Tuesday, August 19, 2014

514 - Teenage Strangler

With Short: Is This Love?

First Broadcast - 10 am Sunday, Nov 7th 1993
#46 in Mighty Jack's Top 100
Excellence Level: Platinum
Movie Pain: Medium - Overwrought acting, cheap production but has some charm
Riffing: Wildly funny with wonderful short
Skits: Very funny, very steady

The short, "Is This Love?" features a Romulan and is beyond funny; as a young college girl defies her parents and marries her beau... a guy who dreams of going pro (even though as Mike points out, he doesn't really have the build of a football player). The end sequence where the guys name other titles in the series is side splitting. This is one of my favorites.

Our featured motion picture is just as funny. It's a grade Z but strangely charming movie that is propelled to cult status due to the character of... Mikey! He of the black-rimmed glasses, the high-pitched voice and over the top acting, and who looks like Mark Mothersbaugh, lead singer of Devo. I think we all have a soft spot for the poor schlub; the SOL crew must have loved him because he's a laugh factory all on his own.

While Mikey is memorable; he's not the only ace in the hole. This flick is rife with over the top performances and odd reactions (Tony's girlfriend is murdered, but no one shows an ounce of grief- unfortunately M&TB don't make comment on this and thus exposes the episodes one weak spot. A few missed riff opportunities)

Highlights? One of my favorite scenes comes during the "Yipe Stripes" musical number. The gal on the counter shouts out the names of popular rock bands of the era - Mike, Crow and Servo add to the list with a few modern -and not quite as wholesome- bands of their own.

The host segments are -for the most part- very good. The bots turn Mike into 'Mikey', the 'Janitor Song' and I especially luv that "Frank-N-Forcer".

Host Segments
Intro: Mike calls his grandma. Invention: The Frank-N-Forcer and on the SOL it's the Waiter Baiter. Segment 1: Hollywood romances. Segment 2: Mike is very hip. Segment 3: Mike becomes Mikey. End: The Janitor song. Frank gets motion sickness. Stinger: Mikey's Oscar worthy performance.

Notable Riffs
Love Riffs
"By Paul H. Landis, whose never known the touch of a woman" - Mike
"Gee, how many times was "she" held back?" - Crow
"Besides, you're a Romulan" - Crow
"Are you going to call your mom and dad about getting engaged?" - "Actually their already married" - Romulan/Crow
"So old fashioned you think." - "No, just old." - Romulan/Mike
"Drinking in college? I've never heard of that." - Mike
"She could have so much to regret." - "She could end up like us." - Mom/Crow
"But when the excitement of the moment dies down, what will remain?" - "A big Visa bill." - Narrator/Servo
"Oh no, pleasure." - Servo as narrator

Strangler Riffs
"But I'm a Milk Man" - Servo
"Hey, get off my toast." - Servo
"Oh don't invoke Jupiter."- Mike
"The Amish kids beat me up again." - Crow as Mikey
"Is he giving birth?" - Push Jimmy, Push!" - Mike/Servo
"Oh you hurt my pant area." - Crow as Gary
"Good Lord, who is this clown." - Mike as cop
"If I could just smell a cushion I'd be happy." - Servo as Mikey
"Maybe we ought to do what he says." - "He is the janitor. - Girl/Mike
"Even Charlie Whitman at age 9 got into the music" - Crow
"You know the rules. How did you get unchained" - Dad/Crow on Mikey
"I think I'm barren now or something." - Servo as Mikey

Riff Explained
Eddie Egan?
A quick riff mentions this New York City cop whose life inspired the Oscar winning film The French Connection. After retirement, Egan turned to acting. He had a regular part as Hennessey in the Mike Hammer television series.

Stuff & Nonsense
The short, Is This Love? was produced by one of the pioneers of the Canadian film industry, Frank "Budge" Crawley. His company, "Crawley Films", was first run out of an attic, before growing into Canada's largest independent film company. One career highlight: Crawley took home the first Oscar ever won by a Canadian feature film, for the documentary "The Man Who Skied Down Everest" (1973). 

Available on DVD: Collection volume 10

< Previous * Next >