Change Starts With A Positive Attitude
This episode marks the second time Michael Palin has hosted the show since the start of this challenge. Of all of the repeat host so far, he's shown the most impressive improvement. I think this may be due to the fact that his first go was just after his fellow Monty Python castmate made his initial appearance.
As I pointed out in past reviews of the Monty Python cast hosted shows, it seems the SNL wanted to distance their style from the Flying Circus aesthetic after the initial performance from Eric Idle. From that point until a couple nights ago the collaborative style seemed to lean much heavier towards the Saturday Night Live sense of humor.
Now there seems to be a better balance to where the input feels as if it's closer to 50/50. I think this is partially why tonight's episode was a much better show than the first appearance by Palin.
That said, I also really liked his positive outlook from the very start of the show. Unlike Eric Idle, who started out joking that nobody cares anymore, Michael Palin starts with a monolog with nothing but praise for the efforts by everyone for putting together such a promising show. That alone was enough to lift my enthusiasm to effortlessly get through this episode.
Though I still have the same exact issues with every other episode in this season, this show might have been good enough to be considered average even before I lowered the bar. Now, before I go into said problems again, it's time to move on to share what I saw. With that, I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
The show starts with The State Of The Union '79 which cuts back and forth between real footage from the event and Aykroyd as Carter giving the address. It looks like half of his body is swollen due to a recent illness, but all the jokes about inflation seem like they are accusing the president of having hemorrhoids. I didn't get it, but it led to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
Michael Palin opens the show with my favorite monolog of the season. Rather than joke about how bad the show is going to be, then deliver on the mundane promise, he announces how proud he was of everyone's hard work and how he was excited to share an outstanding show. That positive attitude raised my expectations and may have been enough to make this my favorite show of the season.
Murray and Gilda then play their nerdy kid characters with Jane as the nerdy mother and Palin return as Gilda's molesty piano teacher, who again tries to feel up Gilda the moment her mother and Murray leave the room. Jane returns, barely missing the molestation which causes Palin to shift his lecherous attention toward her. Once again, the audience laughs without any sense of shock not even when Palin shifts his feely attention toward Murray.
In this week's installment of What If?, we see what would happen if Superman was raised in Nazi Germany. First off, he would have been known as Uberman, but mainly he would have aided the Nazi in winning the war in record time, while Hitler admired his powers.
The Dobbie Brothers then hit the stage to perform What A Fool Believes.
Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news with Bill Murray interviewing some aggressive college coach who was forced to retire early, another sports segment with Chico Esquella about baseball being bery bery good to him and other players, and Father Guido Sarducci who talks about the Pope's visit to Mexico.
Family Classics is a sketch that parodies a PBS-type show that shares a film based on a recently discovered novel by Dickens. The film is called Miles Cowperthwaite and follows the extremely bleak life of an orphan who becomes a rich man's drool wrangler only to be ship off to join what appears to be the gay navy, once he gets old enough to be out on his own.
The Doobie Brother then return to the stage to perform Taking It To The Streets.
Name That Bat, is a game show where Michael Palin shows contestants into a barn, and the winner is the one to name the most bats, but we quickly learn that it's not the type of bat that he's interested. In this game, they are literally supposed to give the bats names like Bill, or Doug, or Stanley.
Franken and Davis then do a routine where they plan to promote their communist agenda by being the first people on TV to broadcast pornography. They then bring in Larraine and Gilda who are both dressed in sexy tight club-wear who then hit the hotel to film and broadcast this porn scene that turns out being nothing dirtier than back massages with a swinger vibe where everyone massages anyone and switch off whenever they want.
Next, Mr. Bill goes to court where he is unjustly judged by a room full of Sluggos.
Finally, Michael Palin closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
So as I said up above, I think this is my favorite show of the season, and a lot of that comes from Michael Palin's attitude over the content of the episode. That said, I still have my favorite moments, and here they are. First, I loved the Name That Bat game show sketch because giving the bats individual names over naming the subspecies really tickled my fancy. Next, I liked the What If? segment because I do find it interesting that even "bad guys" have their heroes because they are the good guys in their personal story. Because of this, I found it interesting to see Superman as a Nazi. Finally, I was a fan of Father Guido Sarducci's segment of the news because there's not that much left to choose from.