Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988)

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis Poster

It is nearly a generation since we've visited Dobie Gillis, and the middle-aged Dobie is nothing like he was as a youth, having has sown all of his wild oats. He's settled into the predictable adult life, married to the reliable Zelda (who was chasing him all through high-school), and assumed his father's role of running the family variety store. All of a sudden, key industries in the town shut down, putting hundreds out of work and severely threatening the local economy. Dobie, as head of the town council, is looked upon to lead the town out of this desperate crisis. When all seems lost, life-long friend Maynard G. Krebs appears, representing an old acquaintance who has a strange demand.

"Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis" is a made-for-television comedy movie released in 1988, directed by Stanley Z. Cherry. The film is a reunion film, functioning as a follow up to the CBS sitcom, "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" that aired from 1959 to 1963. It brings back most of the initial cast members consisting of Dwayne Hickman as Dobie Gillis, Bob Denver as Maynard G. Krebs, Frank Faylen as Herbert T. Gillis, and Florida Friebus as Winnie Gillis.

The plot of the movie delves into the lives of the main characters twenty-five years after the original series ended. Dobie Gillis is now middle-aged, married to Zelda (Sheila James Kuehl), and they have a teenage son called Georgie (played by Billy Jayne). Despite being a successful grocery store owner, Dobie still dreams of a wealthier lifestyle.

The movie kicks off with Dobie's former tormentor, Milton Armitage (Warren Beatty in the initial series, Steve Franken in the film), appearing to extol his elegant way of life filled with wealth and women. This revives Dobie's old propensity of aiming for an affluent life.

Consisted of in the mix, Maynard G. Krebs, Dobie's beatnik pal who loathes work, is shown as an eccentric millionaire. Expanding his character from the original series, Krebs's fortune in the film originates from an innovation he comes across that can convert easy trash into important products.

Significant Themes
The society's fascination with wealth and the meaning of success form the main themes of the movie. Dobie's lingering frustration with his life, regardless of having a loving family and a stable job, is a driving force for the story. His longstanding wish of building up wealth puts a strain on his personal life.

Cameo Appearances and Callbacks
The film consists of cameos from crucial characters from the original series, consisting of Dobie's original sweetheart Thalia Menninger (Tuesday Weld), who notifies him that she's carrying his child. The film is sprinkled with flashbacks from the initial television series, functioning as a classic journey down memory lane for fans of the show.

The Final Twist
The resolution of "Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis" curtails the physical pursuit of wealth, with Dobie utilizing Krebs's innovation to turn rocks into gold, only to recognize that it destabilizes the economy, triggering a depression. In the end, Dobie ultimately discovers that his seeming dullness was in truth a life enriched with love and satisfaction, while wealth could just bring materialistic joy and social turmoil.

Critical Reception
"Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis" was well-received by the audience as a classic throwback to the popular timeless sitcom. The reprise roles performed by the original cast together with the more recent elements introduced helped maintain a connection with the previous series while providing a fresh spin to the narrative. Together with the laughs, the movie brought a sagacious message, a review of the capitalists' dream, highlighting that wealth does not necessarily ensure happiness or fulfillment.

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