Now this was the type of episode that I feared when gearing up to watch the entire run of Saturday Night Live. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Paul Simon, and part of the reason I even know who he is in the first place is because of his appearances on SNL.
The thing is, in his later appearances, Paul Simon acted in more sketches and kept his singing to the standard two songs that the format eventually evolved to be. Not in this episode. No, this episode of SNL felt more like a Paul Simon special with a couple funny moments in between a bunch of songs.
In fact, other than one sketch with Chevy Chase and another sketch where the entire cast was on stage for no more than two minutes, the Not Ready for Prime Time Players were barely a part of the show at all.
Again, it was cool to see Paul Simon perform, as well as Randy Newman, Phoebe Snow, a reunion of Simon AND Garfunkel and a Garfunkel solo song, but I don't come to Saturday Night Live for the music, so I was disappointed to see less than a hand full of sketches where I only laughed once.
I am expecting to see more episodes like this, especially during the first season when they were still feeling out the format, and the best part is, these type of episodes will be the easiest to break down because it's super easy to summarize a song in just one sentence.
And with that, I give you The Wicker Breakdown of Episode 2:
- Paul Simon sings Still Crazy After All These Years.
- The Jessy Dixon Singers join Paul to sing Love Me Like a Rock.
- Jerry Rubin shows up for a quick fake commercial for Graffiti wallpaper with hippy peace propaganda fighting for causes that we are still fighting for today even though the hippies are now the generation in control.
- Paul Simon sings a cover of a Randy Newman song, then introduces Randy Newman to sing Sail Away.
- The Bees show up just to get kicked out for the fans not liking the bees the week before. 20 minutes in and this is the first appearance of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players.
- News, which was again not so topical, just Chevy Chase making fun of Ford for being clumsy. Again, I'm disappointed because I really was hoping to see more cutting satire about the events of the time, but I also understand the SNL news was still finding its voice.
- Finally something funny!!! The comedy came from a sketch about Paul Simon being challenged to a game of 1 on 1 basketball by NBA player Connie Hawk. It was interesting to see Al Michaels so early in the show but what was really funny was just how small Paul Simon is and how that didn’t stop him from playing so well and intense as he rushed around the court with someone who was twice his size. Simon's 70s look also got a chuckle or two out of me. Mainly I was happy just to be seeing a sketch.
- The comedy didn't last long as they slipped into a Simon and Garfunkel Slide Show to them singing Mrs. Robinson which goes on for a few minutes then turns into a tiny reunion where they sing The Boxer, Scarborough Fair, My Little Town and finally winds down with Garfunkel singing a solo of I Only Have Eyes For You.
- There was a follow-up to the weird Muppet sketch from the first week. I didn't realize there was an ongoing collaboration between the two shows.
- This was followed by a short film by Albert Brooks, which was probably something someone would do with a cell phone these days. I like Albert Brooks, his SNL shorts are fun, quirky and age pretty well.
- Then we go back to the music with Phoebe Snow singing No Regret followed by a duet with Paul Simon where they sing Gone at Last.
- SNL from that time sure loved their fake products, this sketch was a fake ad for a pacemaker battery called Try-Hard, which the play on words was pretty much the only thing to the sketch.
- Back to music as Paul Simon sings So Far Away From Home.
- Finally, Paul Simon was rewarded with a trophy by Bill Bradley for his 1 on 1 win in the earlier sketch.
Again, not my favorite episode of the two that I've watched so far but I'm glad to have seen it and appreciate the music performances, I just wanted to see more comedy like my favorite sketch of the episode which was Paul Simon play 1 on 1 against Connie Hawk.