Saturday, June 03, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Lidsville: "Oh, Brother."

In “Oh, Brother,”Hoo-Doo (Charles Nelson Reilly) takes Little Ben, a tiny pig, for ransom on the little pig’s birthday.

The evil wizard plans to keep the pet until the denizens of Lidsville pay him all their back-taxes. Mark (Butch Patrick) decides it is time to fight Hoo-Doo with some old artillery, and war threatens to come to the world of hats.

Just as the rebellion of Good Hats heats up, Hoo-Doo’s nice brother, Bruce (Charles Nelson Reilly) unexpectedly shows up. He’s the white sheep of the family for his decency and generosity, and is horrified at his brother’s behavior. He returns Little Ben to the Good Hats, and decides to do good for Lidsville.

This decision does not sit well with Hoo-Doo.

Charles Nelson Reilly makes the most of a juicy (ad silly) double role in “Oh, Brother,” playing Hoo-Doo’s twin sibling, Bruce as well as the evil wizard.  Bruce is the opposite of Hoo-Doo in every way, counseling peace and love, and suggesting that everyone in Lidsville should treat each other like…brothers.

Bruce goes further than that, however. He also demands that the Bad Hats return all of Ho-Doo’s illegally collected money.  Before the half-hour is over, Bruce has even overseen a musical number, noting that peace has come to Lidsville.

When Hoo-Doo returns from a visit to the Imperial Wizard, he is shocked to see that his brother has destroyed his fortune. Bruce informs him that by giving up the money Hoo-Doo could finally be liked. But to Hoo-Doo this is anathema. Hoo-Doo doesn’t “want to be liked.”  Instead, he wants to be “rich.” Or, as he notes, specifically, “rich and mean.”

This episode, “Oh, Brother,” works well in part because it again puts CNR front and center, but also because it doesn’t obsess on the gimmick of getting Mark home to the “real world,” only to see hopes quashed at the end of the installment.

Next week: “Hoo-Doo Who?”

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