SNL: S11E04... HOST: JOHN LITHGOW... DATE: DECEMBER 7, 1985

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or...

Lithgow A Go-Go On A Pretty Good Episode

Though I'm Still Uncertain About This Season

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As usual, I'm going to start with my love of the host and how I'm familiar with their career. First off, John Lithgow always reminded me of my uncle more in the way that he carries himself than the way he actually looks but either way this connection made it super easy to become a fan especially when I was introduced to his comedic roles.

Then again he also freaked me out and left me a little disturbed in the early days when I mainly knew him from The Twilight Zone Movie and The World According To Garp, two movies that I might have seen as too young of an age to fully understand which may have led to my later obsession with both films.

Harry And The Hendersons then came out at the perfect time in my life because this is when I started to see the connection with my uncle, but I was also into Unsolved Mysteries at the time so how could I not like a movie about my favorite cryptid from that time which was still two years out from this episode's original airing.

My favorite, all time role from this week's host was his televised portrayal of Don Quixote which didn't take place for another decade and a half after this episode but does factor into why I'm a fan and why I was so happy with this episode.

Not only was I a fan of the host but this was the first time since the opening episode that I felt it was a standard show for the season being that Chevy Chase hosted an alumni episode that seemed to attempt to recapture flavors from the past, then Pee-Wee Herman hosted a Pee-Wee episode that felt more like a Pee-Wee special than as show that required the rest of the cast making it hard to gauge the progress.

This show felt like a full blown SNL episode that was pretty good but it still feels like the cast has yet to find their legs and are quite living up to the first episode which is weird because episode one has traditionally been the worst of each season as everyone settles back in from their summer break.

I'm still holding out hope for the season but my expectations are starting to drop to where I feel I may end up just liking this year's batch of shows when I really want to love them which is a reoccurring theme in the things that I find this show does wrong being that I am not a hater but someone who wants to like every aspect more than I actually do.

So, now that you have my Lithgow review, it's time move on and share what I saw as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a John Lithgow portraying his Buckaroo Banzai character who gets news that Halley's Comet has switched direction and is now heading straight towards Earth which leads him to try to contact President Reagan but he turns out to be little help as he is too hung up on the Russia scare to be bothered with the valid doomsday scenario. This leads the Lithgow character to accept his fate so he throws to the show by announcing, "Live from New York..."
  2. John Lithgow then opened the show with a monolog about how hectic it is to work on the show while treating his speech like it's just a dressed rehearsal which he needs because he's still off a little due to jet lag. The director then chimed in to let Lithgow know they are live and that he must not have changed his watch from LA time which causes him to completely freak out.
  3. We then got a repeat of the Where You're Going beer ad from episode one that markets beer to the money hungry yuppies who are heading to hell due to their greed.
  4. This was followed by a sketch in a suburban how where John Lithgow and Nora Dunn bicker over how cold the coffee is. Robert Downey Jr. then entered the scene only to also get nagged at by Lithgow. We then followed the host to work where he continues his knit picky ways. Finally, we follow to the hospital where we find out that he literally has a bug up his butt which is what was making him impossible to live with.
  5. Jon Lovitz's Master Thespian character then made his premiere to showcase his brand of "ACTING!" In this week's installment, we got a lesson in disguise as Lithgow trick Lovitz purely through costume and "ACTING!" The two then carry out the scene with more examples of improved dramatic choices that involve costume as the two continue to act while being their own biggest fans.   
  6. We then got a fake ad for Double R Rolls who may have been based on a real man who spent all of his riches on a batch of 84 rare Rolls-Royces and in the sketch he's now trying to sell them one by one to make up for this major expense. This may have seemed extreme back then because they claimed the combined price of the cars was only five million dollars which for 84 cars of any brand nowadays that price would be considered a steal.
  7. Mr. Mister then took to the stage to perform Broken Wings.
  8. This was followed by a fake ad that covered so much ground that it was hard to tell what it was for which turned out to be the point of the sketch because it was actually an ad for The Ad Council which is actually a pet peeve of mine because I can't stand seeing marketing for marketing which is not omnipresent on the internet.
  9. We then went to a basement workshop where Lithgow is working away at his craft when his daughter enters for some marital advice only to get her answers spoken in Dad Cliches, where not a sentence is spoken that wouldn't fit well on a bumper sticker.
  10. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Damon Wayans got a segment to updates us on the Uptown take of the US/USSR Peace Summit with a bunch of insights that are still relevant today especially with this renewed Russian scare.
  11. We then went to the White House where Nancy Reagan dozes off during a Ronald talk and we get to see her Showbiz Dream of staying Nancy Davis and having her own Las Vegas revue.
  12. Sam Kinison then took to the stage to perform one of his stand-up routines that I don't think aged well over time because in this routine he seems to mainly rely on the yelling while his overall jokes were mediocre which is not what I used to think about his act.
  13. Mutiny on the U.S.S. Cameron was a pirate sketch where the crew of the U.S.S. Cameron attempts to pull off a mutiny only it's very poor planned so they struggle to come up with a real list of demands because, for the most part, everyone seems rather happy.
  14. We then got a new fake ad for Trojans condoms with the same sort of setup and theme as the Trojans fake ad in episode one where it seems to be talking about American pride but is actually talking about not having children who will only mess everything up.
  15. Mr. Mister then returned to the stage to perform Kyrie.
  16. The Limits Of The Imagination returned for another installment of the Twilight Zone-esque sketch where Randy Quaid does the intro that seems to go on forever before sharing the whacky tale of an All-U-Can-Eat restaurant that not all that you want to eat but a restaurant that forces you to eat as much as you possibly by shoving their food down your mouth.  
  17. Finally, John Lithgow closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though I'm starting to see the potential to be disappointed by upcoming episodes, I must repeat, this was still a pretty good episode with these as my favorite moments. First, I loved the opening sketch because of the use of the Buckaroo Banzai villain while also highlighting how the latest Russian scare is nothing more than business as usual even when there are real threats in sight. Next, I really liked the introduction of the Master Thespian because I've quoted that character more than twice. Finally, I was a fan of this week's The Limits Of The Imagination sketch because I love the Shyamalan twist on the concept of All-U-Can-Eat meals.

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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.