The American Astronaut is a 2001 Space Western Science Fiction musical written by, directed by, and starring Cory McAbee.The story centers around space captain Samuel Curtis (McAbee), who finds himself in the middle of a Chain of Deals to give the Venusians a new king and earn a few bucks while being chased by the mentally-unbalanced Professor Hess who sabotages his plans.In this original take of Sci-Fi, space is mostly guided by roughnecks and all spaceships seems to be easy repaired with hammers, giving it a feeling of Used Future for truckers, which goes along pretty well with the awesome music, this can only be described as a Firefly musical with Flash Gordon serial props.Also by the same people (and in the same vein) is Stingray Sam, an episodic serial which can be played on screens of all sizes, including mobile phones.
The American Astronaut includes examples of:
- Arc Words: "It's my birthday."
- Berserk Button: You don't dare to forget Professor Hess' birthday, you just don't...
- Body Horror: The reason the miners from the space barn can't return to Earth.
- Chain of Deals: Sam must return the late king of Venus to his family on Earth. To do so, he must provide Venus with a new king, so he will give the owner of Jupiter a woman and he will give in return The Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast. The woman in turn is a clone of Eddy, the owner of the Ceres Crossroads who wanted a cat.
- Disintegrator Ray: Wielded by Professor Hess; it turns people into a pile of ash.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Boy Who Saw A Breast.
- Indy Ploy: Curtis seems fond of these ones.
- Mars Needs Women: Jupiter needs women and Venus needs men.
- Mundane Made Awesome: A Space Cowboy Science Fiction Musical!
- No Woman's Land: The entire planet of Jupiter is an all-male mining Company Town whose sole entertainment is listening to The Boy Who Saw A Breast describe ("briefly and arrogantly") his encounter with said body part.
- One-Gender Race: Venusians are all women, except for their king they need to mate with. Jupiter men are actually hired and brought from all over the space system.
- Planet of Hats: Everyone on Jupiter is a miner, everyone on Venus is a Southern Belle and Ceres is just a small bar.
- Schizo Tech: Rayguns, spaceships, portable cloning devices and yet we still use razor blades to shave.
- The Unreveal: The audience is left in the dark about Sam and the Professor’s shared past when the movie enters into a slideshow-like montage of Sam and the Boy just as Sam begins to explain. Nevertheless, they both seem to find the story hilarious.
- Used Future: This version of space consists mostly of grease monkeys, miners and hard-boiled thieves.
- Villainous Breakdown: Is not unusual for Professor Hess to fall into this every once in a while.
- You All Meet in an Inn: Ceres' Crossroads, set on Ceres.
Liberty Chew Chewing Tobacco presents!Stingray Sam, a lounge singer on parole on Mars, finds himself
- Bragging Theme TuneStingray Sam is not a heroBut he does do the things that folks don't do that need to be doneHe's got a bravery insideThat won't let him run awayIt will not let him run...
- But Now I Must Go: Stingray Sam has to leave the Carpenter's Daughter at the end because, well, he's a lounge singer, and folks need to be sung to.
- Cliffhanger: Stingray Sam is produced in the form of a weekly serial.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Fredward's attraction to the Quasar Kid after the latter dances at his party (not to mention that Latex Spacesuit he wears). Then there's all those rich men having kids with each other.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Mass matter compression is used to put people inside the Tiny Little Robot.
- Look Behind You: How the Quasar Kid abducts Stingray Sam. With his own Asking Stick, no less.
- Mr. Seahorse: The rich have only been having male children (via gender-decisive drugs) in order to perpetuate their dynasties and so are in danger of dying out. Doctors Fred and Edward come up with a solution by combining their DNA to create their son, Fredward.
- The NarratorAnd so the plot begins to thicken...but not by much.
- Nobody Poops: Averted, which is why the Corporate Mascot Rehabilitation Program failed. Turning a corporate mascot into a solitary confinement Mobile Suit is not a good idea. After a while they start to...smell.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: The receptionist at the Intergalactic Hall of Records and Trivia.
- Offhand Backhand: When Stingray Sam swings his 'Asking Stick' at the back of the Quasar Kid's head, the latter blocks it without looking.
- One Last Job and Stingray Sam pays his debt to society.
- One-Product Planet: Every planet has only one industry or social class. The planet Durango changes from Planet of Rocket Builders to Planet of Criminals to Planet of Prison Factories.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Fredward has spent his entire life surrounded by sycophants praising everything he says. As a result he thinks his thoughts are divinely inspired. When they object to the Quasar Kid however, Fredward has them all arrested for trespassing.
- Running Gag: Folks plugging Liberty Chew Chewing Tobacco.
- Shout-Out to The Manchurian Candidate with the brainwashed visitors at Fredward's party smoking "bizarre tobacco substitutes".
- Stingray Sam Has No Sense of Scale: The scientists on Planet Fredward point out that you only have to cross one galaxy to get there, not two.
- Swiss Cheese Security: No-one dares see Fredward without an appointment, so his fortress isn't even guarded.