First performed on June 6, 2012 by the Second Stage Theatre.
Noah—a filmmaker (31/32) James McMenamin
Paul—a bartender (23) Raviv Ullman
Fink—a banker (31/32) Michael Braun
Jesse—a drug dealer (31/32) Tobias Segal
Whit—a Marine (31/32) Roe Hartrampf
Director: Hal Brooks
Set Design: Jason Simms
Costume Design: Jessica Pabst
Lighting Design: Seth Reiser
Sound Design: Ryan Rumery
Stage Manager: Kyle Gates
Publication: Smith, Alena. The Bad Guys. Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 2013. Drama Library Stacks PS3619. M537 B33 2013.
Setting: A brick patio and the surrounding lawn outside a large house in upstate New York. One afternoon in September.
(furious) He’s an ignorant Podunk tweaker with A.D.D.!
Plot: Noah has directed an independent film exposing childhood secrets his friends and family would rather leave buried. On the eve of his escape to LA, Noah, his stepbrother, and two childhood friends wrestle with betrayals old and new. The play explores the meaning of and the bonds—and limits—of male friendship.
Representative Monologues: Monologues contain the first few lines and the last few lines; please consult the published text for the monologue in its entirety.
p.21–22: Jesse blows up over the losses his family has sustained due to the bursting of the housing bubble and rails against the government bailout of big banks.
Fuck society. I’m talkin’ about my family. You know Fink was the one who kept telling my dad to build those shitty spec houses! Oh, everyone’s doing it. Easy money. Get in the game, Glen. ‘Cause houses aren’t for living in anymore. They’re for flippin! Like burgers. But then the big burger bubble blows up. [Lines cut] An appetizer—no, an appeteaser. That’s what they call it at Applebee’s, right? And you know what they call it at KFC. (Beat.) A Double Down. Yup. That’s what we did here, America. We just doubled the fuck down on this bullshit.
p.35: Whit recounts losing his best friend, a fellow Marine, in the Iraqi war.
He was my best friend. Kid from Concord, Mass.—on his third tour—supposed to go home in a month—and then he got shot. And he died. And when he died, I died too. (Beat.) And then I realized—things are different when you’re dead. Things don’t hurt as much. [Lines cut] So, you know—if you want to ask me whether this is a good war—I honestly gotta tell you, I don’t know. But for me, while I was out there—that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was doing my job. Being a good Marine, taking care of my guys. What mattered was that I was strong. So for me—this was a good war. And that’s about all I can say on the subject.
Representative Scenes: Scenes contain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please consult the published text for the scene in its entirety.
p. 9–11: Noah explains to Paul that he made his movie so that he could forget about the past and escape from his childhood home. Starts with
(Grudging.) Okay, fine. We can have one beer. But then we have to get out of here. If my mother comes back, she’ll go into hysterics again. I don’t’ know how that woman is going to survive without me.
and ends with
Yeah, I’m working on losing them.
p.25–27: Fink explains that he and his friend Ash are soulmates and how Noah betrayed their friendship by snitching on Ash back when they were kids. Fink doesn’t realize that Noah’s movie is about that very incident; Paul tries to keep it from him. Starts with
[Right.] (Beat.) How come nobody ever found out Ash was there?
and ends with
(Laughing.) So ridiculous! No—but I like that. Loyalty. That’s good.
Select Bibliography of Reviews and Criticism: (Note: article title links are to the online versions, mostly UW-only restricted unless designated as open access.)
Isherwood, C. (2012, June 7). Boys being boys, with beers and guns. The New York Times, pp. 6.
Stasio, M. (2012, June 6). The bad guys. Daily Variety, pp. 3.
Vincetelli, E. (2012, June 5). Unexpectedly wise ‘guys’. The New York Post, pp. 32.