A collection of comedy skits and music videos, such as a game-show spoof called "Name That Drug", a visit to the office of the Clandestine Typing Service, and a man providing a skewed ... See full summary »
A collection of comedy skits and music videos, such as a game-show spoof called "Name That Drug", a visit to the office of the Clandestine Typing Service, and a man providing a skewed translation of a Mexican serenade for his girlfriend. Written by
Kevin G. Madzia <email@example.com>
What The Monkees envisioned for their third season
The 1981 VHS release of ELEPHANT PARTS marked the return of Michael Nesmith to the singer/performer rank he enjoyed as one fourth of The Monkees, encompassing what the group envisioned for their third season, had the NBC network not insisted on repeating the no longer fresh ideas that sustained the first two. In the 11 years since leaving his former band, Nesmith recorded ten albums, and pioneered the MTV format with 1980's hour long Saturday night show PopClips, on Nickelodeon (MTV began Aug 1 1981). This mixture of music videos with comedy sketches was hardly a novelty, but it's a pity that despite winning the very first Grammy for a 'video record,' he never followed it up with another (NBC did air a short-lived revival for eight weeks in 1985 titled TELEVISION PARTS). Despite the dated aspects of some of the material, the sketches are of a remarkably high standard: "Rock and Roll Hospital" shows the dreaded results of 'Bee Gees disease'; "Elvis Drugs" sympathizes with adults who find it 'a bitch' running the world; "Name That Drug" compares favorably with anything from Cheech and Chong, the contestants determined to name that drug 'in three tokes!'; the hilarious horror spoof "Have a Nice Day," not far different from future items like "Scream" and "Scary Movie"; best of all may be the Detroit car commercial, testing consumers' mentality in much the same way as politicians in Washington ('we're not just hoping you're dumb America, we're banking on it!'). Musically, all material is composed, produced, and performed by Nesmith, beginning with a Japanese-inspired take on Nes' biggest solo hit, 1970's "Joanne," while his 1978 LP LIVE AT THE PALAIS gets a plug as a vegetable shredder. Of the five music videos, the most famous is "Rio," taken from his 1976 LP FROM A RADIO ENGINE TO THE PHOTON WING, a video creation that earned accolades across the globe upon initial release. All the others comprise half of his 1979 release INFINITE RIDER ON THE BIG DOGMA, his hardest rocking LP, full of funky disco rhythms without a hint of the softer country sounds from earlier albums (it's actually mentioned just prior to "Cruisin'"). "Magic (This Night is Magic)" is a beautifully sung throwback to the delightful Beach Boys; "Cruisin' (Lucy and Ramona and Sunset Sam)," famously seen with great regularity on MTV, is a solid disco number featuring Hulk Hogan lookalike Steve Strong; "Light (The Electric Light)" is a disco number with saxophone; "Tonite (The Television Song)" shows the singer 'living inside of a little glass room'; and the self explanatory "Dance (Dance and Have a Good Time)," which is only heard during the closing credits (not in its entirety). Others picked up where Michael Nesmith left off, while the artist himself went on to a career producing movies like 1982's "Timerider" and 1984's "Repo Man," and authoring "The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora" (1998) and "The America Gene" (2009).
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