SNL: S01E05... HOST: ROBERT KLEIN... DATE: NOVEMBER 15, 1975

I think this might have been my least favorite episode of the comedy-centric shows that I've seen so far, placing it right above the Paul Simon episode, which I only didn't like due to the fact that it felt more like a concert than a comedy show, keeping in mind that least favorite doesn't mean "not liked" to me.

As I was thinking about what I was going to write up here in the intro to The Wicker Breakdown, there was a Muppet sketch about acupuncture playing out on the screen. There was also a sketch about acupuncture in the last episode which was kind of puzzling to me because though the practice goes back to before my existence, I didn't think it was a well know practice until I was in my twenties, yet here are these two sketches in back to back episode making it mainstream enough at the time for the elders to understand.

This led me to want to attempt to turn this intro section into an outlet for me to express insights like this that strike me as I watch. So this bit of write above is actually an intro to the new intro style that I am going to attempt to maintain until the well runs dry or I come up with something better.

With that, I give you...

SNL: S01E05 HOST: ROBERT KLEIN

or...

Does Everyone Discover Acupuncture at the Age of 20?

Dregs_and_Vestiges.jpg

This afternoon while watching Robert Klein's first hosting duty of the first season of Saturday Night Live, there was a Jim Henson sketch where he had these monster Muppets called Dregs and Vestiges.

In the sketch, the main Muppet is suffering from a migraine headache and one of the sidekicks offers to treat the condition using acupuncture. They did this without so much as a hint to the audience what acupuncture is. I don't know why, but the first thing that popped into my head was, "Woe, acupuncture was mainstream enough to reference back then?"

I know, I know, acupuncture goes back to forever and my generation was by no means the generation to popularize the practice in the west. I just remember it becoming a craze in my 20s which is when I discovered the concepts behind the curing ailments by stabbing people with pins. 

Looking back, there are tons of references to acupuncture pre-1997 that I am fully aware of, hell, there was even a sketch two episodes ago about a voodoo acupuncture doctor that would stick pins in voodoo dolls to cure his patients without them ever having to be in the operating room. I think I always equated acupuncture to being a silly voodoo practice so I laughed but for the wrong reason.

That got me thinking that the writers and cast were also in their 20s at the time and probably included the reference because it was a hip trend at the time for them as well. These people were probably rolling their eye 20 years later when the practice became popular amongst Generation X, just like I might roll my eyes at my sisters who are in their twenties if she tried to claim the trend was a new discovery of their generation.

Actually, I stopped rolling my eyes at the youth as I think about examples like the one above that show how nothing has really changed all that much. Everything just continues to grow to be more extreme with deeper subgenres of similar themes. Sure there are some tiny details that don't match up but that's due to evolution and upgrades.

For example, at one point in high school, I listen to a lot of golden oldies. Later on in life, I got into a genre of punk that really liked to cover of songs from that time. Since I knew the reference, I loved the high-speed take even more than the original, often to the point where I would totally forget the original speed. Then I would share the cover songs with someone from the original era who would almost always call it noise, even if it was a cover of what was considered hard rock for the time.

This just leads me to believe that it's not the content that causes the disconnect but the fact that the younger generate enters the discovery stage just as their predecessors are settling into the fact that there truly is nothing new under the sun. There's then a jealousy and bitterness that sets in when the "kids" don't heed the warnings of those who have been adulting for over a decade.

It's kind of amazing how every decade seems to look down on the newer decades, glamorize their own lot in time and despise the elders at the wheel for falling into the same traps as the generation that they once despised as well. In simpler terms, a lot of people do eventually become what they hate. Which probably plays into this cyclical pattern that I noted as being.

  • The single digits = Learning to live.
    • You are the youngest generation so there is no one to look back at.
    • You need the older generation to live.
    • You just busy learning to poop in a toilet and walk.
  • 10s and teens = Learning to learn.
    • The younger generation is a bunch of babies.
    • The older people are cool because they are free to do what they want.
    • You just want to wrap up this whole school thing to get to the exciting part of life because there is nothing but potential.
  • 20s = Learning to adult.
    • You don't even really think about those that are younger than you.
    • The older generations just don't understand.
    • You are out on your own and things are starting to click, you start to not only know what you like but you know why and you want to meet kindred spirits and share your findings as if these answers that have been floating around forever are yours and yours alone.
  • 30s = Learning to live as an adult.
    • You realize you actually didn't learn anything in your 20s and you want to share this with every 20-year-old that you see yourself in.
    • Those 30-year-olds that told you that you didn't know nothing in your 20s are now in their 40s and are either burn-outs that are holding on to their pasts or sell-outs that have settled into mediocrity.
    • You've finally got to a point where you are kind of comfortable there are aspects of your 20s that you really miss but there is no way that you can drop the armor that you've built while making rookie mistakes to go back.
  • 40s = Learning that nobody knows anything.
    • You've already realized that you knew nothing in your youth so you assume the same of the youth of the day.
    • You've been adulting for a while and realize the elders don't know anything either. In fact, they were in their 20s when they taught you how to live and we've already established that people in their 20s don't know nearly as much as they think.
    • You have no idea what you are doing and start to wonder if this is how life is going to be forever.

I could go into the 50s and about but I'm currently 40 and have no idea what is going on. I never claimed to have the answers. This is just a thought that came to me while watching a 40-year-old sketch written and performed by the dreamers of the day.

And with that, here's what else happened in Episode 5 with tonight's...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Chevy Chase hosts a beauty pageant where Loraine Newman plays a bit of a ditsy feminist that turns down the crown with half backed feminist reasons as well as a few legitimate point. It ends with Chevy Chase falling which cleared up my confusion from yesterday when I thought Chevy only fell as Ford.
  2. Robert Klein steps onto the stage when I instantly realize that I was thinking of Kevin Klein when I first saw the name as being next on the list. I do know of Robert Klein, it was just a quick confusion that I thought I'd mention.
  3. They then cut to Robert Klein having lunch as the captain of the Titanic while ABBA performs on the poop deck.
  4. There was another Pong sketch where two students were discussing a test while playing and one student realizes that he got every answer to his history test wrong.
  5. This leads to a sketch about a fashion style photographer working a crime scene snapping pictures of the dead as if he were talking to models. I thought that was going to be the whole concept of the sketch until the photographer kind of fell into the background as the suspect comedically admits to every aspect of the crime. This sketch was set in Central America so I think it was a statement on their corruption or ineptness because even after the suspect makes his confession they say there is not enough evidence to convict.
  6. YES!!! Another Bee sketch. This time it was Garrett Morris taking us through time as he shares stories of bees throughout history.
  7. Loudon Wainwright III the third plays a song about the bicentennial that was so cheesy and lame that I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be comedy. I swear he's been a guest on one of the comedy podcast that I listen to but I couldn't find him in my search, I did find that Wikipedia said he was the next Dylan of his time which led me to believe this was real deal badness. 
  8. There was then a real quick sketch where Chevy Chase was playing Gregg Allman which I just didn't care about because though I know of Gregg Allman, I don't know all that much about him other than his music and he married Cher.
  9. Next, we cut to a behind the scenes bit about the shooting of Sam Peckenpaugh's first Rom-Com movie. It was very slap-sticky in a way that I would have laughed at as a kid but found boring and abusive and the Peckenpaugh character only attacked the female lead. I don't know enough about Peckenpaugh's directing style to really get the reference but still don't think it would be funny to me now even if I did.
  10. The news starts with Chevy's first, "I'm Chevy Chase and you're not." This one was back to being service level jokes and personal attacks of political figures minus any real events from the time.
  11. The news went into a fake commercial with was a follow up to the Jamitall commercial from episode one that was nothing but a gay joke about taking these pills to prepare for sex. This time it was a straight couple and the Jamitall seemed to have more of a roofies effect on the wife. There was a burst of laughter from the audience from both men and women without a single gasp so I guess this type of thing wasn't all that creepy at the time.
  12. Back to the news for Chevy Chase making faces behind Dan Akroyd as Akroyd read a serious Editorial Reply. This is followed by the Garrett Morris hearing impairment bit that is becoming the staple closing combo.
  13. This was followed by a long sketch about two exterminators in camo. One exterminator learns about the roaches that they are there to kill and has developed empathy for them and couldn't kill them anymore, like not wanting to kill an enemy in war after learning that they are actually living beings. There was a funny sketch within the sketch with a fake documentary about cockroaches but the payoff wasn't all that grand.
  14. Gilda Radner came out as a fireman and had a quick and cute little bit explaining what it means to be a fireman.
  15. The Muppet segment then started and inspired the acupuncture intro that I have written up above.
  16. There was then more stand-up from Robert Klein and I found him to be pretty funny in both routines.
  17. My favorite sketch of the night was for a fake ad where they were selling a pricing gun as a way to save money at the store. This is another one that I fully remember as a kid because I totally thought it would work.
  18. Loudon Wainwright III came out again and again I couldn't tell if this was supposed to be comedy but he was far too serious to be in on the joke.
  19. This was followed by a fact interview show where Gilda Radner was interviewed as the author of "Tiny Books" a line of kids' books where each story is over padded with adjectives but this was also the way Gilda's character would talk.
  20. Again with the recycled sketches? This time they reused the same exact commercial about bribing your way to becoming an ambassador.
  21. Robert Klein sings a comedic song called "I can't stop my legs."
  22. Finally, ABBA performed on the Titanic once again. This was interesting because there was a note on the screen that they were lip syncing and that it wasn't their fault. Could you imagine either a band or a television show admitting to something like this nowadays? 

Again I wasn't all that excited about this episode but it wasn't all that bad. As I said, my favorite sketch was the one for the price sticker gun, but I also really liked the history of the bees and also like the Muppet sketch that triggered this new trial f

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.