SNL: S12E05... HOST: ROBIN WILLIAMS... DATE: NOVEMBER 22, 1986

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or...

And With That...

This Season Has Found Its Legs!!!

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One of the biggest disappointment that I have found from watching these old episodes of SNL is how often I am excited to see so of my favorite funny people as host, only to end up feeling like the show was a total let down. Sometimes this stems from popular content that has been over played or burnt out by those guys who go to parties and love to do their horrible impression that kill characters like the "two wild and crazy guys."

Part of me was worried that this would be the case with this show since Robin Williams was such a living legend but that was far from the case with this extremely solid episode. Not only did Robin Williams stay in his lane without getting to the point where he's obnoxious but Paul Simon also did a really good job, not just as the musical guest but also as somewhat of a co-host role being that he was featured in as many sketches as the actual host.

On top of those two doing a great job, this was also the episode where this collection of Not Ready For Prime Time Players finally found their legs to where they seemed to no longer be performing as characters to where they're starting to feel like they actually are the characters that are living out every scene.

As I keep saying, where last season I was hoping that the cast would eventually get there, which they never did. I knew this cast of characters would figure it out there was just the question of when which turned out to be tonight. 

The fact that everything seems to have come together for this season during this episode might add to the reason that I have vivid memories from the night this originally aired. The weird thing is the episode has always stood out to me not because of Robin William, who I loved, especially when I was a kid, but because of two Paul Simon moments.

First, I fell in love with the song Diamonds On The Souls Of Her Feet featuring LadySmith And Black Mabaza because it was a new sound to me and led me to appreciate more mellow music with a world beat to it. Then there's also the sketch where Paul Simon didn't recognize Art Garfunkel which is how I found out that even though Chevy Chase was in the You Can Call Me Al music video, he was not Paul Simon's sidekick singer that went his own way around the time I was born.

The fact that everything seems to have come together for this season during this episode might add to the reason that I have vivid memories from the night this originally aired. The weird thing is the episode has always stood out to me not because of Robin William, who I loved, especially when I was a kid, but because of two Paul Simon moments.

First, I fell in love with the song Diamonds On The Souls Of Her Feet featuring LadySmith And Black Mabaza because it was a new sound to me and led me to appreciate more mellow music with a world beat to it. Then there's also the sketch where Paul Simon didn't recognize Art Garfunkel which is how I found out that even though Chevy Chase was in the You Can Call Me Al music video, he was not Paul Simon's sidekick singer that went his own way around the time I was born.

Now that I've shared my history with this episode and have handed out my heaping of praise, it's now time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Robin Williams as Ronald Reagan as we get to hear the information being told to the president through his earpiece as he gives an important speech to the press, only to get confused by the technology which leads to a very awkward appearance especially when the earphone feed starts to pick up competing channels until it lands on NBC which leads to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Robin Williams then officially opened the show with a bit from his stand-up routine where he continued to make fun of the president.
  3. We then went to Paul Simon and Jan Hooks standing in line for a movie when Kevin Nealon played a session band member who Paul remembered right away along with a few obscure details. He then runs into Victoria Jackson and remembers her right away as well. It eventually turns out that his memory is so great that he remembers random people who he spotted in the crowd at his concerts. Then Art Garfunkel showed up and Paul Simon had no idea who he was even with blatant clues.
  4. This was followed by a sketch that took place during Shakespearean Days where Robin Williams gets hired to be in Hamlet but then hijacks the performance with the Robin Williams brand of improv which everyone but Shakespeare loves.
  5. Paul Simon and LadySmith Black Mambaza then took to the stage to perform Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes.
  6. This was followed by a fake ad for the New York Word Exchange where you can invest in words to make money if they become a popular trend but the ad also comes with a warning that some words go out of fashion.
  7. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, A. Whitney Brown dropped in for another Big Picture segment where he discusses the censorship that took place during last week's episode with Sam Kinison as the host.
  8. We then went to a Jewish old folk home where The Sweeney Sisters entertained the geriatric audience with lounge versions of classic Jewish songs. The sketch ended with a nice little duet between Paul Simon and Robin Williams.
  9. The Master Thespian then returned to the show in a sketch that takes place in 1937 where his amazing acting keeps getting interrupted the sound effect of a ship's horn and when he's not interrupted he delivers the wrong lines.
  10. Paul Simon then returned to the stage by himself to perform The Boy In The Bubble. 
  11. We then got a fake PSA from the Automobile Club Of America where Kevin Nealon tries to inform the views on how to use a physical paper map being that this was a real problem at the time.
  12. Once again Paul Simon returned to the stage by himself to perform The Late Great Johnny Ace.
  13. Finally, Robin Williams closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

This episode was so solid that even though there were only thirteen segments including three music performances, goodnights and the news, it was still easy to find these three favorite moments from the night. First, I loved Robin Williams and Paul Simon singing a duet at the end of The Sweeney Sisters sketch. Next, I really liked the sketch where Paul Simon shows off his super memory but can't place where he knows Art Garfunkel from at all. Finally, I was a fan of the Shakespeare sketch because it was nice to see the late Robin Williams making jokes about his own brand of improv. 

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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.