The lesson of plays like You Can't Take It With You ends up sounding like quixotic, sentimental claptrap, more damaging than helpful, more depressing than hopeful. Avoid political thought; don't get caught up in social protest; just be yourself; hang the flag on holidays; believe in Washington, Lincoln and the Pledge of Allegiance; and everything else will take care of itself. Oh, and fuck off. Such escapism is the fuel of the system. It's also why those artists or individuals who manage to connect a grassroots appeal with a very potent political ideology can be effective and genuine (I'm thinking Woody Guthrie) as well as so dangerous (maybe David Duke). With great freedom comes great responsibility, and the regrettable fact in You Can't Take It With You is that the Vanderhofs' only responsibility is to themselves.
You Can't Take It With You at the Garden Grove Playhouse, 12001 Saint Mark St., Garden Grove, (714) 897-5122. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Through April 17. $8-$10.