The Rocky Horror Picture Show hypothesis
The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been one of my favorite movies. I saw it when I was around six for the first time with my mother. The colorful characters, lively musical numbers and odd take on the science fiction movies she grew up with appealed to her. Being a fan of musicals, it resonated with me too but on a deeper level than all the other musicals I had ever seen. This was a movie for freaks, weirdos, oddballs and people on the fringe of society. However, it has gained such cult status that even the popular people are going to midnight showings. (It was featured on Glee for chrissakes!)
I found the play online and compared it to the movie. It is mostly the same but the film had added extravagance for a bigger budget. It did not really add any depth to the characters or answer some questions I have always had. How did Eddie and Columbia come to live at the castle? Why did Dr. Frankenfurter cast Eddie aside? How exactly was Rocky made? If the hand motions Riffraff and Magenta do are akin to sex, then why is Frankenfurter humping anything with a pulse? What is the planet Transsexual like? Why is the power structure of the Transylvanians what it is? These questions are mostly left up to the reader/viewer to decide but I have come up with a plausible theory.
The place: the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania
The time: Sometime that roughly translates into the 1970's on Earth (I can't claim to know how time is recorded in a whole other galaxy)
The Transylvanian hierarchy of scientists, politicians and branches of government have been exploring their galaxy for many years. They have studied the planets that share their galaxy maybe finding intelligent life and maybe not. As scientists are making advances in space travel, the Transylvanians are growing more eager to explore other galaxies. They learn about the stars, moons and planets. They mostly find no intelligent life to speak of until they happen on Earth. Earth is filled with humans who look mostly identical to them, minus some heavy makeup and dressed differently. Fascinated, the Transylvanian government decides to put together a mission to create a secret colony on Earth where habits of humans can be scrutinized and observed.
Riffraff is working as a high ranking member of government. His education and intellect have served him well, allowing him to move up the ranks rather quickly. He is the obvious candidate to lead the mission to Earth not only because he is smart but because of his responsibility and dedication to the cause. Despite all these essential qualities that make him the clear choice, he is not wholly liked by high ranking officials. Terribly shy, Riffraff is awkward in social situations even with people he is familiar. This awkwardness is mistaken for mental instability. His cold, detached way of speaking lacks what most would call charisma. His hunchback is considered and eyesore to the point where Transylvanians choose not to look at him.
Then, Dr. Frankenfurter happens on the scene. He has medical credentials but from a little known college which no one thinks to check out. He puts a lot of effort into his appearance, dressed in the finest corsets and stockings. His makeup and hair are immaculate. The secret to his success is the magnetism he has over others. His charm easily allows him to get his way whenever he wants. Others are his puppets that he can manipulate to do anything.
With the castle/spaceship ready to go and a crew assembled the question remained: who will lead the mission? Although Riffraff has powerful allies who know that his sensible nature and brilliance would make him prevail as the commander. They find Frankenfurter to be dangerous and worry that if given power, the mission will not only fail but be disastrous. When Riffraff appeared before the committee, sweat dripped from his forehead. At one point, he forgot what he was saying, creating an uncomfortable pause. He could not make eye contact with anyone in the audience and his low, soft voice was easy to zone out to.
Unfortunately, Frankenfurter's dramatic flair aided him as he pleaded his case to the government. He claimed to be a well trained man of science who would be more apt at studying the human race. As the Transylvanian officials watched, they became captivated by Frankenfurter's passion as he spoke of how he would be more likely to infiltrate humanity because he is clever and very social. His speech was eloquent and full of flowery words and language, captivating everyone in the room. He was not at all shy about professing his opinion about his opponent, launching quite a smear campaign. He referred to Riffraff as a "joke" and made fun of his deformity by saying that no human would ever willingly allow "a balding hunchback" anywhere near them and would run away in fear. Riffraff, he hypothesized, would serve as a poor representative of Transylvanians.
The choice was clear by a landslide. Frankenfurter was to lead the mission to Earth and to have supreme authority over anyone else on the ship. Riffraff was relegated to being the second in command, provided something happened to Frankenfurter. Their Earth alter egos were to be a doctor and owner of the castle and Riffraff to be his butler. Riffraff not only had to face the humiliation of being overlooked by a hack but also had to have this failure emphasized by being his manservant. The one good thing to come of the mission was that Riffraff's beloved sister, Magenta, would be allowed to come and help her brother through this troubling time.
Riffraff took on the mission with great trepidation. More than to be a part of it, he wanted to wait until Frankenfurter slipped up so he could seize the power he so deserved. The spaceship cleverly disguised as a castle landed in a remote area near a country road. This would allow privacy for them to conduct their experiments and be the perfect trap for abducting lost motorists who wandered to the castle from the road.
At first, the mission went on without a glitch. They were accumulating a group of humans that Frankenfurter and Riffraff studied. The experiments soon changed in nature. Frankenfurter began to take the subjects individually and some in groups into his private lab. Riffraff was not allowed to witness any of these particular experiments and only let in the lab occasionally to clean it. Despite the secrecy, Frankenfurter's transgressions were not only obvious to Riffraff but to all of the Transylvanians. All the while, Frankenfurter would report back to Transsexual professing his success and demanding more time and resources. Riffraff found himself in a difficult position. He witnessed Frankenfurter's megalomania and spiral into bacchanalian madness but found that he was not in a good place to complain to his superiors about this behavior. He held his tongue and tried to handle his commander by being more pervasive in the laboratory. Resenting this, Frankenfurter demanded he have complete privacy.
It became clear just how far from the purpose of the mission Frankenfurter was when he revealed his ultimate plan to make the "perfect man." The resources he was supposed to be using to study humans were being funneled to growing this creature whose sole purpose was to be his sex slave. Riffraff deeply resented the creature and often lashed out against him. It wasn't long before he realized that this creature was the proof he needed to take down Frankenfurter and take control of the mission. He waited until his commander was in a weakened state of sexual bliss to arm himself and confront Frankenfurter. A master of manipulation, Frankenfurter tried to appeal to Riffraff singing of how he missed Transsexual and wanted to return home. Almost giddy, Riffraff blew him away and, with his sweet Magenta in tow, he set the ship to return to his home planet.
I like to think that Riffraff got the respect he deserved upon returning to Transsexual.