Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monkees--"The Monkees Watch Their Feet"

      The Monkees plays around with its format quite a bit in the second season. The reason is the cast was growing tired of the standard—some say substandard—sitcom plots. I did not see the problem when I enjoyed the reruns back in the '80's, but now with my critic's eye, I can. There is a lack of variation in story lines. I will elaborate more a couple review down the road. Just now for now, “The Monkees Watch Their Feet” is a mockumentary and much better than last episode's fairy tale pantomime.
      Pat Paulson guest stars as the narrator of the mockumentary. He had probably already announced his 1968 bid for president by this point. His dry, straightforward delivery is perfect here for drawing awareness of the threat space aliens present to the United states by corrupting the youth. The documented example is Micky, Davy, and Peter. Mike appears briefly to introduce Paulson, but dos not appear in the story. Some of Peter's lines sound much like something Mike would have said, so it appears he was written out for whatever reason.
      Two aliens lure Micky too their ship by taking his clothes and drums in order to make a robot copy of him. Only it is not perfect. His feet are on backwards, hence the seemingly unrelated episode title Micky's job is to spy on the Monkees ahead of an invasion. Micky is discovered to be a fake by his odd behavior, like trying to kill Davy and peter, and not because of his backwards feet. The pair realize he is a robot when he shorts out after being sprayed by a seltzer bottle.
      Davy figures out how to reprogram the robot to find Micky. Talented guy, that Davy. The plan sounds like something Mike would initiate if the whole band was together. The robot leads them to the space ship parked at the beach. They had passed by it earlier, but assumed it was a new drive in. A musical romp ensues in which the aliens are defeated. The robot takes them back to their home planet. Earth is safe!
      Regardless of Earth being safe, Paulson sounds like alarm of aliens still secretly hiding among us with nefarious plans. He sows paranoia at the same time admonishes us to stop stabbing our bayonets into each other and stab them into space instead. Fight the real enemy, folks! Whoever that is.
    “The Monkees watch Their Feet” is one of my personal favorites. I am a science buff buff who enjoys political satire. How could it not b right up my alley? The humor is solid, mostly because of Paulson's deadpan humor and Micky's over the top hamming it up as the robot duplicate of himself. There are lots of references to classic science fiction films like The Day the Earth Stood Still. (The password to enter the space ship is Klaatu Nikto Barada.) It is probably unintentional, but the space ship is much larger on the inside jut like the TARDIS. It is probably more a matter of low budget for props than a Doctor Who reference. Regardless, I am a big fan of this episode.
      Rating: **** (out of 5)

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