Monstervision Host Segments for
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Intro
[Classroom] [Joe Bob in surgical scrubs; diploma; anatomy chart; one of those cross-section brains]
Okay, people, stop waxing your board and oiling up your deltoids, cause it's time for the 1999 session of "Joe Bob's Summer School." I'm Joe Bob Briggs, but you will refer to me as Professor Joe Bob, and for the next nine weeks I own your soul. Last year was the remedial course. This year is the college course, so don't think you can just skate your way through it this time. You will be given an exam at the end of the term on Labor Day redeemable for course credit at Southern Arizona State Community College at Ajo, one of the few American educational institutions to offer goat-roping as a major. We will be covering a full range of subjects over the next nine weeks, starting tonight with "Pre-Med 101." We're starting with pre-med so we can weed out the slackers now. Our instructional films are the medical thrillers Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and "The Surgeon," and I will be demonstrating how to build a human being, as well as showing you the actual medical procedures necessary for Hollywood stardom, including augmentation, reduction, lifting, shrinking, and "sucking the stuff out of there," with the help of my special guest lecturer, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Kenneth Siporin. In fact, we may use some of the former parts of certain television stars to construct our creature, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
Now, there are two things you need to know for this year's course. The first is that it's okay for the really gorgeous female students to fool around with the professor, because we're in college now, and that's what they do in college. This WILL affect your grade. The second thing you need to know is that the Summer School syllabus and final exam are on our Web site, and if you pass the course, you will be awarded THIS diploma good for employment applications at one-hour photo-processing booths in most areas of South Dakota. If you never got your diploma in the mail LAST summer, that's because the guy at TNT who was supposed to send em out flunked the course--so we fired him.
Okay, I have just enough time to cover the first part of our anatomy lesson: the brain. Also known as the noodle, the noggin, the gray matter, the stuff between your ears, and, in the case of automobile accidents, that stuff on the pavement. It is composed of five parts [indicating]. One: the medulla oblongata. This is what regulates your breathing, your heartbeat, and your ability to pronounce the words "medulla oblongata." Two: the pons. This is what regulates your ability to enjoy Playboy Magazine, AND your ability to eat your aunt's holiday muffins without contorting the facial muscles. Three: the cerebellum. As you can see, this part of the brain looks like a piece of beef jerky that's been thrown up by a sheepdog, and it gives your eardrums the ability to tell the difference between 16th-century Italian operas and a dumptruck running over a Big Wheel. Four: the cerebrum. This is called the most mysterious part of the brain. The only thing we know is that it gives man the ability to do the pony without falling over. And finally, the Midbrain. The Midbrain is kind of an exit on the Brain Interstate, connecting the pons and the cerebellum with the cerebrum. In recent years, many people in California have chosen to do without the Midbrain, or had it surgically removed by a Sausalito, California, surgeon named Lance Withers.
Okay, let's get started with "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein," where that wacky mad scientist Kenneth Branagh sticks the brain of John Cleese into the body of Robert DeNiro and rassles around with him in three tons of K-Y jelly until DeNiro takes off to learn how to play the recorder and speak in an American accent so he can tell Kenneth Branagh that he wants to take Branagh's wife to the North Pole and... well, let's not go there. Check it out, and let me remind you that I WILL be building my own creature as we watch the flick, and she's gonna be MUCH better lookin than Branagh's creature.
[fading] We'll begin with... the brain! The first procedure will program this being to fetch my medicine on command. I mentioned that this is a female, right?
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #1
[Frankenstein table, trunk w/props, cheesecake calendar, mannequin parts]
"I am Victor... Frankenstein." I don't think Kenneth Branagh paused long enough before finishing that line. See, that's the problem when the director of the movie is also the star -- the editor goes, "You know, Ken, I can do a cut-away to Aidan Quinn and trim your line there a bit." And Branagh says, "No, stay on me. Closeup on the chest hair. Good." Anyhow, we've moved into the lab here at Joe Bob's Summer School, and we're gonna start our creation. I'm working, of course, from the 1999 "Girls of Lake Ouachita" calendar, and I've got all the parts ready... Torso... a foot... uh oh, I think we've got two left arms here. We'll fix that before the next break. And don't forget that our guest-lecturer and plastic surgeon Kenneth Siporin will be here. Okay, Kenneth Branagh is gonna make sure no one ever dies again, even though it's gonna cause a heck of a population problem. Go.
[fading] We do have a right arm somewhere, don't we? Cause I don't wanna make my creation with two left arms and then find out she's right-handed. The Bride of Joe Bob is gonna need both hands. If you know what I mean. And I think you do.
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #2
[Lab] [mannequin arm, colorful Lee Press-On Nails]
John Cleese as a slightly deranged brain-surgery professor-
THAT is inspired casting. But what's Amadeus doing in this movie? Did Tom Hulce have a few costumes left over that he wanted to wear again? Here's a little coinkydink: Kenneth Branagh was originally going to play Mozart in "Amadeus," but then the studio decided they wanted an American cast. So Milos Forman cast Tom Hulce. You know why? Because he was the only guy who looked believable playing the piano. Course, around here, we remember Tom most fondly as the frat boy in "Animal House" who can't decide if he should have sex with the passed out drunk girl. Okay, it's Pre-Med Night, and we got a right arm for the Bride of Joe Bob, so let's attach that... and I've got some Lee Press-On Nails. [applying them to mannequin hand] You have to be a skilled medical technician with a degree from the BEST at-home correspondence course to do this. That looks good. I'll have our guest plastic surgeon look it over later. All right, back to the movie.
[fading] By the way, I have to do this for Standards & Practices. These are SIMULATED body parts. I did not gather actual body parts to do this bit. See, if we don't say that, Standards & Practices says kids will carve up their sister for fun. We're OPPOSED to the carving up of siblings. Thank you.
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #3
GREEN ROOM: Dr. Siporin/Rusty [blonde and brunette wigs]
The crucial scene there takes place in a charnel house. I just always wanted to say that: charnel house. So Robert DeNiro stabs John Cleese and ends up hanging for the crime. But since he IS Robert DeNiro, he can't stay dead for long, can he? Because that would be DAMNED expensive. Okay, if you've joined us late, tonight is Pre-Med 101 of "Joe Bob's Summer School," and because you're late, you are now required to write on the blackboard "Professor Joe Bob is a stud" 200 times. Girls have to write that. Guys have to write "I am not worthy, Professor Joe Bob." [pulls out wigs] What do you guys think, should we make the Bride of Joe Bob a blonde or a brunette? Less cerebellum needed if we make her a blonde. Hey, can we get Dr. Siporin, our plastic surgeon, out here to help me with this? I think he's in the Teacher's Lounge... What? He's busy? Yeah, I know he's a doctor, but what could he be busy with in the Teacher's Lounge?
Okay, back to the flick.
[fading] You guys know what they call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #4
[Lab] [a pair of impossibly high heels]
What did Kenneth Branagh say? "I'll destroy my journal TOMORROW"? Has this guy NEVER been to the movies? If evidence needs to be destroyed, it needs to be destroyed TODAY. What, he wants to sleep on it? He's got a reanimated body hanging from the rafters and the blueprints on the kitchen table, and he's gonna TURN IN EARLY? We got several shots of Robert DeNiro's bewtocks in that last part, where he's rasslin Kenneth Branagh in the K-Y jelly. But you weren't really lookin at DeNiro's bewtocks. He was actually encased in a prosthetic covering so his body would look deformed and stuff, and underneath, he had on a pair of white underwear. We know he had on a pair of white underwear because the prosthetics kept splitting in the place where the bewtocks naturally split, and so Branagh kept putting his hand on DeNiro's hiney so his underwear wouldn't show. We know Kenneth Branagh IS a heterosexual, however, because he dumped Emma Thompson while he was making this movie so he could start making the Sign of the Shakespearean Shuttle-Bus with Helena Bonham Carter, who plays the lovely Elizabeth. Or maybe Emma Thompson dumped HIM--I gotta start reading The Daily Mirror more often. What's relevant here is that he was feeling up DeNiro's butt and prancin around with that British accent and no shirt. Anyhoo, the Bride of Joe Bob needs some more work here, and I think I have just the item. [holds up high heels]
I like my women tall, and I like em slow. Back to the movie.
[fading] There's two kinds of women in the world: high-heeled women and low-heeled women. You have to be one or the other, cause once you start wearing the HIGH heels, your feet become permanently shaped like Barbie's, and then when you try to go back to the LOW heels, your back is all outta whack and you end up walking like Mr. Natural, the "Keep on Truckin'" guy in the R. Crumb cartoons. Joe Bob Briggs, Podiatrist. Okay, back to the "Masterpiece Theatre" version of Frankenstein. Can we have a little more amber light, please? Thank you.
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #5
[Lab] [perfume] [sprays mannequin wrist with perfume]
So, what was the logic behind Robert DeNiro having super-human strength? I forget. Let's see, he didn't wanna get his smallpox vaccination, so he stabbed a member of Monty Python, and then they hanged him in front of a blood-thirsty mob, and while he was dead somebody else's leg was sewed onto his, and then he was boiled in a big kettle and hooked up to electric eels until he came back to life... and sooooooo, he's strong enough to hack through the frozen tundra in order to harvest vegetables. Is that about it? Okay. I always like DeNiro. Bobby and I have a lot in common. Like we were both defamed by a French newspaper when they linked us to a Paris prostitution ring. Except he WON his lawsuit. That's cause during questioning he admitted that he had an affair with a call girl, but he said he never paid her for sex. Whereas I took one look at the gal, fell to my knees and said, "Hon, whatever you're makin, I'll double it!" And that wasn't even the hooker--that was the stenographer at the hearing. No wonder I lost the case. Anyhow, DeNiro was getting ready to record a CD of Pope John Paul's poetry-yes, you heard me right, Papal poetry--but the invitation was rescinded after the Paris incident. Can you believe that? The Vatican, man, what a bunch of weenies. Okay, I'll tell you another hard luck DeNiro story later. The man's had such a hard life. Let's get back to "Frankenstein."
[fading] He didn't PAY the hooker for the sex. Jeez.
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #6
[Lab: raw organ meat, onion, mouthwash]
Why is this called "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein"? Why do they put Mary Shelley's name in the title? Do you know how many novelists and screenwriters BEG to have their name prominently featured on a movie, and the studios always say, "No! Nobody cares diddly squat who wrote the movie!" And people say "Well, what about Stephen King?" "Well, his name helps SELL the movie." They used to put Zane Grey's name on the westerns, because he'd sold so many novels, all the Zane Grey nuts would go to the film. But why Mary Shelley? This is THE ONLY BOOK SHE EVER WROTE. It's not like people are saying, "Oh, the latest from that Mary Shelley gal." And she's been dead for what, 150 years? Is it some attempt to make GIRLS like the movie? Anyhow, if anybody knows why they did that, write in and let ME know; stuff like that bothers me. Okay, this is the part of the movie where we see how SENSITIVE the monster is. Oh, excuse me, Kenneth Branagh didn't allow the word "monster" on the set. They had to call it "the creature." I have a question, though. Why doesn't "the creature" have the memories of John Cleese? It's HIS brain. DeNiro's not even doin' an English accent. You know, for a much more logical take on this subject, you guys should check out a TV movie from years ago with Mare Winningham, called "Who is Julia?" about this gorgeous model whose body gets munched in a car wreck, so they transplant her brain into the body of an average-looking woman, and then her rich boyfriend dumps her and she has a nervous breakdown because she's so average-looking. Very tragic. Look for it on Lifetime. Which reminds me, the Bride of Joe Bob doesn't have any organs yet.
[picking up organ] Okay, where does this go? Where is Dr. Siporin, our plastic surgeon?... What do you mean he's in consultation with one of TNT's executives?
Which one? Oh, well, we'll just throw em all in there... And you can't have liver without onion. [adds an onion] And we don't want her to have bad breath, so... [pours mouthwash] There. Okay, back to the movie.
[fading] These ARE human organs, aren't they? Where did we get these? Right-don't ask.
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #7
Who exactly IS that blonde gal they just hanged? This Frankenstein family has relationships going on that I don't even wanna KNOW about. Which makes sense, cause Mary Shelley's family was pretty dang weird, too. Her daddy taught her to read by having her trace the inscription on her mother's tombstone every day. So basically, she was the original Goth. She wrote Frankenstein, which is considered to be the first sci-fi novel, when she was only 19. Little did she know that it was to inspire not only Kenneth Branagh and James Whale--who made the classic Boris Karloff Frankenstein-but such great films as "I Was A Teenage Frankenstein," "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster" and "Franken-hooker." Okay, that last segment was just a LITTLE short, what was it, about forty seconds? But I do wanna remind you that our guest-lecturer for the second flick will be Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Kenneth Siporin. I have to keep plugging the guy cause I think one of the TNT executives is gonna try and get some free plastic surgery out of him. Okay, back to the flick.
[fading] This next part is amazing--Kenneth Branagh's gonna walk across the Alps with nothing but a fanny pack and some turkey jerky. Watch. My favorite Frankenstein is the one made for TNT a few years back, starring Randy Quaid as the monster. I really think that one is better than this one. And you KNOW how it kills me inside to compliment the TNT high sheriffs. I mean, I'm in pain right now.
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #8
[Lab: computer disks: dropping disks into machinery hooked up to mannequin]
Hang on a sec, I'm programming the Bride of Joe Bob.. "The Best of Betty Crocker" ... the "Kama Sutra" ... and ... "Inside the NFL: 1963-97." Okay. Who here remembers the Frankenstein TNT made about six years ago with Randy Quaid in it? Am I the only one who thinks that movie was better than this one? This version is so... well, let's just say it starts with a "p" and ends in "retentious." Okay, another quick DeNiro story. Many years ago this nightclub singer out in El Lay filed a paternity suit against him, and so DeNiro starts paying her child support. To the tune of ten grand a month. For ten years. One day, DeNiro doesn't make his payment, so the mother hires this big Hollywood lawyer and they take him to court. The judge makes em do DNA tests, and guess what? The tests come up negative. DeNiro's not the father. Let's see, 10,000 dollars a month times 12 is 120,000 dollars a year, times ten years is 1.2 million. And that's not even the scary part. This Hollywood lawyer tries to convince the judge that DeNiro still owed child support because he'd taken on the role of father figure in the kid's life--by paying child support for all those years. For someone else's kid. Bobby, if you're watching right now, allow me to just say: I had a child about ten years ago that I think is yours, man. But I'm willing to settle out of court. Okay, back to the flick. And don't forget during our second movie, cosmetic surgeon Kenneth Siporin will be discussing women's breasts.
[fading] You know why I don't like this Frankenstein as much as the TNT version? In this movie he KILLED that little kid. On purpose. Randy Quaid didn't MEAN to do it, so you can still sympathize with him right up until the end. As far as I can see HERE, DeNiro has to hasta-la-pasta himself outta here. I don't see any way around the CHILD-MURDER episode. At this point he's like one of those bears in Yellowstone Park who mauls a camper. You know?
"MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" Commercial Break #9
[Lab: white bimbo outfit--something like a fringe bikini top and a mini skirt, for example]
I love that part where Kenneth Branagh's trying to get to second base through Helena Bonham Carter's cardboard corset. DeNiro gets right through it, though, doesn't he? In fact, he goes a little TOO far. Which base is it when you tear out the girl's heart with your bare hands? This is a real bodice-ripper --literally. More proof that Victor Frankenstein hasn't seen enough horror flicks--when the monster arrives, STAY TOGETHER. Is that not in the top ten rules? Have we not gone over this enough? Okay, I was gonna animate the Bride of Joe Bob now, but I don't know, I'm getting nervous. You know what I need? Advice from Eugene Levy.
Okay, here's what I need to know, Eugene. I've picked out her bridal ensemble (holds up outfit). What do you think? Sexy, yet demure?
Well, think about it while we take a minute here for the little feature we call Joe Bob's Shameless Plugs, because there's a movie opening this Friday that I watched last week that Eugene is in called "American Pie," the timeless story of four guys trying to lose their virginity before they graduate high school---not exactly a NEW story but done pretty well, it has some very funny moments in it, and among the funniest are the ones featuring this man - actor, writer, director, comedy genius, I'm a big fan of his, SCTV alumnus.
You know, it's appropriate that you're here for Joe Bob's Summer School, because in this movie, in which you absolutely steal several scenes, you're kind of in the role of a teacher. Correct?
And in the scene that had me on the floor--I hope we have this clip--
you decide not to fight with nature. You want your son, played by Jason Biggs, to get the best possible information about the birds and the bees. And here's how you choose to do it. [clip] Does that about sum it up?
That's great. When casting directors look up "quirky," do they find a picture of you?
ARE you that quirky?
What are you writing, directing or starring in THIS week?
All right, it was great having you here. I'd like to have you back when we show one of your movies, so we could actually go scene-by-scene with you. I would love to show "Waiting for Guffman" on this program. Which you co-wrote. Come back to see us, okay?
We have all kinds of people here tonight.
Is that Dr. Siporin in the wings? Doc, watch out for the woman in the gray suit. If she corners you, just tell her you have a "no-freebies" policy. Okay, time for the stunning conclusion to "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." I do like this finale, so let's roll it.
[fading] Gene, are you a lingerie man? [holds up items]
Well, so much for the Hallmark Hall of Fame version of Frankenstein. Click here for the second half of tonight's drive-in double feature, "The Surgeon." Let's just say he has a rather high mortality rate. And a thing for air ducts.
Eugene Levy is currently working in a tv series for Fox to debut in March of 2002. He plays the star of a puppet show in a parallel world where the puppets are real: it´s the twisted world of "Greg the Bunny," a cable-access show that New Yorkers have been enjoying since 1997.
Joe Bob's Mailbag, 10-11-99
Dear Joe Bob,
You asked why the Kenneth Branagh version is called "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." I think it's because this version follows the plot of Shelley's original novel more closely than the famous 1931 version with Boris Karloff. For example, in the black-and-white movie version, Victor Frankenstein is a raving lunatic ("It's alive! It's alive!") However, in Shelley's novel, Frankenstein is a sensitive man who is tragically destroyed by the dangers unleashed by modern science.
Branagh's version is not completely faithful to Shelley's novel, though. For example, the reference to Chinese acupuncture in this film is gratuitous PC multiculturalism.
In addition, you might point out the next time you show the film that, if you try to hang someone from the neck with as great a drop as they use on that woman in the mob scene, you will snap her head clean off.
(Professional hangmen used height and weight charts to avoid doing this accidently.)
Bryan Van Norden
Well, the Boris Karloff 1931 version was pretty kooky, but I don't think all the versions since then have been too far off the mark. Certainly the one with Jack Palance as the Frankenstein monster was understated. It just seems kinda arrogant to me that Kenneth Branagh would say "This is the ONLY Mary Shelley version." And what does authenticity mean when the author is Mary Shelley? That was her only novel. We remember her name mainly because her HUSBAND's name is famous.
Preciate the info on the hanging, man. Cool.
Back to Monstervision
* An average of 100 Americans per year choke to death on ballpoint pens
* According to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, after Mary Shelley's poet husband died, she had his heart put in a jar which she kept on her writing desk from then on
Sequel: Bride of Frankenstein (starring Sting as the Doctor)
Host segment transcript
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