The Return of Spaceballs

My first viewing of Spaceballs was when I was about 15 or so, and it was a seminal experience. Although I’d seen Blazing Saddles before (albeit in a censored, safe for network television version), I was too young to understand Mel Brooks’ trademark parodying. But Spaceballs was something else. As soon as I saw that opening spaceship crawl, I was in stitches, and from there, I was completely in. Both I and my friends, in fact; Spaceballs has the dubious honor of being the first movie that my friends and I would quote back and forth with each other.

To this day, lines like “Evil will always triumph because good is dumb” and “Say goodbye to your two best friends, and I’m not talking about the ones in the Winnebago!” can still make me crack up (much to my wife’s chagrin).

All that being said, there was really never any point for a sequel, be it Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money or Spaceballs 3: The Search For Spaceballs 2. These days, the market of pop culture riffing and parodying is pretty much saturated, thanks to shows such as Family Guy and Robot Chicken. But, that didn’t stop Mel Brooks from going ahead with a sequel, though in animated form.

I caught some of the animated series earlier today (it’s playing on G4), and describing it as underwhelming is generous. It’s pretty much what you’d expect — pop culture riffing in the same vein as the aforementioned Family Guy and Robot Chicken. However, it’s nowhere near as clever, funny, or edgy (phallic spaceships and jiggling cartoon breasts notwithstanding).

The two episodes that I saw riffed on Lord of the Rings and the Grand Theft Auto games: not exactly the most original of targets, and targets that have been parodied much better elsewhere. If anything, the animated series makes Mel Brooks — arguably one of the original masters of parody and farce — look like little more than a rip-off or Johnny-come-lately. And the less said about the animation, the better: it looks like it was done by Drawn Together’s third-string team and makes Family Guy look like Miyazaki.

Frankly, give me Robot Chicken’s Star Wars episode any day of the week.