SNL: S04E19... HOST: MAUREEN STAPLETON... DATE: MAY 19,1979

or...

Not Quite Old Enough For Novelty To Set In

Maureen Stapleton is one of those hosts where I knew her name but really couldn't place why I knew her until after the viewing when I looked her up on the internet and saw familiar images of her with white hair. It was right after that that I remembered her from movies like Cocoon, The Money Pit, and Johnny Dangerously.

Unfortunately, this additional information did nothing to add to my enjoyment of this episode. If anything, it made me feel for her as this seems to be the point in her life where she started the transition from serious, acclaimed, award-winning actress into a late in life career of playing nothing but the comedically senile mom.

I'm not sure how much experience she had doing comedy at this stage in her career but she definitely seemed new to the genre, or at least new to being the start of a comedic situation. This might be why most of her sketches seemed melodramatic when they weren't just throwing her into the background. 

All of that said about whether or not she has experience in the comedy genre, her acting was still pretty spot on and I never blame the host for the content. Now with that, it's time to move on to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Aykroyd returns as his Cable Access Telepsychic who seems to make predictions on a whim. He answers several questions before predicting that the show would start after the announcement of, "Live from New York...
  2. Maureen Stapleton opens the show with a monolog about how excited she is to do another live show and then goes on to ramble about trying to get tickets to the taping for her family in a story that goes absolutely nowhere but to the first commercial break.
  3. Next, we get a repeat of the commercial for Navy recruitment showing the mundane tasks while promising the life of a hero.
  4. Garrett Morris then plays Idi Amin as a sloppy, rude, house guest that misses all the cues that it's time for him to leave. The premise is hilarious and the joke would be good but then it goes on way too long and eventually transitions into a quick ad for a hotel after they finally talk Idi into the idea that he's overstayed his welcome and this hotel would be the new place for him to stay.
  5. Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow hit the stage to perform It's In His Kiss.
  6. This is followed by a fake ad for the Roach Brothel, just like the roach motel but with hooker roaches. We also cut to a quick sketch where the activities of the Roach Brothel trap as a roach John Belushi gets lured to his doom.
  7. Maureen then gets a visit from her daughter Gilda, who is there to try and take Maureen out for her birthday. The two then just bicker back and forth about how Gilda isn't living up to Maureen's best friend's daughter. The bickering all cliche about not having children or meeting the right man. There is a funny moment when Gilda snaps and admits to all of her flaws but even that is pretty cliche and bland.
  8. Once again, Jane and Bill host the news with a Point Counter-Point between Jane and Aykroyd over the use of nuclear power and a visit from Belushi who ends up freaking out about the space station Sky Lab's unpredictable return to the planet.
  9. Bill Murray then returns as his crappy lounge singer character and once again it is the same exact sketch as all the other only this time he is singing in the airport's VIP lounge.
  10. In this week's Black Perspective, Garrett interviews Jane, Belushi, and Gilda who are all playing immigrants, about their experience in America as foreigners and just how similar the situation is to being a black citizen in the USofA.
  11. Aykroyd then introduces a very serious segment on bad hairstyle choices while made on vacation to foreign countries. This is followed by Locked Up Abroad style interviews about such situations.
  12. Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow return to the stage to perform The Married Man.
  13. We then go back to the failing mall where the Scotch tape store is the only establishment that is doing any business. Gilda delivers tape to Maureen, who owns the mall's failing candy store, as we revisit the other characters from the other stores that we've met throughout this series of sketches. There's no great story to this sketch but I still find it fun because it reminds me of way back in the day when I worked at a Macy's and had these types of interactions in these types of stores.
  14. Mr. Bill then goes to the movies to watch a silent film featuring his grandfather Vaudeville Bill.
  15. Finally, Maureen Stapleton returns to the stage to thank the audience and say her goodnights.

Once again, this episode did have a saving grace of having the second most segment count of the season. This gave me options that I don't always get to easily find these three favorite moments. First, I loved the Locked Up Abroad style sketch about getting crazy haircuts while on vacation in foreign countries. Next, I was a fan of the Roach Brothel ad especially when it transitioned from the advertisement parody to the live action cockroach sketch. Finally, I was a fan of the first half of the Idi Amin as a horrible house guest sketch before it became over-written.

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.