Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Bugaloos: "Benita, the Beautiful?" (December 26, 1970)

In “Benita, the Beautiful?” Peter Platter holds a beauty contest Uptown.

The winner will become a movie star in Flicker Town, starring in a movie musical. Naturally, Benita Bizarre (Martha Raye) enters the contest, and plans to eliminate all the competition.

On the night of the contest, Gina Lolla Wattage and Joy (Caroline Ellis) fail to show up as contestants, and the Bugaloos realize that they have met with foul play at the hands of Benita and her minions.

The male Bugaloos and Sparky (Billy Barty) rush to Benita’s Jukebox and find the duo tied and gagged beneath a trap door.

The Bugaloos race to the contest, and then realize that they should let Benita win the contest after all. 
If she does win, she’ll be out of their hair, in Flicker Town. 

The Bugaloos decide to campaign for Benita to win, but at the last minute, another contestant enters the pageant: Funky Rat’s sister, Brumhilda.

Well, the plot of this episode is, basically, the same as the one we saw in “Our Home is our Hassle.” A contest of some type is in the offing, and Benita wants to win it. The variation occurs in the telling of this particular tale. In “Benita the Beautiful” viewers aren’t privy to the specifics of the villain’s plan. 

We don’t know what has happened to Joy or Gina, or where they are trapped.

The other twist in the story is that the Bugaloos act in a more tactical fashion than is usually the case. They decide to let Benita have her way -- winning the contest -- so that they will be rid of her once and for all. 

Of course, Benita doesn’t seem like she would make a good “Miss Out of this World.”

The episode enlarges the “world” of the Bugaloos in some ways, both successful and not. 

On the former front, the episode discusses “Flicker Town,” a place beyond the forest and uptown where movies (starring insects?) are made.

On the latter front, we meet some audience members and denizens of Uptown in this story, and they are white-board cut outs. These cut-outs are obviously two dimensional, and lacking the detail of color.  They look shoddy against the colorful wardrobes and sets.

The song of the week “Flicker Town” is all about Joy entering the beauty contest.  Here it is in its entirety:

Next week: “Now You See ‘Em, Now You Don’t.”

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