Saturday, February 16, 2019

Short Reviews of RiffTrax Shorts: The Norman Saga

It's Short Reviews of RiffTrax Shorts, our new series where the title is almost as long as the actual reviews!  We are going to take a look at a RiffTrax Short almost every day this year, until we run out of shorts.  That will get us through the majority of the year, so strap in for madness!

(Released November 6, 2013)

Norman Krasner is a guy who is constantly getting crapped on by life.  As seen in Norman Krasner—the first appearance of Norman—he can't even escape it while he is crapping.

Now, this was not our first exposure to Norman.  I am going in a presumed "story" order, and not the order they were released by RiffTrax.

In this misadventure, Norman goes to use the pay toilets at work.  First, he doesn't have any change.  Then the stall doesn't have any toilet paper.  He tries reaching under the stall to grab some from the other stall, and the guy in there does something that I'm not going to spoil.  The rest of the visit is downhill from there, culminating with Norman getting trapped in the stall with no one around to help him get out.  Presumably this happened on a Friday, as everyone was leaving work, meaning he was there for the whole weekend.

(Released November 6, 2013)

The second Norman short was shown before RiffTrax Live: Birdemic, and that is the version of this riff I watched.  This one is about Norman being off on a business trip, and his dreadful evening at the hotel.

The best/worst part of this short is the whole sequence of Norman trying to take a shower.  Yes, his whole evening is wrecked, but the bit in the shower is special.

One thing I just noticed with this watch is that the operator calls his room to relay a message from his wife Mildred.  But in Norman Krasner, it says his wife is Irma.  Kinda makes me wonder about what happened with his first marriage.  Did she just have enough of being married to the guy who is both a schlemiel and a schlimazel?  Or did she die in some sort of terrible accident?

(Released November 6, 2013)

This was our first glimpse into the world of Norman.  The riff of Welcome Back, Norman premiered with RiffTrax Live: "Manos" the Hands of Fate, and that is the version I watched for this.

Poor Norman is returning from a business trip—presumably the one from Norman Checks In—and everything seems to be going okay until he gets to his car in the parking lot.  He can't get into his car because people are parked to close, he leaves his briefcase on the roof of his car, he burns his crotch while lighting a cigarette, and a few other fun little things.

I also figured out that Norman lives in Michigan.  I'm glad I'm watching these again(for the nth time), because I'm learning all kinds of fascinating tidbits about Norman!

This short was also a part of the Night of the Shorts - SF Sketchfest 2013.

(Released April 18, 2014)

The fourth and final chapter in the Norman quadrilogy is about Norman and his attempt at giving an important speech.

His boss tells him he won't be there in the morning for the important presentation, so Norman has to give the presentation and write a ten minute speech to summarize said presentation.

The cleaning lady comes in and accidentally vacuums up some of the slides for his presentation, his speech ends up in the toilet, someone spills hot coffee on his head, and he somehow ends up on crutches.

I had to do all four of these shorts together, because you really have to watch all of them.  They are some of the funniest shorts RiffTrax has released.

If you've never seen any of them, I recommend watching them in the order they were riffed:

  • Welcome Back, Norman
  • Norman Checks In
  • Norman Krasner
  • Norman Gives A Speech

The only reason I think you should watch them in this order is because of the riffs.  In Welcome Back, Norman, the guys don't really know who Norman is.  If you watch it after the other two, some of the riffs are going to come across as weird.

The Norman Saga gets five Normans checking in out of five, and all four are PB&A Essentials.

As a special bonus, my good buddy Dave Chadwick (SugarRayDodge) has imagined a fifth chapter to give us an ending to the Norman Saga for The Great American Storybook.

What are you waiting for?  Go read Norman's Finest Hour!