SNL: S01E14... HOST: DESI ARNAZ... DATE: FEBRUARY 21, 1976

or...

The Death of Generational Crossover

Now that we're deeper into the age of on-demand entertainment, I find that I never stumble onto programming that is more than a couple years old. Sure I have access to this older content through streaming services like Seeso.com but the only older shows that I seek out are the ones that I'm already aware of from watching them when I was young.

I'm old enough to where I was born pre-cable. We used rabbit ears to tune into six channels. There were three network stations that contributed all the current content, two independent stations that literally played nothing but repeats and the local PBS affiliate that helped me develop my love for documentaries and a tolerance for dry and drawn out artistic films.

Don't get me wrong, I'm old enough to experience this six-channel situation but cable became pretty common from around the time that I entered the third grade. We went from six to thirty channels but this only meant more airtime to fill and many of the hours were occupied with even older shows than the ones being aired on the independent stations.

This was also a time before the digital display and there was no loading time that killed the art of channel surfing. We had scheduled programming for prime time but the rest of the day consisted of flipping through the channels, never knowing what you would find.

This old school channel surfing caused you to actually see everything that was available in your quest for entertainment. With no schedule or descriptions readily available you'd find yourself sucked into to programs that you would never think to stop on when sorting through a list. Think falling down a YouTube rabbit hole minus the heads up of what's coming up next.

With so few options, there was less weight as to when a show was shot. There also seemed to be fewer differences in the way stories were told. The differences seemed more technical from the evolution from black and white to color. The pacing and themes similar enough to span the ages and appeal to multiple generations.

In one day I could watch anything Rawhide to Quantum Leap with my older cousin, my mom and grandpa without anyone batting an eye at the scattered timeline of production and everyone seemed entertained.  

Nowadays, unless I'm already aware of and interested in an older program, I can't be bothered with anything over a half decade old. I couldn't imagine a kid, minus a connection to the content, wanting to track down these old shows with so much else to search through.

I feel like this will lead to an even wider generational gap that happens from time to time. For example, when I was a kid, I'd have no interest in listening to a radio play when I had a TV right there. Where I connected with my parents and grandparents over common programming but I had no idea how to connect with my great grandma who felt like she was from a parallel planet still holding on to a simpler time.

I Love Lucy was a show that I watched on a daily basis for most of my life as a child. Seeing how old Desi Arnaz looked in 1975 only heighten perception of just how far back viewing references actually go. Sure there will still be crossover connection in other aspects of life, watching this episode just got me thinking about the dying medium of non-streaming TV and so I thought I would say a thing or two.

And, now that I'm done, I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with President Ford in a therapy session and I'll give you three choices as to what was involved A) Ford is clumsy and stupid B) Chevy Chase falls down C) all of the above.
  2. Desi Arnaz opened the show with a very sweet monolog about his excitement to return to live television. I was kind of surprised to find that Desi Arnaz triggered fond memories of watching him on I Love Lucy when I was a kid.
  3. Garrett Morris then played the boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who was in prison for murder and points out that even though Bob Dylan wrote a song about him, no one knows who he is in prison and has to use his American Express as an ID.
  4. Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin play a couple in bed with the lights out talking about his sexual dysfunctions only to reveal the lights were out because it was supposed to be a surprise party and the guest witnessed the entire ordeal.
  5. Loraine Newman then played Luciana Vermicelli talking about her occult secrets on how she stays so young. I have no idea who Luciana Vermicelli is and the occult references were common enough that I wasn't all that entertained.
  6. This was followed by a segment called Literary Recital where Desi Arnaz reads the poem The Jabberwocky which his exaggerated Cuban accent made the sketch hilarious with how he pronounces the "J."
  7. Chevy Chase then played Very White and sang a Berry White-esque song.
  8. This was followed by another funny sketch where Desi shared the fake failed pilots that led up to the development of I Love Lucy. These mis-tries included: I Saw Lucy, I Loathe Lucy, I Love Louie (featuring Louie Armstrong,) I Love Asparagus, and finally I Love Desi (where there were two Desis.)
  9. Next was the new which is getting better and better each episode as it becomes more of a parody news segment over just being jokes about news on a fake news set.
  10. The news commercial was a repeat of the ad for speed.
  11. The news then returned with more news and no guest which was a first, as, up until now someone has always visited the news after the fake commercial. Though I noticed the difference, I'd say I'm fine with it.
  12. Desi Arnaz Jr then came out to share a few kind words about his father as he introduced a parody of the show The Untouchables that seemed to go on way too long, especially since I don't care for mob references and don't think I've ever seen The Untouchables TV show.
  13. Gilda Radner then played Lucy in a sketch that more of an intro to Desi singing Cuban Pete instead of being a true parody of the show.
  14. Gary Wise then came out and introduced his latest short which was just some gay guy talking about his cats like an ahead of it's time YouTube clip.
  15. Desi then played a Cuban Acupuncturist that uses cigars instead of needles.
  16. Chevy is then out on a date with Loraine Newman who says they need to work on their communication if they want this relationship to last, leading Chase to blabber gibberish having literal issues with speaking clearly.
  17. Jane Curtain then tells the tale of the first American Bisexual woman in a sketch called Bisexual Moment.
  18. Finally, Gilda Radner plugs Desi's new book and introduces him so he can play out the show with Babalu. 

This wasn't the most exciting episode but I really liked it for nostalgic reasons. My favorite sketch of the episode was Desi reading Jabberwocky, I also laughed at the scene where Desi plays the Cuban Acupuncturist that uses cigars instead of needles and thought it started as a sketch only to end as a musical performance, and finally, I was a fan of seeing Desi perform Cuban Pete.

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.