SNL: S04E08... HOST: ERIC IDLE... DATE: DECEMBER 9, 1978

or...

Putting The Python Back In

Saturday Night Live

This episode marks the third time Eric Idle has hosted Saturday Night Live up until this point in the challenge. His first appearance almost felt like it was a Monty Python special featuring the cast of SNL. This first collaboration worked so well that I was excited to see that he was returning for a second appearance.

Now this second appearance felt more like a better than average Saturday Night Live show featuring a member of Monty Python. Though this also ended up being a perfectly fine performance, I still preferred the blending of the shows so I felt a little disappointed.

This appearance by Eric Idle felt like a perfect 50/50 blend of the two shows that unfortunately still suffered from the same sketch length and pacing problem that I'm having with the rest of this season. Again, I'm liking each new episode more and more but I still feel like it's due to the fact that I'm getting used to the structure over becoming satisfied by the content. 

Oh yeah. 

This episode also started on a step that I found very annoying. They get through the opening sketch to where Eric Idle is about to do the opening monolog. This is where they start the joke that no one is putting any effort into this show. Eric doesn't have the script, the producer doesn't notice that they are broadcasting dead air, Lorne's doing an interview for something else, and the writers are all overdosing in some sort of writing room/opium den. It would be one thing if this was an otherwise solid season but in this case, it's beginning to feel like everyone really is just riding out their contracts and screwing the hosts in the process.

Now that I'm done with my reluctant gripe of the day, it's time to move on to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. Dan Aykroyd opens the show as a Telepsychic who totally seems like he winging it whenever he answers the phone and makes a prediction. After a while, prank calls start coming in until he scares them with threatening predictions. Finally, a caller asks for a prediction of how SNL will start this week leading Aykroyd to predict, "Live from New York..."
  2. A long-haired Eric Idle steps on the stage and waits for the writers to complete his monolog. He just stands there for a minute before venturing out to find someone who might have any answers as to what is going on. The joke here being that no one on the show is putting any effort into their work which would be funny if this wasn't such a crappy season.
  3. The French Chef is a parody of a Julia Child cooking show. Aykroyd as Julia almost sounds like Mickey Mouse and between the facts that he in drag and the way her blood spews after cutting her hand gives this sketch that Monty Python feeling that I was talking about in the intro.
  4. Garrett Morris discusses how popular his opera segment from last week was so he introduces Eric Idle, Bill Murray, Larraine Newman and Jane Curtin sing a little opera of their own.
  5. The Woman He Love, is the story of Prince Charles coming to America to live in a trailer with his 13-year-old white trash wife and how no one in the trailer park recognized his name, status or power.
  6. Kate Bush performs The Man With The Child In His Eyes.
  7. What Do You... is a game show that is so complex with sound effects that it takes so long to explain how it all works they have no time to play the game.
  8. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor this news. Bill interviews "Valerie Harper" and reveals to her that she's not actually Jewish. Garrett as Chico Esquella gives us a sports update where he just says who baseball has been, "bery bery" good to. Followed by Father Guido Sarducci wrapping up the news with a segment about cleaning up 42nd St. in NYC.
  9. This was followed by a recording session sketch where a bunch of coked out music producers wait for Candy Slice, the fictitious biggest hit of the music scene. Gilda shows up as a drugged out Courtney Love type performer who takes forever to focus enough to even start singing then screams out a pretty good punk rock song.
  10. In this week's Consumer Probe, Jane interviews Aykroyd's sleazy salesman character who is selling clothing made from certified endangered animals.
  11. The short film this week is a follow-up to the Ruttles short from Idle's first appearance only this time it follows a group of dogs who bark to the tunes of popular songs.
  12. Cochise at Oxford is such a British sketch that I didn't even understand it. We start out in Oxford, in the middle of a lecture but between the accent and the topic, it felt like I was listening to English as a non-native speaker. So, I felt sort of lost during the first half and then Cochise shows up for no reason and then everyone starts talking about whether or not ducks pee on their feet, pushing Cochise over the edge and then ending on an unsatisfying cliffhanger. 
  13. Kate Bush then performs Them Heavy People.
  14. Finally, Eric Idle closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Once again, this was a slightly better than average episode and here are my favorite moments. First, I loved the What Do You... sketch because I really needed a sketch that was just straight up silliness following the past few overly dramatic feeling episodes. Next, I liked Gilda and Candy Slice and I truly feel that not only is the sketch kind of funny but they definitely made a pretty good song for being such a parody. Finally, I was a fan of the Julia Child sketch because I remember watching her real show as a child and that feeling of maturity that I would feel when I would fully understand references other kids my age just didn't understand.

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.