RVOD140 The Calendar: How to Use It

(1970s-ish, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

Thirty days hath September / I’m someone you want to dismember...

Rating: ****

In a Nutshell:

Oddly dressed calendar models teach youngsters how read the date.


While reading a calendar, please remember to breath.A little girl shows up a day late to her friend’s birthday party. Embarrassed, she goes home and sits on her bed staring at the calendar. The lustrously-clothed calendar models spring to life and explain how to tell what day it is using common abbreviations, a previously unknown system of counting known as “numbers,” and a confusing, knuckle-based mnemonic device. They vanish at odd intervals to make room for a sleeveless rocker, who strums arbitrary notes on his electric guitar while repeating the models’ instructions in song.


A word about the calendar rocker’s calendar songs: they are calendar tuneless. I mean, you may have calendar thought that the songs calendar from Monkey See Monkey Do: Verbs were tuneless, but calendar believe me, you calendar ain’t heard nothin’ yet. After sitting through the calendar songs in this calendar short, you still won’t have heard anything.

Beyond that, The Calendar: How to Use It is an odd little film with no real target audience, as surely a brain that needs instruction this basic also lacks the capacity to imbue sounds and images with meaning. Add this to its unabashedly awful soundtrack and relentless cheerfulness and you’ve got a film made in riffer heaven.

Given such low-hanging fruit, the riffers could have phoned in just about anything and made it funny. Fortunately, they appear to have found the rich source material inspiring. A few favorite comments: When the really, really white calendar people appear, offering to teach the time-ignorant child the wonders of calendars, Mike says, “But first, we’ll make you a lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich on wonderbread!” When the calendar rocker appears for the musical recap, Bill says, “This guy could easily win a Make Everyone Hate You contest.” As the songs and instruction grow more annoying and remedial with every word, Kevin complains, “He is actually pushing information out of my head.” At one point, the models attempt some of the stupidest wordplay ever conceived, causing all three riffer’s heads to explode. An unnamed third party appears to announce the Rifftrax’s cancellation due to mass death, but fortunately they get better less than a minute later. This one goes on the “Riffs Absolutely Everyone Must See” pile.