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The Ronnie Horror Picture Show
September 16, 2012 12:50 PM   Subscribe

The Ronnie Horror Picture Show In December of 1980, in the wake the election of Ronald Reagan, ABC's SNL-wannabe/rival Fridays diverted from its usual format to run an extended skit (at 20 minutes it may be the longest sketch ever performed) commenting on it all in a very ambitious spoof of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Ronnie Horror Picture Show (featuring a young Michael Richards in the role of Brad) is an abridged version of the Rocky Horror tale mapped to a the era-shift from the liberal late 70s to the much more conservative early 80s. It's definitely a time capsule and and interesting window into that specific moment's attitudes.

Part one. Part two.
posted by Senor Cardgage (46 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

 
is that a budgie what am i watching what universe does this come from where am I oh god
posted by The Whelk at 12:51 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


God she's not imitating Susan Sarandon she's channeling her.
posted by The Whelk at 12:53 PM on September 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Oh brad don't you see what these people are doing?"

"Janet, please this is an important opportunity to have a conversation with right-wingers!"
posted by The Whelk at 12:56 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


that specific moment's attitudes

Peace through Strength! (RR's campaign slogan)
posted by stbalbach at 1:10 PM on September 16, 2012


When it comes to political/pop-culture mashups it's always a very thin line between passionate and cheesy/forced. I really expected this to feel very forced but ultimately ended up watching every second of it. The nixon head shaking part was fantastic.
posted by sendai sleep master at 1:10 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I really expected this to feel very forced but ultimately ended up watching every second of it

However well or not well this works, I do get the sense of them really meaning it.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:15 PM on September 16, 2012


However well or not well this works, I do get the sense of them really meaning it.

Oh,yes, absolutely. I didn't mean forced as in disingenuous. I simply meant that sometimes these parodies sometimes always ring discordant to me because words/phrases that pertain to the satire or shoehorned into the original piece of media.

For instance, while I don't doubt their earnest belief either the "One More Term" Obame/Les Mis number posted previously just didn't gel, in my opinion. This, on the other hand seems to get find the right blend of both ingredients to make a fun bit of satire.
posted by sendai sleep master at 1:20 PM on September 16, 2012


Oh I'm sorry, I didn't mean to come across that way. I just wanted to make a point I couldn't really put in the original post without seeming a bit too editorial.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:25 PM on September 16, 2012


Pwecious:
This, on the other hand seems to get find the right blend of both ingredients to make a fun bit of satire.
posted by hexatron at 1:33 PM on September 16, 2012


This is not the best of the web. This is THE BEST THING ON THE WEB!

(Lived through it.)
posted by trip and a half at 1:40 PM on September 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I saw this back when it first aired. As an eleven year old who had never even heard of Rocky Horror, this sketch made absolutely no sense to me but for some reason it's stuck in my head all these years.
posted by cropshy at 1:43 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pwecious:
This, on the other hand seems to get find the right blend of both ingredients to make a fun bit of satire.


Don't drink and MeFi folks. Non-previewed posts are no joke!
posted by sendai sleep master at 1:43 PM on September 16, 2012


Oh holy fuck, Larry David as Eddie/Richard Nixon! I'm in love with the internet all over again.
posted by Lectrolamb at 1:55 PM on September 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I knew what was going to be under the cape, and yet somehow I still wasn't prepared for it.

I thought this was very impressive in its commitment and ambition, but I didn't find it particularly funny. (Kind of the same as my feelings about RHPS, come to think of it.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:01 PM on September 16, 2012


I enjoyed that so much it actually makes up for having missed it thirty years ago.
posted by Anitanola at 2:26 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


As tedious as the original.
posted by ColdChef at 3:14 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Who would have thought back then that the only one with a successful acting career 30 years later would be Larry David?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:26 PM on September 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


I thought I was the only person who remembered Fridays. Sure I was young, but getting to stay up late on Friday and Saturday watching TV was one of the few things I could look forward to as a kid. While SNL was awesome in the late '70s, by '80-81, they'd taken more than a little hit in quality, but I still loved staying up too late and catching them.

Fridays was a different type of humor. I still remember Michael Richards' kid playing with army men skits fondly, even though they didn't age well at all.

My huge pre-pubescent crush on Melanie Chartoff couldn't have helped any, and it didn't get any easier when she was on Parker Lewis Can't Lose.
posted by Sphinx at 3:30 PM on September 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, no kidding
posted by Flashman at 3:30 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


In case the election goes wrong, I hope someone's working on the lyrics for Romney Horror.
posted by Snerd at 3:39 PM on September 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


By all rights this should be as embarrassing to watch as a Mark Russell special but my god, they're doing shot-for-shot stuff in here. This is incredible.
posted by Spatch at 3:46 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I came in when my husband was watching it and thought it was recent, and that Rocky was going to pop out as Romney. After all the Republicans have been dragging out and sanctifying Dead Reagan so often, that made sense. Sad it is still current satire as well as past. My Dad always called Reagan " that broken-down third rate actor". He was so disgusted when Reagan got elected.
posted by mermayd at 4:12 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not crazy about the musical part of the performance, but now I have an excuse to rewatch RHPS.
posted by ersatz at 4:20 PM on September 16, 2012


Senor Cardgage, I love you for posting this today.
posted by litlnemo at 4:35 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seeing this kind of thing reminds me how timid broadcast media has become.
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:01 PM on September 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


I loved the part about VP-elect Bush wanting to be a resident of the White House. On par with Laugh-In predicting the Ronnie would be president in the 80's.
posted by luckynerd at 6:13 PM on September 16, 2012


LOVED Fridays.

The opening skit was a behind-the-scene bit about how the lawyers decided they were too close to SNL, so they'd have to change some skits. The Killer Hornets were going to be postponed (Belushi/Akroyd's Killer Bees were hot). There was a ninja ripoff of Samurai Chef. Etc.

Michael Richards was AWESOME - the kind of talent SNL always hoped for, and occasionally got.

And I forgot Larry David was in it.

And... Melanie Chartoff... I need some private time. Nope, done.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:19 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also... Andy Kaufmann ruins Friday, as only he can.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:24 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow. As an ex rocky fanatic and a current hater of Reagan this totally rules. FYI, if part one drags too much just skip to part two thus where all the good parts are.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 6:52 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what has always passed for satire on late night TV in America: witless, obvious nonsense delivered by pathetic actors who can't stop patting themselves on the back long enough to deliver a decent performance.

And I agree with the politics (or should I say "politics") expressed in this sketch, which is why I find the sorry mess all the more unfortunate.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 6:55 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


At its best, Fridays was quite brilliant (Transphibians, and this) but they were pretty much the worst offenders when it came to "drug-references-as-humor-subtitute". They ran that into the ground so hard that it pretty much put an end to the "hey I'm on drugs" (audience whoops and laughs here) thing, for which I suppose we must thank them. But even that sometimes worked -- the paranoid pharmacist who'd been sampling his own wares "I can handle it! I can handle it!" seemed to somehow get funnier the longer it went on.

But this sketch pays for everything, and more. Despite only ever seeing it once, "Let's Fight The Big One Again" competed directly with the original Time Warp for mindspace in my head, and won. To this day I can never hear Time Warp without thinking of this.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:57 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh God. It's like watching those scenes in Cabaret where Max pooh-poohs the Nazis as ineffectual losers who'll never amount to anything and knowing just how badly everything's going to shit for everyone involved.

Lived through it. Still have pissing on RR's grave on my bucket list.

Thank you for posting it, Senor Cardgage.
posted by the sobsister at 7:15 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


First hit for Transphibians turns up this. Apar from its own merits I can't believe it leads into a live Devo performance in which, among other things, they beat OK Go to the treadmill by nearly three decades.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:26 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


. . . witless, obvious nonsense delivered by pathetic actors who can't stop patting themselves on the back long enough to deliver a decent performance.

Faze? Is that you?
 
posted by Herodios at 7:37 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I saw this when I was in rehab. All my fellow residents got overruled by our unit manager because Fridays also had the "Clash" on. Plus they made us go on a movie outing to "Roller Boogie" the weekend before so I guess they felt they owed me. This blew my mind not having seen RHPS.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:25 PM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


They really hit the nail on the head, I think. I just wish the automatic captions were working, because I'd love to be able to read some of the lines that were hard to understand when sung.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:44 PM on September 16, 2012


I'm really pretty impressed with how utterly passionately the crowd responded. This can't have been that long into the midnight show/floor act phase and it seems like half of them at least had already been there, done that, and thrown the toast.

It's also fascinating just how well it falls together, structurally.
posted by dhartung at 10:43 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow. I had no idea this existed. This is magnificent! Thanks, Senor Cardgage.
posted by homunculus at 12:14 AM on September 17, 2012


In case the election goes wrong, I hope someone's working on the lyrics for Romney Horror.

Yes please.

Mitt Romney Tempted to Quote Ronald Reagan
posted by homunculus at 12:16 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw the headline "Mitt Romney Tempted to Quote Ronald Reagan" and I was sure it was The Onion.

It was not The Onion.

Also, if I were to take up a Kickstarter, do you think we can find a way to replace Janet with Thatcher?
posted by Mezentian at 3:10 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let's fight the System again...

ah crap. Too late. Gotta wait for the johnconnor to get back.
posted by mule98J at 9:11 AM on September 17, 2012


Let's fight the System again...

The day I let employees of a major broadcasting conglomerate lecture me about "the System" is a day I hope will never come.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 9:26 AM on September 17, 2012


Rocky Horror is older than I am, but still totally awesome. Ronny Horror just adds to the mystery now! Personally I like how the head arch-conservative is the guy wearing heals, sequins, and a teddy! Thanks for a great post. I would never have known about this without you.
posted by whatzit at 1:21 PM on September 17, 2012


This is amazing. Not necessarily in the intended way, but amazing nonetheless.
posted by Legomancer at 1:43 PM on September 17, 2012


Is this what Sorkin was going for with that thing on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip?"

Studio 60 does Gilbert & Sullivan
posted by Groovymomma at 9:24 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


On Location With ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ from 1975
posted by homunculus at 12:14 PM on September 29, 2012


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