LEXX: S02E05: Lafftrak

The story opens with one of the wackiest most ludicrous concepts I’ve ever seen! Two ruthless looking geezers from the planets Leester and Liber are battling it out to the death. They are each flying evenly matched, yet rickety looking spaceships. one fires a shot at the other, “9 years ago you faked the ratings on your precious poetry channel. Why, because you’re cultureless bastards.{Great line!}

TV WorldThey zoom off in the direction of a small planetoid, where their ratings war will be concluded. Yes, ratings war. It seems that these two planets have been at war for many years because of television ratings fraud!

The two battle it out after crashing into the planetoid called TV World. It seems that in this sector of the Light Zone, the people are not just crazy, they’re TV crazy! The two crazy geezers die a violent death after shooting each other, their bodies rot as an epitaph to their TV-mad cultures.

A few years later, the LEXX picks up an advertising message from TV world. Xev is eager to visit and thinks it would be fun to play the TV ratings game. She doesn’t so much ask Stan to change course, she demands it.

Stanley Tweedle is very sceptical, he thinks that the whole idea is a bad one. I can’t decide if this is because he is preoccupied about finding a planet with some ‘skin’ or because he genuinely senses danger.

Xev and Stan arrive on TV WorldThe LEXX arrives at the little planetoid and Xev, Stan and 790 take a transport moth to the surface. They leave Kai behind. on the surface, Xev and Stan pass the dead TV nutters and are surprised when a doorway entrance lights up and a smarmy looking geezer appears on the TV monitor.

Welcome to TV World,” he says, “Are you looking for some fun? I’m C.G. Vice President of Programming (CG the VP of P – wadda title!) on TV World. Are you ready to play?

Of course at home on Leester or Liber, lovely planets both, you’ve wondered what it would be like to be that special character you’ve always wanted to play. – otherwise you would not have paid the affordable fee to be here on TV World. Well now, so here you are! So live out your fantasy!….. A big part of the fun is in choosing just the right show for you, and the more fun you have on that show, the better your ratings. And the better your ratings, the more fun it is for you and all of us.”

(The ‘and all of us’ phrase was said with a masterful air of insincerity, and you just knew that TV World would be tinged with danger). This was confirmed in the last line of smarmy geezer’s introduction – the small print. It was said very quickly and was totally disregarded by Xev, Stanley and 790.

Smarmy geezer, CG VP of P.

Some players may fail to draw ratings and will become permanent members of our studio audience.”

Xev is excited to get started. Stanley on the other hand, is much more sceptical. 790 is positively mortified when he learns that only one player may enter each show. Xev enters the game called Boy’s School. Stanley enrols 790 (against his will) in a talk show called Talk-Time. Then he decides to try a show called Girl-Time (imaginative titles huh?).

Stanley walks through the Girl-Time ‘door’ and enters a girls bedroom! Girl-Time is a sitcom, which relies heavily on salacious, punchy one-liners to get the audiences to applaud. Its main characters are the stunningly beautiful Slinka and Yoyo (and I’m not just saying that because they are half-naked!).

Stanley introduces himself to the lovely Slinka (who is dressed in her underwear and a see through negligée). Her negligée becomes caught on something (who cares what) and Slinka takes it off! This show is great! Slinka indicates that she thought Stanley was the landlord and Stanley eyes Slinka’s figure adding that he is “Captain of the most potent spaceship of all time“.

Then Yoyo enters the bedroom. She is dressed in yellow underwear and a yellow negligée, which also becomes wonderfully caught on something, causing her to remove it.

Wadda way to introduce yourself. Stood in their underwear and in each other’s arms, they look at Stan and say, “Hi, I’m Slinka, and I’m Yoyo. We’re looking for a new roommate.

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Stanley, forgetting himself (as you do) replies immediately, “Erm… do you have any openings?

The girls smile sweetly and ‘canned laughing’ in the background becomes louder. Stanley notices that a sort of ‘clappometer’ indicates if the audience is happy with his remarks and therefore, presumably his TV ratings are increased. To play the game well, Stanley must keep the clappometer in the red. Unfortunately, Stanley’s strong point is not his ability to come up with one-liners and he rapidly looses TV appeal.

In Boys School, Xev relies on her sex appeal to generate interest and attention from a bunch of mindless adolescent jerks (as well as the students. – Actually, the female Sad Geezers among us would have commented that these jerks were fairly handsome but I’m too preoccupied with Slinka and Yoyo to notice).So what are you gonna teach us today, {snigger} mistress Xev?” asks the adolescent at the front of the class.

Xev smiles at them rather like a snake might smile at a cute little rodent, and says, “I’m a graduate of the ‘Wife-back’. I know exactly what I’m going to do. I’m goingGimme some oral - right now! to start with simple teasing, then move on to basic squeezing, and end up in advanced, pleasing.(Much feeling and expression was put into those words and the male audience no doubt remembered a childhood crush on their teacher with a certain sense of erm… longing). This was exacerbated considerably when one of the handsome adolescent jerks sniggers and asks when he would graduate. Xev placed her leg high on a chair in front of him and replies, “You can take an oral exam right now if you want!

Xev’s clappometer (and most of us males) went off the scale and the smarmy CG suddenly appears to tell Xev that her show is now receiving ‘Prime Time Exposure’ (or was that prime exposure). The show continues and Xev laps up the applause, she is really enjoying herself.

Stanley is slightly in awe of his hosts as they ask him some VERY leading questions, “Our new roommate must be firm.” The scantily clad girls cuddle up to him and ask, “Are you firm Stanley?”

Stanley replies rather mutely, “Yeah, I can be pretty firm when I have to be.” The clappometer shows a negative reaction. Of course Stanley could have said, ‘Hey baby I’m firm right now!’ or ‘gimme a warm feeling girls and I’ll be as firm as you need!’ or ‘Whoa, is this show Prime Time!?’

Are you firm Stanley!?Un-peturbed, the girls continue, “Our new roommate must also be sensitive. Are you sensitive?Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! These girls are a Sad Geezers dream! Stanley replies weakly, “Parts of me are very sensitive.” What he should have said was, ‘Hey baby I’m a nineties guy, why don’t you sit on my knee and we’ll talk about what comes up’ or ‘It depends how firm I am’ or ‘I’m sensitive right here – look!’

Slinka and Yoyo comment on the fact that their last roommate was neither firm or sensitive (poor guy, he must have run out of Viagra) and ask Stanley, “So…. can you leave us a deposit?!

Whoa, go for it buddy! But Stanley replies meekly, “yeah, I think I could manage to leave you a deposit. If I’m the guy that erm… that erm… {the clappometer swings sharply to the left}.. erm… If I’m the guy that you’re looking for. I could.. erm.. ye know……Most of the male audience are frantically sat on the edge of their seats trying to help him out, ‘And where exactly do you want me to leave it?’ or, ‘Can I give it to you both at the same time?’ or, ‘no problem, can I leave you a tip?’ or, ‘Ok girls, help yourself, and you can keep the change.’ …. etc.

OK, OK, maybe we were thinking of something a little more explicit. His impotence is made worse when Stanley completely freezes after a short, frigid confrontation with the girls’ landlord, Mr Beetle (also played by Lex Gigeroff). Unfortunately Stanley didn’t come-up with the right comeback and his show was prematurely ejaculated… erm…. I mean ended.

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790 meanwhile, is having a miserable time on Talk Time. The host (played by Lex Gigeroff) listens patiently to 790 droning on about Xev until he introduces a ‘famous’ film star called Knock Ironball’ (I probably miss-heard that, but it seems appropriate) an actor who looks strangely like one of Xev’s students. 790 impatiently continues to ask for Xev.

Stanley Tweedle is now playing a part in a sort of hospital drama. He’s beginning to get a little bored with the game and tries to perform an examination on one of the patients (Slinka, playing another part). He is interrupted by Yoyo dressed as a nurse. She tells him that he must urgently perform an operation. I think Stanley already had that in mind.

Suddenly a malfunctioning, whiskey swilling, female robot character appears and accuses Stan of having an affair with one of his patients (he should be so lucky) and while Stanley objects, the robo-lush attempts to kill the patient. But it’s too late, Xev has her own showStanley is just as good at the hospital drama as he is at Girl-Time and the show is cancelled.

Xev meanwhile is doing very well indeed. She has moved on to her own show, The Xev Show, and is the centre of attention with a group of half dressed male dancers. Actually she is doing really well (she is after all, surrounded by a bunch of half-naked blokes doting on her every want and desire).

Slinka slinks onto the stageThe thoroughly bored 790 is still shouting for Xev, when the Talk Show Host introduces another half-dressed character (an actress/model this time) played by Slinkla, onto the show. She walks VERY provocatively to her chair by 790 and is almost dressed a wonderfully scant costume. Her opening line is a cracker! “I have nice breasts.

The audience (and I) cheered, but 790 was unconvinced and explains, “Technically you have breasts, but can your puffy bags even remotely compare to the bouncy bosoms of my dreamboat on the river of love.” He then shouts for Xev again and the viewing audience quite rightly show their appreciation with the absence of applause. 790’s show is cancelled.

Wadda GREAT costume!Stanley has now been demoted to a character on a children’s show. He stands, dressed in a nappy, on a small stage surrounded by a bunch of precocious kiddies. The host of the show (played by Lex Gigeroff) asks the children if they like balloons before asking Stanley, “What about you Daipper’s, do you like balloons, or do you like making a booboo in your bubby (or bummy or something – he gestured to Stanley’s rather large nappy).

Stanley has had enough. He takes off his nappy and hurls abuse at the clown. He is momentarily interrupted by one of the precocious kiddies, “You’re bum stinks Diaper’s!” Stanley elegantly retorts with grimace and promptly kicks the little kiddie’s head off! Now this is a show I can watch! Unfortunately the clappometer doesn’t agree and the show is immediately cancelled. There are no more shows left in which Stanley can participate. Except one that is. Stanley is forced to play on …. Speciality Show. He falls through a trapdoor.

Xev is performing a song and dance routine with her half-dressed, sycophantic dance troop, when we see the audience. They are a large collection of heads contained in boxes. Their response to a particular show is monitored and recorded as a positive or negative swing on the clappometer. There are hundreds of these heads and it seems that they are kept alive artificially.

Off with his head!Stanley listens to the smarmy geezer explain the rules of Speciality show. There is only one rule – decapitation! Stanley’s head will be chopped off and will then become an addition to the viewing audience. Slinka and Yoyo are dressed in black uniforms and the objecting Stanley is shot with a tazer by an ugly looking geezer also dressed in black (and played by Lex Gigeroff – this bloke gets around huh?). He turns to the camera and grins, “And tonight, here on Speciality show. You get to see one more scumbag bite the dust!

On the LEXX, Kai wakes up. I’m not sure what prompted this, but if he ever needed to be revived, now was the time. He sees Stanley’s predicament on the monitor and rushes off to TV World.

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Xev cries for her KaiXev has stopped her song and dance routine and is giving a monologue on the trials and tribulations of being a sex slave in love with a dead geezer. This was really well done. So far we’ve seen Xev as a rather big headed bimbo type character, but watching Xenia’s eyes water as she tells of her sadness was moving and well acted. And then, this powerful scene was shattered into tiny little pieces with the last line! Xev’s tears are beginning to flow in torrents as she utters, “I guess…. pretty girls can be lonely too!” I think most of us burst out laughing at this point! That cliché was so corny, it came on the cob.

Xev’s ratings plummet and her own show is cancelled. She is however, disinterested with the game and yet, is forced to play in other shows. Bored with these, she progresses gradually downwards and ends up on Speciality Show. As is 790 following a particularly poor appearance on a game show (in which we again see the writer Lex Gigeroff playing one of the contestants).

It’s all up to Kai to save the day. He enters Girl-Time and is singularly unimpressed by Slinka and Yoyo. All Kai can utter is the phrase, “Where is Stanley Tweedle!” Kai is most certainly not Pretty Fly For a Dead Guy! He follows Stanley’s trail until he reaches Speciality Show. Just as Stanley is about to get his head chopped off, Kai pushes past him and takes his place. Moments before Kai’s head leaves his body, he suggests that (the still dazed) Stanley hurries to find Xev.

It’s all up to Kai to save the day. He enters Girl-Time and is singularly unimpressed by Slinka and Yoyo. All Kai can utter is the phrase, “Where is Stanley Tweedle!” Kai is most certainly Hello sweetie!not Pretty Fly For a Dead Guy! He follows Stanley’s trail until he reaches Speciality Show. Just as Stanley is about to get his head chopped off, Kai pushes past him and takes his place. Moments before Kai’s head leaves his body, he suggests that (the still dazed) Stanley hurries to find Xev.

790 joins Kai’s head in the audience chamber as Stanley attempts to find Xev. While looking in the Hospital Drama show, 'Good Grief Kai!  Vhanged yer hairstyle!'he sees that robo-lush now has Kai’s body! Stanley knocks her head off (as you do) to the applause of the audience and carts off the body to Speciality Show. There he finds Xev. She too has been tazered and is about to be decapitated. In the nick of time, Stanley uses Kai’s handy wrist gadget to shoot the head bloke in the back and rescue her.

Xev and Stan then find the Audience Chamber and rescue 790 and Kai’s head. They pause momentarily and look at the muttering, decapitated remains of previous TV World contestants. Wadda lodda heads!There are hundreds of them placed in boxes all around. The scene was silent and really quite powerful. For a frivolous attempt at parody, this was a poignant moment and quite moving.

Mantrid strikes again!When our four heroes get back to the LEXX, Xev tries to explain that when she was on stage she felt special. Stan points out that the whole world was artificial, non of the characters were alive. Kai sternly, and rather predictably, points out that being alive isn’t everything. (Speak for yourself mate!).

The show ends with Mantrid’s ship and little arm buddy’s doing the customary demolition job on TV World! And good riddance if you ask me!

I absolutely adored this episode (not just because of Slinka and Yoyo) and have to rate Lafftrak a hot 31,719 out of 10. What did you think?

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This episode review is © 1999-2019 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission

The LEXX names, characters, pictures and everything else associated with the series are the property of SALTER ST FILMS & TiMe Film-und TV-Produktions GmbH in association with Screen Partners. All rights reserved.

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