straight!-style, but his friend Hags (Dexter Darden) manages to drag him out with the aid of Andrew (Eduardo Franco).
The night goes as one would expect it to, with one major exception about halfway through the movie: As the boys reach a pivotal point in their friendship — and inebriation — the entire world turns into a musical, complete with singing revealing everyone’s true feelings, dancing, and even a cow. “Wait, why are we singing?” Hags asks.
According to the film’s director, Jeremy Garelick, there’s a completely logical reason for a musical moment in the middle of a teen bro comedy about drinking and drugs. “When we were developing it, I didn’t want… a tripping effect that we’ve seen before in another movie,” he told Refinery29. “We really wanted to push ourselves to figure out and just find the most original ways of expressing a trip.” A musical number, it turns out, is far from a stereotypical way of displaying a group of tripping teens.
The musical moment starts off with everyone in what appears to be their prom best — shining suits, with balloons and streamers in the background to match — before they’re joined by their new Binge buddies (dancing weed, pills, shrooms, and the cow they killed, of course) and classmates. The musical moment becomes more and more unhinged as it progresses, including what the scene’s choreographer, So You Think You Can Dance’s Travis Wall, called “the Last Supper of drugs”: everyone sitting at a long table and having a drug-fueled free-for-all “meal.”
"We're gonna get high, gonna get baked / Till every inch of us just aches / Gonna do lines, gonna pop tabs / Ingest everything we have," the characters sing again and again as they do just that.
Once production started on the scene, however, the cast members took everyone by surprise. “We didn’t know any of the other cast members could sing so we just thought the song would be funny,” Garelick said, “and then we heard it for the first time and were like, ‘Wait a second.’”
Wall, who previously worked with Garelick on The Wedding Ringer, “didn’t know much about the film” going in but once he heard the song, “this sound[ed] like something I have to do,” he told Refinery29.
“I had a great story to tell here, but I really wanted to use as much comedy as possible,” Wall explained. “Literally, they're tripping on drugs. So at the end of the day, none of this was really happening, so you could just kind of let your mind just go astray and completely just run wild [with] your imagination.”
Garelick had another aim in mind with the musical moment, though: Making sure viewers didn’t forget the song anytime soon. “Our goal is to really have that song in everybody’s head for the rest of their lives,” he said. Mission certainly accomplished.