The Tweaks Were Twunked and the Season is Starting to Settle
As I said in my review of last week's season-opening show there were a couple of flaws that I was expecting. As with every first episode throughout the season, I expect to see some ironing needs as the cast a crew come back from their vacations and have to fine tune all the new features.
Right out the gate, I noticed that they improved the opening animation with Don Pardo making his famous introductions. During the first show, they used the Time Square screen to digitally display each cast member. The digital images were Atari quality so it seems they needed to add an actual image for the viewer to know who they were looking at. During the first attempt, they used a technique that looked like a glamor shot that you would get from Sears in the 70s.
Next, I noticed that Bill Murray has found his legs because this was his best episode to date and we got to see this new Bill right away with his classic commercial for Swill Mineral Water from Lake Erie. Not only was his performance solid in this sketch, his segment in the news where he reviewed Donny and Marie was his first news segment delivered with confidence.
Finally, the news, in general, is starting to establish the current format of Weekend Update. Where last week the entire cast was involved just like the real nightly news. This week it was just Jane and Dan throwing stories back and forth with Bill Murray as their one special segment.
All in all this episode was slightly better than last week. My only problem was that there was just a little too much of Madeline Kahn singing. That's not to say I didn't like it. I find her to be adorable and her songs were humorous but if I wasn't such a fan I'd be outraged.
Alright, now it's time to share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
- The show starts with a parental guidance warning that I couldn't tell whether or not it was a joke because they used the same warning template to introduce the opening sketch which was a parody of the assassination of Oswald where he gets a pie to the face instead of a bullet to the head which allows him to announce, "Live from New York..."
- Madeline Kahn opens the show with a monolog about why we love SNL and have a fascination with the unknown.
- Bill Murray puts in his best performance to date in a fake advertisement for Swill, the unfiltered mineral water from Lake Erie that is so thick from pollutants that it's as thick as gravy.
- Bad Opera is another sketch in the "Bad" collection with a stuff Aykroyd explains the bad opera that we are about to see that then plays out with the actors. This one was a story of the Gods called Golden Note where one of the angry God's strikes Madeline Kahn with vocal lock causing her to get stuck singing the same note for the rest of her life which carries over into the real world.
- Lorne then announces the Anyone Can Host Saturday Night Live Contest where he places a call to action from the home audience to send in a post card to try to win a chance to host the show which is a concept that I can't wait to see how it plays out and wish they would bring this idea back sight unseen.
- Next was a sketch that reminded me of this new reality show I just started to watch called My Kitchen Rules where we sit in on celebrity dinner parties. The show in the sketch was called Bianca Jagger Talks to Three or Four of Her Closest Friends with her guest Capote, Princess Grace, and Margaret Trudeau, who all just want to see Mick Jagger. Bianca breaks the fourth wall within the fake reality show admitting she doesn't really know these people.
- Taj Mahal performs Queen Bee.
- This was followed but a short mockumentary called The Acid Generation where they interview geriatrics as if they were acid heads from the hippie generation. This one was pretty funny because the ages might match up in present times but for then it was a major exaggeration.
- This was followed by the news that's been readjusted from episode one to where it's now almost like the current format of Weekend Update. Now instead of the entire cast being involved, it's just Jane and Dan with the occasional mid-news guest with a special topic. Tonight's topic was delivered by Bill Murray as he reviewed the new Donnie and Marie Show.
- Bill Murray then played a preacher character who performed a sermon called Silver Balls and Golden Pins that's connected to a hymn-like song that we cut back and forth between sermon and song to build an interesting story.
- Next was a sketch where a school board had to pick between Garrett Morris and Belushi as to who will fill the final spot in the law program. Belushi threatens to sue for reverse discrimination because not only is Morris black but he's also blind which gave him the extra points to qualify. Since the school boards all white and don't want a lawsuit they decide to tell the blind Morris that Belushi is black, which is the fake reason they choose him. This one was done right to where it felt like it was making a point about race and wasn't just being racist.
- Madeline Kahn then starred in a home movie where she sings Autumn in New York throughout the city.
- Next was a fake commercial for a feminine product that is so personal that no one knows what it actually does.
- This was followed by a sketch about a voiceover session where Dan Aykroyd provides all the voices for an Italian film. First, the three actors act out the scene pretending that they know Italian, then they have to act like the scene's being played in reverse to get to the start of the video. Then Aykroyd adds the English as the actors have to go through the actions once more. It reminded me of the improv routine where you provide the voices to a movie without knowing what's coming.
- Dame Edna then makes a guest appearance to do a bit of a routine with Madeline Kahn. I have to admit, though it makes sense when I think about it, I didn't realize Dame Edna was around that long.
- Next was an airplane sketch that was a fake commercial for the Pocket Pal which gives travelers the ability to detect mid-air collisions.
- Madeline Kahn and Gilda Radner then have a sketch where they play two girls winding down a night of drinking. They talk about boys and the Patty Duke show as well as sharing their deepest secrets. It was more of a cute sketch than anything all that funny which is a kind of a common way the show ends the night from time to time so I'm used to it.
- Finally, Madeline came out to say her goodnights.
This episode may not have been the best of the bunch but it is building my interest in this season. I struggle a little to find my favorites because this episode seemed to be more charm based over being laugh out loud funny. That being said there were moments that stood out to me and here are those sketches in order.
First, I loved The Acid Generation sketch because I love mockumentaries and really loved this concept. Next, nostalgia kicked in the moment I saw the start to the Swill scene. Finally, I was a fan of the Silver Balls and Golden Pins sketch because it feels like it could be part of the Lebowski Religion.