SNL: S16E09... HOST: DENNIS QUAID... DATE: DECEMBER 15, 1990

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or...

Free James Brown!!!

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Apparently, this episode originally aired when James Brown was still in jail following a high-speed chase with the cops where they found him with a weapon and a bunch of drugs, based on the call to "Free James Brown" by one of the Neville's during their second musical performance of the night.

This "Free James Brown" proclamation wasn't controversial or even all that noticeable but I do remember that as a trendy catchphrase from the time so I figured I'd point it out. Speaking of being uncontroversial and unnoticeable, I'd almost use those terms to also describe this episode.

Once again, I wouldn't say this was a bad episode but thanks to Dennis Quaid starting the show on a pet peeve note, I don't think I ended up liking this episode as much as I might have if he simply started on a different foot. You see, during his opening monolog he pointed out that he was nervous, which is fine until he ended by joking to the viewers to brace themselves for a bad show.

I've said this many times in the past and I'll say it again, I hate this negative approach even when it is clearly a joke because it leads me to spend the entire viewing searching for evidence that these negative thoughts are true. Though I think Dennis Quaid is a great film actor, this episode highlighted how, at least at the time, he wasn't all that good at performing live as his claims to be nervous didn't seem to be a joke at all.

That's not to say that he was absolutely horrible but based on Dennis's opening joke, I seemed to notice every hesitation and stumble that would have just slipped by if this playful warning wasn't dancing around the back of my head. This is too bad because if I wasn't on the lookout for flaws, this would have been just another fun episode on par with the rest of this solid season that I've seen so far.

So, now that I've delved deeper into one of my biggest pet peeves, it's now time to move on and delve into what I actually saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States where Dana Carvey as Bush Sr. is now filled with confidence as he shares his plans with Iraq following their invasion of Kuwait. This is after month and months of these messages making fun of Bush's desperation to defend the claims that he was a wimp during his run to become president. Of course, this being the opening sketch it eventually builds up to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Dennis Quaid then officially opened the show with a monolog about being nervous to host due to the fact that the show is live. He then goes on to joke about his nervous smile/grin then goes on to share an example of how the nervous tick has even ruined his audition for a role in The Last Temptation Of Christ and then goes on to throw to the show while displaying his nervous grin once again. 
  3. We then got a fake ad for the album A Dysfunctional Family Christmas filled with parody Christmas tunes that joyfully share dysfunctional family issues that often come up during the holidays.
  4. This was followed by a parody of Sally Jessy Raphael with Jan Hooks as Sally and Narcoleptic Hunks as the topic, where Sally interviews Dennis Quaid, Phil Hartman, and Mike Myers who all play heartthrobs who randomly fall asleep throughout the interview only to instantly pick up where they left off the moment they wake up as if no time has passed at all.
  5. We then went to a sketch that seemed like it was a family having breakfast with Dennis Quaid as his parent but it turns out that this is not his but his ex's instead in this sketch entitled Family Loves Ex-Boyfriend where Victoria Jackson's parents and brother seem to love Dennis more than her even though he's dating another girl so it's not that they're trying to get the two back together.
  6. The Neville Brothers then took to the stage to perform Brother Jake.
  7. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Jon Lovitz's Annoying Man made a special visit to annoy Dennis Miller while wishing him a Merry Christmas leading Miller to yet at both Lovitz and his character for being on the show multiple times since quitting. Dana Carvey's Grumpy Old Man character also dropped in to share the miseries of the Christmas season back in his day while also proclaiming, "That's the way it was AND WE LIKED IT.
  8. Massage Students was a sketch that made fun of massage school with Dennis Quaid as a Hippie Dippy teacher who is teaching a course through some sort of extended education program as it seems everyone who is there doesn't seem to want to take on massage as a professional practice but are more just a bunch of randos who there for weird reason, like a pair of swings who just want to hook up, as well as another couple where the wife can't stand being touched so the husband thinks this might help kickstart the physical aspect of their relationship and an old man who's just there because the class was cheap and available.
  9. Renegade Pilot was a sketch that sort of parodied Top Gun only with Dennis Quaid as a crazy pilot who likes to show off his piloting skills during a rill. It turns out that he's not only crazy when it comes to the maneuvers that he puts the jet through, he's also crazy enough to invest in shady stocks, put tin foil in the microwave, let his girlfriend cut his hair as well as many other highly questionable tasks while screaming like a maniac and continuing to control the jet at the same time, ignoring the demands to land by the tower. 
  10. Sprockets then returned for its first installment of the season where Dieter hosted a Christmas episode of his show, sharing "German holiday traditions" including a "traditional song" and a German Santa played by Dennis Quaid and finish the show by introducing Black Pete who is a mythical Christmas troublemaker who plays tricks on the bad girls and boys.
  11. The Neville Brothers then returned to the stage to perform River of Life.
  12. Schillervision Theatre returned for another short film that felt like it would fit in with Adult Swim filled with lots of quick cuts that don't stay on topic. At first, we are promised a Christmas film but then quickly jump to a commercial for a hair yarmulke before jumping back to the short film that simply has kids running to the Christmas tree while closing credits play which is then quickly followed by an ad for an upcoming New Year's special where the Time Square Apple attacks the host and goes on to terrorize the world. 
  13. We then got another fake ad for a fake album, this one is a collection of country songs called The Specialty Songs Of Cal McLane Jr. where he boasts about America's ability to bully the rest of the world into seeing things our way.
  14. This was followed by the debut of deep thoughts with a quick silly insight about parachuting.
  15. Finally, Dennis Quaid closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Again, though the above review might sound negative, this was actually the ninth solid show in a row with the help of these three of my favorite moments from the night. First, I loved The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Album Ad because my family was a mess by this point and I fully remember how funny it was for hitting so close to home. Next, I really liked the Renegade Pilot because it cracked me up how many bizarre things they had Dennis Quaid do while also piloting a jet. Finally, I was a fan of the Sally Jesse Raphael parody because there's just something funny about narcolepsy to me.

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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.