The movie: Carnival Magic, which sounds like it’s one of those old B&W shorts they riffed in previous seasons. If only it were so short!
This is it. This is exactly the kind of quality I expect from movies with titles like Because of Winn-Dixie. I avoid that kind of DVD cover like the plague, because in my head it plays out just this painfully. This is trying so hard to combine the “warm-hearted movie where someone comes in and fixes everything up” genre with the “mischievous animal comes in and terrorizes unlikeable people and IT’S FUNNY” genre. This isn’t even Beethoven. It’s obnoxious and unfunny and at the end when everybody gets SOOO upset over the obnoxious monkey it feels like a Mary Sue.
Urgh, this season features a lot of awful movies! But anyway, what about the riffing?
Well, it’s pretty good. “Al Adamson is the name Alan Smithee uses when he doesn’t want his name to appear on the film.” “Oh! And out of the trailer! This carnival really is magic!” “But their remains nourished this mighty oak.” “So when does the death part come?” “I’m sitcom mad.” There are a lot of good one-liners and good momentum.
The flavored sweat “invention” is dumb and gross enough to be worthy of Forrester and Frank. The host segments are just plain fun, with a send-up of the movie’s premise, the police codes thing, Mark Hamill, and Kinga declaring that Jonah is “completely at my mercy, and that’s what I need in a husband.” And then they have a nice little die-cut parade at the end to wind things down.
However, at this point I’ve realized a problem with this season. Look at the host segments. I feel like it’s nearly always Crow, Jonah, Tom, left to right, with Gypsy mainly hanging out in the left third of the screen. That’s sort of the de facto order in prior seasons, yes, but there just doesn’t feel like there’s much variety in staging. Everyone finds their spots and sticks to them. (As counterexamples from this season, consider the fashion show where the bots stay put but Jonah comes in from off-screen in different outfits, or when Crow made a bunch of Toms early on. From previous seasons, there are the Ingrid Bergman sketch, Tom and Crow refueling in The Starfighters, and, well, one bot or the other headed off screen fairly often.) As a result, the host segments sort of have a cumulative feeling of sterility. Doubtless this is partly because the new puppeteers need to learn their craft, but when Netflix finally orders a new season (*cough cough*), I’d like to see more motion, to make the set feel less stagey and more lived-in.
One last comment: Having just watched Werewolf before this one, my eye was caught by the credits: Stewart, Segal, Reynolds. As in Warwilf, these names aren’t attached to famous people either.
Push the button: Not a favorite-favorite, but this is a strong installment of the show.
Next time: the bonus Christmas episode! I hope it’s as wacky as Santa Claus and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.