SNL: S20E12... HOST: BOB NEWHART... DATE: FEBRUARY 11, 1995

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or...

Fifteen Years Was Far Too Long

For This Follow-Up Visit From Newhart

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I’m sure that I must have said this back when Bob Newhart made his first hosting appearance back in 1980 but Newhart might be one of the most influential in my life. I wouldn’t say that he’s a favorite, even though I like him very much. I also couldn’t quote any of his jokes since I’ve always been more influenced by his style. I don’t know if a day has ever gone by where I haven’t, at least once, tapped into Newhart’s technique of sharing just one side of a conversation while trying to tell a joke.

With that said, I went into this viewing with a mixed bag when it came to my expectations. Mainly I was excited because it was Newhart but looking at the list of the sketches; I got a little nervous by how few sketches made up the night. I always fear the fewer but longer sketch format, and before I watched the actual episode to find the after the credits surprise, there were only thirteen segments that made up this evening’s show. To top this off, one of said segments was a Deep Thoughts which are so short; I barely count them at all.

Fortunately, during the viewing of this episode, I never once thought that any of the sketches felt like they dragged on at all. I might even go as far as to say; this was the best, fewer but longer sketch formatted shows that I’ve seen so far in this challenge. Even in other episodes that share this format where I didn’t mind, there seems always to be at least one sketch that’s enough of a flop to get me to give in and stare at my phone for a bit.

I think that it helps that Bob Newhart’s style, in general, is rather dry and drawn out and since I was already a fan, I went into this episode already buckled in for a slower journey. In fact, I was so on board with this episode that it went by with a flash and actually felt shorter since I was constantly having fun.

This episode also makes five shows in a row to ease my concerns that were developed during the first half of the year, which, in turn, is boosting my enthusiasm toward the rest of this second half. With all of that said, it’s now that time where I shift gears in order to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of the Colin Ferguson Trial where they made fun of the Long Island Railroad shooter’s attempt to defend himself in court even though he was batshit crazy whose reality wasn’t grounded on Earth. In the sketch, he even went as far as to accuse his victims of shooting him. Of course, this being the opening sketch, it eventually built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Bob Newhart then officially opened the show with a monolog where he joked about this being his second time hosting the show and how the fact that it only took them fifteen years to invite him back made him feel like he must have done a good job. This led him into one of his stand-up routines where he portrayed a security guard working his first night at The Empire State Building which also happened to the night that King Kong made his famous climb.
  3. This was followed by a parody of The Ricki Lake Show with Jay Mohr as Ricki Lake and Bob Newhart as a guest fad psychologist who was there to help mend the friendship between Chris Farley and David Spade after Spade had sex with Farley’s mother as well as his father. Rather than make any claims that he can solve these significant problems in an hour-long show, Newhart was blatantly honest and announced that these people need some major help and may even be broken past the point of being able to be fixed.
  4. Book Buzz was a talk show about books with Newhart as the host who interviewed Chris Farley who played the writer/editor/compiler of a book meant to compete with The Guinness Book Of World Records filled only with feats that he has personally verified. For example, his world’s tallest man is Farley’s buddy who is only slightly over six feet tall. This baffles Newhart since none of the accomplishments in Farley’s book come anywhere near any of the Guinness records.  
  5. Des'ree then took to the stage to perform You Gotta Be. 
  6. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Norm share “a clip” from the O.J. Trail where Chris Elliott played a witness who kept making faces at the CourtTV camera after sharing a story about how Judge Ito was getting annoyed by all of the courtroom media coverage since it had grown to be too distracting. David Spade then dropped in to report on the fact that Cindy Crawford just got a divorce from Richard Gere then went on to predict who will be the male celebrity that would take Richard’s place. Adam Sandler also dropped in to perform another song; this one was called Sex Phone Lady.
  7. This was followed by a parody of Baywatch where Bob Newhart had to step in as a civilian to save Chris Farley since the Baywatch staff too sexy but stupid to actually do their job.
  8. We then went to the US Post Office for a sketch called The Evaluation where Bob Newhart had to perform an evaluation on an employee as a way to prevent any potential postal workers from snapping and shooting the place up which was a popular trend at the time.
  9. "Hi, Bob" was a sketch where Chris Farley and Chris Elliott were playing a drinking game in the SNL lobby where they had to do a shot for every time someone said, “Hi, Bob” when passing this week’s host. I guess this was a popular drinking game that people used to play while watching the Newhart show.
  10. Des'ree then returned to the stage to perform Feels So High. 
  11. Sports Beat was sports talk show sketch hosted by Kevin Nealon who interviewed Bob Newhart who played a manic-depressive sporting announcer who was inconsistent at his job since sometimes even the most insignificant plays where announced with manic excitement while a major play would barely get a response at all.
  12. We then got another installment of Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack shared the tale of a volcano that spits out gold nuggets back when his grandpa was a child.
  13. Finally, Bob Newhart closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
  14. After the goodnights, there was a quick parody of the final episode of the Newhart show where Newhart woke up to find that the entire night was just a dream.

You know it’s a really good show when, even though the episode used the fewer but longer sketch format, it was still kind of hard to narrow my favorite moments down to these three because there was too much to choose from but here’s what I managed to find. First, I loved The Ricki Lake Show parody because I loved how rather than be a guest psychologist who claimed to have the answers to any problems, Newhart had more of an honest approach by pointing out that the family he was there to help was damaged beyond repair. Next, I really liked the Book Buzz sketch because I always have a fascination with World Record books and like the idea of someone starting their own. Finally, I was a fan of the after credits surprise because of how much I used to love the Newhart show being referenced.    

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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.