Mr. Mike Strikes Again
First off, this is the episode where Buck Henry becomes the inaugural member of the Seven-Timer/*Nine If You Count Co-Hosting Duties On Special Episodes Club!!! As always, I love to see when his name is next in my queue for the episode I will be watching again. As of lately, however, I'm still having issues with these extra-long sketches that are sucking the humor out of otherwise funny concepts.
Now, keeping in mind that my issue with these latest episodes how they all seem over-written and long just imagine how I must have felt seeing the Grateful Dead was the musical guest for the evening. Not only am I not really a fan of the musical guest in general but the last thing I want to see during a slow season is a jam band that could potentially meander through an entire episode just doing the introduction to one song.
Next, these extra-long sketches have us stuck in what I'm assuming is a Mr. Mike moment where the audience celebrates a molesty old man. I blame Mr. Mike because it matches the molesty vibe he puts out whenever he gets any airtime only this time it's Buck Henry who gets to disturb me with a bit that was apparently laughable because "It was a different time."
In the sketch in question, Buck Henry plays a single elder uncle was is babysitting his nieces for the night. As soon as the parents, his sister, and brother in law, leave for the movies, he starts tricking the girls into touching him and takes pictures of them when they pull their dresses over their heads.
At first, I was hoping this would be defensible and that these were misinterpreted action from an innocent, playful old man, but nope the point of the joke is that he's a creeper and this is never treated like it's bad. I think the most disturbing part was how the crowd just laughed like it was nothing, they didn't even gasp before laughing like you're supposed to when you laugh at such dark humor.
Other than that this was an average episode for this season, for all other seasons it would have been considered inadequate. With that, it's time to share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
It feels like we're ramping up to presidential election coverage as the show starts with a non-presidential election sketch about a Democrat named Huckler who is at his headquarters conceded his race to the first Republican to win whatever district they are talking about for decades. He apologizes for scandal after scandal that builds in craziness as the sketch goes on. He finishes his speech and Larraine takes over as the reporter to close out the segment by saying, "Live from New York..."
Buck Henry then opens the show with his new opening routine of late, where he talks about how much he loves the cast and the show as the subtitles make fun of him. This time they say they consider a Buck Henry week a vacation week which is a bad joke for what ends up being a weak episode.
This is followed by a fake ad for Rovco's Chinch Ranch which is an at-home chinchilla farm for raising your own "Chinches" to make coast from. This would have been funny is it were quick like a commercial is supposed to be, but this felt more like an over-written infomercial sketch.
Samurai Optometrist is your typical Samurai sketch, but I'm still not sick of this character.
This is followed by the molester sketch that I've already given enough time in the intro.
The Grateful Dead then perform Casey Jones.
Once again, Jane and Murray host the news including the classic interview between Murray and Belushi as Liz Taylor who chokes on a piece of chicken.
In this week's Great Performances we see a play called Death Of Rasputin where it takes multiple crazy attempts to kill the evil Russian ruler.
Bill Murray then plays his crappy lounge singer only this time it doesn't end with an interesting song. Up until now this sketch always ends with Bill adding lyrics to an otherwise instrumental song.
More Flu To Worry About is pretty much More Bugs To Worry About only in reference to the many flu-scares that people were worried about at the time and introducing the Australian Flu which has many similar traits to an Australian traveler.
Grateful Dead then return to the stage to play I Need A Miracle as well as Good Lovin'.
This was followed by a Knights of Columbus Sketch that shows just how mundane these low lever mason meetings are. The Grand Puba of sorts complains about how little money the group has especially after hiring the baseball player Chico Esquella to address the group. After this slow built up, I realized that this is the "Baseball's been bery bery good to me," bit where that's all he says because of how limited his English is, and you can see just how disappointed the Grand Puba is because he knows he's not getting a refund.
Finally, Buck Henry thanks the crowd and says his goodnights.
Now it's time to lower my standards to once again struggle to find my favorite moments which is a common theme for season four. First, I loved the "Baseball's been bery bery good to me," sketch especially since this classic moment caught me off guard. Next, I liked the Death of Rasputin sketch because it was the only sketch of the evening that actually got me to laugh out loud. Finally, I was a fan of Murray interviewing Belushi as Liz Taylor because this is another classic moment that is burnt into my memory when it comes to thinking of SNL as a kid.