Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Monkees--"The Monkees Blow Their Minds"

     “The Monkees Blow Their Minds” was filmed for the first season, but held back for the second. It was not only held back for the second season, but held back for over a year until the series' cancellation had been announced. It was held back until the penultimate episode of the second season when no one has anything left to lose. So does that mean the episode is bad? Yes. Yes, it does.
     Peter stumbles across a charlatan mentalist named Oraculo while searching for inspiration to write a song. The Monkees are up for an audition for a ten week gig, and Peter wants to knock everyone's socks off. Oraculo uses a potion to take over Peter's mind, then uses him to both sabotage the Monkees and win he gig with his mentalist act instead. The guys figure Oraculo is controlling Peter's mind, o they set out to save him. Mike distracts Oraculo by posing as an amnesiac who lost a briefcase filled with $50,000 while Micky and Davy rescue Peter. They all wind up under Oraculo's control, but are unintentionally freed by Oraculo's assistant, Rudy. The Monkees then ruin his act in revenge.
      Burgess Meredith makes a cameo as Penguin. He is one of the club patrons watching Oraculo's act. Meredith is the third actor, in addition to Julie Newmar and Liberace, to play villains on the Batman television series and appear on The Monkees. Meredith is the only one of the three to appear as the Caped Crusader's villain on both series. Rudy is wonderfully played by frequent episode director James Frawley.
      I can see why this episode was held back as long as it was. The plot is a neat idea, but poorly executed. The musical romp does nothing but fill time rather than advance the pot. There is even a huge editing error inexplicably kept for no good reason. Micky and Davy, both disguised in the audience, work to sabotage Oraculo's act, but they are not freed from his mind control until the subsequent scene. The sequence makes no sense in the order presented. They really did not care about the show by this point.        
     The real highlight of the episode is the opening teaser in which Frank Zappa and Mike play each other for a mock interview. Mock is the appropriate word, as they both rip on the Monkees' music as banal and insipid. The pair end up destroying a truck to the beat of a Mothers of Invention song. In episode, Frawley's portrayal of Rudy is the only saving grace.
      Rating: ** (out of 5)

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