The Piano Has Been Thinking is a musical episode of Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars.
- Sparks Nevada - Marc Evan Jackson
- Croach the Tracker - Mark Gagliardi
- The Red Plains Rider - Busy Philipps
- The Barkeep - Joshua Malina
- The Saloon Doors - Annie Savage
- The Marshal Station Doors - Annie Savage
- Felton - Craig Cackowski
- Mool Mutante - John DiMaggio
- A Mutante - Autumn Reeser
- Narrator - James Urbaniak
- Rebecca Rose Rushmore - Linda Cardellini
- Cactoid Jim - Nathan Fillion
- Techs - J.K. Simmons
- Blut Mutante - David Fury
- Shub Mutante - Grant-Lee Phillips
- Other Los Banditos Mutantes - Elin Hampton, Emma Danoff
- The Piano - John Hodgman
Felton enters the Space Saloon, and strikes up conversation with the Barkeep. Felton notices that the Saloon's player piano is playing itself, and the Barkeep replies that since he lost his piano player to the blob infestation the previous week, he bought the new piano, which has a limited AI. Felton then notices that the Saloon Doors have a crush on Croach the Tracker and declares it crazy and impossible.
Felton arrives at the Marshal station and is surprised to see Techs and not Sparks Nevada. Techs tells Felton that he was sent to kill Sparks, but he chose to do it metaphorically by calling his alacrity into question, taking his job and reputation, thus metaphorically killing him first. Felton then tells Techs about the singing, and demonstrates by singing “Haaaalp."
Techs says he will look into the singing soon, as he means to do an even better job Marshaling than Sparks did, but as it doesn't seem to be harmful it will have to wait a bit.
Los Banditos Mutantes arrive, and Techs deputizes the gang to find Sparks Nevada, running him out of town or bringing him in to jail him, dead or alive. Los Banditos Mutantes sing “Cantinela Peligrosa” to prove their ferocity in finding Sparks Nevada. They say that they don't normally sing, as they are not Los Banditos Cantantes.
After the duet, Rebecca Rose Rushmore questions Sparks as to why he was singing one half of a song, and Sparks doesn't know why, calling it weird. Rebecca and Sparks then bicker when Rebecca calls Sparks the former Marshal on Mars. Rebecca says this is their chance to ride off into the sunset together, as Space Marshals so rarely do in reality. Sparks is unsure of this ending.
Elsewhere, Cactoid Jim and The Red Plains Rider are off riding the plains of Mars together, giddy in love. Cactoid Jim then proposes to Red, and she accepts. They then sing the duet "Written in the Stars" together.
Back at the Space Saloon, the Saloon Doors are still moping over her crush on Croach, despite the Barkeep's pleadings for her to cheer up. Croach then enters, lamenting that he is very close to completing his onus to Sparks Nevada, but with Sparks Nevada in hiding, he can not complete it, nor can he track Sparks Nevada without accruing even more onus. In an attempt to cheer Croach up, the Barkeep gives Croach his first beer, which Croach enjoys.
Croach, the Barkeep and The Saloon Doors sing "Poor Me (Pour Me Another)," and Croach grows even more despondent that he utilized melody and metaphor, as, if anyone in his tribe found out, he would be shamed, exiled and possibly executed.
As they finish the song, Los Banditos Mutantes enter the saloon, and decide to take everyone in the saloon hostage until Sparks Nevada comes to rescue them. They sing “Cantinela Peligrosa Numero Dos” to enforce how serious they are. In the distraction, the Saloon Doors sneaks Croach out so he can go track Sparks Nevada.
Back at Rebecca Rose Rushmore's, Sparks and Rebecca are having a spat about the seriousness of their relationship. They sing “Getting Nowhere Fast,” where Sparks insists they take the relationship slow and Rebecca insists they take it much faster. Despite Sparks enjoying their relationship, it's clear Rebecca wants more than he's prepared to give at the moment. Near the end of the song, Croach enters and informs Sparks he's needed at the Saloon. Croach also informs Sparks that if they dispatch the Mutantes, he will fulfill his onus to Sparks and leave. Croach suspects Sparks is afraid of the Mutantes, where Rebecca insists he's afraid of commitment.
Croach, Sparks and Rebecca head towards town. They ride through a wedding, which turns out to be Red and Jim's wedding, which Felton is attending and Techs is officiating. The entire cast sings the "Broadway Style Medley Reprise," also called the Wedding Melody. Cactoid Jim and The Red Plains Rider are married by Techs, Sparks keeps wondering why Rebecca is pushing the relationship and keeps threatening to kill Techs, Rebecca continues to push Sparks, the Barkeep continues to insist he don't want no trouble in his place, the Saloon continues to mope over Croach, while Croach both sings to Sparks and laments his use of metaphor, Felton panics, and the Mutantes continue to threaten Sparks.
Sparks, Croach and Rebecca arrive at the Space Saloon and confront Los Banditos Mutantes. Sparks and Croach shoot and kill all of the Mutantes while they are still threatening to kill them during “Cantinela Peligrosa Numero Tres.”
Once the Mutantes are dead, Croach announces his onus is complete, and he is returning to his tribe to live out his days in serenity. Sparks tries to talk Croach into staying, saying he can be committed to his tribe while still having adventures, while also talking about himself and his relationship with Rebecca Rose Rushmore. Croach attempts to leave, but before he can go, the piano begins playing on its own again, and transforms into a walking and talking piano.
The Piano declares that love is not a malfunction, and the Saloon Doors says it feels like one to her. Croach asks who she's in love with and everyone tells Croach it's him. Croach is shocked. The piano then confesses he has been in love with the Saloon Doors since he arrived, but kept it a secret as she's in love with Croach. The Piano had been dispelling the radiation that had been causing everyone to sing in hope that everyone would realize the love inside of them. As Croach hurt the Saloon Doors unknowingly and his plan didn't work, the Piano declares that love is not the malfunction, humanity is, and they must be eradicated. Croach will also be eradicated, for more personal reasons. Sparks shoots the piano for threatening to kill everyone. The Piano then sings his part in "Poor Me (Pour Me Another) Reprise" and dies.
The Saloon, realizing what true love is and that she missed her chance, sings her part in the Reprise, then grows arms and legs. All of the humans and Croach run outside, and the Space Saloon walks away.
In the end, Croach leaves Sparks. Rebecca, realizing her level of affection will never be returned, also leaves Sparks. With his last two good friends newly married, and still not having his Marshal badge, Sparks and the Barkeep decide to take up adventuring together, since he doesn't have a place to barkeep anymore.
All song titles taken from the WorkJuice blog.
- "I Don't Want No Trouble In My Place" Performed by: The Barkeep and Felton
- “Haaaalp” Performed by: Felton
- “Cantinela Peligrosa” Performed by: Los Banditos Mutantes
- "I'm Gonna Kill You Someday" Performed by: Techs and Sparks Nevada
- "Written in the Stars" Performed by: The Red Plains Rider and Cactoid Jim
- "Poor Me (Pour Me Another)" Performed by: Croach the Tracker, The Barkeep, and The Saloon Doors
- “Cantinela Peligrosa Numero Dos” Performed by: Los Banditos Mutantes
- “Getting Nowhere Fast” Performed by: Sparks Nevada, Rebecca Rose Rushmore and Croach the Tracker
- "Broadway Style Medley Reprise" (Also known as "Wedding Melody") Performed by: Sparks Nevada, Croach the Tracker, The Red Plains Rider, Cactoid Jim, Rebecca Rose Rushmore, Felton, The Saloon Doors, The Barkeep, Techs, Los Banditos Mutantes
- “Cantinela Peligrosa Numero Tres” Performed by: Los Banditos Mutantes
- "Poor Me (Pour Me Another) Reprise" Performed by: The Piano and The Saloon Doors
- "Poor Me (Doors Solo)" Performed by: The Saloon Doors (Note: this is a alternate studio version of the song that did not actually appear in the episode.)
- This segment was previously performed at M Bar in March 2007 and released on December 10, 2018 as The Piano Has Been Thinking (M Bar 2007) (FTV #2).
- This segment was also recorded as part of the Concert Film on October 6, 2013. A cast list for that version may be found on the Concert Film page.
M Bar Changes
- For changes that were made between the performance of this segment in March 2007 at M Bar and its later performance at Largo, see The Piano Has Been Thinking (M Bar 2007) (FTV #2).
Concert Film Changes
There are several minor and one somewhat major change in the concert film version of The Piano Has been Thinking, aside from cast changes.
- A men's choir, joined by Dave Gruber Allen, accompanies most songs, and plays the part of the rest of the gang of Banditos Mutantes.
- There are several small dialog tweaks to make a few lines flow smoother, and several sound effects used for The Piano have been changed.
- Craig Cackowski as Felton sings "I don't want no trouble in my place" instead of "He don't want no trouble in his place" during that song.
- There are only two main speaking Banditos Mutantes in the film version instead of three.
- "Getting Nowhere Fast" has the first verse and chorus removed. The song begins with the "At last I've found my only one" verse. The "This girl's got stars in her eyes" line is also clearly spoken.
- During the Wedding Melody there are two changes. A short verse of a Cactoid Jim sung descriptor --"That getting married Cactoid Jim!" has been added in just before Techs declares Red and Jim man and wife. Near the end, one sung line of "Sparks Nevada" has been replaced with a "The Red Plains Rider".
- At the end of the episode, after Sparks and the Barkeep discuss leaving for O'Toole's, Techs returns to the stage, and asks Sparks if he's at his lowest. Sparks offers to showdown, but Techs thinks Sparks could go lower before he's ready to be killed. They sing a short reprise of "I'm Gonna Kill You Someday" before the curtain closes.
- This is the 70th episode of the Thrilling Adventure Hour.
- The prior episode is #69 Welcome to High Water
- The next episode is #71 Vild Vild Vest.
- The prior episode in Sparks Nevada canon is #65, Showdown, You Move Too Fast,
- The next episode in Sparks Nevada canon #74, Hypercattle Overdrive.
- The next episode in story continuity order would is #98, The Full Christmas Episode from December 2011, which was aired out of order.
This episode was recorded at Largo on November 5, 2011. It was released on May 7, 2012.
- Writers: Ben Acker and Ben Blacker
- Director: Aaron Ginsburg
- Music: Andy Paley & the Andy Paley Orchestra
- Sparks Nevada theme: Eban Schletter
- All musical songs written by Andy Paley