SNL: S02E21... HOST: SHELLEY DUVALL... DATE: MAY 14, 1977

or...

A No Intro Show

I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw this week's episode was hosted by Shelly Duvall. I like her in several movies but she's not a name that really comes to mind when I think of comedic actresses. I was surprised to see her in the opening sketch because it's rare that we see these types of hosts before their opening monolog.

The premise of the first sketch was that the first sketch was canceled. They then cut to a boxing match claiming it's the way that NBC is going to recoup from their horrible deal to air the match in the first place. They then cut to another sketch within the sketch where Shelley Duvall is getting taunted by the cast girls. All this is happening while the intro to the show is playing on the TV behind them. The girls then come out on the stage as an almost roller derby rock band that sings a song about how Saturday Night Live will make you laugh.

I thought for sure that they'd jump back to officially start the show with the traditional and expected monolog. Nope, that never happened the show just jump right along to the first sketch. This whirlwind of an intro got me excited for the show and may be the reason this stood out as an above average episode.

Now it's time to repeat that first set of sketches as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. (This is a repeat of what's written above in the intro.)The premise of the first sketch was that the first sketch was canceled. They then cut to a boxing match claiming it's the way that NBC is going to recoup from their horrible deal to air the match in the first place. They then cut to another sketch within the sketch where Shelley Duvall is getting taunted by the cast girls. All this is happening while the intro to the show is playing on the TV behind them. The girls then come out on the stage as an almost roller derby rock band that sings a song about how Saturday Night Live will make you laugh.
  2. A gang of Halloween costume-clad bank robbers enters a bank for a robbery. Not one person in the bank, even the rest of the gang can tell what Aykroyd's costume is supposed to be which leads to an argument when he claims to be an insect. Which eventual evolves into an impromptu costume contest.
  3. Joan Armatrading performs Love and Affection.
  4. I group of three swarthy guys hang out at a restaurant looking like the original Night at the Roxbury twins. It turns out they are three actors from the time that aren't sure which on amongst themselves is Ricardo Montalban. I recognized the other two names but Montalban was the key focus as they try to figure out who's who like we would with Bill Paxton/Bill Pullman jokes of today. They found out the right answer by finding the one with the keys to a Cordova.
  5. There was then a quick cut to Chevy Chase in the audience with a humorous note, "Used to work on this show."
  6. Once again, Jane Curtin does another good job on an average night of the news.
  7. The news commercial played off the opening sketch playing the boxing match that NBC overpaid for once again. This time there is a PSA type voice over explaining why blacks are better at boxing in an extremely racist sketch saying that it has to do with education ending with the quote "A better educated Blackman is a weaker opponent." Though there was a humorous tone to the delivery, there was no twist on the stereotype so any sense of satire really missed the mark.
  8. The news returns and Emily Litella is a no show. Jane has to call her on the phone to get to the joke, "Leave your message at the Jeep." I wonder if Jane isn't joking when she says she doesn't like this routine because I love the character when she seems into the joke but I don't really like this trended of her having a half-assed approach to her rage.
  9. Belushi then plays Elvis for Viva Las Vegas II. In it, he plays a bus boy totally dressed like Elvis who after the slightest bit of conflict decided he has to prove himself by putting on a performance of Hamlet which is mainly him rambling bits and pieces of the play eventually leading to him singing Jailhouse Rock. All the while Aykroyd who is the customer that started this conflict can't get over how much they are letting the bus boy get away with.
  10. Barbara Wawa then interviews Richard Burton where the two talk funny about his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor and other rumors about his life.
  11. This week's short film was called Brides which was a funny little short filled with joke information about brides.
  12. Bad Ballet is a PBS-type show with a pretty pretentious host who explains the tale of tonight's bad ballet which is called the Swan but has nothing to do with The Black Swan. The Ballet begins with three ballerinas all in white leotards with Garrett Morris as the fourth in black. He is a black swan but not the black swan. Belushi then comes in as the swan wrangler who starts to cattle prod the swans into line. Then, for some reason, a Russian soldier arrives along with a poultry inspector. These two characters take on the wrangler leading to the end of the ballet.
  13. We are in black and white and Aykroyd and Morris are playing two guys who try to deprogram Shelley Duvall from her time with the Moonies. This evolves into a pretty good zombie parody called The Night of the Moonies where the cult members take the place of the walking dead.
  14. Joan Armatrading then performs Down to Zero.
  15. This was followed by a slower sketch that I still liked for some reason. This was Aykroyd and Duvall as a married/expecting couple in the cafeteria line at Kmart. The two are bickering about couple things but the main bone of contention is Aykroyd's van. She accuses him of becoming his dad, avoiding her with van task. He is super defensive about his van claiming that all he wants is a moveable fur house after explaining the interior of the van. They eventual find balance as the reality sets in that he's going to be a dad.
  16. Finally, Shelley Duvall gives her good nights. 

I'm kind of surprised that I liked this episode so much because I don't think anything incited any audible laughter, but it was a very good show that I would say is a little better than average. Now that those thoughts are out of the way, here are my favorite sketches.

First, I loved the Halloween bank robbery turned costume contest sketch because I was wondering what the hell Aykroyd's deal was until the premise of the sketch was revealed and I really like when they can pull that off. Next, I really liked The Night of the Moonies sketch because it was a very well done parody. Finally, I found this more charming than funny but I liked the couple at the Kmart cafeteria. For one, I remember going to the Kmart cafeteria with my grandparents when I was a kid. For two, I love seeing the prices for meals on the wall because it's amazing to see the inflation that's happened in my lifetime... a full chicken dinner for $1.60, which sounds amazing. Last but not least, it was a charming fun sketch that fit the host well... Oh yeah, I also found it funny that Aykroyd is smoking in a food line next to his pregnant wife which was apparently perfectly fine at the time. 

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.