Pink Lady... and Jeff “Episode #4” (part 2 of 2)
Jeff and Mie are alone on stage as plot-resolution music plays again (seriously, where’d they find these cues?). Jeff tries to teach her a card trick and… Oh. My. God. I’ve finally figured it out! This whole time, Mie was supposed to be in love with Jeff. Of course, it explains everything, like why there’s sappy music playing, and why Jeff is always paired with Kei in romantic sketches. Wait, that doesn’t prove anything at all.
Jeff’s a passably good magician, even if he doesn’t have any stage presence, but the trick is undercut by having Jeff use it to segue into a wedding sketch with Sid Caesar and Florence Henderson.
You know, the last time Sid was on this show, his very first sketch was… No. No, they couldn’t possibly…
Oh god, they did. Ladies and gentlemen, we actually get a sequel to that sketch.
Jeff and Jim arrive at the reception, complaining that Sid wouldn’t let them ride with the girls. Jeff greets his mother, played by Florence, and the girls enter to a shower of confetti (amazingly, they remembered which one was supposed to be paired off with whom), only to have Sid come in through the back door and attack the confetti girl. Once again, Sid is the only one here who makes me laugh, and I think he might actually want to do it this time. He looks like he’s actually happy to be here again. Maybe that last gig got him some really hip club dates or something.
Also, I just found out that Pink Lady is also a cocktail, and a brand of apples in Australia. So everybody wins!
Sid makes with the gibberish more or less like last time, until Jim lets slip that in America, the father of the bride pays for the reception. Sid gets into it with the caterer, whipping out an abacus and an adding machine, leading to his famous “counting with my eyes” bit, ultimately deciding that conning Florence into footing the bill with her credit card is the best solution.
Desperate to avoid the embarrassment, the two couples conspire to leave early for their honeymoons, but Sid figures this is the best time to give them “the talk”. In the end, Sid slices the wedding cake with his sword, which was fine when John Belushi did the exact same thing on Saturday Night Live. He then hooks up with Florence. Wait a second. What happened to the fat man with a mustache he was married to?
Either way, they have a hoedown.
Jeff and the girls bring out Boomer (awww) and Jeff has him take a check down to the bank.
The girls present us with a music video of themselves (great, now the cast is doing it) singing the Beatles’ ”Yesterday”, which is one of my favorite songs. Fortunately, its levels of awesome are so high that it is scientifically impossible to ruin it, although Carmen Sandiego did improve it.
Like many early videos, this one is pretty stark, but since it’s a pretty stripped down song, it’s a nice effect. The lip syncing leaves a little to be desired, and Kei keeps pushing her tongue against her teeth for some reason, but what’re you gonna do?
Back from commercial, we get another music video, for Blondie’s ”Eat to the Beat”. This song’s the title track from the album that gave us the last song they “did” for this show, but it’s not all that great.
The album itself is only remembered because of the hit “Atomic”, which is still one of Blondie’s lesser-known songs. Plus, the lyrics have nothing on ”Rapture”.
The bitching harmonica solo helps, though.
The ultimate irony in this is that in this video, they actually are playing for a live audience, just not this one. Wait, is that ironic or just weird?
Either way, this leads back into the art sketch, where Jeff and his afro’d white lady assistant [?] hock Zulu artifacts by “Kunta da Vinci”.
This week’s sketch within a sketch is a spoof of silent films (where’s Bert Parks when you need him?), with Sid as a former boxing champ who’s turned to demon liquor. Jeff, as a delightful little orphan, comes in begging, only to get slapped around by the sumo wrestler. Sid takes Jeff under his wing, and fobs him off on some slumming dowager who lost her son at sea. Sid decides he wants to get back in the ring, and trains to fight the sumo wrestler, only to accidentally knock him out before the match.
Well, it would work as an actual silent film, I’ll give them that. Once again failing to close the framing sketch, Florence and the girls discuss fashion and nostalgia, leading into Florence doing a medley of “My Old Kentucky Home”, “(Back Home Again In) Indiana”, and “America the Beautiful”. I guess they couldn’t come up with another city to do a tribute to, so no Letter Home this week. I’m not complaining; last week was a masterpiece, after all.
Ho-hum, Florence becomes another in a long line of actors who desperately want people to know they can sing (she works as a hypnotherapist now), although, in a bizarre twist, she would go on to sing “God Bless America” at the Indy 500 every year. Life’s funny that way.
Boomer comes back with Jeff’s money (and a maid) and the girls come out for another round of singing. They start off weak, with the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love”, which was a terrible choice to follow three slow songs. Songs should rise and fall, unless you want to be awesome and have all rise!
Kei’s completely given up on singing in English, slurring her words together, and sounding like Marlee Matlin.
The camera focuses on Mie for most of the song, and we lead into Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “Shame”. Incidentally, this song would also go on to be covered by Kim Wilde. Suddenly, masked kabuki dancers (carrying more masks on sticks [?]) emerge from the smoke, and the girls butcher their way through Chic’s “Le Freak”. At the very least, Kei’s gotten the lead out and started singing like a professional again.
The swan erases everybody, and the girls persuade Jeff back into the hot tub by wearing tuxedos themselves (huh?). Kei’s actually reluctant to participate this time, but Jeff manages to play it off. You’ll notice there aren’t any guests joining them this week, but that was part of the plan, so that Jeff and the girls can do a brief Three Stooges bit before the show ends.
Personally, I think they should have had the dog run out and jump in. That would’ve been so darling. But we get something even better.
Mie reaches over to point at Kei (who’s laughing her ass off), and right before the credits roll, it freeze-frames with Jeff’s arms around them and Mie about to stroke Kei’s hair, and I swear to God they look like they’re about to kiss.
And that’s episode four. As I mentioned earlier, this was the episode where they just gave up, and it really shows. I know it still sounds weird on paper, but believe me when I tell you that all the wacky veneer is starting to peel off, and little by little this is transforming into a standard variety show.
After all, lest we forget, in the first episode, we saw a Japanese commercial and a bald man dancing with a cartoon butterfly. Now we get the mom from The Brady Bunch singing a couple of state anthems.
In fact, now that I think about it, hardly anyone did much of anything. The regular cast members were only in a few sketches each, Sid was only in two, Florence was here mostly to sing (but not with Mie and Kei), Lorne completely disappeared after one bit, Boomer was basically here for one joke, and the audience didn’t seem to participate at all when it wasn’t necessary. And the musical guest didn’t even show up! Again! If it wasn’t for the laughter/applause light, and a few halfhearted songs from the girls, this episode would have just been Jeff talking to himself.
Actually, when I did Episode #1, I never intended to do the whole series, it just kinda worked out that way. I don’t regret it; it’s nice to have a series of articles I can call my own, aside from the interviews, which no one reads. Oh well. Four down, two to go.
Before I go, I’d like to share a bit of behind the scenes trivia with you: From my end, these recaps are getting shorter every time. It’s as if everything exploded in the beginning and began to contract at a rapid rate, and these recaps will eventually become a black hole by Episode #6. I don’t know if it’s the formulaic writing, or just higher and higher filler content per episode, but don’t be surprised if I do the final episode as a poem.
(Although, I’ll bet there are all kinds of good surprises in store for us in Episode #6, AKA The Lost Episode. But more about that after Episode #5, which will most likely be more of the same.)