My Birthday Episode: Year 13
I don't really have a strong connection with Glenn Close or any of her movies. That's not to say that I'm not a fan because I don't mind when she shows up in a film, it's just one of those things where she's a performer who I never actively sought out her work while at the same time, she never gave me a reason to avoid anything that she's in.
Though this episode was great when compared to the first half of the season, it was just on the good side of average when compared to the second half. This is why I think she is the perfect test case in my feelings that there was some sort of big change during this season's New Year's break because she is at the same career level as the non-comedic actors who hosted during the first half and the show was able to put together a solid episode complete with laughs which I felt these earlier episodes lacked.
Again, I felt that these early shows were solid and entertaining but they just were not funny at all which hasn't been the case with the second half, at least so far. Of course, I could always go online and investigate any change but I am trying to avoid any research into what was happening behind the scenes until I complete the viewing portion of this challenge.
Part of me wants to postpone looking into the actual history of the show because I just don't have the time but there is also a part of me that fears knowing this type of information might subconsciously taint my opinion of any given time where I might like or dislike a season based on things that can't even be seen on the screen. The final part of me is holding back because I want to wait and see if I'm actually right when I finally do get all caught up.
So, now that I've shared those views, 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 a Bookstore Under Siege where Glenn Close and Phil Hartman defend their shop from the Iranian's who are attacking because they continue to sell Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses. The place looks like a war zone and even customers with no intentions to buy the controversial book are targets to the attackers, making the store's staff go on dangerous missions to retrieve the innocent books that their customers desire. On one trip out Phil Hartman gets hit but returned with the How To Knit book that he set out for leading to his dying words which are, "Live from New York..."
Glenn Close then officially opened the show with a monolog about how the monolog was the part of the show that she dreaded most of all because she was raised by her mother to not talk about herself in an effort to stay humble. To get around this she invited William Hurt where he pretty much says she's a pain in the ass but this is due to her strong work ethic. From there, he goes on to list off a plethora of backhanded compliments about her career while she stands silently by his side and takes it.
We then got a repeat of the Big Red ad from earlier in the season which was an ad for a Viking toy that sprays blood all over the place when you pull its string.
Alex's Support Group was a sketch we meet a group of people seeking help for some pretty basic mental issues. At first, Dana Carvey seems like he is going to be the extreme case as he is a very quirky shut-in. Then we meet Glenn Close as her Fatal Attraction character who shares her issues from the film which causes the rest of the group to freak out. Even when the rest of the group does give into the process and share their thoughts on her issues, all it takes is a single look from this obsessed stalker to get them back on their guard.
Pumping Up With Hans And Franz then returned for another installment that is mostly the same as far as dialog goes only this time they are selling a new VHS tape where the two muscle-bound brothers take you on a virtual date where as always, they are more interested in themselves and how nobody else can match their size or strength.
Gipsy Kings then took to the stage to perform Bamboleo.
Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, A. Whitney Brown dropped in for yet another brilliant Big Picture segment about the growing religious intolerance of the day and how no religion is better than the other in their evil efforts to get everyone to agree with their specific beliefs. "George Michael" also made another visit only this time he was in studio talking about his butt and not via satellite like he was for his last visit.
We then went to the 49th Annual Westminster Mad Dog Show which parodied the real dog contest only with rabid dogs on display being rated on everything from their crazy barks to the amount of foam build up around their mouths. All this with Glenn Close playing an extremely proper British judge/host and Kevin Nealon as his sidekick.
Circle Mad Dog Food was a fake ad within the Westminster Dog Show sketch where Wilford Brimley pitches a line of dog food specifically for these rabid pets with options for puppies to adults with even a choice for those dogs that are too far gone and need to be put down.
Master Thespian then returned for another installment where he is back to his PBS style show. This isn't a talk show but it is still PBS in its style with Lovitz in his den talking out loud about his views of his latest role while writing in his journal. Glenn Close then drops in as the actress who he is starring with and as always the two showcase their "ACTING" while trying to carry out an actual conversation making it hard for either to tell what is real and what is just an act.
Nine Different Levels was a sketch that started with Jon Lovitz and Glenn Close talking about a mutual friend and when Lovitz say something sexist and rude it sends Glenn into a Mary Poppins style song and dance about the nine levels of how women respond to this sort of speech.
Gipsy Kings then returned to the stage to perform Djobi Djoba.
Jealous Of Janelle was a sketch that took place in the South with Glenn Close playing an old lady on the porch enjoying tea with her daughter talking about a recent event. At first, it sounded like a family get-together but then Glenn started to complain about Janelle stealing the spotlight. This is when we learn that the event in question was Janelle's funeral. Jan Hooks, playing the daughter, then has to spend the rest of the sketch calming her mother down as she continues to reminisce about this lifetime resentment toward her deceased sister.
Finally, Glenn Close closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.
I wouldn't say that this was the most exciting episode but I would that that is was good thanks to these three moments that were my favorite from the night. First, I loved the Jealous Of Janelle sketch that ended the show because as a nihilist I love the idea of a person being jealous of the person being honored at a funeral. Next, I really liked the 49th Annual Westminster Mad Dog Show because it turns out that I'm a fan of anything that parodies the real Westminster show. Finally, I was a fan of the Nine Different Levels because it was a fun song and dance about how women react to sex jokes being casually thrown around by men which felt ahead of its time.