Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pink Lady & Jeff - Episode 2 (1980)

Directed by Rudy De Luca
Starring Pink Lady, Jeff Altman, Sid Ceasar, Larry Hagman, Donny Osmond, and Teddy Pendergrass
Genre: Variety show/Insanity

"Pardon me, ladies. You lost?"

Well, the first one did OK in the ratings (no surprise, since everything was awful in 1980), so they banged out another episode. And since the first one was such a masterpiece, why fuck with the blueprint? Episode 2 opens the exact same way as the first one: Jeff comes out, does a few corny jokes (including a jab at their time-slot competition, Dukes of Hazzard) and then Pink Lady do their ripping-off-the-kimono-to-reveal-sexy-bathing-suit-underneath shtick. They lip-synch (as usual, very badly) to their version of "Ease on Down the Road" from The Wiz.

Eventually the Pink Lady dancers show up and everybody twirls big sticks. Walking sticks? Dunno. Anyway, the number gets wild applause.

Then there's the bit where the girls goof around with Jeff. They present him with a ceremonial robe.
"It symbolizes being a man," says Kei. "But you can wear it anyway."
Then a Samurai warrior shows up and chases Jeff off the stage. The girls use this opportunity to announce this week's guests, which include Sid Ceasar, Teddy Pendergrass, and Larry Hagman (or, as Mie calls him, "A-Harry Hackman".)

After the break, Larry - wearing a JR-esque cowboy hat - comes out to take some jabs at Jeff. The whole bit is about how mean JR is, and how Jeff thinks Larry's like that in real life. It's pretty thin gruel, but Hagman's at least charming and cheerful.

Then it's back to the boombox routine from the pilot. The girls do their "Turn up the radio" number while dressed in skintight black jumpsuits. As in the first episode, they routinely cutaway to blackout gags with Altman and the Pink Lady comedy players.

In the first one, Altman's a preacher who uses his Jesus-powers to fix appliances.

In another, Jim Varney (Ernest!) does a promo for the "Bland Ole Opry".

This, in turn, spins off into another gag, "The Carter Family". As in Jimmy, Rosalyn and Amy. Ahem.

Next bit: Sid Ceasar plays Mie and Kei's dad, inspecting them before they go out on a date. Basically, he spouts Japanese-sounding gibberish for five minutes.
"Ugato! Ugato!"
"Ugato! I can see your toes! What do you think you are, a bobbysoxer?"

And then Donny Osmond shows up. He does a number with the girls, a medley that includes Donna Summer's "Heaven Knows", Dionne Warwick's "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again", and of course, the rousing finale, "We Are Family". The latter bit sounds less canned than the rest. They might have sung it live. Pink Lady aren't close to nailing the words. "Fam-aree!" Also, I dig the goofy mustachioed bass player! That guy should have had his own show.

Hagman makes another appearance in Altman's recurring sketch about a shady bargain art dealer. He sells him a paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa. That's the entirety of the joke.

This morphs into a ponderous Sid Caesar-does-ballet routine. Then a dazed-looking Teddy Pendergrass shows up to sleepwalk through a song. Holy smokes, is this a bad episode.

Next up: the girls "visit" New York City, via gags and songs. New York is represented by cardboard buildings that appear to be reinforced with metallic duct tape.

They even drag Teddy into the fray. He's dressed like a guy who gives gondola rides, and he sings "On Broadway". What else?

There's also a bit where Larry Hagman takes Sid Ceasar out on a business lunch at a high-end strip club. He can't concentrate on the conversation. That's the gag.

And that, mercifully, brings us to the end of episode two. Well, almost to the end. They've still got to do the hot tub routine.

This time, all the guest stars are in the hot tub, too. Except for Donny. That fucker clearly knew when it was time to bail.

With it's lame guest stars, even lamer song and dance numbers, and recycled bits, the second episode of Pink Lady was, incredibly, even worse than the first. If nothing else, that's a remarkable achievement. And there's still four more to go!

- Ken McIntyre 

PS: Heaven Knows - Donna Summers' version -  was a pretty sweet jam.

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