SNL: S12E11... HOST: BRONSON PINCHOT... DATE: FEBRUARY 14, 1987

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or...

Bronson Minus Bartokomous Equals

A Bummer Of An Episode 

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At the time that this episode originally aired, I was young enough to be the target audience for Perfect Strangers and I actually was a genuine fan of the show to the point where I used to be able to pull some pretty deep references at least a decade after the last season aired. Though many of the deeper details are gone from my memories, I still make a Balki from Mypos reference whenever I do get the chance.

Not only was I a fan of Bronson Pinchot from Perfect Strangers but he was also part of one of my favorite moments in radio history which is back when Gilbert Gottfried was a guest on The Howard Stern Show when Amy Heckerling's nanny called in to complain about Gilbert's actions at a dinner party when he found out her parents survived the holocaust. Though Bronson had absolutely zero to do with the story, I always remember that he was at the dinner because I think he was dating Amy at the time.

Again, Bronson had zero to do with anything that unfolded in the above story but since it features a former Not Ready For Prime Time Player, I figured I'd throw it in. Aside from that, I don't really know much about Mr. Pinchot so my feelings were mixed when I saw this episode was next on my list of shows to watch.

It didn't take long before I felt let down because the opening monolog seemed to set the pace for the night. Where I was expecting this high energy freak with or without the Mypos speak, I got a mellow man with a long winded story that was bordering on boring if it weren't for the subtlest of jokes.

It would have been one thing if he opened the show as a joke, playing against expectations, but then the rest of the episode continued to let me down as it was filled with low key characters played by a host who I'm guessing was afraid of getting pigeon holed. If that were the case it makes sense that he didn't come out as the Balki character but it would have been nice to see some excitable energy because he came across as quite a bore.

Other than that, this felt like a bit of a second half slump episode which I could see coming from the writers having to adjust the energy of the sketches when they may have been like me and prepared to write for a maniac that they'd have to keep from bouncing off of the fake set walls, only to end up with this calm character to write for. 

As always, the regular cast did a great job and are continuing to grow and I may just be disappointed because I was expecting a high energy show making it hard to me to shift gears myself in order to fully appreciate what aired.

So now that I've both built up and broken down this literal Perfect Stranger in multiple ways, 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 up in heaven with Phil Hartman playing Liberace who plays the piano for a moment, makes a quick joke about the censors allowing the true portrayal of Liberace's Heaven then announces, "Live from New York..."
  2. Bronson Pinchot then officially opened the show with a monolog about how everyone mispronounces his last name before telling a story about how he met the love of his life several years early on Valentine's Day in a long winded story with a pretty funny joke that is so quick and subtle that it's easy to miss making this rambling story seem sentimental but pointless because I did catch the joke and still sort of feel the same way about the story. 
  3. Amerida is an alternate history sketch where American collapsed and had to sell its assets to Canada leading to a hybrid country called Amerida. We then meet an Ameridan family where the father is still upset about the countries merging even though the rest of his family is now apologetic, says aboot and their new favorite sport is hockey.
  4. The Amerida sketch then transitioned into a parody Nightline where a panel of experts analyzed what would happen if the events from this fictional Amerida scenario if anything like it would actually come true, making fun of the goto news talking heads from the time.
  5. We then got a visit from Paulina Poriskova about the importance of the Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue during this time of censorship in America acting as if there is more to the special issue than just models in skimpy swimwear.
  6. Derek Stevens then returns without acknowledging his death in his last visit but then again, last time they only hinted at his early demise in an attempt to make his library of work more valuable. This time Derek is still at it, trying to adapt his hit Choppin' Broccoli into a commercial only he fears that he is selling out with this new version of the song but Ringo enters the studio to play along on drums Derek instantly changes his tune and enthusiastically plays along.
  7. We then went to Nora Dunn's character Babette's apartment where she is getting ready for her Valentine's Day date. Phil Hartman then enters the scene as said date only to be stopped in the entry way by her assistant played by Bronson Pinchot who is doing one of his non-Balki accents. Between Babette's French accent and Bronson accent, this is another one of those sketches where the main joke seems to be that foreigners have a funny way of speaking. 
  8. Paul Young then took to the stage to perform War Games. 
  9. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Dana Carvey played Jacque Cousteau to share what Valentine's Day means to the sea creatures that he has spent most of his life studying. A. Whitney Brown also dropped in for another Big Picture segment about Congress giving themselves a raise and Dennis Miller tried on a full body condom just before The Naked Gun was even made making me wonder if this was an influence.
  10. The Life of Golda Meir was a parody of a TV special that tells the story of Golda Meir, as portrayed by Paulina Poriskova. The scene takes place in the war room where the members of her cabinet are too distracted by her looks to pay attention to what's going on. The final conclusion for the battle plan then ended up being for her to show up in a bikini to distract the opposing forces.
  11. We then met a Police Sketch Artist who doesn't use a pad and pencil but instead uses his own facial expressions to reproduce the description being given by the victim.
  12. Hardware Store Gigolo was a sketch that took place in a hardware store where Jan Hooks plays an old woman who needs a certain type of screw but doesn't know how to describe it which does nothing but annoy the cashier. Bronson Pinchot then steps in as a suave foreign man to speak in a sexy tone while helping her solve the problem then we eventually find out that he is attempting to be a hardware store gigolo.  
  13. Paul Young then returned to the stage to perform The Long Run. 
  14. Miss Connie's Fable Nook was another installment of the story time sketch with Koko, Mishu, and Lebee where the two fairy tale clowns and one gentle giant try to make a straight faced princess smile. Only it's not a curse that keeps her from smiling it's just that she didn't find their clown work to be all that funny which they seem to understand as they accept it and leave the scene, leaving the giant for a quick sentimental moment before the sketch came to an end.
  15. Buster Poindexter then took to the stage to perform Heart of Gold.
  16. Finally, Bronson Pinchot closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though this was a bit of a slump episode, I was still easily able to find these three moments that stood out to me when all is said and done. First, I loved A. Whitney Brown's Big Picture segment about Congress giving themselves a raise because I still think it's ridiculous that they can still do this while shutting down any call for a boost to the minimum wage. Next, I really liked Kevin Nealon as the Police Sketch Artist who mimics the victim's description with his own face rather than using paper and pen because I thought the general concept was enough to get me to laugh. Finally, I was a fan of Amerida sketch because I used to live in Canada and would prefer the fake scenario that was happening in the world of the sketch where Canada merged with America with Canada having the upper hand.

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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.