Four episodes in and we are finally reminded of thee series premise—a small time band struggling to become as big as the Beatles. The notion is helped along by the Monkees acting as an ensemble rather than one being the plot focus with the others reacting. The show works best when the antics play to their individual personalities.
The Monkees are competing in a band contest. The manager of their main rivals, Nick Trump (Yes, Trump. You cannot escape.), poses as a public relations man to offer them the publicity required by contest rules. In reality, he sabotages the Monkees with a couple hilarious bits including arranging for girls to swarm the wrong guy instead of Davy. Trump's final plan is for a couple gangsters to kidnap the Monkees so they cannot compete in the contest under the premise the kidnapping will attract media attention.
The kidnapping turns into a swinging party which features two songs. Maybe I should say the party is an ecuse to promote two songs? Davy breach the party up with some polka music. The Monkees realize they have been tricked when the gangsters hold them hostage to prevent them fro making it to the contest. They manage to escape with their usual shenanigans, but ultimately lose to the old fellow who was swarmed by the girls earlier. Touch break.
Vic Tayback, most famous as Mel from Alice, plays one of the kidnappers.
Things are starting to come together with “Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers.” The chemistry of the ensemble is present. The characters are comfortably breaking the fourth wall. They know it is all just a television show not to be taken too seriously. They are finally acting like a band, too! It is one of the things that separates them from the Three Stooges motif of unemployed guys becoming involved in other people's scheme to humorous results.
Rating: *** (out of 5)