Monday, April 12, 2004

Hey Hey, They're the Monkees!

More nostaligia via my online girlfriend Lauren. Lauren's crazy about those four wacky musicians from the late 60s and sent me 3 CDs of their greatest hits...including my two favorite Monkees songs, "Daydream Believer" and "Star Collector," for my birthday. The songs renewed my interest in the wild, silly sitcom I first saw as a seven-year-old on Nickelodeon.

My sisters and I used to look forward to seeing what new adventures sweet David, silly Mickey, gentle Peter, and smart Mike would get into every week. Mike was the group leader (or fancied himself as such) and head guitarist. Mickey was the comic drummer who did impressions. Dave was the British drummer/maracca-playing hottie who tended to attract every woman within a five mile radius. Peter was the compassionate but immature second guitarist. The episodes tended to revolve around the boys trying to make it big, escape some female chasing Dave (often in a foreign or unusual place), or being conned by someone stronger or smarter than them. For all the wildness and generally weird stuff (this was the 60s, after all), the guys were just four good-natured and rather naive fellas out to have a good time, play music, and show off their talents.

It didn't matter to my sisters and I that we all knew it wasn't the Monkees playing their instruments on the screen then. We knew they were funny and colorful and we liked the music, and that was all that mattered. We all had our favorite Monkee - mine was Mickey. I've always liked men who can make me laugh.

Even now, the show comes off something like an American "Monty Python goes Beatles by Way Of The Bowery Boys" - jump cuts, animation, spoofs of everything from westerns to fairy tales to Star Trek-esque sci-fi to swashbucklers and yes, some of TV's first music videos. I may buy the DVD sets of the full two season if and when I get around to buying a DVD player. Hell, I'd get them for the swashbuckling spoofs alone.

The episodes I recall best include the one where poor Dave landed in a sword fight over some girls' honor (not surprisingly, given how many tended to chase him), the one where Mickey is mistaken for a gangster, and where the guys did their own fairy tale, with Peter as the hero and Mike as the damsel-in-distress (don't ask, it was a you-had-to-be-there thing).