Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Monkees, Episode 15: "Too Many Girls" aka "Davy and Fern"

And we're at the 15th episode of The Monkees, "Too Many Girls," also known as "Davy and Fern." This episode was written by Dave Evans, Gerald Gardner, and Dee Caruso. Dave Evans had previously written "Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers" and "Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth," and would write six more episodes after this one, including the final one. He also wrote episodes of Love, American Style and was a writer for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The writing team of Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso wrote a total of 22 episodes of the series, and also wrote 11 episodes of Get Smart, an episode of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, and the Disney movie The World's Greatest Athlete, among other TV shows and movies. "I'm a Believer," by Neil Diamond, is the only complete song in this episode, the third in a row for this song (they were really pushing it!), although a bit of "Not Your Steppin' Stone" also appears in the episode (apparently played live, as it's not a version that was released on any album).

The guests in this episode were Reta Shaw as Mrs. Badderly (a major character actress, she played Aunt Clara Simms in the Lost In Space episode "Return From Outer Space," Mrs. Halcyon Maxwell in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Miss Witherspoon in The Man From UNCLE episode "The Suburbia Affair," Mrs. Sedley in The Girl From UNCLE episode "The Fountain of Youth Affair," Martha Grant, the housekeeper on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Aunt Hagatha and Bertha on Bewitched, and Mrs. Grindley in Escape to Witch Mountain, among many other roles), Kelly Jean Peters as Fern (she would later play Nicole in The Invaders episode "Dark Outpost," Jackie Cameron in The Green Hornet episode "The Silent Gun", Lori in The Sixth Sense episode "Dear Joan: We're Going to Scare You to Death," Martha Lovitt in the Kung Fu episode "The Stone," Mrs. Washington in the Voyagers! episode "Merry Christmas, Bogg," and many other roles), and Jeff DeBenning as Hack (he had single-episode appearances in My Favorite Martian, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie, and played Mr. Rogers in The Strongest Man in the World). Also in the episode, uncredited, were Roxanne Albee (who appeared, uncredited, in nine episodes altogether), Valerie Kairys (who appeared in 14 episodes altogether, as well as appearing in the Monkees movie Head, and two episodes of Batman, playing Kity in "The Sandman Cometh/The Catwoman Goeth"), and David Price (he was in 22 episodes of the show uncredited, and was Davy's stand-in in 57 episodes, plus appeared as a drummer in the special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee. He would be introduced on-screen as himself in "The Christmas Show," among other crew members).

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A girl always shows up, no matter what the Monkees do!
The episode opens at the Monkees beach pad, where they're rehearsing "Not Your Steppin' Stone," and Mike cuts the rehearsal out, as Davy is standing perfectly still, staring. Obviously, there's a girl somewhere, and Micky spots her hiding behind the stairs. They ask her to leave, which she does, stumbling into a totem pole before going out the door. Suddenly, Davy comes out of his trance and continues playing his maracas and singing. He realizes that it's happened again, and he promises he'll never look at another girl, ever (as if!). Mike asks him to make it in the form of a vow, and he vows, "I vow no more girls," but when the camera pulls back from where the Monkees have put their hands together (not too unlike the panel in Fantastic Four #1 where the team puts their hands together at the end), there's another girl there! Micky and Peter escort her out of the pad. Mike hands his guitar to an off-camera hand to talk to Davy, and it's yet another girl, which Mike escorts out! Another girl is found in the fridge, one standing on a chair next to the door. Micky says, "He's going to be the death of us yet." Pete, Mike and Micky look around to see if there are any more girls around, and then they chec with Davy, who's got all five girls around him now! Mikc says, "Poor Davy, trapped by his staggering good looks," to which Micky replies, "I myself am deeply jealous."

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Mrs. Badderly reads the Monkees' tea leaves.
After the opening credits, the Monkeemobile parks on a street. Little do they know that watching them from Ye Olde Tea Room are Mrs. Badderly and her daughter, Fern, who have been expecting them. The Monkees exit the car (the boys blocking Davy from an attractive blonde). Mrs. Badderly's assistant is also standing there with a sign reading "Gypsy Tea Room - Fortunes Told - Free Tea," which Mrs. Badderly figures will get Davy's attention, given that he's English and must like tea. The assistant starts parading with his sign, and Fern starts begging her mother to stop, but Mrs. Badderly insists that Fern's going to have a career in show business with Davy. She rushes Fern into the shop as the Monkees see the sign, and decide to enter the shop. Meanwhile, Mrs. Badderly is on the phone with Hack, who runs a TV talent show, telling him that Fern's found a partner as he suggested. The Monkees enter and sit down, and Mrs. Badderly holds up a pepper shaker and a nail and laughs. She hands the items to Fern and reminds her to follow her instructions. The Monkees drink their tea, and Mrs. Badderly approaches them and offers to read their tea leaves (Micky wants to take his home to give him something to read in bed). She reads Mike's tea leaves, identifying him as a musician and composer, but then says he's about to get a flat tire. She reads Peter's leaves, saying he looks tired and is going to come down with a 24-hour virus. She says this, and Fern puts pepper on Peter's coat, hanging on a coatrack. Then she reads Davy's tea leaves, saying that within 24 hours, he's going to meet a girl and all in love, which doesn't surprise the gang. She goes on to say Davy's going to leave his home and friends for this girl, but Davy insists he won't do that. Mrs. Badderly says it's fate, the tea leaves never lie (as she does this, she stands, as do the Monkees, then sits, and stands again, the Monkees following suit each time). Micky says Davy should switch to buttermilk.

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Getting rid of Fern... the first time!
Davy wonders if there's anything to the tea leaves, but Mike insists there isn't, they're four intelligent guys who aren't superstitious and have been pretty lucky (knock wood, which they all do). They get up and leave, and the table falls apart. Mrs. Badderly, watching, laughs with glee. The Monkees head to the Monkeemobile and Mike insists Pete's not going to get the virus, Davy won't fall in love, and he won't get a flat tire... but the Monkeemobile has a flat. Pete, having put on his coat, says there must be a perfectly rational explanation for it, but then he starts sneezing! Davy points out that's two predictions right, and they load Davy into the back of the car, Mike puts a tube to the tire and reinflates it with his breath, and they leave. At the pad, the Monkees figure they'll insulate Davy from women for the next 24 hours. Outside the house, Mrs. Badderly and Fern lurk. There's a knock at the door, and Mike forces Davy to sit in a chair and puts a tablecloth over him, and Micky sits on Davy, as if he's a chair. Pete answers the door, and sees it's a girl scout -- Fern in disguise, who's selling cookies. While Peter is fooled by the costume, Micky and Mike aren't, and get her out of there. Davy gets out from under the cloth.

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Davy's starting to go stir-crazy!
Later, Davy is going stir-crazy, and starts insisting they're doing this to him because he's short. Mike invites him to play cards with them, but there's another knock at the door. Mike checks, and it's another girl, so Pete and Micky force Davy upstairs (first Pete gets Micky up). When he's out of sight, the door is opened, and Fern comes in, this time disguised as a photographer from a local establishment, offering a free sample picture. They agree, and Micky, Pete and Mike pose in old-fashioned clothes for the shot -- but Fern points out that there are supposed to be four of them. When she's told that Davy's upstairs, she takes the picture, but the flash blinds the boys (who are suddenly back in their normal threads again), and when they can see again, they spot her heading up the stairs. They get her out of the pad.  Davy comes downstairs and insists that he's going to leave, and the only way they'll keep him there is to chain him down -- which they do, chaining him to a chair! Micky puts the TV in front of Davy, and turns on a western, and the others leave. Suddenly, there's another knock at the door, and a special delivery envelope is inserted underneath it. Davy drags the chair to the door with him and opens the envelope, which has a message for him. He throws the door open and drags the chair out of the door with him.

Later, the other Monkees return, find Davy's gone, and also find the note. At the tea room (which now has a "National Beauty Pageant" sign in front of it), Mrs. Badderly is sure her latest plot will work. At the pad, Mike reads the letter, which states that Davy's been chosen to judge a beauty pageant! They figure they're sunk, and rush off to find Davy, who's walking the street, dragging the chair behind him (at least until he's stopped for a moment, because a man has sat in it to get his shoes shined). The other Monkees search the city for him, and find someone they're sure is Davy, but it's not him, it's someone else who looks like Davy from the back, also chained to the exact same kind of chair (Davy's stand-in). Davy gets to the tea room and enters.

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Fern's bathing suit revealed a bit too much for the censors?
Inside, he finds the tea room empty, except for Fern, who's now in a leopard skin bathing suit (which apparently must've revealed a bit too much cleavage, as there's some blurring on-screen there) and a long brown wig (as opposed to her usual pixie cut). Each time Davy touches Fern's face, there's music (which Mrs. Badderly is providing). The other Monkees arrive, and Mike says they're too late (Pete repeats Micky's earlier line about being deeply jealous). Davy spots Mrs. Badderly, and tells Fern she's the one who predicted this. Mrs. Badderly looks at Fern's tea leaves, and says she's going to appear on a TV program, and that she'll appear with a young man and have a great success, and that man is Davy. Davy insists it won't be him, he's a Monkee, but Fern talks him into it. The other Monkees approach, and Davy tells them about the TV show, prompting them to all sit on the chair to hold him in place. Finally, Davy reaches down and pulls the chain apart -- "A man in love has the strength of thousands," he says. Davy and Fern walk away, and a phone rings -- helpfully the table it's on slides in front of the other three Monkees, and they pick up the receiver (each putting one hand on top of the other, as if it were a baseball bat and they're deciding who starts). Peter wins and answers the phone -- it's Mr. Hack, and wants Peter to tell Mrs. Badderly that Fern and Davy are scheduled for last on the show. Pete tells his friends about it.

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The Not-So-Astonishing Pietro!
Later, at the Amateur Hour show, Mr. Hack is starting the show, telling the viewing audience that their calls will determine the winnner. Then, he introduces the first act -- The Astonishing Pietro, a magic act -- and it's Peter! Peter starts his patter, but his tricks all start going wrong. He puts a dove in a bag, inflates it, and pops it -- but instead of the bird disappearing, there's a scream of pain, and feathers come out of the holes. Next, he pours milk into a top hat, and then turns the hat upside down, and nothing comes out of it! But then he goes to put the hat on, and milk pours all over him.  He starts crying and is led off stage.

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No matter what Micky says, the impression is always Cagney!
The next act is Billy Roy Hodstetter, a folk singer -- really Mike, who performs a very fast version of his song "Different Drum" (the same song that Linda Rondstadt performed with the Stone Poneys, touching off her career). Mike plays it as if he can't remember the lyrics, and the song ends and he goes off stage. The next act is the master of impersonations, Locksley Mendoza (Micky). Micky starts his act, telling a bunch of bad jokes. Meanwhile, Mike and Pete sneak behind Davy and Fern, and put rocks in Davy's coat pockets and replace his cane with a rubber one. On-stage Micky goes into his Cagney impression. His next impression is Edward G. Robinson, but although he changes hats, he does the same bit he did for Cagney! His next impression is the same, and he goes off-stage. Mr. Hack isn't impressed.

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Davy and Fern perform... but Davy's not doing so well!
Mike distracts Davy for a moment, and uses the atomizer on him, spraying it in his mouth, which makes Davy's voice crack. Davy and Fern are told they're on next, and they're introduced by Mr. Hack. They come onstage, and they start their song and dance number, but they're absolutely terrible! Fern starts throwing a tantrum and rushes off stage, Mr. Hack pushing Davy after her. Backstage, Mrs. Badderly tries to comfort her, and tells Davy she doesn't know why she let her daughter get involved with a no-talent kid. Davy's surprised to learn Fern is her daughter! Mr. Hack says after the word from our sponsor, they'll return with one more act -- Micky and Mike question who's sponsor, and Mike and Pete insist it's their sponsor.

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Performing "I'm a Believer."
After the commercial break, Mr. Hack is pushing his sponsor's product, Sdrawkcab, which he says is superior to products that contain iron, because iron rusts! Of course, the product name is "Backwards" spelled backwards. Then he introduces the Monkees, who perform "I'm a Believer." This would be the performance that's often posted on YouTube as a music video of the song. Watching this, it's easy to see that while Mike and Pete actually know how to play their instruments, Micky is still learning, and he's miming a very basic drum part compared to what's in the soundtrack (the camera's never on Micky when there's supposed to be a fill or roll). For his part, Davy is playing his tambourine correctly. The song fades out.

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"Curses! Foiled by the Monkees!"
We cut to Mrs. Badderly, who says, "Curses! Foiled by the Monkees!" Mike tells Davy that the whole thing was a con job, and Davy realizes he shouldn't have believed in the tea leaves. Mr. Hack announces the winner of the vote, and the winners are Fern and Davy!

Another fun episode, although one wonders just how Mrs. Badderly figured that Fern would get a career in show business with such an old-fashioned act!

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