Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monkees--"The Monkees in Texas"

      The Monkees return to a rural setting for a third and mercifully final time. Sorry, guys and gals, but I have never been a fan of the genre. I will concede the final foray ends on a higher note than usual with a straight up satire on westerns that pokes fun at every horse opera trope you can imagine. “The Monkees in Texas” directly parodies Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, and The Lone Ranger.
      The Monkees arrive at Mike's Aunt Kate—on a golf cart, no less-- just in time for a shoot out with Black Bart's gang. Through nothing but luck, they fend off the gang. Davy goes into town to locate the Cartwheel family for help. Micky and Peter, dressed like the Lone Ranger and Tonto, go to the sheriff's office and the saloon to recruit some outlaws for a posse. Mike has some soil analyzed and discovers his Aunt Kate is sitting on a fortune in crude oil.
      Micky and Peter wind up inadvertently joining Black Bat's gang only to discover they are actually the Cartwheels in disguise. Ben Cartwheel is Black Bart, if you have not guessed. He has both offered to buy the ranch cheap as Cartwheel and force Aunt Kate off as Black Bart. An amusing musical romp ensue in which the gang is defeated. Interestingly, it ends abruptly and segues directly to Micky crooning “Goin' Down” on stage.
      Texas has not advanced since the 1870's in the reality of the series. Peter never uses a gun because of his stance on violence. “The Monkees in Teas” is one of a handful of episodes not t air on Saturday morning reruns because of the gun violence. Even though it come across as cartoonish. Considering the backlash against Johnny Depp for whitewashing Tonto a few years ago, Peter might regret his portrayal in hindsight.
      “The Monkees in Texas” was subject to re-writes, and it shows. The abrupt ending bugs me, as does the plot hole Micky and Peter know Ben Cartwheel is secretly Black Bart even though there was no moment of revelation in which they figured it out. But hey are a few good laughs throughout, so I cannot criticize the episode too much. It is definitely not one of m favorites.
      Rating: ** (out of 5)

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