Today marks the 43rd anniversary of The Monkees winning an Emmy for Best Comedy Series, making them the first musical act ever to win that award. 1967 also marked a transitional period for the band, which was moving toward creative freedom on the television show in which they started out as a high-concept parody of The Beatles.
For an example of just how far they evolved, compare their first single, "Last Train to Clarksville" to Head, the truly bonkers marijuana-fueled psychedelic film they made in 1968 after the cancellation of the TV show. Head is available in 12 segments on YouTube (see above) and also on Netflix.
Keep your eye out for cameos from Frank Zappa, Teri Garr, Toni Basil (Easy Rider, "Mickey") - it just occurred to Shuffle that maybe her '80s anthem was inspired by Monkee Mickey Dolenz? - Sonny Liston and Jack Nicholson, who helped write the film and who shows up in the exact same outfit he wears in Easy Rider.
Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson, the masterminds behind the TV series, initially wanted to cast the Lovin' Spoonful in the role of the madcap band. This could have been the birth of reality TV, if the Monkees hadn't had a record deal that kept them from working with the producers. But what if? What if some of today's favorite musical stars had TV shows of their own? Hollywood Shuffle decided to imagine what a few of them would be like.
If I Were a Boy, starring Beyoncé
Queen B lives for a month as a man in something along the lines of Tyra Banks fat-suit meeting RuPaul's Drag Race. Some feminists have been singing the praises of Beyoncé since the "Bills, Bills, Bills" era - this could only serve to enhance her sensitivities more. And it'd be hilarious.
Freaks, hosted by Lady Gaga
If there is anything respectable about Gaga, it is the message of love, creativity and individuality that has given her stable of loyal fans, her "little monsters," a place of acceptance and safety in the world of pop culture tropes. Shuffle imagines an Call of the Weird-style roadtrip where a fabulously McQueen-clad Gaga goes to middle American to explore the daily lives of her followers. Gooble gobble gooble gobble one of us one of us!