Saturday, June 17, 2017

Surf's...uh Shorts Up As Rifftrax Live Does Summer

It wasn't exactly a Catalina Caper, but Rifftrax Live had some fun under the sun (or at least indoors) by riffing on a new set of shorts this past week in Nashville, TN,

It wasn't quite as star-studded as last June's reunion, but at least the original Mads (Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff) came. Also Paul F. Tompkins showed up as the ultimate Boatnik and the Real Housewives of Rifftrax, Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl (with really short hair), also made it.
As far as the subject matter, the shorts attempt to educate, but in weird ways. "Sentinels for Security", for example, starts with the Armed Forces, a cop and a fireman outside a house, hoping to protect the homeowner from himself. That's followed by people hurting themselves and blowing up their homes.

Then there's "Ricky Raccoon Shows The Day", where a family who just bought a house learns a really big bear-like raccoon is included.

He then gives lessons in traffic safety that even make mom and dad dance. Sometimes he pops in and out in strange places. The Rifftraxers can only say "This new It movie is terrifying".
For the record, I'll choose one riff from each of the shorts.

Anyway, the Mads look at Office Etiquette, where a young girl has her first office job. A lot of their comments were at how the job could be a drudge, but were stunned to see a female worker snacking while working: "What is this job doing to you? That's an eraser."

Then came the short of the night: "Rhythmic Ball Skills". It features kids dropping and catching balls sitting, standing, spinning and even under the leg. It's the exercise version of Setting Up A Room.

Or, as Bill put it, "After this, Michelle Obama came out in favor of childhood obesity." At least "Perc! Pop! Sprinkle!" was about something and had better music.

Mary Jo and Bridget took on "The Griper", one of those Centron shorts that Josh Way usually mocks. It's about a conscience who complains about a teen who really complains. Of course, he learned it from his family. It's rather odd this grumpy teen literally affects everything in his high school, or a literal Girl Next Door tries to set him straight. The girls have some bright and snarky comments about the teen, especially when he ruins English class by preventing everyone from acting out scenes from Hedwig and the Angry Inch (according to them).

That was followed by "A Touch of Magic" that features the return of Nuveena and the Weird Masked Guy from "Design for Dreaming." Of course, it's a General Motors short plugging their new cars for 1961. The cars move forward on a carpet of white balloons, or as Paul puts it, "Time to take out our shown enemy, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.". The couple also have a housewarming party with invisible guests, and load the Frigidaire dishwasher by throwing dishes at it. Weird,

The final short, "The Baggs," was the strangest of all.

It's what would happen if Santa Claus turned into a junk collector, and he picks up two burlap bags that come to life, run around, and finally rows away into the sunset. Best riff: "The two dancers inside the bag are nude, and one of them is Lena Dunham." If you listen real close, they seem to diss a show that ran for nine seasons but later found its way to Netflix. Sound familiar?

There was also a clip reel of the best moments from all 300+ shorts. Naturally shorts like "Shake Hands With Danger" and "Mr. B Natural" were included, along with Norman Krasner's Living Hell. Too bad they left out "Live and Learn", "Drugs Are Like That" and "Measuring Man", but they should be seen to be believed.

It was a fine evening of weird shorts, and a nice set-up to the big summer event, "The Five Doctors", coming in August. So far, we know from Nerdist the old Cybermen costumes were Jiffy Pop with legs. That might be considered "mercy".

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