The Ben Stiller Show  

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Episode 4

Ben opens the show on "hip, trendy, happening" Melrose Avenue. He explains that, due to the success of "Melrose Place", Fox now wants all their shows to take place on Melrose.

"Cops in Ancient Egypt" finds Officer Ramses DeSipio (Stiller) and Lieutenant Osiris O'Donohue (John F. O'Donoghue) looking into a riotous gathering at Red Sea Beach. Moses is attempting to part the Red Sea without a permit and has been caught "drinking while prophesying". There's also a burning bush found and two of his followers (Dick and Garofalo) are caught with a golden calf. When the officers continue to pester him, Moses causes Osiris to disintegrate. DeSipio decides to go for back up, since Moses is "obviously hopped up on something".

Bob thinks Melrose is the perfect place to get some feedback on the show, and he makes Ben ask a pair of ladies what they think of "The Ben Stiller Show". Neither one has ever heard of it or him.

On a new episode of "Skank", the angry sock puppet (voiced by Dick) is blinded by runaway bacon grease. Todd Bridges (as himself) stops by to try and cheer Skank up, but Skank is unimpressed. "Honey, you keep him busy while I call the cops," he whispers to his wife, Doris (Garofalo). His disability doesn't take any of the edge off Skank, as he tells Doris: "I can't see your stinkin' trap...but I know it ain't shut!"

On "Ben Stiller's Music News", Tabitha Soren (Garofalo) tells of the controversy over rap star Ice Man McGee (Odenkirk). Soren explains that McGee's next-door neighbor Doug Szathkey (Dick) is protesting Ice Man's new hit single, "Kill Doug Szathkey". The album cover itself features a picture of a terrified Szathkey, with a target on his face. To show both sides of the debate, the video to the song is shown. In it, Szathkey is seen yelling at McGee to turn his music down and stay off his property.

"That's right, I said kill Doug Szathkey!
He makes me mad, chief, always frontin' up my posse
Telling me to keep it down and all that--
He's just a sucker, stepping on my ballsac
Just a stupid neighbor, complaining
Keep it up, I'll call the block association
The one that meets at the end of my fist--
Little doggies, gonna get kissed!
Cutting up my lawn and scattering his clippings!
You think I don't know where my yard begins?
He lives at Springer Road, number three-eleven
Sucker gets home every night around seven.
Kill Doug Szathkey!
That's right, I said kill Doug Szathkey!

Szathkey is seen at his home, which has been turned upside-down by vandals, crouched beneath the window. He recognizes McGee has a right to say what he wants, but he fears for his life. As he gets up to move across the room, gunfire rips through the house and barely misses him. He crawls into a corner, whimpering: "Leave me alone!!!" Ice Man McGee holds a press conference where he explains: "Like I'm saying, it's just censorship, straight up! I'd would like to make it clear that when I said "Kill Doug Szathkey", I was using street terminology to describe a situation from my life. When you misinterpret my words, all y'all 'dis me, you 'dis my fans and you 'dis the United States Constitution and that's the real crime!" The record company decides to issue the record with a warning, stating that they do not "condone the killing or in any way harming of Doug Szathkey."

At a "hip, Melrose Avenue" restaurant, the cast and crew order lunch items varying from "Gary Coleman Gazpaucho" and "Ice-T Ice Tea".

Andy tells Ben he's "freaked out" by the people he sees on Melrose Avenue, and wants to walk faster.

As the camera spins about dizzily, a mysterious voice announces: "You're looking at late night shock jock Damien Faustman, a man who hates his listeners almost as much as he hates himself. Tonight, he'll learn that it doesn't take a lot of expensive special effects or an original storyline to come face-to-face with his worst nightmare...his soul". Written and directed by Josh Silverberg and starring Brad Silverberg (Stiller) as Damien, this episode of "Low Budget Tales of Cliched Horror" is titled "A Call From Hell". Damien, who can be reached at 666-DVIL, proceeds to berate his callers as he chain-smokes a series of cigarettes. He begins to hear mysterious voices calling his name and the room grows unbearably hot. When he begins receiving strange phone calls, the camera begins to spin about even faster, and the "Satanex" clock begins to bleed. The evil voice begins to taunt him, saying: "Ooh, there's horns on your poster...I wonder what that means! Your "on the air" sign is getting red...interesting! It's getting so hot in here, here at WDVL...get it? Pleased to meet you, won't you guess my name?" The caller finally informs Damien he's in hell, and Damien screams as he is transformed into a hoofed beast. Unfortunately, Damien is less than impressed with the way things turn out. He feels he should fall into a fiery pit or get eaten by insects, but the Devil explains they're in a recession and he's on a budget.

Ben and Janeane talk about their school days, where Janeane says she "never cracked a book."

This leads to "B-Minus Time Traveler", featuring a high school student (Garofalo) "with nothing but a B-Minus average from an American public school" who tries to help famous historical figures with her poor knowledge of American history. George Washington (Stiller) wants advice on the Civil War, but the student can only remember that he needs lots of shoes and at some point he crosses the Delaware. General Douglas MacArthur (Odenkirk) wants advice on when to bomb Pearl Harbor, but the student cheated on her exam and can't remember the right date. And when she tries to warn Christopher Columbus (Dick) about him losing one of his ships, she realizes she "should not have cut Spanish!"

A commercial for Tito Gallegos (Stiller), "The Pig-Latin Lover" announces his new album of love songs. Featuring such hits as "atisfaction-Say" and "oxanne-Ray", the record company accepts "all-ay ajor-may redit-cay ards-cay".

Andy, clad in black leather and sunglasses tells Ben how much he loves Melrose. Ben wants to discuss this sudden change, but Andy hitches a ride on a motorcycle and leaves Ben behind.


Long before Quentin Tarantino invaded American pop culture, Ben Stiller was using icons from the 70s and early 80s on his show for their camp value. Todd Bridges appears on both "Skank" and the "Tonight Show" auditions, both times poking fun at his criminal record. Stiller also featured Danny Bonaduce before his make-over as a talk-show host, Normaln(Mr. Roper) Fell and Herve Villacheze on his program.

"Kill Doug Szathkey" features some of Odenkirk and Dick's best work and is probably one of the most outstanding sketches of the series. Odenkirk is utterly unrecognizable as the rap star, disguised behind a goatee, sunglasses and a hairnet. He adapts all the mannerisms of a street-tough gangsta rapper, despite the fact he's the whitest guy in his entire "posse".

Stiller displays a unique talent with his "Pig Latin Lover" Tito Gallegos. He manages to perform such fast-paced songs as "American Pie", despite the fact that he has almost twice as many words when he sings in Pig Latin.

Despite the fact John F. O'Donoghue is playing a character named "Osiris", Stiler refers to him by his usual name--"Johnny"--in the "Cops" parody.


"If you can't remember that date, this could be the greatest disaster since Washington capsized in the Delaware with all those shoes!"--General MacArthur, in "B-Minus Time Traveler".


"The rap song is hilarious--it actually sounds like something Ice-T would release."- Richard
"I don't get 'Skank' at all. I guess it's supposed to be satirical, but it's just so stupid."- Kristy

Overall Show Quality....10

When I pointed out to the control group that they were rating this episode and subsequent episodes higher than the "Scouts" episode, they were surprised. Almost everyone agreed that Episode 4 was their favorite, and Laura and Richard actually re viewed Episode 1 and marked it as the best. When questioned about this, three participants responded with almost identical answers: either they hadn't "fully appreciated it" on first viewing, or they were "just now getting the joke".

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