SNL: S04E15... HOST: MARGOT KIDDER... DATE: MARCH 17, 1979

or...

The Mystery Of The Vanishing Episode

As I sit here trying to think of something to write about this episode, I find it hard to remember a single thing that I saw. It's as though my retention of the viewing barely lasted from the couch to the computer, that is if it lasted that long. Even during the actual viewing, there were times where I would be waiting to make the note of what was funny only to have to rewind because I forgot what I just saw.

Now, I wouldn't think much of this forgetfulness if this viewing took place at night while I was a little buzzed, but no, I watched this episode in the afternoon before I was even thinking to partake in my favorite plant. 

Part of the problem is, this is now the 15th episode in a row in a season that continues to disappoint me. Once again this episode has all the same problems that I've pointed out in my past several reviews but this was another one of those shows that had the tone of a "very special episode" of an '80s family sitcom. You know, where they have a "special message" so the jokes are tame and peppered in to ease the tension over people just having fun telling jokes.

The other part of the problem was that Margot Kidder has kind of a crazy energy that sort of makes me sad as I thought about the manic episode that she is now famous for. Thinking about how I can relate and seeing subtext through my own mental eye that was probably nowhere in the script. This took me out of the show quite a bit but it really didn't help that the humor was also lacking.

Well, there you go. That's how I experienced this episode, now it is time to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. This week's special episode is "interrupting" Little Women And Big Basketball Players.
  2. The opening sketch sets up that this is St. Patrick's Day weekend as we return to the bar from last year's St. Patrick's Day episode where the ghost of a Chicago mayor visited to help prepare the bar for the big day. I didn't get the joke last year and I don't get this year's attempt to revive the routine but we get to the end of the sketch and a ghost does show up only this time it's the ghost of Jimmy Hoffa who announces, "Live from New York..."
  3. Margot Kidder then opens the show with a monolog about how crazy New York gets on St. Paddy's day. As she talks, the camera lowers to the ground as if the cameraman is wasted. Gilda then joins Margot on the stage to point out the problem the two then go back to the production booth to investigate why no one is doing anything to correct the issue that is obviously wrong. This is when we are introduced to the drunken crew decked out in St. Paddy's Day swag and all drunk off their asses. They go on to track down Lorne who, one again, is in the middle of an interview with the press for some reason. They then go back to the booth, revive the ossified director and try to restart the intro, only instead of cutting to the interview we cut to a film about the navy as if the director was too drunk to hit the right button.
  4. Margot is then in a hotel room with a book in bed, preparing to go to sleep. She's then interrupted by a knock on the door and is greeted by Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute. It turns out that Margot is in town for a convention so to be fair, her company sent her a prostitute just like the rest of the guys. At first, this is the last thing that Margot wants because he's a middle-aged "stay off my lawn" looking man but since it's free she decided to give in and give it a shot. That is until he is undressing and she has to help him with his medical trusses and even less so when Garrett Morris arrives as a pimp who is there to help out with the trusses.
  5. The Chieftains then hit the stage to perform If I Had Maggie In The Wood.
  6. This is followed by another Knights Of Columbus sketch that doesn't really go anywhere but it does remind me of the boring Shriner banquets that I used to go to with my grandpa back when I was a kid.
  7. Once again, Jane and Bill host the news. This week Father Guido Sarducci does a segment on the real St. Patrick, Bill sings to a bust of Albert Einstein to celebrate his would-be birthday, and the Point Counter-Point is about a big divorce case from the time.
  8. Margot and Superman then set up for a party. Guest after guest soon arrive and they are all Superheroes along with their wives or girlfriends. This part is pretty funny, especially seeing Belushi and the Hulk and everyone goofing on the unknown hero known as Ant-Man. It's also sort of funny that Margot is still naive enough to be asking everyone if they've seen Clark Kent yet. Eventually Superman "leaves to get ice" and Clark magically appears and apparently Margot has been waiting to talk to him about how she's cheating on Superman with the Hulk. This really catches Clark off guard as he finds an excuse to leave then flies back into the apartment without switching back to be Superman which quickly brings an end to the evening.
  9. Franken and Davis then get a segment that starts with Franken accusing General Mills of stealing his likeness for the marketing of Franken Berry cereal. They then go into a sketch called Pity Thy Neighbor which is a Queen For A Day type sketch where contestants, in this case, Davis, share their miserable story in an attempt to get callers to donate. In the world of this sketch, this is the first time that a sad story doesn't inspire the donation of a single dime.
  10. Men's Problems is the exact duplicate of Women's Problems only this time it's women sharing old cliches about men. I hate both of these sketches because the jokes seem played out, even for way back then.
  11. The Chieftains then return to the stage to perform The Morning Dew. 
  12. Mr. Bill then hides in the closet because he's afraid to go bowling with Mr. Hand. This seems to be the first time that he realizes his digital manipulator may not actually be his friend. This idea to hide in the closet quickly backfires when Mr. Hand gives up on his attempt to get out of the house, leading him to throw his bowling ball back in the closet smooshing both Mr. Bill and his dog.
  13. Finally, Margot Kidder closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying her goodnights.

 So, now that I've reread and shared my notes, I have a better memory of what happened throughout this episode and here is my effort to share my favorite moments. First, I loved the portion of the Franken and Davis sketch where Al Franken accuses General Mills of stealing his likeness to sell Franken Berry cereal. Next, I really liked the idea of Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute but the delivery could have been much tighter. Finally, seeing Belushi as the Incredible Hulk got a chuckle out of me. 

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.