SNL: S03E09... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: JANUARY 21, 1978

or...

Surprisingly Not Struck By Nostalgia

This episode marks Steve Martin's fourth appearance as the host of Saturday Night Live. As I mentioned in past reviews, I love Steve Martin the actor but I've never been a huge fan of his stand-up routines because he reminds me of that high energy guy at the party who pretends to be coming up with everything off the top of his head but it's obvious that he is over prepared.

So with that said, I never have high hopes that Steve Martin's opening will get much more than a smile out of me but I still love the guy and do still smile. I do find that I that I like him in sketches and I, in no way, think his episodes are at the bottom of any list, so it's not that I hate his appearances.

The thing that I find strange is despite the fact that I look forward to every episode hosted by Steve Martin, I never feel the sense of nostalgia that I expect to carry me through the show. Take for example the Two Wild and Crazy Guys sketch. The moment my eyes see the characters I can feel the nostalgia kindle, reminding me of the times as a child that I'd wiggle and talk like a Czechoslovakian claiming to be wild and crazy as well. Then for whatever the reason, the nostalgia drops off just seconds into the scene.

I really don't think it's a Steve Martin thing because I'd jump at the chance to watch any of his old movies. Just thinking about The Jerk or The Man with Two Brains makes me want to drop what I'm doing to watch either film while adding All of Me and Little Shop of Horrors to the playlist.

I do have high hopes for his future hosting duties because each appearance is getting better and better. I probably wouldn't even mention his appearances as being flawed if I didn't have such high expectations for a feeling that supposed to trigger a specific internal reaction.

Despite the fact that I didn't experience the nostalgic vibe I was expecting, I would say that I still had fun watching this episode. Now it's time to shut up about my internal expectation and move on to sharing what I saw as I move on to give you...

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. Tonight's special episode is "interrupting" Bruce Jenner Wins the Javelin Catch.
  2. The opening sketch is a parody of The State of the Union Address from 1978. It sounds like Aykroyd sticks pretty close to Carter's speech with a few joke thrown in but the main humor of the sketch comes from the cut-away shots of the extremely bored congress members who Carter tries to win back by screaming, "Live from New York..."
  3. Steve Martin then officially opens the show with his usual form of scattered but prepared comedy.
  4. This was followed by a repeat of the Swill fake ad promoting sludge water from Lake Erie.
  5. Belushi and Gilda then play cabin dwellers that just moved into a spot in Big Foot country. They think the locals are crazy for believing in a fictional character. Their conversation is interrupted by Steve Martin who is playing a ranger that's evacuating the area due to a blizzard. He tells the couple that they have to go and warns them to watch out for Big Foot. The couple refuses to leave, opting to ride out the storm despite the warning. This is when it is revealed that the couple has gigantic shoes and Belushi leaves to get wood in his fur jacket. Seconds late Steve Martin looks out the window and spots what he thinks is a Big Foot and shoots what he sees with a tranquilizer dart. Then it's revealed he shot Belushi.
  6. Two Wild and Crazy guys return this time they're trying out computer dating (which I had no idea existed at the time.) It turns out that their dates are a pair of Soviet girls who are also on a quest to find swinging America romance but both pairs are so the same that it doesn't work out but it doesn't slow down any enthusiasm. Belushi makes a quick appearance and he reminds me of the main character from A Confederacy of Dunces.
  7. The Dirt Band then performs On the Loose with the Blues.
  8. This was followed by a fake ad for Body Floss because "No 'body' is really clean without it."  
  9. Once again, Jane and Dan do the news and we are introduced to Roseanne Roseannadanna who starts out sharing home remedies for the cold then flips to her griping about food after telling a tale of finding a hair in her soup that was meant to be a cold cure.
  10. Randy Newman performs Short People then talks about how controversial the song has been before sticking out his tongue to those who are offended. He then goes right into singing Rider in the Rain.
  11. Next, the Coneheads compete on The Family Feud where they take on a family in the Romaine Lettuce industry.
  12. What if? Is a sketch that explores what if questions about history. This week's interview answers the question, "What if Napoleon had a B-52 in Waterloo?" We are also given a comedic dramatization.
  13. This was followed by a short film from Beverly Hills where Steve Martin claims he's going to take us on a tour of his famous friend's houses. He then buys a Map to the Stars from a girl selling them on a random LA corner. The tour then begins with Steve Martin standing on famous people property lines screaming toward the houses of his so called friends and we never meet a sing celebrity.
  14. Steve Martin then joins The Dirt Band to play banjo on a song called White Russian.
  15. Finally, Steve Martin thanks the crowd and says his goodnights to the home audience.

So, as I said, this was a so-so episode only because of the higher expectations that I have for certain hosts of the show. As I also said, this was my favorite of the four episodes hosted by Steve Martin and here are my favorite moments.

First, I loved the Coneheads appearance on The Family Feud because it reminds me of the time my family tried out for the show when I was a kid and the crazy answers that are still legendary when it comes to family stories. Next, I really liked seeing what Napoleon would do with a B-52 because the reenactment was pretty funny.  Finally, I was a fan of the Star Maps short because I remember seeing these maps as a kid and being fascinated by potentially having such access. 

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.