Now on to plot number two (hey, no uni-plotted flicks for our viewers). Seems like a Brooklyn family has run afoul of The Mob (or at least a Mobster) so now they're in the federal witness protection program. After relocating to Portland, they discover culinary uses for radium and breed midget elephants. No, that's a lie, just seeing if you're awake. They actually end up in Cactus Flats, where the puppy-craving daughter cruises the pet shop and things will never be quite the same.
The MonsterVision staff has debated the wisdom of diluting the purity of your cinematic viewing experience with outside information, but what the heck. You've only got one mind to waste so....let's tickle your mental facilities with the film's Russian title, Trgovina Z Malimi Zivalmi, and the Polish one, Sklep z potworkami. And the tidbit that director Hope Perello presumably got the job for her work on Howling VI: The Freaks. And that the feisty girl, Dena, is played by Leigh Ann Orsi, previously gracing the second season of Life Goes On and three episodes of Home Improvement. (Orsi had appeared in the Brad Pitt film The Favor, made in 1991 but not released until the same year as this week's film -- coincidence?).
MonsterVision embraces the vagaries of cinematic expression this Saturday (the wee hours of Sunday, actually) when we present Pet Shop. If Joe Bob his own bad self can watch, then there's no reason for you to miss it.
Pet Shop (1994)
100% Wierd rebroadcast on April 23, 2000 at 4:00 am, Rating: TV-PG.
"Pet Shop" Commercial Break #1
"Next up IS something new for "MonsterVision." Pet Shop, the 1994 gem--and I use the term loosely--about a couple of aliens who land in the Arizona burbs, dress up like Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and give a bunch of outer-space animals to some kids who are almost as weird as they are. Directed by the gal who's only other credit is Howling VI. Let's do those drive-in totals. We have:
No dead bodies.
Alien pet transformation.
Head through glass.
Head through door.
Southwestern Interior Design.
Gratuitous Guido Bodybuilders.
Gratuitous Horny Fat Girl.
Keystone Cop cooking sequence.
Don't get your hopes up--I give it about one and a half stars. But I'll be here with you, and so will the Joe Bob Briggs Tabernacle Choir. Roll it.
[fading] Rusty, how bout a song. Maybe something simple. "Deck the Halls" or something.
MAIL GIRL: We can do "Deck the Halls." We even know the words. Okay, gals, a-one, a-two, a-one two three and--
CHOIR: Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la. Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la--"
"Pet Shop" Commercial Break #2
"Did you guys recognize the father? That's Terry Kiser, better known as Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's. The dead guy. Pretty much the only actor in this whole movie who has any decent credits. If you can call "Weekend at Bernie's" and "Mannequin 2" decent credits. But he was in "Friday the 13th Part VII"--remember him as the doctor? And he was in "The Offspring," which has its moments.
Rusty, did you just hear a knock on the door? That may be my mama.
[Rusty heads for the door as the phone rings] Hello? Louise! (It's my sister Louise from South Texas.) Louise, what's up, honey, you need directions? I think I screwed up after Route 210... You're still down south?... What do you mean, Jesus has to take care of a few things? Tell him to do it tomorrow. We got a Christmas Special goin on here... Why is it better if he takes care of it when it's dark? I don't understand... What exactly does Jesus do for a living, anyway?... What? I can't hear you--Louise, what's all that racket?... Have you heard from Mama? She hasn't shown up here yet... Hello? Louise? LOUISE?!... Uh, no, no habla Espanol. Donde esta Louise? Hello?
[Rusty comes back]
Was that Mama at the door?
MAIL GIRL: It was just the wind.
[sigh] Roll the film.
[fading] Since we got no reunion goin on per se, I'm trying to find out if the folks playing Mr. and Mrs. Zimm are husband and wife or something, cause they're in a BUNCH of movies together. I got the whole crack TNT research department on it right now. Which consists of one gal on hold in the other room. Tell Lisa when she's done to come in and eat some of these red and green Fritos. They're gettin stale."
"Pet Shop" Commercial Break #3
"Oh, boy, animals in cages. PETA doesn't like that. You know what PETA is, right? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. There's a guy in PETA who makes it his business to go into the fur departments of the big stores in New York and politely say to the rich ladies shopping there: "You know how they killed the chinchillas to make that coat? Genital electrocution." And the rich ladies hightail it outta there. And if any of the rich ladies is wearing a fur coat, he'll secretly put a sticker on her back that says "I'm a jerk, I wear fur." Only it doesn't say "jerk," it says the A-word, the one that rhymes with "hassle." I like this guy.
On the other hand, Mary Tyler Moore and some other PETA folks picketed a seafood restaurant in El Lay once because they were keeping a lobster in a special tank and hand-feeding it oysters and calamari. They thought it should be returned to its natural habitat in Maine. Rush Limbaugh offered to EAT the lobster. I say I don't care what you do with the lobster--put ME in the tank and hand-feed ME oysters and calamari. Okay? Back to the movie.
[fading] I'm actually talking about the movie instead of enjoying a Moon Pie with my kin. And the Joe Bob Briggs Tabernacle Choir, while LOOKING good enough to eat, isn't working out quite as I planned. How bout I play Santa Claus and you gals come sit in my lap.
MAIL GIRL: I don't think that was part of the job description, Joe Bob. They were just hired to sing.
Come sit in my lap, and I'll give you something to sing about. Come tell Santa what you want for Christmas.
MAIL GIRL: Don't worry, girls, he's all bark and no bite.
I'll give you a bite. [patting his lap] How bout you two gals in the back?
MAIL GIRL: How bout we sing?
All RIGHT. Forget it."
"Pet Shop" Commercial Break #4
"You're watching the First Annual Joe Bob Briggs Family Christmas Special, and those alien pet shop owners are Jeff Michalski and Jane Morris, and so far our high-tech TNT research department--that would be our gal Lisa and a library card--has found out that they're old Second City alumni, and they were also in Michael Moore's "TV Nation." We're still hot on the trail for more information, and we apologize for Lisa calling and waking up Jeff Michalski's kid. Who, by the way, wasn't very helpful. And on top of it, the jalapeno fritters are all soggy and cold cause my loser family can't seem to get in a car and point it towards West Texas--
[phone rings] This is the phone call where they say April Fools and come in the back, right? Hello?... Rayburn, you old dog, how's things in Appalachia?... (My second and third cousin Rayburn.) Rayburn, I can't hear you too well... Rayburn, turn the phone around, you're talkin into the earpiece again... That's better. Hey, can you stop at the 7-11 on your way in and pick up some Little Debbie's?... I'll reimburse ya... What do you mean, you can't get the car started? You're just calling me NOW to tell me you can't get the car started?... How long's it been sittin in the yard?... Well, what do you expect after eight years? And what were you planning on doing about tires?... Yeah, well, you probly shoulda thought this out... Okay, well, maybe next year. All right, Ray, we'll see ya.
Okay, no great loss there. Back to the flick.
[fading, to Rusty] Hey, what happened to the gal with the big--
MAIL GIRL: What do you THINK happened to her?
[pause] I don't know. What?"
"Pet Shop" Commercial Break #5
"Okay, this movie is going NOWHERE in a big way, and neither is this Briggs family reunion, so I have an idea. Rusty, why don't we raid the mail bag for letters to Santa?
MAIL GIRL: What do you mean?
I mean half the family has cancelled, the other half hasn't even called, the Jell-O shooters are just sittin there in the fridge--let's break em out and raid the bag for letters to Santa. I wanna see what Ernie asked for.
MAIL GIRL: I can't let you read mail that's not addressed to you. I've taken an oath.
So take it back.
MAIL GIRL: It's against the law.
Who's law? C'mon, let's see what's in Ted's letter.
MAIL GIRL: Why don't you join the Choir in a Christmas carol?
I don't really sing.
MAIL GIRL: Oh, yeah, like they DO.
[phone rings] Saved by the bell. Hello?... Urlene! (It's my second wife, Urlene Briggs.) How's the charm school binness?... You're movin it from Alabama to where? Dry Prong, Louisiana?... Honey, I'm sure they got just as much teen pregnancy in Dry Prong as they do in Pickensville. White trash is white trash... I mean BEFORE they go through your school, honey. You know, you're a little late for the Christmas show, here, and if somebody doesn't show up soon, I'm gonna have to let the choir sing again...
[behind him, Rusty silently organizes the choir]
...By the way, Urlene, you got any potential suitors up there? Cause I'm goin broke with four alimony payments... Well, lay off the oatmeal pies for a while, just till you can get a ring on that finger, okay? So maybe we'll see you next Christmas, huh?... Urlene?
I think we got cut off.
[Rusty raises her arms and leads the choir in song, startling Joe Bob]
CHOIR: Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king! Peace on Earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled..."
[Joe Bob buries his head in his hand]
"Pet Shop" Commercial Break #6
"Boy, TNT's really aiming for the target audience on this one, huh? There are a LOT of six-year-olds up right now. It's VERY smart programming, because there's so little competition at one in the morning. Barney's not on for HOURS. Come to think of it, I think this movie was also WRITTEN by six-year-olds. Twelve, tops. This movie is so lame, I'm not gonna embarrass the writers by saying their names on TV. Brent V. Friedman and Mark Goldstein.
I'm a little bitter right now cause my second cousin-in-law Conway from Coon Rapids called during that last segment to say he can't make it. Says he's been abducted by aliens. I asked him while he was up there, could he put a tracer on Mama, but I lost the connection.
[phone rings] I really hope that's her. Mama?... Wanda! (It's my fourth ex-wife, Wanda Bodine.) What's goin on, honey? Where are ya?... You're in Grapevine? Well, thank goodness, cause I got a whole case of Tab with your name on it... What do you mean, you can't make the party?... Oh, honey, we can put that little restraining order aside for one night, can't we? We'll just SAY you're 200 yards away from me... No, I didn't invite the law, they'll never know... Well, if you hadn't tried to cut off my you-know-what with your hairdresser's scissors, I wouldn'ta had to GET the restraining order in the first place... Oh, that's very funny--you woulda succeeded if you coulda found it--ha ha, Wanda. Well, maybe you woulda found it if your big ole THIGHS weren't in the way... Oh, yeah, well, you're not hanging up on ME--I'm hanging up on YOU! [slams down phone] Roll the film!
[fading, to Rusty] What happened to Miss Texas Pageant back there with the one-octave range?
MAIL GIRL: She quit.
[to other Choir member] You--why don't you stand outside, see if my mama drives by. Maybe I didn't give her the right address." [Choir member exits hurriedly]
"Pet Shop" Commercial Break #7
"I love you. You love me. Something something fam-i-ly." What are the words to that song? I'm surprised at the number of people who never worked after they did this movie. The director, Hope Perello. David Wagner, who plays the older brother Charlie. The kid who plays Alexis, Sabrina Wiener. Good name. The twin thugs, Nino and Leonardo Surdo. All top-notch actors, don't you think? And those special effects are just dazzling. Rusty, what happened to the gal I sent outside?
MAIL GIRL: I think she left.
Didn't you tell her about the Christmas present I'm giving em all when the show's over?
MAIL GIRL: I think that's what made her leave.
[phone rings] I bet it's Wanda callin back to apologize. Hello? Mama! Mama, where are you?... Yeah, I know it's a long drive from Bauxite... Okay, you and Aunt Sue Ann stopped to tinkle... And Lyle found a what?... A slot machine? Mama, where do they have slot machines in Arkansas?... Oh, the bathroom just happened to be on an Indian Reservation, huh?... Since when do you know how to play Craps? You DO know this was the First Annual Joe Bob Briggs Family Christmas Special. You could've just left Sue Ann and Lyle there and taken the car... Lyle lost the car at the Roulette wheel... Well, I had home movies, I had Christmas carolers, I made your famous Ozark deviled ham dip... Yes, WITH the crushed corn flakes... Mama, who are those men? No, don't put your wedding ring up for collateral. Mama, put Lyle on. Hello?
Okay, looks like I gotta take a little road trip tomorrow. The two of you want to do another Christmas song before the conclusion to this wacky comedy sci-fi flick we're watching?
MAIL GIRL: Um, I guess. Ready?
RUSTY & CHOIR GIRL: Away in a manger, no crib for his bed--
Never mind! Never mind."
"Pet Shop" Commercial Break #8
"That was the great "Pet Shop," and this was the First Annual Joe Bob Briggs Family Christmas Special. Real fun, wasn't it?
I wanna remind you that next week, when I come out of my depression, we'll have the Brian DePalma flick "Raising Cain," with John Lithgow playing a psycho who snatches whiney children for scientific experiments, followed by Wes Craven's twisted social statement about rich and poor, "The People Under the Stairs."
That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that if at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried. Now Rusty and I and the remaining members of the Joe Bob Briggs Tabernacle Choir will sing a final carol. Where's the choir?
MAIL GIRL: They, uh, had to be somewhere.
Well, then, it's just you and me. I think "Silent Night" would be appropriate.
MAIL GIRL: You want me to sing with you?
It's either that or I go stick my head in the oven and call it a day.
MAIL GIRL: Okay, "Silent Night." Ready?
[together]: Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright, round yon virgin mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.
[Rusty hums over the following] And now for my annual Christmas message. I'd like to wish good will to all my lonely, miserable, fellow-sufferers. May your holidays be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be tight. If you know what I mean and I think you do. [Rusty stops humming]
Did you guys hear the one about the five-year-old kid who asks his mother right before Christmas, "Ma, will I get anything from Santa this year?" And his mother says, "No. You've been a really bad boy. But maybe if you write a letter promising to be a good boy next year, he might bring you a present." The kid thinks about for a long time, and then decides to write to Jesus instead of Santa, figuring that Jesus will make Santa bring him a present. So he writes: "Dear Jesus, I promise to be a good boy for the next year." But after thinking about that, he decides that it's too big a promise, so he writes a new one: "Dear Jesus, I promise to be a good boy for the next month." He keeps revising the letter until he decides that he can't be good for even one day. Then he hits on a new plan. Next day he goes to church and steals an icon of the Virgin Mary, brings it home, and starts writing another letter: "Dear Jesus, If you ever want to see your mother again . . ."
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] You guys know why Santa Claus is so jolly? Cause he knows where all the bad girls live."
Monstervision Movie description above from 12/19/98 broadcast © 2000 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved