(art by Aireen Arellano - to view larger version, click here)
SHOW: The Monkees
EPISODE: “Too Many Girls”
FIRST AIRED: Dec. 19, 1966
The Monkees is one of the most beloved rip-offs of all time. Its primordial soup is a cynical stew of corporate calculation, an A-to-B paint-by-numbers formula meant to cash in on the popularity of a certain 1960s rock band that also just happened to have a misspelled animal-inspired moniker, four bowl-cut guys with dimples and endearing personalities, and a sense of rollicking fun and romantic whimsy that pervaded their entire oeuvre onscreen, onstage, and on the turntable.
Still, despite what boardroom schemers may believe, eventually something new and exciting, unexpected and genuine has to enter somewhere into the boiling pot in order to capture our collective imagination. So even though The Monkees was constructed as a Hard Day’s Night-esque TV show first and a band second, and even though the group was widely known since its inception as “America’s answer to the Beatles,” what aspects of the whole enterprise transmuted it from mere carbon-copycatting into a fresh and memorable entry into the pop culture landscape?
As demonstrated in “Too Many Girls,” an enjoyable Davy Jones-centric outing from Season One of the half-hour sitcom, the magic of The Monkees depended upon two things: the creative team’s masterful use of the medium, and hey hey, the Monkees themselves.