Musicology 101: Songs of the Theme
"Musicology 101: Songs of the Theme" was a Radio Play produced for CONvergence 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota. It was performed on July 7th, 2018.
This story takes place after "Phoenix," "Final Curtain," and "Endgame." It is a non-canonical crossover between Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-Man, and Young Justice, as well as the unproduced spin-off Black Manta's Celebrity Hot Tub (which received equal billing along the other three shows on all scripts). It is also a direct sequel to "Religious Studies 101: A Handful of Thorns," "Recruits," and "The Cosmos," as well as the first musical Radio Play, with all accompaniment performed by Kristopher Carter, one of the composers for The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice.
Aqualad, Beast Boy, Angela, and Lexington are on the Watchtower to welcome the newest member of The Team, Spider-Man, who is now eighteen and no longer requires permission from his Aunt May to join. This leads into a discussion about the nature of passing and current time, both in-universe and out (it's very meta), followed by a rendition of the Tender Box's theme song for The Spectacular Spider-Man with Black Cat, Cheshire, and Maggie the Cat as backup. Eventually, Aqualad assigns everyone to Alpha Squad to return to the same hotel in Bloomington from The Cosmos to investigate accounts of strange beings "converging" on the property. Instead of a time travel seminar, this time it's a fan convention taking place, allowing Alpha Squad (and especially Angela) to walk around in public without detection.
As Alpha Squad takes a Zeta-Tube to the hotel, we find that Conner and M'gann are already on-site as attendees rather than part of The Team. They decide to attend an appearance by Sandra Stanyon, the woman who played Sandra Wheeler on Hello, Megan! while unaware that Queen Bee is observing them. This leads to the Young Justice theme music being played as the title for the Radio Play is announced.
The panel moderator introduces Miss Stanyon to the crowd, briefly discussing her early work and her relationship with Jonathan Lord. As M'gann and Conner listen in, Alpha Squad arrives and meet up with Batgirl (though she's the third one they ask). They then notice Psimon who is obviously not just a cosplayer due to the see-through skull. They lose sight of him in the crowd and split up to search.
Back at the panel, the moderator opens the floor to questions...but unfortunately, a young Spitfire fan starts grilling the Narrator instead of Ms. Stanyon, annoying everyone. The questions eventually return towards Sandra and Conner encourages M'gann to ask about Hello, Megan! As Sandra talks about the show, most of Alpha Squad enters the room and Beast Boy notes what's going on. When Sandra talks about Marie Logan and realizes that Megan could be her daughter, Garfield pipes up declaring himself as Marie Logan's son and Megan as his sister. Sandra Stanyon is delighted and insists they all sit down and chat after the panel.
Elsewhere, Batgirl and Lexington finally come across Psimon eating toast. Batgirl approaches him to determine what's going on and Psimon admits to being here at the request of Queen Bee, but under a Bialyan diplomatic passport, making him untouchable. Sandra, Megan, and Garfield get a table in the lobby restaurant while Conner, Angela, and Spider-Man give them space sitting at the bar. Angela and Spider-Man enquire to what might be going on between Conner and M'gann, but this is interrupted by the Spitfire fan disparaging SuperMartian. Sandra mentions that she, Jonathan Lord, Marie Logan, Rita Farr, and Paul Sloane were like a real little family on the set and M'gann wishes she could have been there. Psimon takes this as his cue and sends a psychic wave that affects Megan, Gar, and Sandra. However, the Radio Play is interrupted by Marina Sirtis taking offense to having to grunt once again...but the Narrator is prepared and introduces the Stunt-Grunter. After this is cleared up, the Radio Play continues with M'gann reaching to Conner as her psychic anchor, unfortunately dragging him into her fugue state along with Angela and Spider-Man.
As the six stand in darkness, suddenly a school bell rings and the theme song for Hello, Megan! starts up, with Paul Sloane singing as Black Cat, Maggie the Cat, and Cheshire perform backup once again. M'gann takes on the role of Megan Wheeler as the Spitfire fan notes the names of the show's creators are strangely similar to others and demands Wally be brought back. Beast Boy is trapped in the form of a frog while Spider-Man has lost his costume, Sandra Stanyon is now Sandra Wheeler, and Angela now appears human. A laugh track is now heard by all as a standard episode of the sitcom plays out. As everyone introduces themselves, Conner discovers he is not playing Conner Manley, Megan Wheeler's boyfriend in the show, as he exists as well.
Back in the real world, Psimon says he's trapped M'gann in her own mind by guiding her into a pocket of emotional safety hidden within her psyche. This means she is doing all the work to keep herself there and Psimon doesn't have to lift a mental finger. In the mental world, Beast Boy figures out the episode they're in, one where Megan has to take care of the school's pet frog, hence his shape. However, he's unsure how the presence of Angela, Superboy, and Spider-Man will affect things as they have no counterparts in the episode itself. Peter asks if they can't just change the channel...so the Narrator does, leading to a new episode of Black Manta's Celebrity Hot Tub. The guest is Black Spider who attempts to make certain everyone is aware he is in no way the Spectacular Spider-Man (especially any Marvel lawyers who might be watching). As usual, Black Manta zaps his guest to atoms.
Lexington informs Batgirl he's unable to rouse M'gann, Gar, Conner, Angela, or Spider-Man; all are in a catatonic state. While Psimon gloats about M'gann dragging the others in with her, Batgirl asks about Sandra Stanyon...but Lexington informs her she wasn't there. However, inside the mindscape, Sandra Wheeler talks with Megan about the big song she has to perform while Peter plays to the studio audience laugh track. Megan expresses nervousness about her performance, complaining to the Narrator she had less than a day to learn the song (yes, really). Sandra (and the Narrator) assure her she'll do great, but Megan still worries Conner won't like the song or forgive her. Beast Boy realizes that's the key - M'gann needs Superboy to forgive her. He claims he already has, but no one is convinced. Angela specifically notes that if Superboy does forgive her he has to mean it, as with or without psychic powers, after five years together, M'gann will know if he's being sincere.
Noting the dramatic cliffhanger, the Narrator decides to cut away to a word from our sponsors, leading to the Reach drink commercial being performed, followed by another episode of Black Manta's Celebrity Hot Tub. The Manta Trooper introduces the guest, Black Vykin, who complains about that title, asking the Trooper if he's called White Trooper. After a lengthy discussion about comic history, Vykin eventually gets in the hot tub and is, of course, blasted to atoms.
Batgirl and Lexington realize that they not only have no means to force Psimon to help M'gann or the others, but that with M'gann fueling things, he likely lacks the power to get anyone out anyway. They realize they'll need another psychic, but Martian Manhunter is off-world. Back in the psychic dream, Conner Kent tries to talk to Megan but is interrupted by Conner Manley, calling him a forgery. Noting the jealous behavior, Megan says she hates that green-skinned monster. Everyone else tells her it's eyed, not skinned, indicating another slip from M'gann. She then tells Conner Manley to keep an eye on the frog, identifying him as her brother, a slip to which she even notes that's not her line. Both Conners agree to hold onto the frog as Megan sings. The original song No Excuse (Megan's Torch Song) is then performed, again with backup from Black Cat, Maggie the Cat, and Cheshire.
Conner Manley realizes this song is far too heavy for his girl, meaning she's not his, and if he's not her Conner, maybe Superboy is...and he owes it to the both of them to find out. Superboy thanks him and then asks Megan to speak with his best friend...M'gann, not Megan. He honestly forgives her for the past and says no matter where they go from here, he will always love her. This finally snaps M'gann out of her delusion, bringing everyone back to reality. However, there's just enough time for one more episode of Black Manta's Celebrity Hot Tub, this time with guest Blackie Gaxton. The Manta Trooper admits they're running low on characters with "Black" in their names and may have to change the gimmick for the next CONvergence, especially since Black Cat is too smart to get in the tub and be vaporized. Blackie is concerned after hearing this, but still gets in, asking if he's really going to be vaporized...which he is.
Back at CONvergence, everyone emerges from their catatonic states. Gar is happy to no longer be a frog, Spider-Man is happy to have his costume back, and Angela is happy to be a gargoyle again (to which Lexington mentions his own experience with that was one of his favorite episodes). M'gann morphs into Miss Martian to pursue Psimon, but Batgirl informs her that he's already on his way to Belle Reve. M'gann is surprised, but Batgirl reveals that they got some psychic backup...Professor X. Spidey objects to the usage of a character beyond the scope of Gargoyles, Young Justice, or his own show, but the Narrator mentions he'd previously revealed on Ask Greg that Professor X, Cyclops, and Beast would have been in The Spectacular Spider-Man had they gotten permission. Spider-Man still feels that's cheating when he already has three shows worth of characters to call upon. The Narrator says maybe next year he'd get enough characters out of two shows, and Spidey promptly thanks Chuck for stepping in. The Professor says he's always happy to help a fellow mutant, but everyone else mentions they're not actually mutants, leaving the Professor to wonder why he's here, and deciding Spider-Man being bitten by a mutant spider is close enough.
Miss Martian asks if the Professor learned anything from Psimon, getting confirmation he was working for someone else. Beast Boy notices Sandra Wheeler in the real world and Spider-Man webs her up, leading to her struggling mightily (for longer than necessary so the Stunt-Grunter gets honored with more work). However, in a total homage (see ripoff) of Scooby-Doo, the Team continually pulls off rubber masks, revealing her to be the ninty-six-year-old Sandra Stanyon, then Dominique Destine, followed by Queen Bee (Lexington noting she's never tried controlling him), then Margot Yale, Hura-hupia, a.k.a. Hurricane Julia (leading to Maggie the Cat discussing Rain of the Ghosts, now on sale in book and AudioPlay form and at all of Greg Weisman's signings...for which she feels very dirty being made to say all that), Counselor Deanna Troi, and finally Demona herself (though Beast Boy pulls on her face just to be sure). Demona completes the homage (again, see ripoff) complaining about getting away with it if not for meddling kids as Angela asks if she'll ever learn. Demona informs her daughter not until 2198 at least. When Angela asks why, Marina informs everyone that Weisman only casts her as villains, claiming it's like a fetish with him (to which the Narrator insists she be taken to Belle Reve NOW).
As Alpha Squad takes her away, Miss Martian morphs back to Megan Morse and thanks Conner for everything he did. He says he meant what he said and while he doesn't know what will happen with them in Season Three (leading to a loud NO SPOILERS from the Narrator), he affirms they can always count on each other. M'gann agrees and gives him a kiss on the cheek. The Narrator closes things out mentioning the shows that contributed to this crossover, again saying it's "never the end"...as the Spitfire fan once again insists on bringing back Wally West and the full cast yells for her to sit down.
- When the Young Justice: Outsiders comic tie-in was released at the beginning of January 2019, this story was adapted into a canon form (or maybe the Radio Play was created by altering what was already planned at that point).
- At the time of the performance, Angela and Lexington had known designation equivalents on The Team (B27 being Arrowette and B29 being Thirteen), but Spider-Man did not (B31 was revealed to be Halo later in the Outsiders season). Despite this, their counterparts do not appear in "Torch Songs."
- The story was originally digital only, but released in printed form in the trade paperback Young Justice Book 2 Growing Up.
- Jonathan Lord is the main character of Silverblade, a series created by Gargoyles episode writer Cary Bates. This is referenced by the Moderator as the film Sandra Stanyon (also originally from that work) got her break in opposite Lord in 1940, The Silver Blade.
- "Spitfire" is the name given to the pairing of Wally West and Artemis Crock, named after Kent Nelson's advice to Wally to "find your own little spitfire, one who won't let you get away with nothin'." "SuperMartian" is the more obvious portmanteau for the pairing of Superboy and Miss Martian.
- The Stunt-Grunter is a pay-off of the well-established distaste Marina Sirtis has for impact grunts, previously covered heavily in Recruits.
- Garfield is quite impressed by Spider-Man's "totally corny sitcom name" of Peter Parker. An annoyed Spider-Man claims he just came up with it on the spot.
- "No Excuse: Megan's Torch Song" was specifically composed for this Radio Play by Kristopher Carter with lyrics by Greg Weisman.
- NARRATOR - Greg Weisman
- GOLIATH - Alex Jeffrey
- BLACK MANTA - Robert Atendido
- JUSTICE LEAGUE COMPUTER - Misha Jameson
- AQUALAD - Rachel Dosen
- SPIDER-MAN/PETER PARKER/BLACK SPIDER - Cheyne King
- BEAST BOY - Azalea Grace
- ANGELA - Alice Golter
- LEXINGTON - Cristina Martinez
- TENDER BOX LEAD SINGER - Joshua Holt
- BLACK CAT - Windy Bowlsby
- CHESHIRE - Natalie Nowytski
- MAGGIE THE CAT - Tanya Brody (also Line Producer)
- MEGAN MORSE/MEGAN WHEELER/MISS MARTIAN - Abbie Sulik
- CONNER KENT/SUPERBOY - Trevor Hartman
- QUEEN BEE/SANDRA STANYON/MARINA SIRTIS/SANDRA WHEELER/DOMINIQUE DESTINE/MARGOT YALE/HURRICANE JULIA/DEANNA TROI/DEMONA - Marina Sirtis
- MODERATOR - Rachel Traynham
- BATGIRL - Emily Karna
- PSIMON - Jason Gross
- SPITFIRE FAN - Teddie Bowlsby
- STUNT-GRUNTER - Corey DeDanann
- PAUL SLOANE/CONNER MANLEY - Chris Bowlsby
- MANTA TROOPER - Christopher Jones
- REACH TEEN SINGER - Amy Burge
- VYKIN - Billie Jean VanKnight
- BLACKIE GAXTON - Shawn McCammond
- PROFESSOR X/JEAN-LUC PICARD - Lee Harris
- BRENDAN QUARTERS - Lucas McClain
- UNDERSTUDIES/LAUGH TRACK - Molly Cornelius, Charles Horn
Young Justice: Outsiders - Torch Songs, Part 1(DC Universe subscription required)
Young Justice: Outsiders - Torch Songs, Part 2(DC Universe subscription required)
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