SNL: S02E14.5... HOST: RANDY NEWMAN/MARDI GRAS SPECIAL... DATE: FEBRUARY 20, 1977

or...

A Seeso Saturday Night Special Episode

I'm sometimes surprised that I never managed to get swept up in the fantasy of joining the Mardi Gras celebration. Now there's definitely no way, as I'm past my party phase and settling into comforting my social anxieties over trying to conquer them with an extroverted approach and lower inhibition due to an inebriated mind full of self-medication.

Even at the high point of my partying days, I dreaded every event that would draw a crowd. Other than the mental issues from being an undercover introvert, I think part of the issue comes from being so tall. With my ears always above the crowd, I would feel left out of conversations as every word would blend into a murmur of exclusion. 

This would get me stuck in my head which at best would send me down an awkward trail of self-entertainment as I donned the mask of the life of the party. At worst I felt alone in a crowd and constantly felt like I was on the verge of losing it. The bigger the crowd, the harder the balancing act would be. 

So even in those days, when I saw myself as the Belushi of the group, I always felt more comfortable being that me when my interactions were limited to the handful of people that I didn't need a crowd to distract from the time we spent together.

I guess I was always aware of this disinterest in crowds which is why I wasn't all sure about this special that I was assuming would highlight the amateur party crowd that I've always despised. That said, this was an interesting Special because it doesn't show up in every season two collection.

The special is available on the Seeso site but I couldn't find it through my Amazon Seeso Subscription. Luckily, I'm in the middle of a membership mishap where I can still get in through both access points. For some dumb reason, when you sign up through the site, you don't get Amazon access, and vice versa. It doesn't help that their app doesn't work on my Fire TV so I can't get by with my original site account which I find a little frustrating.

Hopefully, there aren't any other specials only available through the site because the goal is to watch every SNL episode that is available and I'd like to watch it in the proper order. Don't get me wrong, this very specific issue that wouldn't bother me at all if it wasn't a minor inconvenience for this challenge. Other than that, Seeso's customer service has been great at helping me through this issue and I have absolutely zero complaints about their content.

Speaking of content, it's time to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Aykroyd as Carter gives the State of the Union while sitting on a famous statue of someone on a horse that located near one of the main Mardi Gras celebration location. His closing statement, "Live from Mardi Gras..."
  2. Randy Newman opens the show by singing Louisiana 1927, then goes on to explain the special show.
  3. Buck Henry and Jane Curtin are our parade correspondents that kind of direct the action of the show.  
  4. They throw to Belushi who was playing, trumpeter, Al Hirt who apparently got hit by a brick back in the day.
  5. This was followed by a repeat of the Quarry cereal commercial which I found it weird to repeat content during a special.
  6. Buck and Jane then throw to Penny Marshall, Gilda and Laraine who play girls down at Mardi Gras griping about their day jobs and how boring things are. This goes on for a bit too long before the Bees arrive dressed as bikers. The Biker Bees promise to be abusive to the girls which for some reason works and the reality of the sketch is not very funny.
  7. Next was a fake commercial for a Fat's Domino as sung by Garrett Morris, commemorative album. 
  8. Randy Newman returns to sing Marie.
  9. The first short film of the week followed a quirky lad who works as a New Orleans cemetery maintenance man. 
  10. Dan Aykroyd then played Tom Snyder as they had him do an investigative piece on topless and bottomless dancers. He also interviews Bill Murray who plays the club barker as well as Cindy Williams who played a topless dancer.
  11. Buck and Jane then throw to Barbara Wawa who interviews Henry Winkler who has a Fight Club of an interview as he explains the difference between him and The Fonz. 
  12. This was followed by an Il Duce sketch that had a convoluted introduction that I couldn't tell if it was historically accurate or not but either way that actual impersonation seemed to be more about getting a reaction from the crowd over sticking to the sketch that was set up.
  13. Eric Idle then plays a reporter sitting alone in the aftermath of what looked to be a crazy party. Now that everyone is gone he has nothing to report on, leading him to keep attempting to throw to the other reporters but the director will not allow it.  
  14. Eric Idle then finds his way out of the sketch as he introduces another short film called Down South, which was just a compilation of signs with the word Dixie proudly being displayed.
  15. The New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra then performs a song that I think is called Rebecca (Came Back From Mecca.)
  16. Buck and Jane through to Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams at some at some ball, only Cindy Williams never shows up, leaving Penny looking panicked especially when it is revealed that she is at a drag show. It's hard to tell if she is uncomfortable because Cindy isn't there yet or if it was the drag is making her uncomfortable because it's almost palatable that it's both, being that it was a different time I'm sure.
  17. Next was a Streetcar Named Desire sketch when Belushi played Brando screaming Stella at the wrong window, at least that's what Garrett Morris leads Belushi Brando to believe until it is revealed the Morris is fooling around with Stella.
  18. Paul Schaffer then performs The Antler Dance.
  19. The news was hosted by both Buck Henry and Jane Curtin during this special presentation. They have stories from Garrett Morris who gets the combination to the city by the mayor to honor him for the day as the only cast member who was actually from New Orleans. Laraine interviews Belushi about this year's Mardi Gras trend of taping white mice to your eyes. Emily Litella gets worked up over interviewing a Liver Boat captain until it's cleared up that he's the captain of a River Boat and Jane tries to break in with a story of an assassination attempt only to have Buck Henry keep drawing the attention back to the actions in the parade.
  20. Randy Newman returns once again to sing Kingfish.
  21. Next was a sketch about Jean Lafitte where Bill Murray played the titular character that killed anyone who accused him of being a pirate. He had no problem acting like a pirate but just didn't like the term but then reveals that he is going as a pirate to Mardi Gras.
  22. We then return to the drag show and now Cindy Williams is there to take over the play by play which seems to ease some of Penny Marshall's stress but she still doesn't seem all that comfortable with the concept of drag.
  23. Once again, Randy Newman returns to the stage to sing Sail Away, followed by him saying his good nights.
  24. Finally, we cut to Buck and Jane so they can say their good nights as well.

I'm not a huge fan of "Special Episodes" because shows that have them seem to broaden their content to capture more of the mainstream crowd. Either that or they get so tangled up in the spectacle that they lose any resemblance of the show that I've grown to love. That said, this was a fine "Special Episode," that was slightly less funny than an average episode.

Again, the word average is not bad when you see it in my reviews and slightly lower is still not all that bad. Despite my lack of interest in the event being celebrated this episode was good enough that it was easy to find my top three.

First, I really liked the Barbara Wawa sketch where Henry Winkler had a Fight Club-like interview about his relationship to The Fonz. Next, I liked the sketch with Eric Idle having the coverage thrown to him just barely missing the party of the night, then stuck to explain the now boring scene. Finally, I was a fan of the Tom Snyder sketch because there were some funny moments with Bill Murray as the club barks and Cindy Williams interview as a stripper, I don't really care all that much about the character of Tom.     

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.