Oct 12, 2016
Pink Lady... and Jeff “Episode #2” (part 2 of 2)
Having dragged that punch line out way longer than they needed to, we switch back to the main stage to meet Donny Osmond, who goes on about how it’s healthy for a team to spend time apart. Holy gophers, a callback joke! I never thought they had it in them.
The girls decide they like Donny better than Jeff, so he backs off while the three of them do Donna Summer’s “Heaven Knows”. The girls leave after the first verse, and man, Donny’s just as dull as I remember him. Incidentally, by starting as a group and paring down to one person, they’ve done the exact opposite of the original song, which was a duet with Joe Esposito. Yes, that Joe Esposito.
Oh, wait, he’s segued into Dionne Warwick’s “I’ll Never Love This Way Again”. A bland song for a bland singer. Now if we could just get him to run for MP of Dunny-on-the-Wold.
He blands it up for a bit, only for the girls to rejoin him for “We Are Family”. I’m not upset; getting upset with a variety show doing something this idiotic is like drinking two Monster BFC’s in a row and then getting mad that you have the junkie shakes.
And while Mie and Kei singing Sister Sledge is almost as awesomely out-there as Kronos Quartet doing an entire album of Rahul Dev Burman songs, that still doesn’t change the fact that they’re butchering a song America was sick of the day after it came out! With Donny Osmond, no less.
I get the feeling this episode and I aren’t operating on a level of mutual respect. Let’s try this again.
Donny sings lead as the girls provide Exhibit C in the case of why Japanese pop singers should stay as far away from soul as possible, all three of them nearly drowned out by the audience clapping in rhythm. Now, I know none of these three were exactly hinging their careers on being able to belt them out, but you shouldn’t be overpowered by your own back-up singers, who aren’t even on camera!
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Back from commercial, and, shocker on shock street, it’s Jeff doing another stupid art commercial! And it’s exactly the same as last time, except Larry comes by to complain about a Frisbee [?] that his wife bought, but, undeterred, Jeff fobs off the Mona Lisa on him. Larry tries to buy Michelangelo’s David, but Jeff refuses to sell it, on grounds that it’s wearing bright red boxer shorts.
This leads to another sketch-within-a-sketch, as Sid Caesar and the Blondes yuk it up doing Swan Lake. This actually has a plotline, with Jeff and one of the dancers playing Russian siblings attempting to defect, which is, once again, a really weak setup for a joke about Studio 54. Sid tries to talk them out of defecting, only to do it himself once they agree.
Forgetting to go back to the art sketch (and ruining the whole dynamic), we side-wipe to Teddy Pendergrass, performing a medley of his signature hits (seriously, I defy you to name one).
Okay, it’s “Close the Door” and “Do Me”, which actually go on without any monkeyshines from the cast, almost as if they knew that thirty years after this episode aired, he’d be dead. Not a whole lot to note at first. We notice that the back-up singers who just drowned out Donny and the girls are singing behind Teddy, and are barely audible next to him. Makes you wonder.
About halfway through “Do Me”, the audience storms the stage and Teddy is wrapped in the tender embrace of several female fans.
The picture snapshots him with a “nailed it” look on his face, and, sigh, we’re back to doing the Letter Home sketch. Oh wait, that means there’s only ten minutes left. Hurrah! Oh wait, that means the next ten minutes are going to be unbearably flat and not the least bit funny. Hurroo.
Mie writes her mom about how she and Kei had some time off, so they went to New York City. “A Salute to Broadway”, really? I hate you, show.
The Pink Lady Dancers mangle ”New York, New York”. Jeff plays a cabbie who rips off Mie and Kei, leaving Donny to pick up the pieces with a disco-fried version of ”42nd Street”. Because doing a good show tune like ”O’Brien to Ryan to Goldberg” would be way too much to ask.
Seriously, they couldn’t get anybody else but Donny Osmond? I don’t mean to make this recap personal, but he has no talent whatsoever! I mean, they had Teddy Pendergrass on stage less than three minutes ago. Was he crushed by the swooning masses? Did he find himself unexpectedly sexed up and couldn’t make it? Was his agent so good that he didn’t have to stick around longer than necessary? That’s all well and good for him, but come on, man, throw the viewers a bone!
Oh lordy, the three are singing in unison again. Let’s not forget, I actually like these two. I know for a fact they are perfectly capable of singing well in their native tongue. They’ve been next to horrible on most of the songs they’ve been given here, but it hasn’t really been their fault. But now? I’m convinced that, just like Scranton, PA, Donny is a soul-sucking vortex, killing anything good around him and leaving everyone else a hollow, talentless husk.
Have I mentioned that I hate Scranton?
More “New York, New York” from the Blondes, and, oh merciful mudder, they roped Teddy into this mess after all. Dressed like John Lee Hooker in The Blues Brothers, Teddy’s a busker, singing ”On Broadway” for Mie and Kei. Interestingly, this wasn’t a show tune at the time, but in 1995, it became part of the long running theatrical revue Smokey Joe’s Café. Also, it’s the only well-performed song in this entire sketch, so of course they ruin it by having Teddy decide he was performing for free, rather than accepting money from the girls. So, huh? Why would he do that? Why would a busker give up perfectly good money, especially when he makes so much more than I do? Wait a second…
We cut to Larry and Sid at a fancy restaurant (with Jim Varney as a French waiter [?]). Larry starts talking shop, but Sid’s distracted by two dancing girls swaying to that background music from the Enchantment Under The Sea dance. We can only see their legs, but they must be hot stuff, since Sid is stuffing food down his throat in a rather obscene manner. They strip down and toss their lingerie in Sid’s face, which he uses for silverware. The punch line comes when the girls finish their act and Sid asks Larry if the place is open for breakfast. You’re kooky-wacky, show.
The sketch climaxes on the roof of some building; oh, this is that hoedown from the credits. Well then. They sing “New York, New York” some more, blah blah, this is notable only because for the first time, someone other than Kei has a “What the hell am I doing here?” look (the otherwise professional Sid).
We finally get to the, urm, final monologue, and once again the girls are in bikinis and dragging Jeff into the hot tub. Except Larry, Teddy, and Sid are already there, playing cards and wearing some really ridiculous swimwear and cowboy hats.
Jeff ruins his cheap tux once again, and the boys try to deal him into a card game, but the girls’ efforts to bathe him get the cards all wet, and finally everyone gives up and ends the show. For some reason, Jeff is listed in the credits as a “Consultant”; I have no idea what that might entail, but I do notice he isn’t one of the writers, which, if it were anyone else, would be an odd thing for a comic.
So, there’s an episode, I guess. What have we learned?
Well, with less Jeff, the show doesn’t really get any better, and with more songs it actually gets worse. Also, we learned that, given a choice between Blondie and Teddy Pendergrass, Blondie are the ones who decided they were too good to show up. Think about that for a second.
You know, even though I’m still rooting for them, I find myself sympathizing a little less with the girls. It’s not just because I can tell that whenever I look at Kei she’s thinking, ”I’m a teen idol, dammit!” The thing is, I know performing in a different language is hard, because I’ve actually done it, and won an award for it. I say this not to toot my own horn, but you’d think that if crazy old Michael Novelli from Bumfuck, VA, could pull it off, two experienced entertainers from a country with much higher standards of learning might have tried just a bit harder, if only because they needed to tap into the American market, since as you’ll recall, their own country had stopped caring about them.
(The whole thing’s a little like Lady Sovereign, now that I think about it.)
Still, I hope there are a bit more comedy sketches in the next few episodes. From a recapper’s standpoint, they’re easier to write about, and if this was any indication, you actually miss them when they’re gone.