Monsoon-A-Day ‘D.C Follies’ (1987-1989)

Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day. Or whenever I fucking feel like it.

Day 73

 

From shadow puppets made on darkly lit caves by Neanderthals, to the old Punch and Judy shows, to the silhouette animation of Lotte Reiniger to the advent of television, puppets have been around since damn near the dawn of time. After The Howdy Doody show, there was three main innovators keeping the art alive. There was Gerry and Sylvia Anderson who made shows like The Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5, and Captain Scarlet, Jim Henson who needs no introduction and the duo that’s actually relevant to this review: Sid and Marty Krofft.

The Krofft brothers were so famous at one point, that they actually gave Henson a run for his money. They worked on or created such shows as The Banana Splits, H.R Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Land of the Lost and helped design the McDonald’s cast of characters. That last bit isn’t technically true because the designs were actually made by a different company but they were deemed direct rip-offs of H.R Pufnstuf and the Krofft’s won a huge settlement.

And that kids is why you don’t see Mayor McCheese anymore.

The 70’s were very kind to the Krafft’s. From the bizarre character designs to the trippy visuals, they created live action cartoons that kids loved and adults would watch while trippin’ balls. But all good things eventually come to an end after a string of failures (the least of all being a goddamn amusement park made in downtown Atlanta of all places), the Krofft Brothers popularity began to wane.

They bounced around from project to project with very little success, that is until 1986 with the release of the massively popular music video Land of Confusion by Genesis. Phil Collins saw a caricatured version of himself on the British show Spitting Image, he immediately commissioned them to make puppets for his new video.

And thus, D.C Follies was born.

Oh. Wait. I didn’t explain that properly. You see, the Krofft’s had literally nothing to do with either the show Spitting Image or the music video for Land of Confusion but decided “hey, we can do that too.” And decided to hitch their ride to that bandwagon. They knew they couldn’t rip off the music video because they didn’t want to look like hypocritical assholes but they knew they needed to strike while the iron was hot. How about just ripping off the TV show that created the video music video in the first place? Yeah. That’s the ticket. Just take that shows political content and place it in a bar ala Cheers and bam you got yourself a sure fire hit.

The show lasted 44 episodes.

Here’s the thing about comedy, nothing dates a joke faster than referencing something popular. That goes double for anything political. Because times change. Policies change. You ever watch those old WW2 anti-Nazi/Japanese propaganda* cartoons? That was acceptable at one time. Now, not so much. Granted, that’s the far end of the spectrum but take for example the first couple of seasons of American Dad. They’re almost unwatchable because of their extremely dated Bush jokes. They’re just not funny.

But puppets are funny, right? Puppets based on political figures and celebrities shooting the shit should be comedy gold. Take this pull quote I found on IMDB and trying not to hemorrhage to death from the gut your about to bust:

Jimmy Swaggart: Oh! God! I have sinned against you!

George Burns: Knock off the dinner theater, Jim, If I want to see overacting I’ll watch Vincent Gardenia.

After you staple your sides together from that side splitting exchange, go ask your grandfather who Jimmy Swaggart, George Burns or Vincent Gardenia are.

You think you can handle another one? Here you go:

Richard Nixon: Jim Bakker became a disgrace when he got caught with a woman. Jimmy Swaggert became a disgrace when he went to a hotel with a woman. Gary Hart became a disgrace when he dared the press to follow him. I remember the good old days when you had to have brains to be a disgrace.

I know what you’re thinking. “How the fuck did this clearly brilliant show ever get cancelled? Why isn’t it on its 37th season?” I know this is going to come as a shock to none of you but people didn’t like it. Maybe the quotes aren’t selling it. I know that hypothetical question I just purposed none of you asked was facetious but maybe you’ll sing a different tune after peeping this shit:

 

If you couldn’t be bothered to click the link, what you just missed was Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund himself, not a puppet) being afraid that Dan Quayle might be president. A guy who specializes on terrorizing teenagers by weaponizing their fears is afraid of Dan Quayle being president. The joke being that Quayle sucks. Ask your grandfather who Quayle or Freddy Kruger are.

“Stop drilling, you’ve already hit oil.” I still here none of you saying. But Sailor is nothing if not a gambling man, so how about I double down on two delicious clips for your eyes to feast on:

 

 

Where did everybody go? Off to YouTube to watch the rest of it I imagine. I don’t blame you. This shit is comedy gold.

*I realized while typing this word, that I have ‘Penishands’ saved in my phones auto-correct/word suggestions. I wish I was more shocked by this revelation.