SNL: S02E08... HOST: PAUL SIMON... DATE: NOVEMBER 20, 1976

or...

The Raising of the Bar

My most disappointing finding up to this point of the challenge was how little I liked the first appearance of Paul Simon on Saturday Night Live. I felt very disappointed because it was the second show in the run and there was barely any comedy. The few comedic moments were pretty fun but I consider his first shot a music special over being a standard show.

Though there was still a lot more music in this episode than a regular show, the overall energy felt like geared toward comedy, to the point where Paul Simon performs in a giant Turkey suit and George Harrison playfully bickers with Loren Michaels over appearance fees based on the rate being offered to the Beatles as a whole.

Not only was the energy of the performers more geared toward comedy, two of the music performances were silly music videos that were directed by Eric Idle.  The actual cast didn't get that much meat to grasp on to but the energy seems to be stabilizing after the loss of Chevy Chase and the disappearing host.

This episode wasn't great but it is my new benchmark for what I consider slightly above average until they get to their next plateau. Now that you know my benchmark it time to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1.  The show opens with Paul Simon approaching the studio. I'm not sure if Chevy contractually has to make some sort of appearance throughout the rest of this season but he makes a quick appearance as a Busker now that he no longer has the show.
  2. This is connected to the first bit but we're now inside and George Harrison is trying to pester Loran Michaels into giving him the $3300 that he was offering for the Beatles reunion. Paul Simon approaches from the first sketch and starts to complain about the opening idea, only it's kind of vague what the issue is. Paul Simon gives in and heads off to get ready while George continues to push for more pay.
  3. Again the opening sketches carry over to the opening monolog where Paul Simon performs Still Crazy After All These Years, while dressed as a Thanksgiving Turkey. He doesn't get far before breaking into a shame cycle about the suite.
  4. This was followed by a fake commercial for Quarry cereal. Thank God, the sound of people chomping on rocks sounded so over the top and cartoony that it didn't affect my Misophonia because that would have driven me nuts.
  5. Paul Simon then sings 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.
  6. Next was an interview with Barbara Walters and Henry Kissinger, thought all any sketch with Barbara Wawa, is mainly a speech pattern parody, I still find it kind of funny.
  7. This was followed by a Twilight Zone parody where desperate actresses keep showing up to the same room expecting to meet with a movie producer. They keep acting like it some big mystery but it's obviously playing off the casting couch. It turns out Rod Serling is the producer in question which wasn't even all that interesting as a parody twist.
  8. Once again, Jane hosts the news and starts with a story about how people were outraged that Carter spent a whopping $35 Million dollars on his campaign.
  9. Paul Simon teams up with George Harrison to sing Here Come the Sun, followed by a joint performance of Homeward Bound.
  10. This was followed by the first of two music video directed by Eric Idle for a couple of George Harrison songs. This song was called Crackerbox Palace.
  11. Next was a long sketch that started with the silly introduction of our hero. His name was Billy and he's a man of mystery even though they seem to have a lot of facts about him. They then jumped to a sketch at an ice cream shop run by a bigot who would only serve ice cream to the white kids in town. Then our mystery hero Billy stepped in to save the day then shows unity by ordering a chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cone to represent each color of person involved. 
  12. Paul Simon sings Something So Right.
  13. Aykroyd as Tom Snyder then interviews Paul Simon thinking that he is a trucker, then thinking he is Neil Simon which was followed by more and more mix-ups showing that Tom Snyder does not do his research.
  14. Next was the second music video that was directed by Eric Idle for George Harrison's song This Song.
  15. Finally, Paul Simon sang Bridge Over Troubled Water before saying good night.

Again, this wasn't that exciting for its individual pieces but I liked this episode as a whole. If I had to choose a top three, this is how it would go. First, I love that Chevy is not fully gone from the show, it's kind of resolving my conflict of not liking him as much as I wanted to when he was actually on the show. Next, I got a laugh out of the introduction of this mysterious Billy character that they seem to have a lot of information on. Finally, I like the running multi-episode gag of Loran trying to reunite the Beatles. 

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.