Monday, May 8, 2017

Monkees--"Alias Mickey Dolenz"


     Re-used plot devices, anyone? “Alias Mickey Dolenz” features a Monkee—guess which one—running into his doppelganger and being recruited by the police to pose as the real deal. It was only a few episode back when Davy met his twin and took his place. At least the Monkee have not been recruited by the authorities to go undercover against spies or gangsters in a while.
       While plot device are being recycled, I will give “Alias Mickey Dolenz” props for finally focusing on Micky. Before watching the show for serious review, I never noticed how much emphasis is placed on Davy. It makes sense for the time. He was the most popular one, which may explain why they kept him around even though he only played the tambourine and maracas. Davy is not even in the episode. Micky has mostly been a reactionary character who has occasionally saved the day, but he has taken a backseat to the other three for nearly the entire season. This inspite of considerable comedic talent in both wordplay and physical comedy as well as solid acting chops.
     The trouble begins when Micky, out and about, is mistaken for someone else and beaten by a stranger. Mike takes him to the police to report the crime. There he discovers he is the identical twin to incarcerated gangster Baby Face. The police would like him t impersonate Baby Face to capture his gang and recover stolen diamonds. Micky does not want to do it, but a drive by shooting over mistaken identity changes his mind.
      After learning from Baby Face himself in his cell, Mickey resumes leadership of his old gang. He plans to set them up by recovering the diamonds tomorrow night into a police ambush. Suspecting something is up, the gang follows Micky back to the Monkees' pad and insist they recover the diamonds tonight. Mike and Peter join in as “specialists.” Meanwhile, the real Baby Face breaks out of jail.
      Everyone converges on the mansion from which the diamonds were stolen. Because who would think to look for stolen property in the place from where they were stolen? Mike and Peter stall for time. Baby Face shows up to turn everything into chaos. Finally, the police show up because activity is reported in the supposedly empty mansion.
        I am as shocked as anyone Micky never does his James Cagney impression. When convincing Baby Face to teach him his mannerisms, Micky tells Baby Face they are cousins. It would have been a neat plot element and nod to The Patty Duke Show if true, but it was just a lie Micky came up with to persuade Baby Face to help him. Missed opportunity, that. When mike sets dynamite to he fireplace to uncover the hidden diamonds, he says, “This is for you Dale” before blowing them up. I have no idea who he is referencing. Does anyone else know?
     “Alias Micky Dolenz” is not particularly original considering previous episode, but it is a fun showcase for Mickey. Make no mistake, it is his episode. Davy is completely absent. Mike and peter probably have a dozen lines between them. These points make it feel unlike any previous episode. None of the Monkees even take part in the musical romp. Instead it is a gangster fight It is fun to watch Micky play himself, Baby Face, and then himself pretending to be Baby Face. It is an unusual episode that feels like it is musing some key elements, but a fun one regardless.
Rating: ** (out of5)

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