Sunday, May 21, 2017

Monkees--"Monkees, Manhattan Style"

      If you were to do the Monkees in Manhattan style, how could you best sum it up? Brief would be the most apt word. “Monkees, Manhattan Style” is the shortest on story content of any scripted episode in the series. There is room for three musical acts and an interview segment, The first two musical number are over romps utilizing old footage. The third is a show ending performance of “Words” featuring Davy on drums while Mickey is front and center with the microphone. How is that for a change of pace?
      The Monkees arrive at a hotel in New York to meet a newcomer playwright named Baker who wants them to star n his first musical. He has not had a hit yet, so he has not paid his bill yet, either. In order to not be thrown out of his hotel room, the Monkees must delay the hotel manager evicting them while baker sees his backer about finances. The guys keep the hotel manager at bay by faking a contagious illness affecting Peter. When that does not solve the problem, they engage in a musical romp. It is all for naught. Baker's backer backs out.
     Rather than immediately return home, the Monkees get the idea to crash a millionaire's club across the street to pitch the play idea. Davy pretends he is from old money, Mickey an oil sheik, Mike a cattle rancher, and Peter a trust fund kid. They describe the play via a musical romp over assorted clips from pt episodes. By the end, all the rich, old men have passed out from too much brandy, but the butler opts to finance the play himself. The catch is he insists on four female leads. Baker earns his big break, but the butler busts the band's bubble. Bummer.
      Comedian Foster Brooks, who played a perpetual drunk in his act, is part of a running gag in which he approaches the hotel manager for his room. The manager assures him he will evict Baker and the Monkees immediately. Brooks says he will be in the hotel bar. Each time he returns to ask about his room, he is drunker and carrying more rabbits.
      A timely joke caught my hear, as well. While posing a the oil sheik, Mickey pitches the play to a rich old man. He asks Mickey if he enjoys the theater. Micky tells him no. it is against hi religion, so he does not like plays and neither do any of his wives. The joke is a job at the hypocrisy of Islam. It may be intended to mock religion in the general sense. But I doubt the joke would be allowed on politically correct network television these days. The backlash from the religion of peace would be a little too scary. A cable show might get away with it, but remember the death threats Trey Parker and Matt Stone received when they planned to depict Mohammed on South Park?
      “Monkees, Manhattan Style” enjoys a few funny moments in its scant running time, but with its re-used footage, three musical numbers, and an interview segment, it feels like filler. For all intents, it is a bare bones plot decorating a clip show. I imagine they were nearing the end of filming the first season and were forced to work on a shoe string budget. It could have wound up worse.
      Rating: ** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment