Pink Lady... and Jeff “The Lost Episode” (part 1 of 2)
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Well, this is it. This is the brass ring, kiddies!
Since I started the final episode by comparing this show to a more successful one, I can think of no better way to kick off the actual final episode than by repeating myself shamelessly.
Although, I think the metaphor is much more apt this time around, since upon closer inspection, the six episodes of Pink Lady and Jeff seem to match up almost perfectly with the six episodes that make up Tales from the Crypt’s first season. The first episode was classic and still implanted firmly in your consciousness even though it first aired decades ago, the third episode, while incredibly goofy, is still enjoyable due largely to good use of unusual casting choices and sheer pandering. The remaining episodes are largely hit and miss, except for the sixth, which is so incredibly stupid it invokes the opposite emotion of the one it was intended to.
“Oh, come on,” you’re thinking, “that’s sort of a poor choice of a metaphor, wouldn’t you say?” To which I say, “It’s apt! Apt!”
Plus, I’m really just trying to talk up Tales from the Crypt. Incidentally, you should watch Tales from the Crypt. Also, I hate Scranton. And who are the Overlords of the UFO?
Modern Jeff calls the show a “train wreck” and we’re whooshed, one last time, into the spring of 1980 to watch two twenty-something fading teen stars humiliate themselves to diminishing returns while an unfunny chimp that’s been put in a tux and strategically shaved hogs the spotlight.
Opening credits go on as they always have; this week’s guests are Bobby Vinton, Byron Allen, Roy Orbison, Sid Caesar, and Red Buttons. (Red Buttons isn’t listed as a guest anywhere in this episode, except on the DVD box, but it’s quite clearly him.)
- Bobby Vinton was a reasonably popular singer in the ‘60s and ‘70s, who somehow got a record deal despite doing big band music (in 1960, no less). He soon switched to pop and had a string of hits, most notably “Blue Velvet”. Some of his other accomplishments include co-starring with John Wayne, inspiring David Lynch, and according to Wikipedia, having the last American #1 before the Beatles came over from England. Also, he could sing in several different languages, including Polish.
- Byron Allen’s a sometime stand-up comedian who had, at the time, a show on NBC called Real People, which is best remembered, if at all, for the fact that That’s Incredible! was a knock-off of it. He still has a TV show, but it’s in syndication, and you’ve probably never heard of it. He is, however, a collector’s item, since he’s one of only four black people to ever appear on this show.
- Roy Orbison was one of the first rock stars, albeit one who’s only remembered for the worst song he ever did. Henry Winkler had him tattooed on his ass once.
- Sid Caesar should really know better.
- As should Red Buttons.
The girls bust into an updated version of “I Can‘t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”, which means they learned nothing from the last time they did Motown, but goddamn they look good in those outfits. I know I’m happily married now, but Man-O-Manfred-Mann, what I wouldn’t give to do the Nasty in the Past-y.
Ho-hum, once more the Blondes get more applause than the girls, they do some of the least imaginative choreography in the show’s history, and Pink Lady introduce Jeff. Seriously, I know they didn’t want the show to get stale (snicker) but it really should be the other way around. Having the girls introduce him just makes it seem like he has talent.
Jeff tells them their song was “bad” (anyone who’s seen what his stand-up act would morph into can tell you Jeff Altman + black slang = wisdom tooth removal levels of pain), which hilariously leads to Jeff having to explain that it wasn’t an insult. It’s days like this I miss Elvira doing the exact same thing. Jeff tries an impromptu elocution lesson, only to be bested when the girls bust out a Japanese tongue-twister.
Jeff tries it out, only to inadvertently insult the sumo wrestler, whom he tries to placate with his Nixon impression (seriously, even then that had to have gotten old). Sumo chases, girls introduce, they dance, commercial, blah blah blah. If they’re gonna go on auto-pilot, so will I!
Wow, that was stupid.
This dialogue is horrible and clichéd.
*cardboard cutout falls over*
Oh well, back to work.
We return from commercial and Jeff’s a televangelist again, who unfunnies it up until Byron Allen (as another televangelist) upstages him, and they have a priest-off. Mie and Kei bring out Jim, as an elderly man whom Kei says is a hypochondriac, which of course, she can in no way pronounce. Jeff and Byron get dollar signs in their eyes (well, actually, over their heads [?]) when they see his gold jewelry, and double team the shit out of him. Wow, that sounded dirty.
The girls bring out Bobby Vinton to perform his very first hit, “Roses are Red (My Love)”, while doing his Neil Diamond-lite act (seriously, they have on the exact same shirt). Bobby segues into “Blue on Blue”, which has more or less the same melody as the last song, and he sings it with the exact same tone and inflection.
He leads into “I Love How You Love Me”, which for those of you keeping score, is his third song so far and he has not moved from the spot he was standing at the beginning of each song, except to mug for a different camera when the cue changes. And my word, but his voice does not change at all. I wouldn’t call it droning, but damn if it isn’t boring. Maybe if you moved around a little, between song changes, maybe?
The tempo picks up, and he shakes it a little to “Sealed with a Kiss”, but it doesn’t last, since they dial it back down for “Blue Velvet”, which is, you guessed it, sung completely monotone, even though that’s not how he originally sang it when it became his signature hit. Wait a second…
He just did five songs in a row!
Even Pink Lady, the stars of the show, never got to sing that many at once. What the crap? Were they so pleased that a musical guest actually bothered to show up that they just let him do whatever?
He wraps it up, gets the longest applause I’ve seen on this show, and we cut to Jeff for one last Art Commercial. Yes, out of all the tolerable bits, the Radio Dance, the Letter Home, the lame Nixon gags, this was an every episode sketch.
Fittingly, Art Nuvo’s Culture City (yes, this character’s name is “Art Nuvo”) is going out of business, and he only has one day to hock all his cheap trash before he gets evicted. You can tell they didn’t even bother to block this scene, since his assistant keeps bumping into him and flailing her hands around like she’s never been on TV before. Jim and the other cast member pick the walls clean while Jeff pleads with customers to come on down, even reminding them of the elephant from last week.
They literally repossess the shirt off of his back, before the sumo wrestler drags him off. This probably wasn’t intended to be a metaphor for the show itself, but it ended up that way anyway. Well, so long Art Sketch. You only ever successfully pulled off a sketch-within-a-sketch once, but this week you didn’t bother, and we love you for it.
Actually, I’d imagine that Bobby’s singing ran long, and they had to throw this together at the last minute. But that should only have been a problem if this show was live, and this episode was filmed but never aired. Hmmm.