SNL: S12E14... HOST: BILL MURRAY... DATE: MARCH 21, 1987

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or...

Damn That Was Dark, And Not In A Funny Way

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I don't really know what to say about this episode because I hate how I haven't had all that positive of a reaction to most of Bill Murray's homecoming visits to the show. This is especially hard because I loved him as a cast member and also love almost every movie that he's ever made so I don't want to come off as a hater when it is just this aspect of the man's career that I'm just now finding out that I'm not a fan of based on what I've seen so far.

This episode was particularly rough because for one there were so few sketches that ran extra-long which is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to this show. On top of that two of the sketches are nowhere to be found on the internet making this episode have only seven sketches to base my opinion on after subtracting the two missing sketches, the opening monolog, the musical performance and the news. 

On top of that, at least half of these seven sketches to choose from were so dark that I can't even imagine seeing them as funny, even when considering the filters to comedy that have been added to this countries humor over the years.

I mean, one sketch had a doctor who provided sex changes to newborn babies because he was abused by an uncle figure when he was a kid. Then there was the sketch of a cab driver who held his hooker girlfriend captive while he himself seemed out of his mind. If that wasn't enough, there was also a sketch where a kid who kills his parents while the father is physically abusing his sister for failing to do well at her swim meet.

I really hope this isn't a sign of things to come because this episode was just too dark to the point where I wouldn't even consider it to be in the vein of a dark comedy which is a genre that I'm actually a fan of. I think, of all the episodes that I've seen so far, there have been a few that I've been more bored by but this could be the least fun episode in the entire batch. To top things off, the fact that Bill Murray is one of my comedic heroes makes this ten times harder to admit.

So, now that I've finished slamming this comedy legend's homecoming hosting duties, it's now time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Right out the gate, this week's show started with a sketch called Bill's Missing Show that is also missing from this episode and I couldn't find anywhere on the internet, which sucks because this episode already has so few sketches to begin with.
  2. Bill Murray then officially opened the show with a monolog about his excitement to return to the show due to his love for the country and desire to rebuild America's lead when it comes to comedy following the foreign film, Crocodile Dundee's, run as the top grossing comedy of the year that led to its Academy Award nomination. 
  3. Reach Out was yet another sketch that I couldn't find anywhere on the internet which again, is super disappointing considering how few sketches this episode already had.
  4. This was followed by a sketch that took place in Jan Hooks apartment following a One-Night Stand with Bill Murray. It was such a drunken night that Jan slept in until noon and Murray moved in while she was sleeping to the point where he's even started to invite over friends when Jan Hooks thinks the night was a mistake.
  5. We then got a parody of Donahue where Phil Hartman played the white haired talk show host to talk about the topic of adults who attempt to regain their celibacy even though they had sex in the past. The guest range from a woman who had sex one with Gallagher and was so turned off she never wanted it again to a porn star who is only celibate outside of work, ending on Jon Lovitz whose celibacy is not his choice but because he is a loser. 
  6. Bill Murray's lounge singer character then made his return for the first time in close to a decade where he is now going by Nick Slammer since he's performing for prisoners in jail but other than that it's pretty much the same song and dance as the classic lounge style performances from the past.
  7. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Bill Murray dropped in to revisit his old SNL news routine of sharing his Oscar picks with the rest of this week's edition being just the regular news. 
  8. Girl-Crazy Obstetrician was a sketch where Phil Hartman plays an obstetrician who is getting interviews by Time Magazine because of the fact that he's delivered over 4100 babies with each and every baby he's brought into the world being a girl which seems suspicious to Nora Dunn who plays the reporter. Victoria Jackson and Bill Murray then enter the scene as an expecting couple who are there for a checkup and Bill Murray is still holding out for a boy and we also learn that this high female delivery route is due to the at birth sex changes that the doctor's prescribed because of a psychological break that the doctor is suffering from with the hinted at cause that he was abused by a man that his mom forced him to call his uncle as a child. I don't know how this could be justified as funny without even being filtered through modern eyes and hope this wasn't based on a real case from the time. 
  9. Percy Sledge then took to the stage to perform When A Man Loves A Woman.
  10. This was followed by the classic sketch Il Returno De Hercules where Bill Murray played an out of shape Hercules in an old foreign film tale of the Roman God that had been dubbed over with non-matching American voices. In the sketch, Hercules is supposed to save the day but blows out his back in the process.
  11. Mikey Can't Shoot was a sketch that took place in an upper-class household where Bill Murray plays the father of Dana Carvey and berates him for his inability to play a good round of golf that gets so bad Carvey pulls out a gun only to be criticized his inability to shoot as well. The rest of the family then join the scene but instead of helping out, they all pile on until Dana ends up shooting the entire family which finally leads to some praise.
  12. Honker Drives A Cab was a sketch where Bill Murray plays a character similar to his character from Caddy Shack who drives Dana Carvey around while carrying on a crazy conversation about his mess of a life that he seems very proud of while Carvey does his best to keep up his side of the conversation as if this guy is completely normal even though he has the look of fear in his eyes.
  13. Finally, Bill Murray closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Even though I hate to say that I hated this episode, I have to say there were at least these three moments that were light and funny enough for me to actually enjoy. First, I loved the Il Returno De Hercules because it is such a classic sketch with Bill Murray playing a hilariously out of shape Roman God with an almost as funny English voice over being that this was a parody of a foreign film. Next, I really liked the One-Night Stand sketch between Bill Murray and Jan Hooks because it was a funny display of how one person's ideal situation can be another's biggest mistake. Finally, I was a fan of the return of Nick Slammer because even though this sketch is a bit repetitive it was still entertaining and nice to see a returning character after he's been away for so long.

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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.