YMMV / The Monkees

The show contains examples of:

  • Bizarro Episode: Even for a show known for madcap absurdism, "Mijacogeo"/"The Frodis Caper" sticks out with its completely surreal tone.
    • Then, of course, there's Head.
  • Designated Love Interest: One of many girls Serial Romeo Davy was interested in in one episode had a fiance named Rodney who didn't pay much attention to her. He seemed to primarily be using her as an excuse to get mad at Davy for being attracted to her.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Peter Tork. Despite playing "the dumb one" on the show and making only a handful of vocal appearances on the original albums, Peter is beloved in the fandom. At one point in The '80s he had more individual fan clubs devoted to him than any of the other Monkees.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In "The Spy Who Came in from the Cool," Mike tells Peter that they're forming a trio without him. Of course, Mike was joking, but in 1968 Peter would be the first member to leave the group.
    • And in "Monstrous Monster Mash," when they can't find Davy, Micky says that they could form a trio and then a duo when Peter disappears. Davy Jones passed away in 2012, and in 2018 Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz announced that they would tour as a duo (Peter wanted to focus on other projects and decided to officially retire as a Monkee).
  • Ho Yay: Mainly between Mike and Micky.
  • Padding: Anytime an interview is used in an episode it's considered this. In fact, the 1st episode that aired, Mike comments how short the episode was.
  • Vindicated by History: clever writing and good music has given the Monkees staying power regardless of their so-called "fake band" origins.
  • The Woobie: Peter.

The band's real-life career contains examples of:

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: May 1968. The TV show is off the air, and every single they've released up to this point has made the Top 3. Obviously, their next single is going to be crucial in establishing whether The Monkees can sustain a music career even without TV exposure. So what do they release? "D.W. Washburn", a Dixieland Jazz-flavored song about how much fun it is to be a homeless alcoholic. It's a Leiber and Stoller song, so it's not bad, but still, it was so out-of-place not only for The Monkees, but pop music in general. It limped to #19 in Billboard, was their last Top 40 hit until 1986, and didn't even get released on an album until the 80s.
  • Covered Up:
    • "I'm A Believer", first made famous by The Monkees (Neil Diamond recorded his version a few months after The Monkees), and then much later, brought back into the mainstream by Smash Mouth.
    • "That Was Then, This Is Now" brought the Monkees back to the Top 40 during their '80s revival. It was originally written and recorded by a now-obscure '80s pop band called The Mosquitos.
    • Several of the Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart songs were recorded by other groups first, such as "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (Paul Revere and the Raiders) and "Words" (The Leaves).
    • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band recorded and released the Nesmith composition "Mary Mary" before The Monkees did. The early pressings of their East-West album didn't include a songwriting credit, leading fans to assume it was either a Butterfield original or an old blues song. After the Monkees version came out, Michael Nesmith was accused of stealing credit for his own song.
    • "Do It In The Name of Love", the last song released by Micky and Davy before they split up in 1971, became a Top 20 R&B hit for Candi Staton a couple years later.
  • Critical Research Failure: The two main knocks against them in The '60s were: The Monkees relied on session musicians (so did The Beach Boys and, to a lesser extent, The Byrds), and they were a manufactured group, i.e. a bunch of guys thrown together for the express purpose of making money (so were The Byrds—again, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience).
  • Dork Age: In the 70s, we have Micky Dolenz's "glam rock disaster."
  • Ear Worm: Too many to list.
  • Epic Riff: "Last Train to Clarksville", "Pleasant Valley Sunday", "As We Go Along" (an unusual acoustic ballad example, with a flute doubling up the guitar riff before the second verse).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: After their initial success waned in the US, they still remained popular in Japan and Australia. They had a successful tour in those places in late 1968, and various combinations of the four Monkees toured there in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Growing the Beard: The 1967-68 psychedelic period, when they began taking more control of their musical activities, and their music became more complex and varied as a result.
  • Hero of Another Story: Davy had a second career training and racing horses and remains the oldest amateur jockey to ever win a graded stakes race.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Micky was in a pre-Monkees band called The Missing Links. Even funnier after they made the 33 & 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee TV special, which featured Charles Darwin as a character.
    • Anticipating The White Album and Spinal Tap, a 1967 New Musical Express article reported Micky's rejected idea for the cover of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd.
    Black! That's what I want. I want the whole sleeve black--black, black, black!
  • Narm: "The Day We Fall in Love" from More of the Monkees would otherwise be your typical schmaltzy Davy Jones ballad, but in this one, Davy speaks the lyrics instead of singing them.
    • David had recorded a similar "spoken word" love song on his 1965 pre-Monkees solo album, David Jones called "Theme For a New Love." Arguably the reason why "The Day We Fall In Love" was chosen to be included on the album.
  • Never Live It Down: Mention The Monkees and several people will comment on the fact that they didn't play on the albums. Despite the fact that they were furious when they were told that they couldn't record (Mike Nesmith reportedly punched a hole in the wall while arguing about it), despite that they eventually got creative control over their music, and despite that they were vindicated by history multiple times, some people still remember The Monkees as that one band that didn't play their own instruments, even incorrectly assuming that they couldn't play at all, or play well.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: A few of their songs were meant to sound like hits by other artists; some of the songwriters have even admitted that this was done intentionally.
    • "(Theme From) The Monkees" = "Catch Us If You Can" by The Dave Clark Five
    • "Last Train to Clarksville" = "Paperback Writer" by The Beatles
    • "Let's Dance On" = "Good Lovin' " by The Rascals
    • "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" = "Cherry, Cherry" by Neil Diamond (which makes sense, as Diamond wrote both songs)
    • "Your Auntie Grizelda" = "19th Nervous Breakdown" by The Rolling Stones (Peter Tork's comic vocal masks it a bit)
    • "Sunny Girlfriend" = "It's All Over Now" (originally by The Valentinos, Covered Up by The Rolling Stones)
    • "Salesman" = "She's About a Mover" by The Sir Douglas Quintet
    • "Daydream Believer" = "Happy Together" by The Turtles (the melodies are much different, but producer Chip Douglas had arranged "Happy Together" and re-used its basic formula on "Daydream Believer": simple, calm verse leading into a rousing, intense chorus).
    • "Goin' Down" = "Parchman Farm" by Mose Allison (which they freely admitted to)
    • "Porpoise Song" = "Strawberry Fields Forever" by The Beatles
    • "Me Without You" = "Your Mother Should Know" by The Beatles
      • "Cuddly Toy" also sounds a lot like "Your Mother Should Know", but they were recorded and released around the same time. "Good Day Sunshine" seems to be the Beatles song that was the model for "Cuddly Toy".
    • "Teardrop City" = "Last Train to Clarksville". Yes, they imitated their own earlier hit.
    • One case saw The Monkees on the receiving end. "The Letter" by The Box Tops was at least partly inspired by "I'm a Believer".
  • Vindicated by History: Despite the "manufactured band" thing, the band's music has held up quite well. You even had the Sex Pistols (another "manufactured" band) and Minor Threat covering "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone".
  • The Woobie: Peter left the group fearing that his time with the band had irreparably damaged his reputation as a legitimate musician. Micky once responded to an interviewer's remark about being lucky to survive the whole surreal experience unscathed with "Peter didn't".
  • Yoko Oh No:
    • Micky reportedly allowed his then-wife Trina to have major input in the song-selection process for the 1987 reunion album Pool It!. One label executive later cited this as one of the reasons the album bombed.
    • Jessica Pacheco, Davy's third wife (and eventual widow), joined the band onstage during their 45th anniversary tour in 2011 for some flamenco dance routines, drawing the ire of fans (and allegedly, bandmates). After his death, negative rumors about her relationship with him, plus her legal battles with his children over his estate, lowered her reputation among fans even more. One blogger wrote that she "could give [Don] Kirshner a run for the money in the Worst Monkee Villain Ever competition."

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