Monkees Vs. Macheen

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All the “Monkees vs. Macheen” recaps in one easy location!

SEASON I 

“Royal Flush” | September 12, 1966  ★ ★ ☆
The Monkees television show debuted 49 years ago, and as the 50th anniversary approaches, I wanted to write a little bit about each episode of this amazing show that makes me laugh as much now as it did when I first saw it in syndication as a tot.

Monkee See, Monkee Die

“Monkee See, Monkee Die”| September 19, 1966   ★ ★ ★ ☆
It’s a well-written, solid all-around spoof of Agatha Christie type mystery stories. The personalities and dynamics of the Monkees are clearer here than in the first episode with Mike emerging as the leader, Micky the one with the crazy ideas, Davy the young romantic, and Peter the oddball.

“Monkee vs. Machine” (What?) |  September 26, 1966  ★ ★ ★ ☆
 This is one of my favorites because of its unusual storyline. The points are all made in a very funny and entertaining way, though I could live without Mike’s moralizing at the end of the episode.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers

“Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers” | October 3, 1966   ★ ★ ★ ☆
This is the first episode where the plot revolves around the Monkees pursuing success and fame as a band. The central premise of the show was a band struggling to be as successful as the Beatles, not to make a show about an American version of the Beatles…

“The Spy Who Came in from the Cool”  | October 10, 1966 ★ ★ ★ ☆
The way the Cold War plays here, the teenagers are detached from it all. They’re into their music, fun, their self-expression. Tension with Russia and China is a grown-up problem. Not their fault or their concern but they are expected to fight.

 “Success Story” | October 17, 1966  ★ ★ ☆
The 6th episode, “Success Story” had an emotional story-line compared to other episodes and was also the first to feature a Monkees family member. There was an unusually stereotypical situation-comedy feel with a character getting in trouble for deceiving a loved one.

“Monkees In A Ghost Town” | October 24, 1966 ★ ★ ★ ☆
If I were introducing this show to someone, I would start with this episode. Here, the show’s usual comedy style is hit hard and hit well; the screen titles, breaking the fourth wall, the great guest cast, slapstick humor, stock footage. 

"Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth"

“Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth” |  October 31, 1966 ★ ★ 
Compared to the pilot, which moves very fast, this one takes it’s time to show the Monkees interacting together, and to make them likable; make them, in fact, into sweet, selfless good guys.

“The Chaperone” |  November 7, 1966 ★ ★ ★
This farcical, romantic comedy mix-up has lots of witty dialogue and hilarious sight gags. Most of the action takes place in the Monkees pad, giving it a stage play feel because it’s mostly on the one set.

“Here Come The Monkees” | November 14, 1966  ★ ★
This is the episode I’m most grateful for because without it there would be no series. 

“Monkees à la Carte” | November 21, 1966  ★ ★ ☆
I always forget about this episode. It blends together with some of the other gangster-related stories. They did run into gun-toting crooks quite a bit.

“I’ve Got A Little Song Here” | November 28, 1966   ★ ★ ★ ★
Here’s one of my favorite episodes, largely because it focuses on Mike, my favorite character. When I was five and watching this show, I always identified with and had an attachment to him. 

“One Man Shy” aka “Peter and the Debutante” | December 5, 1966 ★ ★ ★ ★
Peter is the main character of “One Man Shy” and like the storyline from the previous episode, the Monkees
band together to help an underdog who is one of their own.

“Dance, Monkee, Dance” | December 12, 1966 ★ ★ ★
It’s another con-artist plot, but the comedy is satisfying: weird, and frequently over-the-top in both the jokes and the execution.

“Too Many Girls” aka “Davy and Fern” | December 19, 1966  ★ ★ ★
I wasn’t super excited to write about this one, I admit. The storyline for “Too Many Girls” revolves around an often used plot device: Davy is in “love.” On the plus side, writers were obviously aware of it and making fun of it themselves; using a well-established trait of Davy’s to drive the story. 

“Son Of A Gypsy” | December 26, 1966 ★ ★ ★
The story is about a gig gone wrong, but it is also a wildly improbable, high adventure territory as their opponents in this episode are a group of larger than life gypsies who really like to murder and steal. 

“The Case of the Missing Monkee” | January 9, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Monkees really parodied a lot of genres didn’t it?  There were Monkees episodes inspired by westerns, gangster films, science fiction, horror, mystery, and spy stories to name a few. “The Case of the Missing Monkee” is a cross between mystery, sci-fi, and a spy story.

“I Was a Teenage Monster” January 16, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ☆
This one stands alone as a groovy and charming monster movie parody, in large part due to the fabulous guest cast, cool set direction, and a smashing romp.

 

“The Audition” aka “Find the Monkees” | January 23, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ★
This is one of those episodes that hits all the high points for me. It’s incredibly funny, it deals with The Monkees trying to make it as a band, and the characters are all working together to achieve a goal. Then there’s the guest cast; the two actors supporting the story steal the show.

“Monkees in the Ring” | January 30, 1967  ★ ★ 
“Monkees in the Ring” was directed by James Frawley and written by Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso. This is a combination of director/writers that frequently worked on these Monkees episodes, yet somehow this episode for me, doesn’t feel like a Monkees episode. 

“The Prince and The Paupers” | February 6, 1967 ★ ☆
It’s a spoof on the Mark Twain novel, The Prince and the Pauper, but just barely. “The Prince and The Paupers” has more in common with The Monkees earlier episode, “Royal Flush.”

“Monkees at the Circus” | February 13, 1967 ★ ★ ☆
 There are a lot of nice ideas in this episode. It’s an “old meets new and both learn from each other” type of story. The Monkees are actually the “evil” since they represent a phenomenon that’s taking away from the tradition of the circus, at least according to the story.

“Captain Crocodile” | February 20, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ★
In “Captain Crocodile,” a lively and entertaining episode, the Monkees struggle to get into show business again. The Monkees vs. showbiz episodes are always good ones. This time, their antagonist is a jealous TV host, the title character Captain Crocodile.

“Monkees à la Mode” | February 27, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ★
“Monkees à la Mode” is one of my favorites, if not my very favorite from the first season. The storyline plays as a culture war between the Monkees and a high fashion magazine staff. The Monkees are at their best working together and defying authority. 

“Alias Micky Dolenz”| March 6, 1967 ★ ★ ☆
David Jones was absent for “Alias Micky Dolenz” and the balance of the episode falls squarely on Micky, who really put his skills to the test in this episode, playing Micky, Baby Face, and Micky as Baby Face. 

“Monkees Chow Mein” | March 13, 1967  ★ ★ ★
Similar to “The Spy Who Came in From the Cool”, “Monkees Chow Mein” compels the Monkees to help out the CIS (a quasi-CIA) against our nation’s cold war enemies. The title indicates that this time the villains are from China rather than Russia. Writers Gardner and Caruso borrowed heavily from one of their other writing gigs, Get Smart, for this one.

“Monkee Mother” | March 20, 1967 ★ ★ ☆
“Monkee Mother” is an episode that’s a little more domestic than usual. That seems obvious from the title, but compared to the previous episode’s pulp fiction-y spy action story, this one is very cozy, all taking place on the Monkees’ house set.

 “Monkees on the Line” | March 27, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ☆
This is another episode that’s very close to my heart (no, it’s not my lungs). I admit it’s partly because it’s a Mike episode, but I also appreciate the episode structure and that each Monkee gets a piece of the action. 

“Monkees Get Out More Dirt” | April 3, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ☆
“Monkees Get Out More Dirt” is one of the episodes I’d put into a “most memorable” category. It’s the one with Julie Newmar, and the one where they all compete with each other instead of working together.

“Monkees in Manhattan” |April 10, 1967  ★ ★ ☆
This is one of those episodes that’s cute but bland. Micky has some fun moments, and Mike is the idea man, but mostly the Monkees personalities don’t get a chance to shine. Many of the jokes are clichés, and it all feels a little mild and colorless for a Monkees episode.

“Monkees at the Movies” | April 17, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Monkees writers and producers are exceptional at satirizing Hollywood. I’m pretty sure you have to know something well to make fun of it. Here we see the Monkees attacking the star system, the press, exploitative filmmakers, and the concept of adults capitalizing on the young. It’s also a meta-statement because they mock a Hollywood system that made the Monkees themselves stars.

“Monkees on Tour” April 24, 1967 ★ ☆
“Monkees on Tour” has no storyline; it’s a documentary of the Monkees during their 1966-1967 North American tour. Most of the episode was filmed on January 21 and 22 in Phoenix Arizona and San Francisco. 

SEASON II

“It’s a Nice Place to Visit” | September 18, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ★
Excellent Monkees comedy, heightened by adherence to western conventions such as: natural settings, good guys vs. bad guys, a chase or pursuit, and a final showdown. The cinematography, the casting, and the writing shows the huge effort put into making this half hour spoof resemble a real western.

“The Picture Frame” | September 11, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Monkees are in great form in this story, working together with crack comic timing to create mischief in the justice system.  It’s a tightly put-together farce, with it’s own insane sense of logic that builds up to a wacky finish.

“Everywhere a Sheik, Sheik” | September 25, 1967  ★ ☆
This episode is unfortunately, a recycled plot of a recycled plot. As with “The Prince and the Paupers” the Monkees are helping a young royal who is duty-bound to get married, and as with both that and “Royal Flush,” the Monkees are up against ambitious, evil adults in a fictional kingdom.

“Monkee Mayor” | October 2, 1967   ★ ★ ★ ★
Mike’s ill-fated campaign could be looked at as alternative to a protest. It’s interesting that the writers/producers didn’t go the protest route. Instead of Mike running for Mayor, they could have had the Monkees staging a protest of city hall. Protests were a big part of counterculture of the time.

“Art for Monkees’ Sake” | October 9, 1967 ★ ★ ★
The episode title is a play on the French slogan, “Art for Art’s Sake” (l’art pour l’art) which means art for reasons of self-expression and not for any instructional, moral, or other useful purpose. The Monkees are most often comedy for comedy’s sake, and I love it.

“I Was A 99-lb. Weakling” (a.k.a. “Physical Culture”) | October 16, 1967 ★ ★ ★
 It’s interesting to watch this in retrospect; what’s considered a healthy and attractive body today is different than it was in 1966, but the issues haven’t changed; we can still be influenced into hating our bodies by the media and each other.

“Hillbilly Honeymoon” (a.k.a. “Double Barrel Shotgun Wedding”) | October 23, 1967 ★ ★ ★ ★
Despite all the hillbilly clichés, I love this episode. It’s so funny, even just thinking about it makes me laugh and it’s easily one of the best of season two. One thing that these recaps have taught me is a true appreciation for director James Frawley.

“Monkees Marooned” | October 30, 1967 ★ ★
This episode is still watchable, but my complaint is that the Monkees are so passive in “Monkees Marooned.” Everything just happens to them once they get to the island.

“The Card-Carrying Red Shoes” | November 6, 1967  ★ ☆
“The Card Carrying Red Shoes” debuted November 6, 1967 and it’s another Cold War, spy-themed episode; along the same lines as “The Spy Who Came in from the Cool” and “Monkees Chow Mein.” Of the three, this is my least favorite.

“Wild Monkees” | November 13, 1967 ★ ★ ★ 
In this episode, all four Monkees make the same mistake. It’s a similar mistake they made in “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt,” pretending to be something they’re not in order to impress women.

“A Coffin Too Frequent” | November 20, 1967 ★ ★ ☆
This is another of those “guilty pleasure” episodes for me. It’s a rehash of previous, better material, especially “Monkee See, Monkee Die” with the con game and the séance, and “I Was a Teenage Monster” with the giant, intimidating character and the unscrupulous scientist. 

“Hitting the High Seas” | November 27, 1967 ★ ★ ☆
This was never a favorite of mine but, paying closer attention for this recap, I discovered some things to appreciate. There are some laugh-out-loud bits, and there’s a storyline that works on that “good clean fun” level.

“The Monkees in Texas” | December 4, 1967 ★ ★ ☆
“Monkees in Texas,” written by Jack Winter, is aimed at the television Western, and parodies popular shows such as Bonanza and The Lone Ranger.

“The Monkees on the Wheel” | December 11, 1967 ★ ★ ☆
This episode had a different tone than the others. Some of the jokes were dirtier than usual for a kids show. As a five year old, I wouldn’t have understood it. As a teenager, I loved it for being naughty.

“The Monkees’ Christmas Show” | December 24, 1967 ★ ★ ★
 I’m not that into sentimental Monkees episodes, but how can I say anything bad about an episode where the Monkees try to help out a lonely kid?

“Fairy Tale” | January 8, 1968  ★ ★ ★ ★
When you think of the series, this one’s bound to come to mind. It’s funny and unexpected. They break with the regular episode format and the usual premise of them as an out-of work band to show them acting out a comic stage play. 

“The Monkees Watch Their Feet” | January 15, 1968 ★ ★ ★ ★
“Monkees Watch Their Feet” is  one of the most subversive moments of the series. Much of this episode is a commentary on the Red Scare, the war in Vietnam, and the generation gap, expressed both in Paulsen’s narration and in the homage to science fiction movies.

“The Monstrous Monkee Mash” | January 22, 1968 ★ ★ ★
 This is creepy-cute well before Tim Burton, though it obviously owes a lot to The Munsters and The Addams Family. The set decoration, the spooky yet bouncy background score, and the mood lighting are perfect, giving it just the right horror movie tribute feel. 

“The Monkee’s Paw” | January 29, 1968 ★ ★ ★ ☆
Overall, this was a fun adaptation of the original story by W. W. Jacobs. Lots of funny scenes and lines and I’m always happy when the plot revolves around them as musicians.

“The Devil and Peter Tork” | February 5 1968 ★ ★ ★ ★
“The Devil and Peter Tork” is a classic episode, a fan favorite that receives a lot of well-deserved praise. Not so many laugh-out-loud moments as I normally expect, but a well done story, sensitively acted. 

“The Monkees Race Again” | February 12 1968
“The Monkees Race Again” was the last full episode filmed, wrapping on December 20, 1967. This one is a bummer because the Monkees appear to have zero enthusiasm. I watch these episodes to see the Monkees’ friendship, to watch them solve problems together in funny ways, and to see their interactions. I got none of that in “The Monkees Race Again.” 

“The Monkees in Paris” | February 19, 1968 ★ ☆
Bob Rafelson wrote and directed this one, which is really more like an extended romp. There’s not a lot for me to recap here, even less than I had to work with for “Monkees on Tour.”

“Monkees Mind Their Manor” | February 26, 1968 ★ ★
When I thought back over the episodes, this is not one that I remembered clearly. There are no memorable lines, no witty dialogue. It’s only notable because it was directed by Peter H. Thorkelson. Also, Bernard Fox, may he rest in peace, was one funny man.

“Some Like It Lukewarm” | March 4, 1968 ★ ★ ★
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. Unlike the previous few, there were many hilarious moments and funny lines. The plot moved along and tied up neatly with charming performances from Davy Jones and Deana Martin.

“The Monkees Blow Their Minds” | March 11, 1968 ★ ★
To my delight, this episode features James Frawley, director of 29 of the 58 Monkees episodes, as Rudy, dimwitted henchmen to Oraculo. When I saw this episode in the 1980s, I had no idea this actor was one of the directors, possibly the best director of the series. Knowing this makes it so much more fun. 

“The Frodis Caper” | February 5 1968 ★ ★ ★ ★
 I’m so glad The Monkees went out on a high note. It seems appropriate that this was the perfect way for The Monkees to end: a paranoid, Sci-Fi parody about an evil entity pacifying the world through television.

 

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