How will this N.B.A. Finals rank among the great sequels of all time?

By Andrew J. Pridgen

It was the summer of 1991 and the re-match was drawn in a place where all the amazing happens: Good vs. Evil. Old Guard vs. Up-and-comers. Who’s the GOAT and who’s the Next GOAT. A clash of the coasts in a shootout the likes of which we’d never seen…(only we’d seen it a few years before.)

No, I’m not referring to Magic v. Michael — I’m talking Mannequin Two: On the Move.

There are MANY similarities between the 1987 original and the 1991 sequel about a man who falls in love with a giant Barbie but with nipples who comes to life like a girl on the other end of a 900 number line and helps him design fucka bangin’ department store windows after hours — but also runs into some trouble keeping that kind of magic under wraps.

But, there are many differences as well. The second Mannequin ditched its marquee players — Kim Cottrell before she became known as a big old B to work with on the SATC set and Andrew McCarthy after he was Blaine but before he was a kick-ass travel writer — and replaced them with Kristy Swanson (pre-Buffy) and William Ragsdale (pre- Judging Amy, Big Momma’s House 2.)

They also made the plot of a lonely dude who works nights in a Philly-based Woolworth’s-type establishment even more, um, regal.

In the sequel, the guy — who comes in to rescue the girl from an eternity of expressionless clothes-wearing travails through space and time because of a (duh!) cursed amulet which was ginned up by an evil sorcerer working on commission for an evil count for no reason other than the fact that they probably only lived to be about sixteen — is actually a sort of reincarnated prince who has a nasty habit of double parking his Jeep Wrangler.

…The spell was that she is to remain a department store Mannequin until the end of time or (because medieval department stores pissed the count off apparently; something about the waits at the fragrance counter register) until she receives a kiss from her true love…or until brick and mortar retail isn’t a thing anymore.

This all goes down under the watch of window designing savant/Designing Women mainstay Meshach “Hollywood” Taylor (think: the closetedly fabulous precursor to Titus Andromedon.)

Also it’s worth nothing, Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now is featured on both the first and second installment soundtracks. Nobody this side of John Williams recycles more than the Mannequin franchise music supervisors.

…By now you probably know that Mannequin Two: On the Move moved nothing at the box office. Its paltry $3.8 million take didn’t quite stack up to its $13 mil. budget and even though it is the second-most purchased Laserdisc of all time (Ishtar being no. 1) the second in the Mannequin series has for decades been rebuffed and turned into a punchline by critics and Hollywood elite.

Indeed, nothing did stop the Mannequin franchise except for bad writing, off-beat casting and the strange movie poster which generally resembles the first best-ever meme (see: above.)

I guess the point of this is, sequels are never good as the first go-around.

That’s true in movies and it’s true in life. it’ll be true in this year’s N.B.A. final. The second installment may have more firepower (a fully loaded Cleveland squad) but not near the same pop.

Forget last year’s Warriors v. Cavs 1.0 (all I remember from that is Dray Green getting HAMMERED at the parade and being awesome with Marshawn Lynch on his float and throwing down some delicious raps), nothing is even going to rival what Golden State just had with OKC.

While all the bean counters in Bristol and TNT headquarters on planet Bleacher Report are liking the fact that LeBron is going to do something on that court that can even come close (for the 6th year in a row) to equal his acting chops in Trainwreck (that scene where he splits the check with Hader…whaaaaat!) the fact is there’s nothing more powerful than the imagination…well, maybe full benefits for only working 30 hours/week.

And I imagine LeBron’s continued existential evolution and recognition of all the near-misses that have defined his past (two NBA titles in six tries through twelve seasons — thus far) will continue regardless of this year’s outcome. Win or lose, Cleveland, after all, will still be Cleveland.

To me these upcoming finals — regardless of the outcome — will probably live in my mind like lunch today: I went up to get ketchup for my fries and the woman in front of me was taking FOR-FUCKING-EVER filling her three (wait, four!) little paper ketchup holders …I don’t use those because the environment, hello! (I just go to pump it straight onto the fries.) But she took SO MUCH ketchup that it ran out and then they had to switch out the giant plastic ketchup bladder thing which looked like a colostomy bag — so, I lost my appetite for ketchup and pretty much everything else.

…If you’re at home trying to construct how a perfect finals would be (Warriors in seven and the confetti machine in Oracle finally NOT working in the end) while a bunch of blabbers who learn the word penultimate actually means this week will use it without prejudice game six — then maybe that’s what you’ll get.

…Let’s just hope evil Count Gunther Spretzle doesn’t roll up the scene to take Jessie and the amulet and hop a flight for Bermuda first.

Incredible image: Matt Fitch

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