SNL: S14E16... HOST: MEL GIBSON... DATE: APRIL 1, 1989

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or...

Ego Stroking On April Fool's In 1989

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One of my earliest post on this site was about how much and why I've always hated the action genre which continues to grow to this day. My main problem is the hypocrisy I see in people who agree with me in wanting a world without violence who then get mental boners while watching movies where every issue is solved with a gun.

Don't get me wrong, I get how it's an adrenaline rush caused by fictional events but even when I find myself giving in and enjoying a good ole gunfight, once the smoke clears I feel like I'm being manipulated by my primitive mind that gets to witness all of this action without having to choose between fight or flight at all.

At the time this episode originally aired, I was still young enough to enjoy any kind of film without getting caught up in philosophy and story so I was still watching Mel Gibson's work and actually found him to be funny. Going into this viewing I had a 50/50 outlook on whether or not I'd enjoy it.

Before I go on, let me clear a couple things up, my disinterest in action films has nothing to do with quality. I mean, I'm a legitimate fan of Freddy Got Fingered so this opinion doesn't come from a film snob/pompous place. I also want to be clear that I'm bringing this whole action thing up because I lost interest in Mel Gibson far before he became a controversial figure so my concerns about this have nothing to do with modern-day Mel.

That said, I didn't end up liking this episode for multiple reasons and this is one of those rare cases that I do actually blame the host. To start out, his opening monolog tapped into one of my major faux pas where Mel Gibson's introduction to the audience was how he didn't really want to be there because he is too big for the show.

Fake or not, I hated this opening arrogance that was only made worse by the show mainly using him as a good looking prop where the reaction to his appearance was supposed to be the source of all of the laughs without ever doing anything that I found to be genuinely funny on his own while keeping up the arrogant attitude.

This is interesting timing when you consider that this episode directly followed Mary Tyler Moore's visit where I specifically pointed out that I gave bonus points based on her genuine excitement because this is supposed to be a fun show, not just for the viewers but also for the host.

Again, I'm fully aware that this arrogant attitude was part of the joke but once again it's a style of joke that I just don't like.

I hope that I've made myself clear but even if I haven't 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 a Rain Man parody where Dana Carvey played the Dustin Hoffman role and "Pete Rose" took the place of Tom Cruise to seek help with his gambling picks instead of card counting in Vegas like in the actual movie. Not long into the conversation, it's revealed that Rain Man is the one who leaked Rose's gambling habits to the media. This causes the start to a fight that's quickly interrupted by Ben Stiller who's actually playing Tom Cruise and is there to fight with Pete Rose being that Rain Man is his money maker. It also turns out that the man who runs the home where Rain Man lives is also involved making money off of his investment tips. As the three people in the room with "average intelligence" fight it out they ask Rain Man what he has to say for himself and of course, with this being the opening sketch he turned to the camera to announce, "Live from New York..."  
  2. Mel Gibson then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he's a movie star who's not used to TV so he's unsure how the night will go. He then goes on to brag about his lifestyle as an actor with tons of money from easy work where a stuntman jumps in whenever there is danger. Speaking of danger, this monolog is turning me off because even though he's joking, as I've said before, I really hate when the host starts out the night by even pretending they're too good for the show.
  3. Tales of Ribaldry was a sketch about a BBC style show where Jon Lovitz plays an old-timey British chap who introduces a classic story before it actually gets played out. The story for this week's installment is called, The Woodsman And The Lady where Mel Gibson plays the Woodsman and Nora Dunn plays the lady. The two then act out a scene out of a crappy romance novel where Nora tries to trap the Woodsman into having an affair with her, playing off the fact that he was the hot actor of the time and this is just an excuse for him to remove clothing while having his ego massaged. The only thing that makes this sketch funny at all is the fact that Jon Lovitz's character is gay and every time they cut to him, he's more excited than Nora about the scene's progression.
  4. Exxon School Of Supertanker Steering was a fake ad for a telecommuting school that promised anyone can learn to steer a supertanker which was making fun of the Exxon Valdez spill from around that time.
  5. Cooking With The Anal-Retentive Chef was the classic PBS sketch where Phil Hartman plays a chef who is so into cleanliness and order when he realizes his cut bell peppers aren't the same exact size he decides to throw them out and start over. This sends him into a clean-up ritual that is so extreme that it takes up all of the time to where he never gets around to showing us how to cook anything.
  6. Sheriff Josh Acid was a Western parody where Mel Gibson is an acid flinger instead of a gunslinger who has to defend the town. It doesn't take long for Dennis Miller to storm into the bar looking for our quirky hero for a showdown. The two face off and when Miller draws Gibson throws acid in his face causing him to die while melting. This disturbing image causes the locals to second guess their choice to be protected by such an unconventional cop. The next day comes and we see Mel watering down his weapon, following the advice of the mayor. It doesn't take long for the next bad guy to arrive and get this watered down mixture thrown in his face as well, only it's so watered down it does nothing. This is when Mel's wife steps in and drenches the baddy with a bucket full of the good stuff which ends up saving the day.
  7. Living Colour then took to the stage to perform Cult Of Personality.
  8. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Al Franken dropped in for a segment that "wasn't planned" to announce that he left his wallet in a cab earlier in the day and wants any fans of the show to mail it in if they happen to find it. The Pathological Liar also stopped by to share where he's been and claims to have been spending time at the White House hanging out with the president and oddly enough he also claimed to have been hanging out with Donald Trump when not interacting with the ruler of the free world. After this, Franken returned to let us know that his wallet was actually in his other jacket before Dennis Miller signed off by reminding us to set our clocks back for Daylight Savings Day.
  9. Mel Gibson: Dream Gynecologist was another sketch that pretty much just plays into Mel Gibson's ego where he plays a Gynecologist who women can't wait to see because he's so hot and nothing to do with his skills. At one point, Mel introduces Jon Lovitz who he hired to help with the high demand but not a single woman opted to take advantage convenience being offered to them because he is too ugly.
  10. Danny Glover then dropped by to join Mel Gibson for a parody of Lethal Weapon VI where Mel Gibson has gotten to the point that he's now threatening suicide over even the slightest of disagreements. The two have a run in with Scarface who also has a suicidal side and the two have a stand-off over who is more committed to self-termination threatening themselves over anyone else.  
  11. As World Turn then returned for another installment of the soap opera parody starring Tonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein in tonight's episode we meet Frankenstein's mustache-wearing evil twin after the three stars of the show failed to make a deal with the Japanese to start selling them bread. This evil twin is played by Mel Gibson and is there to take Frankenstein's place for some good old fashion embezzlement. 
  12. Living Colour then returned to the stage to perform Open Letter To A Landlord.
  13. Tonto, Tarzan, Frankenstein and Evil Twin Frankenstein then got together to sing Peter Cotton Tale as a Belated Easter Greetings.
  14. Finally, Mel Gibson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Even though I wasn't a huge fan of this episode as a whole, it still had these three moments that I found to be my favorites. First, I loved the introduction of Cooking With The Anal-Retentive Chef because I love this Phil Hartman character and can't wait for future installments. Next, I really liked Lethal Weapon VI parody because it was the only sketch of the night where Mel Gibson actually made me laugh. Finally, I was a fan of Tonto, Tarzan, Frankenstein and Evil Twin Frankenstein because I'm always a fan of the main trio whenever they sing a song.

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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.