Best of the West was my tribute to the thousands of western movies and TV shows I enjoyed growing up. It was not silly; it was fun. The difference? “Silly” is exaggerated ridiculousness. “Fun” is “playful remembering.” Others may not make that distinction. But that’s just being silly.
Want an example of what I’m talking about? I happen to have one right here.
In one episode of Best of the West, I depicted a “perilous situation” in which the Bad Guy is about to “do away” with the Good Guy.
Suddenly, the Good Guy’s compadre comes up from behind, gets “the drop” on the Bad Guy, and – “Blow the trumpets!” – the Good Guy is saved.
So far, so typical. Here’s where the “playful remembering” kicks in.
Just when things feel appropriately settled, the Bad Guy’s compadre comes up from behind, and gets “the drop” on the Good Guys. Things are beginning to look grim. Until…
Suddenly another Good Guy’s compadre comes up from behind, gets “the drop” on the Bad Guys, and it looks like order has finally been restored. Until…
Suddenly the Bad Guy’s other compadre comes up from behind, and gets “the drop” on the Good Guys. The Bad Guy slavering gloats, “So you thought you had me, huh?
Suddenly the Good Guy’s wife Elvira comes up from behind, gets “the drop” on all of the Bad Guys and justice finally prevails!
We did five successive “get the drops ons” in one sequence. And with each startling “reversal”, the audience reaction grew stronger. By the time Elvira arrived, ultimately “saving the day”, the studio audience was bouncing!
It feels good when an imagined comedy “bit” achieves blockbuster reception. It was only an idea. (Which – credit the director – was impeccably executed.) The audience reaction showed the objecting “naysayers” it worked. And, by implication, that the series from which it conceptually derived worked successfully as well.
I did that gratifying “bit.”
But I forgot to do this one.
Why? I don’t know – it was one of my earliest notions. Busy and stressed, I just forgot it was there.
“Playfully remembering” another standard cliché, this one maybe “cliché-ier” than the first one…
Setting the Scene: Two cowboys, brawlin’ in a saloon. One guy knocks the other guy down. Smelling “blood in the water”, the standing combatant moves in for the kill.
But his opponent is ready for him.
Lying on his back, his knees-bent legs dangling in the air, when his standing opponent arrives, he pushes him away violently with his feet.
Everyone knows that “move.”
I figure, since everyone knows that “move”, the approaching combatant also knows that “move.” To me, it’s like, “Why walk into an ambush?”
Rather than barging in and getting pushed away violently by the other guy’s feet, why not instead move back a ways, lie down on his back, his knees-bent legs dangling in the air, and wait for the other guy to attack him?
That makes more sense than bumbling into the patented “Leg Push”, doesn’t it? Of course, it does.
Following this sensible approach, the scene finishes us with two guys, lying a few feet apart on the saloon floor, their knees-bent legs dangling in the air, each of them waiting for the other guy to attack. After a confused moment, it’s like,
“What are you doin’!”
“I’m doin’ what you’re doin’.”
“You can’t do that!”
“Why not? ‘I come to you – you’ll just push me away with your feet.”
“I come to you – you’ll just push me away with your feet.”
“Well then I guess it’s a stand-off.”
We exit the scene, two rasslin’ combatants, lying on their backs with their legs in the air, each awaiting their stubborn opponent to give in. And whenever we return to the saloon,
They are still lying there.
Bartenders carefully step over them, delivering their drinks. Floozies traipse around them, dancing with customers. There is, maybe, a shootout.
They just keep lying there.
Last line of the show, the camera cuts to the exterior of the saloon, and we hear off-screen voices:
“Ready to ‘give’?”
We return from commercial for the show-closing “Tag.”
EXTERIOR SALOON: NIGHT
And there’s snoring.
I regret forgetting that moment. And I’ll tell you something.
I do that series again?
I am definitely putting it in.