A trailer for "A Few Good Scouts" finds Tom Cruise (Stiller) investigating
the case of Willie Santiago, who was hung by his underwear from a flagpole by his
fellow Cub Scouts. Demi Moore (Garofalo) plays the Den Mother to the troop, and together
they take on the powerful and arrogant Jack Nicholson (Mick Lazinski). He warns them:
"You want to investigate me? Roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast
every morning with twelve fathers who think I'm secretly touching their kids, so
don't think you can come down here, flash a Merit Badge and scare me." They
also question a character played by Kiefer Sutherland (Dick), but his accent renders
him incoherent. A production of Oscar-Craving Pictures, Cruise does his best to look
serious in this very important role.
The cast members are all upset that Ben brought in an actor to play the Jack Nicholson
role, and each one offers their own take on how they would have done the impersonation.
Bob does the famous "Here's Johnny!" line from "The Shining",
while Andy and John both offer their take on the sandwich scene from "Five Easy
Pieces". The best Janeane can do is say: "I'm the guy from 'Terms of Enderment'."
Officer DeSipio of Essex (Stiller) and Lieutenant O'Donohue of Loxley (John O'Donohue)
answer a disturbing the peace call on "Cops in Medeval Times". A drunken
sorcerer (Dick) has accidentally turned his wife into an ox and is creating a scene,
blowing up things with his magic wand as he tries to return her to her normal state.
DeSipio explains: "A situation like this, we'll apprehend the suspect and then
we'll impound the wand, run a check on it...it usually turns out it's hot."
A note tied to an arrow tells the officers a domestic disturbance is taking place
nearby, and they leave to check it out. Another drunk (Odenkirk) is trying to pull
a sword from a stone, much to the irritation of his wife (Garofalo) and young child.
The officers manage to calm the man down and his son ends up pulling the sword out
and is transformed into the King. "I loosened it for him!" the man protests.
The officers head off, as DeSipio reccommends O'Donohue use leeches to cure his "touch
of the plague that's going around".
Tabitha Soren (Garofalo) hosts "Ben Stiller's Music News", reporting
on a trio of back-up singers named Vanilla Heat. Suing the entire music industry
for discrimanation are Val (Stiller), Kim (Odenkirk) and Mosely (Dick). Convinced
that men cannot get work singing back-up, the bitter threesome have over 700 cases
pending in court. A couple of defendants, Casey Kasem and Marky Mark, appear as themselves
to express their confusion. Dressed in spandex bicycle shorts and goofy berets, the
group is seen practicing their horrible act. None of them can hit a note, but that
doesn't stop them from storming Blind Jam Records and trying to get an audition.
"It's happening again," Mosely tells the camera when the receptionist refuses
to let them in and calls security. "Maybe we should have worn our dresses!"
Kim adds with disgust. The threesome try to stage a sit-in, but are dragged out as
they sing: "we will not move, till we get a break..."
"American Profiles" features Billybob Hoyt (Odenkirk), a "high-tech
hillbilly" who is "trying...to preserve the hillbilly lifestyle by making
it profitable." Billybob and his eighth cousin Floyd (Stiller) have come up
with such inventions as the Beard O' Matic to make facial hair pointer and the Pick
O' Matic 2000, which picks your feet clean, "leaving your hands free to shoot
flies away, smoke a pipe, whatever". They are also working on a brand of non-alcoholic
moonshine ("all of the kick, none of the sick") and Feud Technology, where
they hunt members of the Hatfield family. Billybob is honored with The Golden Jug
Award, and he explains: "I'm a hillbilly, I'm a businessman...but mostly I'm
just a guy who never understood the word 'cain't'."
Ben shows the cast a list of words they can say on the air, now that they're on
at 10:30 p.m.. The cast read over the list with considerable excitement, continuing
even when Ben asks them to stop.
"The Legend of T.J. O'Pootertoot" begins with the first day of work
for waitress Faith (Garofalo) at a restaurant where all of the employees are required
to wear bushy moustaches and push such food as "atomic liver crisps" and
"pudding shots". Faith inadvertently offends fellow waiter Dwayne (Odenkirk)
by relating how her boyfriend thought fake theme restaurants were corny. "It
isn't a fake theme," Dwayne replies tensely. The creepy Manager (Stiller) keeps
a intent gaze fixed on Faith as she deals with a difficult customer (Dick). When
she's asked what kind of meat is in "pooterballs", she replies: "it's
pooter-meat...with a taste that's oddly familiar." Dwayne brags about all the
"pooter-points" he's racking up by selling appetizers, but Faith points
out that all he gets with "pooter-points" is T.J.'s mustache wax. "I
know you didn't mean that," Dwayne replies edgily, then mutters, "You should
be more careful. If somebody overhears you, we could both get shipped off to Pootertoot
Spirit Camp!" The Manager tries to get Faith to join an "alley rally"--where
all the waiters band together and sing--but she claims she's too busy. "We're
having an alley rally," he replies stoically, and three waiters band behind
him. They begin to advance on Faith, backing her against the wall.
"Who's the best, East or West?" the Manager chants.
"T.J. O'POOTERTOOT'S!" the waiters chime in.
"Where does the guest rest with zest?"
"Who always passes the fun-food test?"
Faith's boyfriend David (David Cross) bursts into the kitchen just in time, holding
the waiters at bay with an electric razor. Carrying "The Book of Pooter,"
he explains to Faith that T.J. O'Pootertoot was a member of the Donner party--the
pioneers who were forced to resort to cannibalism after being snowed in. "It's
people!" David tells her. "Pooter-balls are made out of people!" Faith
manages to trim the mustache of the Manger, and she and David escape the restaurant.
A hysterical Dwayne reminds the Manager they "need a female to repopulate with...
T.J. must have a male heir. It is written!" Luckily, a young woman comes up
to apply for a job and is led back into the kitchen.
A commercial for Grady's Oats finds spokesman Wilford Brimley (Dana Gould) doing
his best Travis Bickle ("You talkin' to me?") impersonation with his .38
caliber. When a baseball breaks through his window, he snaps and begins shooting
at the local kids.
As the show ends, Janeane thanks the rest of the cast for always being respectful
and supportive to her as the only girl. But when Andy leaves to go to his trailer,
he is follwed by catcalls and whistles. Vanilla Heat are seen rehearsing a commercial
jingle for soap as the credits end.
After being regulated to the 10:30 p.m. time slot, "The Ben Stiller Show"
responded with this sharp and hilarious installment. Not that they were all sharp
and hilarious, but this one stands apart as probably the best single episode in the
Every single sketch works on several different levels, beginning with the ingenious
"A Few Good Men" parody. Garofalo is wonderful as Demi Moore, perfectly
capturing her husky voice and steely glare. And Stiller's performance will spring
to mind anytime you try to watch Tom Cruise play outrage.
The "American Profiles" sketch is another example of the small touches
that make "Ben Stiller" so exceptional. Odenkirk's Billybob Hoyt is a perfect
mix of hillbilly and young executive. He wears a fancy suit, but the pants are cut
off just above the knees, exposing mounds of untamed leg hair. Not to mention Odenkirk's
outrageous cowlick, pointed beard and giant freckles. There's even a bottle of moonshine
on his desk with a giant "XXX" on it.
The highlight of the show, of course, is the "T.J. O'Pootertoot" sketch.
In the 94-95 season of "Saturday Night Live", they attempted to do a parody
of "Soylent Green" with Charlton Heston's character being stuck in a series
of sequels that always found him repeating the famous line: "It's people! Soylent
green is made out of people!" Basically a one-joke idea, Heston would insert
"Soylent Red", "Soylent White" and even "Soylent Cow Flops"
in the according movie. While this was mildly amusing for about twenty seconds, it
shows none of the absurdity and originality of "T.J. O'Pootertoot". The
writer(s) of this sketch know that there's a dark side to everything- even those
cheesey little theme restaurants where everyone seems so happy. This is also an extremely
intelligent sketch, with references to everything from "Soylent Green"
to the Donner Party. But most importantly, it's just balls-out funny.
Andy wailing "stop harrassing me, once and for all!" before storming
out on the cast as they taunt him.
The entire "T.J. O'Pootertoot" sketch.
"Yes, 'T.J. O'Pootertoot' is funny. But I wouldn't make it my religion."--Kristy
Overall Show Quality....9
The high scores of this episode can be attributed to several factors. First, this
is an excellent show--even without the T.J. O'Pootertoot's sketch. Another possibility
is that the control group was adjusting to the offbeat humor and style of the program.
Everyone scored the "humor" as a 9 or better, and the "performances"
were rated a 10 straight across the board. This is probably due to the oustanding
impersonations in the "Few Good Scouts" parody, which seemed to be a turning
point for the viewers. From this point on, every episode was rated extremely high.
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