A Third Time Ending With Charm
This is the third time that Danny DeVito has hosted the show so I've already covered the fact that I'm a huge fan and excited to see his name whenever it shows up in my queue. Now that I think about it, of all the hosts so far, and potentially including all of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players to this point, I may have seen more movies on DeVito's resume than anyone else, but I wouldn't go as far to say, combined.
This is why I was excited about this episode, especially when considering that this has been such a solid season even with a season shortening strike going down. As with every other episode up to this point in this season, this was a pretty solid show, where all the hosts, including DeVito, have done great jobs with the cast nailing down all of their performances as well.
That said, I am starting to settle into this group to where this episode feels like the new average because nothing got me to the point where I felt like I was going to laugh out loud while at the same time, not feeling like I've been let down by what I'm seeing. Though I do consider this episode to be average, with not all that much new to add, you have to keep in mind that the new bar for average is above many of the entire seasons from the past.
As always, I have to remind you that when I say average, I'm by no means saying that average equals bad but instead I mean an episode is good but as far as comedy goes, I find these average shows to be more entertaining than out and out funny which is what I need to give the higher scores that I hesitate to deal out lightly.
So, now that I've got my opinion of this episode off my mind, as well as my views on what it means to be average, it's now time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with Hartman as Ronald Reagan and DeVito as Mikhail Gorbachev in the back of the presidential limo on the way to one of the early Nuclear Disarmament Summits from around that time. In the sketch, Reagan can't stop looking at the birthmark on Gorbachev's head while attempting to give a tour of D.C. while only focusing on landmarks that were involved with dramatized history portrayed in movies. At one point Reagan considers the Pentagon as just a set for a movie and almost commits to giving Gorby a tour of the War Room until the limo driver steps in and says that would be a bad idea being that the Russians were still the bad guys at the time... unlike they are now? Anyway, the tour goes on with more bad info on tourist spots while Reagan keeps getting distracted by Gorbachev's head who finally says something in Russian that turns out to be, "Live from New York..."
Danny DeVito then officially opened the show with a monolog where he promotes Throw Mama From The Train and apologizes for making such a blatant plug before going on to talk about his new son and the rest of his family and how happy they are to come back to the East Coast to visit DeVito's hometown. This leads to Danny, explaining how he grew up with Bruce Springsteen, which may or not be true, but this leads DeVito to share pictures from a yearbook that has obviously been set up for a joke where Danny was actually The Boss when the two were young.
This was followed by a fake ad for Handi-Off which is a classic that I still can't get out of my head where Victoria Jackson is ashamed of her extra fingers with Handi-Off being an over the counter solution that will burn the extra digits off as if they were a common wart.
At The Movies was a parody of the Siskel And Ebert show with the same now, only in this edition, the two movie critic review a bunch of gay porn. The intro clip appears to be the "acting" portion of a real adult film from the '80s where the acting is super bad and they don't just jump right into action. The second clip is a fake porn acting scene where Danny DeVito played a pizza shop owner who puts the moves on his delivery boy that was played by Dana Carvey. For the third and final clip, we went back to the real clips of a porn that in the world of the sketch, was written by Gene Siskel. The sketch then ended with a recap of everything that was seen on the show.
Church Chat then returned for another segment with more of the same from the Church Lady. Again, I don't like this character or these sketches as much as I used to but I do still see why they were fun at the time and am not annoyed whenever one airs the way I get with some of the other characters that get a little repetitive especially after being ruined by everyone in the world doing their impersonation and by everyone in the world, I include myself as a resident of this planet, so I'm not saying it's everyone else's fault without me being involved.
Bryan Ferry then took to the stage to perform The Right Stuff.
Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Kevin Nealon dropped in to talk about the recent increase of airline accidents only to end up rambling about everything else but the topic at hand.
The Jungle Room then returned for another black and white installment where Jon Lovitz plays a speakeasy owner who has ties to the mafia and runs the place with a very greedy hand and a harsh way of dealing with both his employees and customers. This sketch goes on for quite a while but the main point of it all is to get Victoria Jackson to horribly sing a song while attempting to be sexy in almost a Marilyn Monroe type of way with a lot of rambling in between.
White Trash Appraiser was a sketch reminiscent of The Antiques Roadshow only with DeVito and Hooks playing a white trash couple in a trailer who are getting their post of the Mona Lisa appraised. Not only was this couple tricked into thinking this was a painting, they have a whole bunch of mass produced items that they want to have appraised while thinking they are real. Eventually, the appraiser does find a very valuable diamond and goes on to play off that it is fake as well, only this is the one scam that the white trash couple was prepared for so when he tries to take the diamond off their hands, they deny him and run him out of the house.
Ann Landers' Playhouse was a sketch that took a letter to Ann as the host where her advice is acted out in a play. For this installment, the answer seeker wants to know how to deal with Mr. Right who isn't ready to propose while she is holding out sex for marriage. We then see Ann, played by Nora Dunn assertively turn down DeVito's advances more like a mother than a real person in this type of situation. Keeping in mind that in the letter this was Mr. Right yet she treats him super cold. She eventually gives in and for a second tries to jump his bones, then changes her tune again leading DeVito into a situation that might be considered date rape, that is until his sexual aggression grows and what was once mixed signals becomes borderline assault, all the while, "No means no," is not the underlying message of this sketch and DeVito's efforts to make out is just treated like a case of men being men while the audience laughed as this was perfectly acceptable.
Bryan Ferry then returned to the stage to perform Kiss & Tell.
We then met Danny DeVito as The Doorman for a high-end apartment building and get to witness him having to deal with the extremely wealthy residents who seem to have no idea who else they share the building with and only know how to make simple small talk while DeVito enthusiastically plays along, fully remembering all of the details as if he sees everyone as a true friend. At first I thought this was building to DeVito just acting super nice in an effort to get a tip only to find out that this was just one of those end of the night, sentimental sketches that I adore.
Finally, Danny DeVito closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Though I wouldn't say that this episode was all that laugh out loud funny, it was still a solid enough show to where I found it easy to find these three favorite moments from the night. First, I loved the fake ad for Handi-Off because I totally remember being extremely impressed with the special effect at the time and it's still pretty impressive today. Next, I really liked The Doorman sketch because it was one of those end-of-the-night sketches that are more sentimental than silly but absolutely heartwarming when done right. Finally, I was a fan of the White Trash Appraiser because it reminded me of a Redneck Antiques Roadshow.