Oh, That Charles Charm
When I was a kid, I remember really liking Charles Grodin, mainly from his appearances on David Letterman. To me, he was another person like Buck Henry that felt more like an average person that was allowed to play this celebrity game over being someone who was truly famous. The most significant difference being that I was fully aware of Grodin's acting career yet still saw him as an average but entertaining person.
I haven't seen Charles Grodin in so long that I forgot how charming his character of himself was back in the earlier days of his career. He wasn't as arrogant and grumpy as he evolved to become but he was still as brilliant at blurring the line between fact and fiction in his own personal character which is my favorite type of person.
I loved how having him as a host allowed the show to blur the lines of reality and sketch without feeling like it's forced Meta humor. Not only was Grodin good in this episode but the cast put on the best show so far this season.
Now it's time to stop talking about my thoughts and share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
The show starts in what appears to be a break room for a regular job as Belushi shares his concerns with Gilda about tonight's episode. He sets up that "Chuck" Grodin was so busy promoting his movie that he missed out on all the rehearsals. Grodin finally arrives late and instantly confirms Belushi's fears as he displays that he has absolutely no idea what Saturday Night Live even is, which makes Belushi even more nervous as he explains that the show is live before making the famous opening announcement.
Charles Grodin then opens the show keeping up the character that he is utterly unprepared because he missed all the rehearsals to take advantage of his trip to New York to fit in all sorts of tourist activities.
Next was a fake commercial with Dan Aykroyd typing away on a plain as it's revealed this is a commercial for Aykroyd himself as the Weekend Update anchor.
The Coneheads make their return to the planet with a sketch about them on Halloween handing out beer and fried chicken embryos to the kids until a pair of parents confront them.
Grodin then plugs some fake movie that he not in promising to play a clip of a chase scene that will rival The French Connection. The clip play but cuts the moment Grodin jumps in the car. Grodin is upset that they didn't get to the good stuff when Lorne chimes in that it's because he ran long in the intro and they must move on. This leads to the intro of Paul Simon.
Paul Simon then takes the stage to sing Slip Slidin' Away.
This was followed by the famous Consumer Probe sketch where Jane interviews Aykroyd about unsafe Halloween costumes for kids including a bag of oily rags for the child to wear and set on fire.
Bill Murray and Mr. Mike announce to the home audience that there is still a call for applications for the Anyone Can Host Contest.
This was followed by the Samurai Dry Cleaner sketch which is "ruined" by Grodin's unpreparedness.
Once again the news is hosted by Jane and Dan with Bill Murray reviewing the concept of one-man shows. I like the addition of the dancing NBC N that comes in with breaking updates.
We then come back with Paul Simon sitting on stage next to what I swore for a second was Garfunkel but ended up being Grodin in a wig who wanted more airtime because of his failed movie plug from the earlier sketch. The two start to sing Sound of Silence, but Paul Simon can't put up with Grodin's horrible voice and walks off the stage leaving Grodin alone to sing what I assume is a Garfunkel solo song which is interrupted when the real Garfunkel arrives, demanding the wig from Grodin.
Next was a trick or treat sketch where the Killer Bees start out pretending they are children only to reveal they are the Killer Bees and demand Grodin and Gilda give up all the pollen in the house. Grodin breaks the scene confused by the concept of the sketch. This gets all the other bees to question the logic and gets Belushi outraged by how little effort Grodin is putting into the show calling him the worst host in history.
Gilda then plays her child character who has to entertain herself in her room as her parents entertain guest downstairs. She pretends that she's the host of her own show to entertain her stuffed animals. She gets more and more hyper until she's literally bouncing off the walls then calms instantly when her mom calls out, "What's going on up there," as she answers back with a very passive, "Nothing."
Garrett Morris pitches The Professional School of Football as if you can get into the NFL from this crappy TV certification.
Once again, Paul Simon sings So Kind.
Grodin then does a PSA for the Incompetent complete with the cast acting as characters to give examples of their ineptness.
Finally, Grodin takes the stage to say his goodnights while also clearing the false feud between him and Belushi.
I loved this episode for many reasons, but I particularly love the shows when there is a through-line story, which doesn't happen as often as it should because every time it does it makes a good show great and with that now is the time for my favorites.
First, I loved the Simon and Garfunkel sketch because there was a brief moment where I thought they were rerunning the reunion from season one before my eyes fully focused enough to see he was actually Charles Grodin. Next, I liked the Killer Bees sketch because I love when the show goes Meta. Finally, I was a fan of seeing the classic Consumer Probe segment with dangerous Halloween costumes for kids because it tapped into that nostalgic excitement.