A Baker's Dozen Is Just Not Enough
As always, I'm having an issue with the longer but fewer sketch format that this season is opting to use. In past seasons, my issue with this type of episode is the longer sketches seemed to be an attempt to cram two sketches into one making them not only long winded but also very convoluted and not in an interesting way.
I think what makes this season worse is that a bulk of the cast is made up of established actors and not sketch comedians which may be why some of the jokes may be suffering due to the story needs that these actors may have been pushing for to make the show fit into their comfort zone instead of adapting to an entirely different form of both acting and storytelling that takes a specific type of performer to pull off.
Once again, I'm not blaming the host for this unimpressive episode because Teri Garr did a perfectly good job considering the writing she had to work with. Also, though it may sound like it based on what I've written above, but I also don't really blame the cast (unless you count the ones that are also writers) because they were also doing the best with what they had to work with even if they are to blame for the focus on narrative over comedy because the writers should be sticking to their guns and focusing on funny and not just padding an interesting idea with story that barely makes any sense.
The other thing that sucks is how not only does this season seem to be tending toward the longer but fewer sketch format, it's also a season with a lot of repeat airings of sketches, some multiple times, and guest performers who I normally end up liking more than the best sketch of the night even if I don't mention them in my list of favorite moments of the evening.
I'm really bummed out because I was really optimistic about this season but now I'm starting to go from not minding how it's turning out to hating this batch with every new episode I watch and there's still thirteen more shows to go until we get a brand new cast that I know for sure I'll eventually grow to love even if their first season doesn't start out strong.
Alright, so there goes more complaining out of my system and with that, it's time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with the Cabrini Green character who goes to a department store's gift wrapping counter where she meets Damon Wayans who is a rapping wrapper and the two have a rap battle over her decision to wait so long to buy her Christmas presents that ends with both of them working in the line, "Live from New York..."
Teri Garr then officially opened the show dressed as the Pope as she performs a monolog/sketch where she talks about spending time with her new friend Pope Maurice who is actually Guido Sarducci who's going by Maurice for some reason and is carrying out a joke that he made during the news a couple weeks ago where he claimed to have started a new church where everyone involved gets to be the Pope which explains Teri Garr's attire. It turns out that Teri is Maurice's only disciple which leads the two into a duet of I've Got You Baby that seems unrehearsed and the microphone wire seems loose as the sound kept cutting out in a way that is obviously from the night of the shoot and not that I'm watching a poor copy of the show.
We then got a repeat of the Critic ad from week one that promotes a fake suspense movie about a Critic and treat him like the topic is supposed to be interesting and exciting.
We then go to a Caribbean Island where Randy Quaid and Jon Lovitz discuss the value of eggs on the island almost as if it is the island's currency as we find out that Teri Garr could have been bought as a teen for one to three dozen eggs depending on their size which is a funny idea but the sketch seems to go on forever with the reoccurring egg talk being the only thing that makes the sketch funny but even that humor runs pretty dry right away.
Hildy was a sketch about a fake family sitcom where Hildy is a dysfunctional family's beloved maid who loves doing her job even though in the world of the sketch it's actually Christmas Day. None of the family members know what day it is but Hildy's on top of it and bought everyone present enabling the family to continue their ways while acting like decent people. By the end of the sketch, it turns out not only did Hildy buy everyone else in the family presents to cover for their forgetful ways but she also bought a bunch of presents for herself, including a trip, money and a car, as an attempt to escape the family.
Dream Academy then took to the stage to perform Life In A Northern Town.
Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Guido Sarducci shows up as Mr. X who is supposed to play an anonymous witness to mob related activity but all of the attempt to hide his identity end up going horribly wrong,
A Roy Orbison Christmas was a sketch based on the premise that after RCA sold NBC to GE the new owners wanted to take advantage of the content they now own but was never aired to make extra money off of budgets that have already been spent while treating it like original material so they're re-airing this closing portion of the Roy Orbison special that was cut off due to a major storm. If the intro wasn't convoluted enough the sketch also takes a lot of work as it starts with Randy Quaid as Roy Orbison singing Pretty Woman which leads to a performance from a Beach Boys style band in summer attire singing a Christmas song. Then gets even more convoluted as it ends with a poem from Danitra Vance which was "controversial" at the "time of the special," because she was a "negro," which was a joke that added zero to the sketch that never came close to making any sense even though the audience seemed to get it.
Penn and Teller then returned to the show for another magic act where they put Teller in an electric chair and show that it's working by having Teller light up a light bulb only to ruin the bit by explaining how electricity works after Teller overplayed the effect that he was actually being electrocuted.
The Big Tree is introduced as a Soap Opera type sketch that is center around the gigantic Rockefeller Center tourist trap that then turns into another convoluted sketch that's main joke is everyone's obsession with the tree mixed in with melodramatic soap opera style acting that is filled with soap opera cliches.
The Cult then took to the stage to perform She Sells Sanctuary.
Trivial Pursuit Time Travel was a sketch where two couples are playing Trivial Pursuit while the host teen age child is up in his bedroom experimenting with time travel causing the power to fade and the answers to change whenever there is a historical question.
Finally, Teri Garr closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.
Though there was barely any content to choose from, this episode made it very easy to find my three favorite moments because they were the only moments that I liked. First, I loved the Trivial Pursuit Time Travel because I'm obsessed with time travel and liked their take on the Butterfly Effect. Next, I really liked the Mr. X segment on the news because I love Guido Sarducci who played Mr. X but I'm also a huge fan of jokes about failed attempts to hide identity on live TV. Finally, I was a fan of the opening sketch because the idea of a rapping wrapper or wrapping rapper was funny to me and unlike the horrible white man rap from Jim Belushi from last season, both Damon Wayans and Danitra Vance both do a good job at rapping.