Back With A Budget
Not only was this round two, bringing in the start to the second season, it was also host, Lily Tomlin's, second time in control of the show. As I said in my review of her first appearance, I was a big fan of Lily Tomlin as a little kid, enough so that I would consider her a very early celebrity crush.
The break between seasons must have been the summer that everyone became a star. I'm not just talking the cast of the show but everyone who was a celebrity from that time. We've got Star Wars starting around this time, the Muppets were getting less airtime on SNL because they had just started The Muppet Show, most of my favorite Mel Brooks movies were from around this time and apparently Lily Tomlin tapped into her success between hosting duties because they made a much bigger deal this time around.
Now talking about the cast, they seem to be catching on as well. At the start of the show, they seem to draw quite the crowd when the sketch started just outside the studio. It even looked like they had barricades to separate the excited fans from the action which I don't recall seeing in past sketches that landed in the outside world.
At this point, the Not Ready for Prime Time Players were becoming a big deal, and to me, the most significant sign of their success is the attention paid to the sets. Other than the few sets from season one that seemed like they might have been borrowed from a fancier show, most of the sets looked like they were built for a high school play. Now it looks like they have an official set decorating department that is giving the show a more legitimate feel.
Where season one felt like a live show being recorded, season two is already feeling more like a produced show that just happens to be recorded live, and I'm excited to watch the series grow. Now that I've given you my thoughts on the show, it's time to share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner wait out in front of the studio for Lily Tomlin to arrive. First off, I thought Chevy left after season one, but other than that they talk about how Tomlin's gone Diva since last hosting the show. She finally does arrive, and it's true. Lily Tomlin has a huge entourage and is barely missing everyone's names. This sketch goes on and on until finally Chevy is stuck with a mini driver, not Minnie Driver but the dwarf that starred in the movie Freaks, who has no idea who Chevy is and eventually trips Chevy to trigger the opening fall.
Lily Tomlin then comes out to open the show. She is acting humble to throw off the diva scent of the opening scene, but they pretend to go to commercial only to catch Lily in another diva moment before the camera really cuts away.
Next, was a sketch that was about the presidential debates between Carter and Ford. Though they did mention a couple current events, the main focus was slapstick and stupid humor, so I kind of tuned out.
James Taylor then stepped on the stage to sing Shower the People.
The news's commercials are still alive, and this time it was for Lily Tomlin representing the phone company in her famous, "We're the Phone Company: We Don't Care," fake commercial line.
The Muppets returned from storage that seems to be their new set. They think they've returned from the afterlife and are plotting ways to get back onto the show. Lily Tomlin joins them and tries to get them to sing the whistle song which was pretty hilarious because, try as they might, the Muppets just couldn't work out how to whistle. This led to a sort of touching goodbye.
Lily wonders from the Muppets to the stage where she has a moment with James Taylor over her interaction with the Muppets, and he takes over to sing the song Roadrunner.
The next sketch started as a Christmas looking scene with the sound of Three Stooges filling the air. Lily Tomlin plays a weird shut-in lady who talks with door to door salesmen just to fill the time. She then talks their ears off until they decide to leave before sealing the deal.
James Taylor then returns to play Sweet Baby James.
Next, was a fake ad that started with a commercial pitchman getting Lily Tomlin to do all the weird infomercial tests including washing all the dishes to see how silky it leave your hands, smearing jelly on clothing to see which side washes out first... This goes on and on until he has her go into a room, get naked and do the antler dance. It's also revealed that this is a commercial to do whatever an SNL cast member tells you to because it is going to be fun.
This was followed by a reoccurring sketch called Women in Literature. This segment was about Emily Sullivan. I don't know who she is, but they were making fun of her very mundane journal entries, so I'm guessing she had a very flat tone to her writing.
This week's short film was a guy that was interviewed before, but this time he seemed drunk and very excited to talk about TV. It was pretty interesting to see a shut-in's life from this time.
Finally, Lily Tomlin closed out the show by teaching everyone in the audience how to do the Antler Dance as she sang the titular song, which was apparently written by Paul Schaffer.
The sketches seem to be getting longer so there are less of them to choose from but here are my top three from what I just saw. First, I love the, "We're the Phone Company, We Don't Care," because it's a classic to me. Next, I liked the sketch that I think bid farewell to the Muppets because Lily Tomlin was really good at interacting with those fuzzy gloves. Finally, I really liked Tomlin's weirdo character who outtalked the door to door salesman.