It’s week three of 2WC’s countdown to “Les Misérables,” and with a little over a week to go we’re discussing the couple that tries to steal the show (and anything else they can get their hands on)—the Thénardiers.
In simplest terms, they’re the comic relief, but they are are oh so much more than that. They’re masters of the house in a dog eat dog world, and they’re good at it. Well, as good as one can be at being thieving, lying, mischievous, slimy characters. Yet, somehow we love them for it.
Introduced as young Cosette’s foster “parents” they are a light-hearted representation of a real problem then, and a real problem now. They are the working class and it’s their greed and immorality that causes them to cement their lot in life.
In many ways, M. Thénardier is what Valjean could have very easily become, had he made different choices. Truth be told, Valjean has to break the rules in order to redeem himself in a society whose rules are working against him. It’s a system that doesn’t work for many, the Thénardiers have simply learned to use it to their advantage.
You may not agree with their methods or their morals, but you have to respect their style and persistence. The Thénardiers never let their lot or life keep them down. They may not be good, but they’re good at what they do.