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Dolly Parton
Dolly PartonVia Wikimedia Commons

Brace yourselves for Dolly Parton and Doja Cat’s Mexican Pizza musical

A ‘harrowing’ story about the return of a scrapped Taco Bell meal

Yesterday (May 9), Dolly Parton posted a photo of a script on Instagram. Was it an adaptation of her recently-published debut novel, Run, Rose, Run? Was it a relic from her days as a secret Buffy the Vampire Slayer producer? No, to both. It was a script for a musical about Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza, an item scratched from the fast food chain’s menu two years ago. Imaginatively titled Mexican Pizza: The Musical, the upcoming show (read: ad) is apparently “based on the true story of the Internet losing its mind”.

In case you have no idea what “true story” the script is referring to (good for you), here’s some context. Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza – two crispy flour shells, layered with beans, pizza sauce, seasoned beef, tomatoes, and cheese, according to Taco Bell’s official description – was discontinued back in 2020, after 35 years on the menu. In response, however, more than 170,000 people signed a petition calling for it to be reinstated. 

Cut to March this year, and Doja Cat had joined the disgruntled masses, unveiling a “monstrosity” of a jingle for the Mexican Pizza on TikTok. “I got beans / I need meat / I need a shell with the sauce and cheese,” the “Need to Know” musician raps on the track. “Give you hell if you cross me / We bout to throw hands if you wan try me / This ain’t been knew / I will end you / If you ever dare to go discontinued.

Evidently, Taco Bell heard the threat, because last month Doja Cat took advantage of an instrumental break in her Coachella set to yell: “I brought back the Mexican Pizza by the way!” The fast food company officially announced its imminent return (May 19, mark your calendars lol) shortly after.

Things could (and arguably should) have ended there. But TikTok star Victor Kunda had already posted an impression of the rehearsal for Doja Cat’s hypothetical Mexican Pizza: The Musical on social media. On Twitter, Doja then pledged to use her “Taco Bell partner powers” to make it happen for real. How exactly Dolly Parton got involved is unclear, though it could have something to do with her pledging her unofficial allegiance to the Mexican Pizza back in January.

And now we’re here. The confidential script shared by Parton is penned by Hannah Friedman (of the Ewan McGregor-starring Star Wars spinoff Obi-Wan Kenobi), alongside Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear (of TikTok’s Unofficial Bridgerton Musical). “Parton joins Taco Bell’s biggest fans for a satirical musical about the ‘harrowing’ story of those who fought to bring back the Mexican Pizza, featuring notable moments from Doja Cat’s triumphant journey,” reads a statement from the company. Sounds... riveting.

Is this entire Mexican Pizza saga a blatant marketing ploy? Undoubtedly. Doja Cat has been a Taco Bell partner since that Hole cover for the chain’s Super Bowl ad – just one of many conscripts in the fast food culture war. But who are we to question the intentions of Dolly Parton, country icon, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and certified humble queen? Let them all get that Mexican Pizza money, I guess.

@victor.kunda

Mexican Pizza: The Musical by Doja Cat.

♬ original sound - VICTOR KUNDA