"Monkey Goes Wild about Heaven" (Season 1, Episode 1)

[By Howell Parry]


Voiceover: "Thousands of years ago, and now, in a magical land very like ancient China was the apes' mountain of fruit and flowers. Spirit and beast were always at war. Somehow every war seemed to involve the apes. And the King of them all was Monkey".

We see Monkey and his fellow apes fighting with some demons; Monkey shouts, "I love to fight!"

In the Western Heaven, the Jade Emperor sits with his lady friend the Star Vega (it's implied he's having an affair with her). He's concerned about all the mayhem down on Earth. He plans to investigate what's going on. The Martial of the Heavenly Host (Pigsy in human form) and the Commander of the Heavenly Host (Sandy in human form) make the arrangements. The Jade Emperor is told about Monkey, his magic and that he calls himself "Great Sage, Equal of Heaven."

Monkey tells his monkeys of his latest victory (against the Demon of Havoc), and says he wants a great weapon, and one of them tells him to go to see the Old King Dragon of the Western Ocean. He goes there to ask for a weapon, but the King refuses. After Monkey grabs his throat and demands a weapon, the King's daughter, the Princess, comes to see Monkey and says she might be able to find him a weapon. She takes him to a room and shows him a huge staff, about the width of the room. She shrinks it to the size of a matchstick. Monkey has a go, and he changes it to various sizes. He takes the magic wishing staff with him.

The Dragon King complains to Heaven about Monkey's threatening behaviour, and a spirit, the Spirit of the Planet Venus (who has the appearance of an old man with a long white beard), comes down to see Monkey, and invites him to Heaven "to be rewarded". Monkey gets excited and agrees to go with him to Heaven.

Voiceover: "How long must a fool who misses the way wander through his many lives".

A week later, the Spirit of the Planet Venus goes to see the Jade Emperor, and reminds him that Monkey has been waiting to see him all this time. Without warning, Monkey bursts into the room, saying, "Here you all are. I've been looking for you lot." He gets told off for being disrespectful to the Jade Emperor, and Monkey says he can't show respect for someone he can't see. He goes forward to pull up the screen that's in front of the Emperor, and shouts "Good day, Emperor". Sandy pushes him and tells him off. A fights erupts, but is stopped short by the Spirit of the Planet Venus.

Voiceover: "Quarrelling before the throne of Heaven, Monkey thus met Sandy".

They try to find a job for Monkey to do, and it turns out that the only vacancy is for Director of the Heavenly Stables. Monkey gets excited ("A Director!") and sits for a meal with his new co-workers. He points to a pole and asks one of the men "If this were the list of the ranks of Heaven, am I about here?" and points to a position about his height. He is told that he's a little lower down. Monkey moves his hand gradually further down the pole, but the man keeps telling him it's further. Eventually, Monkey asks him exactly where his rank would be. To his horror, the man slides his hand all the way to the ground, and Monkey realises he doesn't feature on this list at all, and that his only duty is to clear out the horse's barns. He loses his temper, makes his staff big and starts smashing things.

The Jade Emperor finds out about Monkey's tantrum, and considers punishing him. With some persuasion, the Spirit of the Planet Venus persuades the Emperor to offer him another job - "Honourable Guardian of the Heavenly Peach Garden."

Monkey is chasing the stable workers, and comes face-to-face with Star Vega (the Jade Emperor's lady friend) in front of Heaven's Gate. He decides to kidnap her and use her as a hostage. At this point, Pigsy appears, introduces himself and threatens to tell the Emperor about Monkey's kidnapping plans. A fight starts.

Voiceover: "And fighting by Heaven's Gate was how Monkey first met Pigsy".

The Spirit of the Planet Venus appears yet again to stop Monkey's fight, and escorts him to the Peach Garden. Monkey tells him he doesn't want to be "a gardener". The Spirit explains to Monkey how important the job is. He shows him the three different kinds of peach, and tells him the benefits to be gained from eating each.

The small peaches ripen once every 3000 years - he says, "you'll become supernaturally strong."
The medium peaches ripen every 6000 years - he says, "you'll never age; you can levitate at will."
The large peaches ripen every 9000 years - he says, "you'll be like Heaven itself; one would outlast the entire Universe".

The Spirit explains to Monkey that the peaches are not for everyone to eat; they're picked every once in a while when the Emperor has a peach banquet. He then leaves Monkey alone in the peach garden. Immediately, Monkey begins eating the peaches - he takes one bite from each, and throws it over his shoulder. Eventually, he starts eating the large ones.

Meanwhile, the Emperor and the Queen are making plans for one of their peach banquets, the first one in 4321 million years (the Queen remarks "It seems like just yesterday"). They send some fairy maidens to pick peaches. When they arrive at the peach garden, they are amazed that there are no ripe peaches left. Monkey confronts them, and accuses them of being "evil demons". They tell him they've come to pick peaches for the Queen's peach banquet. He is shocked, and is annoyed that he's not been invited.

He chases them into the banqueting room, where he meets the Queen of Heaven. He rudely takes a seat at the head of the table, where her sacred Jade Treasure Cup is positioned. She tells him off for sitting there, and tells him that he wasn't invited there, and shouldn't be there. He tells her to speak to the Emperor, and that he'd just approved Monkey's new title "Great Sage, Equal of Heaven". She laughs at him, and says to him, "You're a monkey, that's what you are. Just a great ape." He calls her an "old witch", and begins spinning his stick in anger. The Queen screams out "Mind the cup, he mustn't smash the Jade Cup", and one of the maidens grabs it. He chases them, and shouts, "All right, it's war!"

Sandy is sitting with Pigsy, who is upset because he fancies the Lady Vega, and she has no interest in him. Sandy tells him to forget about it, and tries to cheer him up by reminding him that he's got a good job there in Heaven.

Suddenly, the maidens come running past, screaming that Monkey is chasing them. Monkey appears, and declares that he wants to fight the Emperor. A fight breaks out between Sandy, Pigsy and Monkey. The Emperor appears with Star Vega and tells Monkey to stop, but he responds with "I want to challenge Heaven". The fight continues, then Sandy tells Pigsy to protect the Jade Fish Cup, while he deals with Monkey. Pigsy goes and drags Star Vega away, to "guard her". Sandy runs off and grabs the Jade Fish Cup from one of the maidens to save it, but Monkey hits it, smashing it into pieces.

The Emperor is furious with Sandy, who is desperately trying to defend himself. He tells Sandy "Think of the trouble it will cause on Earth". He says, "Expel this spirit from Heaven." Sandy freezes, then falls from the sky, into a lake. Loads of knives fall down from the sky after him, and land all around him in the water.

Pigsy is still "rescuing" Star Vega. She tells him "You're not to touch me. You're as bad as him, and you smell of wine." He replies "It's a manly smell". She stumbles away; Pigsy takes a swig of wine, then follows her and grabs her. She screams, "Let me go", and runs off. Suddenly, the Emperor arrives on the scene; she tells him what's happened, and he's furious. He beckons Pigsy over, and tells him "You're expelled to Earth, as a pig monster." Pigsy is horrified - "A pig!" He freezes, falls from the sky, and lands in a field (he makes a hole) full of pigs, who are all sniffing around him.

Back in Heaven, the Emperor's army chases Monkey on their clouds, but Monkey's well ahead of them on his pink cloud. He lands his cloud, and they all descend for a big battle.

Voiceover: "Even a starving camel is still bigger than a horse".

Monkey shouts out, "Emperor, I want your job". Back at the palace, the Queen tells the Emperor they should ask for help from the Buddha.

We see a female Buddha strolling along, thinking to herself, "Since gentleness seems to be needed in this case, perhaps I should be in my female aspect". While Monkey is still fighting, she calls out, "Son Aware of Vacuity, listen to me. Come to the Himalayas, Monkey." Buddha waits, sitting with her head and shoulders above the clouds. Monkey appears at the top of the Himalayas, above the clouds, and faces her. He says, "I always thought you were a fella." She tells him, "Let us have a small wager. If you can fly out of Buddha's hand, I shall tell the Jade Emperor to leave the Western Heaven to you."

Monkey jumps onto her hand, and whistles for his cloud. He flies through thick clouds and rain, and reaches 5 pillars, which he considers to be the "5 pillars at the end of the Universe." He wonders how he can prove he's been there, and comes up with an idea - "Yes, a bit of graffiti". He plucks a chest hair, and turns it into a chunky paintbrush. He writes on one of the pillars (in Japanese) "The Great Sage, King Monkey, Equal of Heaven was here." He then urinates on it.

He flies back to Buddha, really pleased with himself, tells her he's been to the end of the Universe, and says that the 5 pillars are "the colour of skin". She laughs, and shows him her hand. Monkey is horrified to see that he's written on Buddha's finger. She tells him he's lost the wager; he panics, and tries to fly away, but she puts out her hand and grabs him. She says "Learn patience". He falls from the sky, and hundreds of rocks fall on top of him. He's trapped under the rocks, and can't move. A magical piece of cloth with lettering on it lands from the sky and sticks to the rock above him (it's a Buddha seal). He shouts for help.

The Emperor and his servants bow to Buddha and thank her. Buddha talks about the bad in the world; she says that worse things are to come, and that scriptures will be given to the people of the world. She tells them that a holy man must be sent to fetch them from Buddha, now that the 500-year-old temple has been built.

We see lots of bandit gangs on horseback, stealing, killing and burning down a village. Tripitaka sits there (without a hat) praying in the midst of all this mayhem. The bandits spot him ("A boy priest!") and say they're going to kill him. He carries on praying, and does not acknowledge them. One of the bandits comments that the priest is not afraid and that he must know something; they all look worried, and leave. Tripitaka bows his head, closes his eyes and carries on praying. The bandits leave the village and a group of villagers shoo them away ("And don't come back!"). They all settle around Tripitaka, and bow down. Tripitaka says some Buddhist words of wisdom.

We see Sandy, with skulls around his neck, emerging from under the water, gasping for air, with his eyes closed.

We see Pigsy, with his big pig ears, shaggy blonde hair and eyebrows, walking through lots of overgrown bushes, in tears.

The last scene features Monkey, stuck in the rock, during an incredible rainstorm, with lots of lightning. He's screaming that he's been there for 500 years - "Let me out!"

The episode finishes with Monkey shouting to Buddha "You're doing it to yourself, don't you see? It's YOU that's stuck in here."

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