Motorcycle gang, a wheelman, having fun. The tagline was “They live for kicks… love for kicks… and kill for kicks.” Pretty much. Sampling Comedy Central during my early exposure, this one caught me. Is Rob Zombie a fan? Sociopaths, the good life, hurting folks, staying busy. Born To Be Wild? “Looking for adventure…” “In whatever comes our way…” Depressed Gypsy, Hobby Hogs, 3D Pizza, Intellectuals Who Ride Motorcycles, Wild Rebels Cereal, “I Like What I Know About You”, So Stupid It’s Funny. “Hey Pastrano, my favorite sandwich…”, “And the Glacoma Players…”, “Here’s the people with the really bad agents.” “Comet Pictures… A real flash in the pan” or “Trouble with the car?”
For the longest time this was my favorite Joel episode and a favorite summer episode. I still love it although Fire Maidens and Attack of the Eye Creatures have overtaken it. It still has a stinky charm to it. The Algonquin biker skit is one of their brainiest skits and I love it!
Crow; blue light special on chromosomes, extra ones…
I like the sketches. I generally dislike all the biker movies—pretty much all the movies of this era, lol. Bleak, nihilistic, ugly to look at ( abysmal to hold ) and often just plain mean.
We’ve been trying to get through this one for months now. It’s not that bad, it’s just that there are so many pleasanter distractions.
Let’s dive into the highlight here, because it feels like this is what the episode is best remembered for: the Wild Rebels Cereal sketch.
Some time ago, before I ever saw MST3K and when the internet was still in its somewhat infancy, I knew of the show and tried to learn whatever I could about it. In those days, there was a small circle of fan sites, so you pretty much took what you could get.
That was back when one of the staples of an MST3K website was a collection of WAVs. And there was a WAV for the Wild Rebels Cereal sketch, which in those days must have taken an UNGODLY amount of time to download. But I loved the hell out of it. I had no idea what was happening onscreen, but the audio made it sound like the best damn thing ever.
You know, simply because it WAS.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Steve Alaimo is a good-looking dude and a decent singer… just not in this movie. I half-wonder now if he ticked off someone in the crew and they went out of their way to make him look and sound as godawful as they possibly could. Of course, some of it may just be that he’s miscast. Or a victim of bad direction.
I’m always struck at how obnoxiously Rod treats the friendly bartender for no reason. I guess it IS supposed to hint at his rebellious side, but it’s unfortunately common as dirt for people to be rude to service workers. So that doesn’t really come off. Just one of many moments where the film aims to say something important and falls flat.
Ridiculous movie. Very good episode.
Editing. Lighting. Scripting. You name it, he’s a victim of it.
I think the filmmakers wanted to add to the oeuvre of those anti-hero-gone-nowhere movies which Joel mentions in the wrap-up. But it’s a bad third or fourth generation copy of them. There’s nothing solid at its core to give it any genuine feeling. I do think that Bobbie Byers as Linda gets closer than anyone else. She gives a whole lot to the monologue about choosing life on the lam over being a hausfrau. Much more than it deserves.
That’s true. The thing that gets me about that speech, though, is that she’s just murdered a guy.
You mean the poor doofus in the gun shop? I thought her speech to Rod was before that: around the time he was serenading her outside the compound. But it’s been a while since I’ve watched it. I may be getting some scenes out of order. At any rate, I don’t mean that it makes me think blowing someone away in cold blood would be fun. But Byers believes in the dreary script enough so you can see the action as Linda would.
As for the episode itself?
For me, it stands out head-and-shoulders as the best of the Season 2 biker trilogy. That’s not a slam on the others; that’s just to emphasize how it feels like there’s much more to enjoy about this one. While The Sidehackers is brought down a bit by its violent excesses and its shift away from the silly sidehacking, and while The Hellcats feels like a meandering and incomprehensible fever dream with motorcycle action, Wild Rebels has a far more coherent narrative and a somewhat more palatable tone (that is, it’s still dark, but it isn’t drenched in darkness like The Sidehackers).
It also helps that Rod Tillman, our protagonist played by Steve Alaimo (whose album Every Day I Have to Cry will resurface as a Christmas gift in Season Five’s Santa Claus), is such a laughable ineffectual and doofy leading man. He’s a crappy stock car racer (Crow as a tire randomly rolls around on the track during a race: “Hey, the wheel’s winning! Get back on the track!”), and he isn’t much better as an informant for the cops (Rod: “I think they needed me real bad.” Crow: “They cried”).
It’s hilarious how, even in the middle of a tense high-stakes undercover operation, Rod will still find the time to play a sappy ballad on his guitar. It’s made even more hilarious by the guys making VERY LOUD Jerry Lewis noises over his singing.
Another favorite sequence involves that band jamming away at that bar. So much good stuff there: the riff about Ronald McDonald shaking his McBooty, the snide remarks about Steve Alaimo’s dance skills (or lack thereof), Servo doing his best Sting from Dune… just a great chunk of riffing. We even get a rare GPC sighting in the theater!
Throw in all the jokes about the dumb and obnoxious biker gang (“Banjo, you’re just too high strung”), the material dealing with the omnipresent line about how Linda’s in it “for the kicks,” the chaos of the gun store robbery and the supposedly broke-ass bank heist (Linda: “I’d like $500…” Joel as bank teller: “OH, DREAM ON, LADY”), and the final chase/shootout (Joel as cop watching the bikers avoid a roadblock by turning down an unguarded road: “Aw, you know, we really should’ve blocked the other road, too, what were we thinking?”), and you have the best of the biker trilogy, easily.
I already delved into the Wild Rebels Cereal sketch, but it bears repeating: it’s a series classic.
What’s really interesting about this episode is the character definition we get for GPC as Joel shuts down the higher functions of the SOL and lets her speak her mind unencumbered by a constant system drain. Not only do we get a glimpse into a wildly intelligent GPC (just before she goes back to droning about Richard Basehart), but we also have some fun subversion of expectations as Joel goes from talking about how GPC is his new best friend to a later host segment where Joel sings the ballad from the movie, only to get jumped by bikers Crow and Servo as GPC declares that she’s all about “the kicks.” I love it when we’re lead down one path, and then BAM, we get a shakeup going.
The curious thing of note here is how this episode doesn’t have a stinger. This is the third episode in the stinger era (after Rocket Attack U.S.A and Ring of Terror), but instead of a stinger, we get a black screen with the words “A BEST BRAINS PRODUCTION.” Even MORE curious is how Mike writes in the episode guide that the stinger of the episode is where “Steve Alaimo dances like he has ergotism.” No idea what happened in either case.
Still, to give you an idea how such a stinger would look, some helpful soul on YouTube went to the trouble of whipping this up:
Yep. I mean, I dig the feminism rap, y’see, and this guy was clearly part of the patriarchy, man, but…* Yeah, she blows him away while Our Hero is waiting in the getaway car, and presumably he doesn’t know that when he’s serenading her.
*Joe Bob Briggs’ Rule Of Seduction That No One Ever Learns: If the hot chick is coming on to you, run for your life!
Yeah, it’s actually a pretty damn good polemic. Just the…murder thing.
lol. I don’t regard it as feminist, except maybe in the sense that some folks love writing feminist interpretations of Russ Meyer movies and the like. It’s more like a much grislier version of “I’ve Been To Paradise.” Sorry, Ladies. You get exactly two choices in this world: either grubby gun moll doomed to spend 3/4ths of your life in jail, or the symbolic life sentence of barefoot wife/mommy. Ouch!
You may treat that whole bit as a bit 'cause it was a bit. I was sorta riffing on what a square in 1967 would’ve said to try to be a “hep cat” and impress a “groovy chick”.
“As we see here, our protagonists are straining against the fabric of society, threating to break free and…”
Alt: “Say, that Meyer fellow clearly has a strong interest in mammogram and breast health issues!”
People do love a binary. Or not.