“Mystery Science Theater 3000″ had a good thing going. Take terrible movies no one wanted to watch and hurdle as many barbs at them as the running time would allow. While a simple premise, the payoff for MST3K was years on the air and a loyal cult following. Attempting a similar feat but falling well short of its mark is “Alan Smithee Presents The Andy Griffith Show”. Consisting of two episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” with commentary by either fictional producer Alan Smithee along with fictional CBS network exec Johnny Steed or the “real” sheriff the show was based on along with a young fan “Alan Smithee Presents the Andy Griffith Show” is simply a homemade “MST3K” without the silhouettes on the screen.
Are some of the comments funny? Sure are. Johnny Steed “remembering” that Don Knotts loved giving out boxes of rifles as gifts for all occasions is pretty inspired but for every hit there are far too many misses. The main problem here is that while “MST3K” was funny for going after laughable films often times consisting of men running around in rubber suits, the heads of Alan Smithee Presents go after a well meaning comedy. Essentially there is nothing happening that is particularly worthy of ridicule or comment. A complete redubbing of the show ala Woody Allen’s “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” managing to add a darker spin to the light hearted actions being portrayed would have paid off to greater effect.
“Alan Smithee Presents the Andy Griffith Show” is well meaning and there is potential for further incarnations but the humor needs to relate more to the shows being profiled along with more commentary worthy programming.