Good To See The Gould
This episode marks the fourth time that Elliot Gould has hosted the show at this point in the challenge. Elliot Gould is one of those names that I've always known but never really knew why he was famous. I knew him more as the guy that would show up on talk shows like Carson or Letterman to provide comic relief throughout the night.
Even now when I look through his credits, I only recognize his cameo roles and when he's credited as "guest appearance." That's not to say that he has an unimpressive resume and I definitely don't hold it against his hosting duties. As a matter of fact, he's grown to be my second favorite reoccurring guest, but he's slowly catching up to where I'm as excited to see his name in the queue as I get when I see Buck Henry.
In other positive news about this appearance, this is the third episode in a row that I would consider slightly better than average with the continued footnote that the bar has been lowered this season.
As with all the other shows from season four, the sketches are all too long. The writers seem to be coping with what seems to be a practice of dividing these longer segments by trying to create two-in-one sketches rather than vary each sketch's length, making it so that they only use the time needed to get to the point and move on.
Now, before I get back into griping like I have for the past seven episode, it's time to move on myself to share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
Tonight's special episode is "interrupting" U.S. VS Taiwan Table Tennis Open.
Carter then addresses the nation from the White House lawn. He starts out talking about Christmas and then goes on to talk about the energy crisis and calls for his daughter Amy Carter to start the new WH tradition of unlighting the capital's Christmas tree to save as many resources as possible. Amy follows through and turns off the lights before announcing, "Live from New York..."
Elliot Gould then opens the show with his traditional opening song. This time he starts to sing Christmas Night In Harlem and is joined by Garrett Morris to validate the intentions of the song.
Dan Aykroyd then plays his pitchman character who is selling All-Flammable Christmas trees where they torch multiple dried out Christmas trees in a way that doesn't seem all that safe, especially in front of a live studio audience.
This is followed by a sketch about a big-assed family where all of the humor stems from everybody's oversized butts. Though this would now be considered body shaming, I kind of liked how the characters seemed like a happy family who just happened to have inherited this shape.
Peter Tosh then takes the stage and starts to sing Don't Look Back only to be joined by Mick Jagger who turns the performance into a duet.
This is followed by a Mommie Dearest parody which I just now discovered was parodying the idea of the book becoming a movie as this was two years before that became a reality. This is why I was baffled that they never referenced the scenes that the actual film has grown to famously be known for.
Once again, Jane and Bill give us the news, featuring a segment from Larraine who interviews the owner of Club 54 following a cocaine bust at the club, a Point Counter-Point debate about peace talks with China and Roseanne Roseannadanna discussing Holiday Seasonal Suicide.
Elliot Gould then plays a homeless man sleeping in front of a liquor store. He is suddenly awoken by the Spirit of Blended Scotch Whiskey, who rewards Gould with free booze to celebrate Christmas night. At first, Gould is reluctant as he sees his drinking as a crippling problem, but then the Spirit introduces two other booze mascots who talk Gould into being proud of the fact that he's a hardcore alcoholic.
Bob and Ray then perform a weird routine where Chis Elliot's dad plays the straight man as he interviews Ray about his plan to smuggle Christmas trees from the Pacific Northwest to New York City to make a profit off of these city folks that have no access to trees. It's a fun back and forth that I could tell I would appreciate more if only I knew more history from this comedy duo.
This is followed by another, Knights of Columbus, sketch where the whole point of the sketch seems to be just how mundane these meetings are, as the members of the group patiently sit through the nitty-gritty as they wait for the bar to open.
Peter Tosh then returns to the stage to perform a song that I think is called Legalize Marijuana even though the summary refers to it as Bush Doctor.
This is followed by a sketch where Gould is playing a Christmas tree salesman who discovers a homeless Murray peeing behind a tree during a sales attempt and kicks him out of the lot. Then, some handjob masseuse from across the street offers to trade her services for a free tree for the office. This lures Gould away leaving Murray to step in to sell a tree to a pair of mother and daughter customers who think he is the guy who actually works there.
Finally, Gould closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.
I think, of all the episodes this season, this one is the closest to being slightly above average without having to lower the bar and with that, here are my favorite moments from the best show of the season so far. First, I loved the Big Butt Family, partially due to the visual gag but mainly because I liked the positive attitude of everyone in the family that made this sketch feel fun to watch without a bullying feel to the laughs. Next, I liked the sketch where Bill Murray took over the role of the Christmas tree salesman because I like when characters just accept mistaken identity only to step up to do a better job than the person who is earning a paycheck. Finally, I was a fan of the Mommie Dearest sketch, especially after learning that it beat the actual movie to the punch with an earlier adaptation.