SNL: S04E01... HOST: THE ROLLING STONES... DATE: OCTOBER 7, 1978

or...

A Slumpy Start To Season 4

Yesterday I watched the final episode of season three and found the episode to be rather disappointing. As I said in that review, it was an average episode, just not all that special when you think of a season finale. I might have been more upset if I had to wait and entire summer before getting to see the next episode, but with my next viewing day being only 24 hours away I shifted my excitement toward this season four opener.

Then the time came to sit down and watch when I saw the host and music guest were one in the same, which is fine when it's an individual singer but I had my doubts that it would work with an entire band. To top it off, said hosting band was The Rolling Stones who I was never a really big fan of. 

I wouldn't say that I dislike them, I've just never sought them out because I was born at a time where this was a parents band to cling to. I was also a huge fan of gangster rap when I started to develop my own taste in music.  Either way, I was never really a fan of the live music element of SNL even though I fully understand why they have it and do appreciate the music breaks because it gives me time to work on my notes but I'd fast forward through them all if it wasn't for this challenge.

I also wouldn't say that I fully blame the band because they didn't do much other than their performances. No, this show had a lot of second half slump qualities, including a real politician making an appearance and long winded cast only sketches that seemed to go on forever with sketches that seem to merge together for no real reason other than to fill more time.

I do see a benefit to starting this way, maybe they'll work out some of the opening night bugs after returning from break because I was also disappointed by the season three starter and they didn't have the excuse of having a weak host so I'm interested to see what happens with tomorrow's episode hosted by Fred Willard, who I am a fan of.

Alright, enough griping about the opening show, it's now time to share what I saw and with that I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1.  The show starts with Dan Aykroyd announcing as an old-timey radio host as he introduces Garrett Morris and the Saturday Night Live band who do an amazing old timey radio show rendition of a song about how great NBC is. The song ends and Aykroyd announces, "Live from New York..."
  2. Ed Koch then opens the show with a monolog about how SNL is becoming a New York institute. He also has a certificate to award to Belushi for being such a great New Yorker following the release of Animal House which apparently happened over the summer. First Belushi is upset that he is just getting a certificate instead of a key to the city. He then goes on to rant and rave about the crappy deal he signed for Animal House and how he doesn't get any sort of bonus despite the fact that the movie took off in a way that nobody expected.
  3. This extra-long monolog was followed by a fake ad for Auto Scent which is a car exhaust air deodorizer.
  4. In this week's Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, Tom interviews Mick Jagger but it's hard to see the parody. It feels like a slightly exaggerated real review allowing Mick Jagger coast through the scene without any heavy lifting.
  5. Gilda and Murray then play their nerdy kid characters who do their childish flirting in the kitchen along with Jane who plays Gilda's mom. They crowbar in a reason for the refrigerator to need repair and another reason to get Jane to leave for a while. This goes on long enough to be a sketch on its own but then the refrigerator repairman arrives and then it becomes nothing more than a buttcrack joke that goes on for another sketch's worth of time.
  6. This is followed by another Olympia Cafe sketch but this one broke pattern from the rest. Instead of being nothing more than a Cheese Burger, Cheese Burger bit, it's actually a microcosm of what Belushi was griping about in the opening monolog. In the sketch, his character goes to Greece after being told he had some amazing inheritance coming to him only to end up with chump change. He too bummed to work so doesn't say a thing, just kicks everyone out of the restaurant. Belushi just stands there with his head down in shame as Gilda sneaks in one last to go order. Aykroyd in on right away with the burger but as always Murray is not getting the Pepsi which causes instincts to kick in within Belushi and he attacks Murray without changing his emotions.
  7. Once again we have the news but this time it hosted by Jane and Murray which is a combo that I wasn't aware of. Murray's got a real weird style it works but he's by no means mimicking a real deal reporter. It seems like his style confuses and annoys Jane and I'm not sure whether or not she is acting. The two finish the night with a Point Counterpoint where Murray instantly changes his opinion after hearing Jane's opening stance on the controversial unisex bathrooms.
  8. The Rolling Stones then perform Beast Of Burden, Respectable, and Shattered, all back to back which is another thing that I don't like when the musical guest do because I need more of a break between the music than I need a longer break from the comedy.
  9. This was followed by a short film called Sushi By The Pool which was just that with celebrity cameos in a bit about the California lifestyle where a sushi pool party is ruined by a SoCal earthquake.
  10. Carter then addresses the nation with his progress in his negotiations between John Lennon and Paul McCartney played by Belushi and Murray. Carter goes on to explain the details of the deal which highlight why the group broke up in the first place.
  11. This was followed by a boob bouncing bit which as a fake ad for Battle Of The Network T and A which is a sketch that so revealing I could have sworn it was from The Kentucky Fried Movie only because I would have sworn it was too dirty for TV even at that time of night. (When thinking of TV standards, not mine.)
  12. Danger Probe investigates a case where a Hare Krishna and a Mime stumble into a South American torture den and ends with the Danger Probe team saving the day before anything interesting could happen.
  13. Finally, Ed Koch thanks the crowd and says his goodnights which makes me wonder why they didn't just have him host the entire episode.

Once again, I wasn't all that impressed by this opening night but here are my favorite moments. First, I loved the Olympia Diner sketch because of the statement it makes about the issues that Belushi was pissed about during the opening monolog. Next, I liked the opening bit and really love when they let Garrett Morris sing. Finally, I was a fan of The Battle Of The Network T's and A's sketch because how shocked I was to see this childhood memory was from SNL and not from The Kentucky Fried Movie. That, and I'm really reaching to find a third favorite moment.

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.