The Monkees are booked to play a Sweet 16 birthday party and the girl falls in love with Davy. #standard
Ugh. Okay I’ll start off by saying I’ll try to cut this episode some slack because it was the Pilot and it seems that the writers had no idea WTF they were doing with these boys or with the show?? The start of this episode is ???????????. What does that beginning part have to do with anything? Why is Davy getting ‘mugged’ by the other three Monkees? Was that just some sort of prank to get a response out of that dude who was making that speech thing?? How does that have any relevence to the rest of the episode?? Like what a crap way to try to launch The Monkees. You have four gorgeous boys with four great personalities and you start off the episode like THAT. No wonder the Pilot originally tanked, lmao. Like the whole scene before the credits barely even shows the boys??? Who’s smart idea was that?!
I think the thing that’s most odd about this episode is because it’s episode 10. By this stage in the series we’ve got to know the boys and we’ve had some really quality episodes. And now there’s just this episode which sticks out like a sore thumb and it’s a little uncomfortable to watch in the context of the entire Monkees series. Does that make sense? Like I almost see this as a standalone episode. Everything feels different. The Pad is different. The vibe is different. And don’t even get me started on the 'Monkeemobile’!!!!! I get why they didn’t want it to be the first episode, because it’s shit. But couldn’t they have scrapped it altogether? Like it’s not that terrible in terms of the story and stuff (there are actually worse episodes than this still to come, OH JOY). But it just doesn’t flow. It doesn’t feel right. It’s a little awkward. It doesn’t feel like The Monkees.
Like when Davy is about to go on his date with Vanessa, the other boys are taking the piss and teasing him, just standard lad banter and stuff, but it doesn’t feel like Monkee banter. (also unrelated: POOR RINGO getting hit in the head with a dart by Mike.)
The best scene (which really doesn’t say a lot) is the brief chat between Mike and Davy where Davy is voicing his concerns about Vanessa buggering up her tests and stuff because she’s so hung up on him. This is the only scene we get where we actually get a feel of where the show is going character-wise, as we get a taste of Mike the leader when he calls a meeting to discuss how to help Vanessa. I guess this shows they had Mike pegged as the leader from the get-go? They obviously had Davy pegged as the heart-throb, but that’s hardly rocket science.
But while we get a brief glimpse of Mike, we really don’t see anything of Micky and Peter. At this stage in the series - episode 10 - I feel we’re still getting to know Peter. But pretty much every episode so far has had Micky being Micky, so this episode feels even more strange that we don’t get to see Micky being his weird, crazy self in some capacity or another (apart from a seriously brief but hilarious moment which I’ll write about next).
Okay so my favourite part of this entire episode is when the Monkees jump the wall to try and sneak into Vanessa’s party and then the security guard spots them and suddenly they’re dressed in prison gear and Micky is going MENTAL and the boys are restraining him as he’s sort of screaming (I think he’s screaming “COME AND GET US, COME AND GET US” like a mad man) like LMAO that is literally the best part of this entire episode and the only bit I actually find funny because it’s the only time we see Crazy!Micky and he’s just so dramatic and over the top and MICKY.
But after that funny moment we have the SNOOZE FEST which is the Monkees being chased for the next two minutes while this annoying piano music plays…YAWN.
I’m pretty sure someone mentioned that we don’t actually get to hear any of the boys’ names apart from Davy’s in this episode. I only remembered this half way through, but it seems pretty accurate. (Although we definitely heard Mike being referred to as 'Wool Hat’ jsjfksk). SO when this episode ends (and when I say 'episode’ I’m talking about before the add on bits with the boys screen tests, which I will get to in a moment!) I feel like we only got to know Davy. Like he’s the only one that really matters? And I just find it so bizarre that they would pitch a show about an entire band and only really sell one character/member.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that as a standalone Pilot, it blows. And in the context of the entire series, it actually blows even more. I know I said at the start of this that I would try to cut it some slack but I really can’t because I forgot how rubbish it is, haha.
HOWEVER!!!!!! We have Mike and Davy’s screen tests at the end which warm my cold little heart and make me want to die of cute. We also have Micky and Peter introducing them (well…Micky), which is also a delight because Micky talks at about 4000 miles per hour (“and they’re in black and white so don’t worry, the colour is okay” bless you Micky) which is so cute.
SO the screen tests. We start off with Davy looking like an actual cherub, so youthful and baby faced and you just know he doesn’t even need to speak before Bob and Bert are like “he’s hired!” because you can’t let a cute face like that get away. Davy has a smile that can light up the darkest night and he’s wearing a cute hat and he is just so charming and adorable I feel so bad for anyone else who saw him at the auditions because how can you even compete with that level of adorable???? YOU CAN’T. He’s so funny and cute and friendly and easy going and just a joy to watch. ACTUAL ANGEL.
And then we have Mike. Mike, Mike, Mike. Mike who somehow masters the art of being both cute and sexy at the same time. There he is in a checked shirt tucked into jeans, his green wool hat, and he sits down and puts his feet up on the table. And I just find him so fascinating. He’s sort of a smart-arse, and there’s this aura of arrogance about him which is a blatant cover up for the fact that he’s nervous and quite insecure. I find that impossibly endearing. Remember, Mike was only 22 years old but he was married with a little baby and had to put food on the table for his very young wife and son. Like, he needed this. But at the same time he wasn’t afraid to stand up for himself and say that something was dumb.
When Bob asks Mike why he plays music, Mike responds; “why do they call that a light? I don’t know, that’s just where it’s at.” but then it takes a more serious turn. He goes from cocky-smart-arse to openly admitting that before he started playing music only a couple of years before, he was a “failure.” This is why I love Mike and find him so interesting. I like that he has all these layers and can go from cocky to self-deprecating and ughhh. I just love him here so much. I think it shows how complex he is, and it’s also no surprise from this that he could be a difficult character too.
So, in a nutshell, the best part of this episode was the screen tests as the rest of the episode was rubbish. I only wish we could’ve seen Micky’s and Peter’s at the end of an episode too! :(
Things I like about this episode:
MICKY’S HAIR. BABY MICKY’S HAIR. I loved it short like that because it was sort of curling and just adjhadjaf. They should’ve left it like this instead of him growing it long and then having the life straightened out of it. I’ll never get over that.
I like it when the boys walk into the country club arranged in height-order, I think that looks so adorable, bless them.
Mike’s face when Davy gives him “a G”.
I actually really enjoy I Wanna Be Free when it turns from a performance into a romp. I LOVE this version of the song, and I think it works better than the slow version (and Micky’s vocal part is a lovely bonus).
Davy looks cute in stripes.
The Monkees playing at the fairground is really cute.
No really how adorable does Micky look with his little hair like that!!!!!!
The boys on the beach; Micky and Davy shirtless (and I can assume in swimming shorts), Peter in a long-sleeved top and teeny tiny shorts, and Mike…jeans, denim jacket and wool hat. #standardbeachattire
Mike looks so good in denim-on-denim. And look at his bum in those jeans.
The screen tests, OBVS.
Things I dislike about this episode:
The beginning sequence, duh.
That guy calling Mike 'Wool Hat’. I’m literally cringing.
Why were the boys initially reluctant to play a sweet 16?? Like you’re all babies yourselves too, get over it.
The 'Monkeemobile’ looks like it’s made out of Lego, bloody hell.
Vanessa is annoying. Like seriously irritating.
LOOK HOW MICKY’S HAIR suddenly grows when they start the I Wanna Be Free performance!! jfkjfksf.
I’ve always found Davy really weird when he starts singing I Wanna Be Free, like he’s sort of sticking his head forward and it just looks really awkward??
Why is Vanessa dressed like Big Bird in the I Wanna Be Free romp. That’s really not a good look, love. When her and Davy are running there’s also a massive stain on those yellow trousers. Maybe she fell off the swing and sat in the mud? Or maybe the swing was grubby to begin with? Poor cow, someone could’ve at least told her!
The performance ends and Micky’s hair is suddenly short again, OH.
Davy and Vanessa’s kiss x(
What kind of parents let their 15 year old kid stay out til 1am with some lad she’s only just met. They could’ve been up to all sorts.
And now we get the slow version of I Wanna Be Free. Yawn.
The Monkees being chased for what feels like 4 hours. And the game of ping-pong in the middle of it, urgh.
OH LOOK Micky’s hair has suddenly grown again for the Let’s Dance On performance.
Mike: “Hey, what’s really the matter?” Davy: “Well, she’s a groovy kid.” Mike: “Oh. Yeah, I know.” Davy: “It’s just that now, now she fails her tests 'n all.” Mike: “Come on, she got hung up, you didn’t hang her up.”