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

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

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 a fantastic 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 outlandish 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 has a peculiar style his delivery, but is, 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 does 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.

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SNL: S04E02... HOST: FRED WILLARD... DATE: OCTOBER 14, 1978

SNL: S04E02... HOST: FRED WILLARD... DATE: OCTOBER 14, 1978

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with Billy Murray dresses as a grubby drunk sports guy as he makes his way to the last available seat in the middle of the studio audience. He plays a pretty accurate drunk sports fan as he rambles on to the people in the crowd facts that he knows about the Yankee's then he notices that he not at the game but in the studio instead as he announces, "Live from New York..."

  2. Fred Willard opens the show dressed as Elvis and sings One Night With You before doing a monolog where he lets the audience know that he's not as dumb as the character that made him famous, then goes into a quick tale about his love for comedy.

  3. This is followed by a fake ad that starts with a family in neck braces eating breakfast. It takes them a while to even reference the neck braces as they build up to the pitchman's interruption. After a while, the pitchmen do cut in, and it's Aykroyd and Willard who are selling the service Two Guys Who Are Lawyers. I don't really get this sketch though because there's never a joke like two for the price of one, to even jokingly explain why this is a benefit especially since this service seemed to be aimed at the poor who can't afford one lawyer. Not only does it not make that much sense it goes on too long for what was supposed to be a quick commercial break.

  4. Next, we have a behind the scenes movie sketch where Murray plays a Mobster who is shot by the cops and falls over the side of a building. They set up a couple jokes that don't really pay off because Belushi steps in as the stuntman and the focus of the sketch completely switched away from Murray. From that point on, the sketch gets pretty funny as Belushi keep ruining the stunt by screaming like a baby due to the tiniest of injuries. The sketch then ends with Belushi missing the stunt pad and dies from taking the tiny stunt fall. The sketch then ends with a quick joke that they are now going to use Belushi's body as the stunt dummy to throw off the top of a real building in order to make it more realistic.

  5. Devo then performs (Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

  6. Once again we have the news, hosted by Jane and Murray. Murray's delivery is still pretty weird, but he toned it down from the last episode which is allowing it to grow on me even more. I also love that Jane continues to fight to deliver the news in a very proper manner. Dan Aykroyd rejoins the news, and he is much better as a guest spot anchor.

  7. Larraine is then asleep in bed and gets woken by a wrong number call in the middle of the night from someone who is looking for her ex-boyfriend. She gives the caller her ex's new number then turns to her just woken one-night stand. He tries to leave, but she tells him to stay, and they are interrupted by another phone call. This time it's the ex and the two start out fighting, but then the conversation evolves to talk of making up, which gets her guest to double down on trying to get out of there. She makes plans to meet her ex in a half hour then changes her tone toward her guest. Later as he leaves, it's revealed to us that he was the pizza delivery guy from last night and he was still looking for his payment.

  8. On The Spot is an interview show where Jane interviews Aykroyd's sleazy sales guy character that sold Bag O' Glass for Christmas. This time he's defending the things he sells to schools to be served in the cafeteria which really felt like they were trying to crowbar a joke into an already successful character.

  9. Mr. Bill the goes to NYC!!!

  10. The Gilda plays a lady cooking chicken who rambles on the phone about wanting to change her kids' names even though they are five and seven. I wasn't even sure if that was the central joke because I was so bored by the fake phone conversation. I kept waiting for some big payoff, but it just ended when she hung up the phone.

  11. Crossroads was a sketch with a depressed preacher which starts out kind of funny as he goes on to jokingly explain the gods from the past. He then goes on to tell the Moab story where God challenges a questioning Belushi as Moab to kill his son to show that he has faith in the lord. Belushi goes along with the test but with atheistic doubts as to why an all-knowing God would need so much justification from the humans that he also created. Belushi keeps hesitating to kill his son, expecting God to step in to save him, but this never ends up happening, so Belushi stabs his son in the gut, killing him, just as God chimes in and apologizes for being late.

  12. The Scotch Boutique is a store in the mall that only sells Scotch Tape. The rest of the sketch pretty much writes itself as everyone who visits thinks this has to be some kind of joke and the wife is annoyed by her husband's delusional investment.

  13. A short film then starts where we see the convict clown thing running around a rundown warehouse district, he gets to the room with some Nazi-type guy who talks about devolution which is when it's revealed that this is actually an intro to Devo.

  14. Devo performs Jocko Homo which is the most cinematic musical performance to date and was definitely the best part of the show.

  15. Finally, Fred Willard thanks the crowd and says his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E03... HOST: FRANK ZAPPA... DATE: OCTOBER 21, 1978

SNL: S04E03... HOST: FRANK ZAPPA... DATE: OCTOBER 21, 1978

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. Fred Silverman (Belushi/Owner of NBC at the time) addresses the audience about the new direction of the channel after in-depth research found that people wanted to see more Frank Zappa. He goes on to explain that NBC is going to change to be nothing but Zappa-centric programming starting with... "Live from New York..."

  2. Frank Zappa then opens the show with a very quick monolog before breaking into the song Dancing Fool.

  3. This is followed by a Coneheads sketch where Zappa as Zappa is dating the daughter and taking her to one of his shows. Zappa is almost much of an alien as the Coneheads are, especially since he is so bad at reading the cue cards but the saving grace is that he's terrible in an entertaining way.

  4. Belushi then plays a prisoner under the stairs, with Garrett locked up in the closet as the family that lives in the house goes about their business as usual, kind of like this is the Uber for prison, where people can earn extra income by putting up prisoners. After a while, a third prisoner who is kept upstairs starts a riot in an attempt to get moved from the linen closest to the bathroom. The family tries to stop the rioting but then end up kicking out all the prisoners who are startled by their early escape/release and are skeptical as they leave through the front door.

  5. Once again we have the news, hosted by Jane and Murray. This is a season that will see the start of another presidential election cycle, so I'm interested in seeing just how early they start their election coverage. Other than that, in this installment, Bill interviews Sid Vicious and his mom because this was around the time that he killed Nancy. We also get a Father Guido Sarducci segment where he discusses the picking process of the new pope. We also have a fun Point Counter-Point where Aykroyd returns to debate Jane over the ethics of test tube babies.

  6. Frank Zappa then performs The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing.

  7. This is kind of where this episode falls off the tracks as this sketch starts out backstage at a Zappa show a year earlier in San Francisco where Zappa meets Schaffer as Don Kirshner who tried to get him to sell out in order to become accepted by a mainstream audience. All this happens while everyone keeps offering our straight edge host drugs that he keeps having to turn down. This alone feels like it could have been a lame bit at the right length, but instead, they add some convoluted story where Kirshner wants to talk to Zappa on their way down to L.A. by car. Zappa then says he wants to drive alone and it's obvious he can't stand their energy. We then end up in a sketch within a sketch, and this one is called A Night On Freak Mountain. This is where Zappa's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere that's home to a hippie castle. The sketch then goes on and on mainly repeating the joke that Zappa is a sober man despite his wacky appearance. This portion of the sketch feels extra-long, especially following the unneeded intro that there is a quick call back to as Kirshner steps in to save the day.

  8. Woman to Woman was an interview sketch where Gilda plays an overly proud successful single woman who discusses marriage with Jane who is perfectly happy to have someone to care for. Gilda then because jealous and defensive as if there's no real way that a woman can truly find happiness while being successful yet single in America.

  9. Franken and Davis then call for a violent overthrow of the government because of how corruption in a Democratic society is almost unavoidable. They then went into samples from a campaign where two candidates go back and forth each ramping up their crazy accusations. It's to the point where this isn't even a parody anymore, and these two are great at the way they approach satire to where they come across as the dumb ones while making their hidden statement instead of the smug, better than you, approach, that you now find in modern satire.

  10. Frank Zappa then performs Rollo featuring Samurai Belushi on lead vocals.

  11. This is followed by another Mr. Bill installment, and this time it's a follow up from last week when Mr. Bill came to New York City, and this time he's settling into an apartment.

  12. Finally, Frank Zappa thanks the crowd and says his good nights.

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SNL: S04E04... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: NOVEMBER 4, 1978

SNL: S04E04... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: NOVEMBER 4, 1978

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Carter addresses the nation about how screwed our economic system is and comes up with a new, "Inflation is our friend" campaign to where it's now a good thing because it will make more people millionaires in the future when money isn't worth anything. He then accurately predicts that this will create am let's party attitude in the 80s before screaming, "Live from New York..."

  2. Steve Martin then opens the show with a vice on his head with a bit making fun of an old aspirin commercial. He then goes into a stand-up routine and then is met by Murray who does tricks for treats like a dog but then doesn't get rewarded after jumping through a ring of fire. This gets Murray to revolt because he's really expecting the payoff from his Pavlovian response. This entire opening was pretty funny, but it started to feel like it was three openings long that could have each been their own segment to avoid the feeling that the show is dragging on.

  3. This is followed by a fake commercial for a docu-concert that follows Elvis's coat as it hits the road for a tour.

  4. In this week's installment of What If? We discover what would have happened if Eleanor Roosevelt could fly, complete with dramatization.

  5. Theodoric Of York: Medieval Judge is the return of Steve Martin's Barber character from the medieval period only this time he is a judge, and we see the crazy logic used to find out if people are guilty, including the classic, drown the woman if she survives she's a witch, routine. It ends with him having a moment of clarity after the mother of a drowned Larraine makes a valid point about this type of punishment, but just as he gets to his most enlightening point he says, "Nah... Nevermind."

  6. Van Morrison then sings Wavelength.

  7. Once again we have the news hosted by Jane and Bill. This blend of silly and serious is really growing on me to the point where I realize I love the routine of someone wanting to take something serious only to have to deal with a partner that wants to do anything but stick to a plan. Belushi has a funny segment where he starts out talking about the latest non-presidential election and the low turnout. He then starts to bitch about how he couldn't vote at 18 then rambles on about how he gets pissed off by friends who don't vote. As he begins to hulk out this time it's because he feels the more people that vote, the more likely drugs will become legal. This is the thing that sends him over the top and down to the ground as well.

  8. Two Wild And Crazy Guys then leave their apartment to do the same thing at a bar. Again, this sketch seems to go on and on and is super-duper repetitive not just throughout the sketch but from visit to visit as well.

  9. Gilda then plays the nerdy girl who's in the hospital for a deviated septum. The sketch starts out with her and Garrett who is playing the same kid we met at the science fair. They have almost a sketch's worth of time together just acting like two kids with the only information that we get that seems essential is that Garrett Morris's mom works at the hospital and that's why he's there. Then Gilda is left alone by Garrett, and her mom and nerdy Murray joins the scene where the two nerd out for a while. Then Steve Martin joins the sketch playing a gay sounding nerdy kid. I mention that because I think its part of the joke that Murray gets jealous over this kid who isn't interested in Murray's love interest in that way but he could also just be acting childish and is actually really into her and Murray has a reason to be jealous. Either way, Murray ends up wrestling him ending with a dog pile and on hospital bed only to get interrupted by Morris, now as his own mother who is the nurse that kicks everyone out of the room for the night. The sketch then takes another minute to have a cute moment with Gilda who retrieves her teddy bear from across the room.

  10. In this week's installment of Looks At Books, Jane interviews the writer of a book called Mauled, who was mauled by a bear and has simple advice on how to avoid it happening to you.

  11. Van Morrison performs Kingdom Hall.

  12. Gilda and Steve have a date together acting as themselves. Aykroyd is the waiter who is a fan of their work and keeps referencing their characters during a super serious conversation. The sketch then cuts out mid-action.

  13. Finally, we return to Steven Martin explaining there was a technical glitch before thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E05... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: NOVEMBER 11, 1978

SNL: S04E05... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: NOVEMBER 11, 1978

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. It feels like we're ramping up to presidential election coverage as the show starts with a non-presidential election sketch about a Democrat named Huckler who is at his headquarters conceded his race to the first Republican to win whatever district they are talking about for decades. He apologizes for scandal after scandal that builds in craziness as the sketch goes on. He finishes his speech and Larraine takes over as the reporter to close out the segment by saying, "Live from New York..."

  2. Buck Henry then opens the show with his new opening routine of late, where he talks about how much he loves the cast and the show as the subtitles make fun of him. This time they say they consider a Buck Henry week a vacation week which is a bad joke for what ends up being a weak episode.

  3. This is followed by a fake ad for Rovco's Chinch Ranch which is an at-home chinchilla farm for raising your own "Chinches" to make coast from. This would have been funny is it were quick like a commercial is supposed to be, but this felt more like an over-written infomercial sketch.

  4. Samurai Optometrist is your typical Samurai sketch, but I'm still not sick of this character.

  5. This is followed by the molester sketch that I've already given enough time in the intro.

  6. The Grateful Dead then perform Casey Jones.

  7. Once again, Jane and Murray host the news including the classic interview between Murray and Belushi as Liz Taylor who chokes on a piece of chicken.

  8. In this week's Great Performances we see a play called Death Of Rasputin where it takes multiple crazy attempts to kill the evil Russian ruler.

  9. Bill Murray then plays his crappy lounge singer only this time it doesn't end with an interesting song. Up until now this sketch always ends with Bill adding lyrics to an otherwise instrumental song.

  10. More Flu To Worry About is pretty much More Bugs To Worry About only in reference to the many flu-scares that people were worried about at the time and introducing the Australian Flu which has many similar traits to an Australian traveler.

  11. Grateful Dead then return to the stage to play I Need A Miracle as well as Good Lovin'.

  12. This was followed by a Knights of Columbus Sketch that shows just how mundane these low lever mason meetings are. The Grand Puba of sorts complains about how little money the group has especially after hiring the baseball player Chico Esquella to address the group. After this slow built up, I realized that this is the "Baseball's been bery bery good to me," bit where that's all he says because of how limited his English is, and you can see just how disappointed the Grand Puba is because he knows he's not getting a refund.

  13. Finally, Buck Henry thanks the crowd and says his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E06... HOST: CARRIE FISHER... DATE: NOVEMBER 18, 1978

SNL: S04E06... HOST: CARRIE FISHER... DATE: NOVEMBER 18, 1978

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. First, the show starts out with The Blues Brothers performing Soul Man ending with Garrett Morris announcing, "Live from New York..."

  2. Carrie Fisher then opens the show dressed as Princess Leia and does a quick monolog about how she didn't want to have to count on Star Wars but was afraid that no one would recognize her without the signature costume. She then makes a very inside joke about Star Wars while being encouraged to continue by the soul of Obi-Won who really digs the joke. Carrie Fisher then makes a joke about being born at just the right time because she doesn't think she would have done so well acting in the style of movies that were shot in black and white. There is then a very clumsy transition to a Beach Blanket Bingo-style sketch where twentysomethings are playing teens from the fifties who all walk a very fine line of being totally innocent while speaking in slang to convey that they are up to the opposite. Fisher as Leia is teleported into the scene in a way that reveals that this is still part of the opening intro. There's singing and dancing with visits from Vincent Price, James Dean, and Chubby Checker. By this point, I completely lost the whole point of the fifteen-minute opening sketch, I just couldn't wait for it to get on to the next one.

  3. The Loud house was a pretty funny sketch about a super loud family that yell when they talk, and this week they meet Gilda's boyfriend who isn't prepared for the family of aggressive talkers.

  4. The show then recycles a sketch from season one where Belushi wants to take a loved one off of life support in order to save some money. Only this time, instead of this cheapskate being the entire joke, we jump into a parody called The Mercy Killers, who are interns who have been taking patients off of life support to save them from living in pain. In this installment, the Mercy Killers smother Garrett Morris to death who is just in for a vasectomy because they confused him for the real patient in need of relief.

  5. Once again, Jane and Bill do the news with another visit from Father Guido Sarducci, who was trying to get people to put their US dollars in the Vatican bank and has lots of crazy bonuses to sweeten the offer. Roseanne Roseannadanna also does a segment on the American Smoke Out and ends up rambling about her gym and having to deal with naked people.

  6. The Blues Brothers return to perform two songs back to back. They start with Got Everything I Need, Almost followed by B' Movie Boxcar Blues.

  7. Mr. Bill then goes fishing in the quickest sketch of the night.

  8. This is followed by Tomorrow with Tom Snyder where he interviews Fisher who is acting as Linda Blaire. I'm generally not a fan of the Tomorrow segments because I'm too young to remember the Tom Snyder Show they are referencing. I do remember Tom Snyder's other shows, but I still didn't watch those either, so it's more that I just don't care about the reference. That said, Carrie Fisher was good because this was the first Tomorrow sketch in a while that didn't feel like a real interview being held for the host.

  9. Next, we end up in some sort of fisherman's bar where Belushi is being scammed by a couple girls to buy them drinks in exchange for his long-winded stories. Billy Murray then enters the bar and the girls shift their attention to him because it looks like he has more money. Carrie Fisher then talked Murray into making a more long-term investment and not just drinks that won't even last the night. She scams him into paying monthly installments to her, but there is never any talk of sex. The end of the day comes, and the girls compare how much they brought in, and Fisher wins due to this new monthly income.

  10. Bad Red Chinese Ballet is just like all the other sketches in the Bad line of sketches only this time we don't get the title of the play, but the performance is horribly entertaining.

  11. The short film this week is home video footage of an old couple as they visit Rome. The lady in the video does some pretty funny voice-over work, but it feels like a real but boring vacation video. That is until the twist where the husband dies, and the woman instantly married the waiter and went on with the rest of the vacation.

  12. Finally, Carrie Fisher thanks the audience and say her goodnights.

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SNL: S04E07... HOST: WALTER MATTHAU... DATE: DECEMBER 2, 1978

SNL: S04E07... HOST: WALTER MATTHAU... DATE: DECEMBER 2, 1978

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. Belushi plays an NBC executive trying to figure out the lineup for a new season after having to cancel nine shows. Gilda plays his assistant and the worse the ideas that these two come up with, the quicker they agree on greenlighting these horrible shows. There's a disagreement between Belushi and Gilda where he ends up firing her which somehow triggers her to announce, "Live from New York..."

  2. Walter Matthau gets the best response from the audience to date just by walking out onto the stage. He shoves his handkerchief up his nose for his opening routine then goes on to do a monolog about being unable to relate to the rest of the cast with many jokes involving their humungous age gap.

  3. This is followed by a fake ad for Epoxy-Dent, the denture adhesive that is so strong that it will pass the helicopter test where they actually have footage of a man being lifted into the air by a helicopter while holding on to a harness with his false teeth and then flies him around the neighborhood.

  4. Bad News Bees was pretty much a Bad News Bears parody with the bees acting as the kids and is mainly a long-winded joke about masturbation that would have been much funnier if it was only abridged.

  5. We then get another Olympia Cafe sketch, and in this installment, they switch from being Pepsi establishment to one that only sells Coke. This is funny because there was a while where I thought some Mandela Effect stuff was going down because I always swore the joke was, "No Pepsi, Coke," so I was confused that it's been reversed up until this moment.

  6. This is followed by Gilda and Bill spending the night at her parent's house for the first time as a married couple as they sleep in Gilda's childhood bed. Matthau then enters the room to say goodnight turning Bill Murray into a third wheel as these two reminisce about the bedtime rituals she grew up it, ignoring even the slightest input from Murray which causes a bit of a rift between her husband and her father.

  7. Once again, Jane and Bill host the news, and it's nice to see that Bill is finally settling into his role. He still has his own voice, but his delivery is growing to be closer to traditional style while still being a lighter news character. Meanwhile, Jane is still chugging along. I still think she could have and should have continued to host the news without having to play off of a co-host.

  8. We then see Nixon as he forges letters to Congress to overturn the 22nd Amendment in hopes that he can run again in order to implement evil policies that he missed during his first go-round as president. We then meet Matthau who plays a guy named Ernie who was involved in every one of Nixon's scandals and was the only one not to get caught and these two work through their plans.

  9. Woman to Woman returns and this time, Gilda, as the overly proud, successful but single host who is passive-aggressively jealous of Larraine who is playing a young model.

  10. Walter Matthau then sits in a study, not in character, griping about the state of modern music. He then says that when Lorne asked him who his musical guest should be, he admits that he wanted Mozart. He then goes on to announce Garrett Morris who sings an Opera that was written by Mozart which is the first time he gets to sing as the guest without being degrade by the subtitles.

  11. Matthau then works at an Army Surplus supplier that doesn't do retail. I don't know what the point of the no retail aspect of the sketch is but they keep referencing it whenever anyone enters the shop. Larraine is the primary customer that Matthau has to deal with, and she is trying to return colorful cantinas that she was trying to repurpose as disco purses, which this old timer has trouble grasping why anyone would try to come up with such a frivolous use for these supplies that were used in the war.

  12. This is followed by a repeat of the Network Battle Of The Ts And As which wasn't funny as a repeat but was hilarious to see a group of young boys, acting up in the audience directly after this scene.

  13. Mr. Bill then returns only in this sketch he hasn't been built yet, so they have his dog entertain us with tricks as the hand continues to build the star of the segment.

  14. Finally, Walter Matthau thanks the crowd and says his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E09... HOST: ELLIOT GOULD... DATE: DECEMBER 16, 1978

SNL: S04E09... HOST: ELLIOT GOULD... DATE: DECEMBER 16, 1978

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Tonight's special episode is "interrupting" U.S. VS Taiwan Table Tennis Open.

  2. 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..."

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Finally, Gould closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E10... HOST: MICHAEL PALIN... DATE: JANUARY 27, 1979

SNL: S04E10... HOST: MICHAEL PALIN... DATE: JANUARY 27, 1979

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. 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..."

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. The Dobbie Brothers then hit the stage to perform What A Fool Believes.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The Doobie Brother then return to the stage to perform Taking It To The Streets.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Next, Mr. Bill goes to court where he is unjustly judged by a room full of Sluggos.

  12. Finally, Michael Palin closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E11... HOST: CICELY TYSON... DATE: FEBRUARY 10, 1979

SNL: S04E11... HOST: CICELY TYSON... DATE: FEBRUARY 10, 1979

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. Tonight's special episode is "interrupting" Emergency, Starring Megan Marshack.

  2. The opening sketch is Gilda and Jane in the SNL locker room with Gilda worried that Belushi isn't going to take the news that his big sketch of the night has been cut being that he took it out on Gilda the last time this happened. Belushi then arrives, and Gilda sneaks out leave Belushi alone with Jane. She breaks the news to him and takes it pretty well, only to get a little annoyed when she says he's probably better off because this new character is just like his Samurai. Though he's defensive for a bit, he calms rather quickly now that he's got the options from being famous. Jane then takes a quick jab at him for using heroin which sends him over the top just before he announces, "Live from New York..."

  3. Garrett Morris comes out dressed as Cicely Tyson and begins to open the show. It doesn't take long before the real Cicely arrives and asks Garett what the hell he is up to. This is when he explains that his contract is solid and it states that he gets to play any character who is darker than Tony Orlando. This causes Cicely to question Garrett ethic as the two bicker their way to commercial.

  4. This is followed by a repeat of the docu-concert that followed around Elvis Presley's coat.

  5. The Wide-End Family returns for another sketch featuring the big-assed family with a heart of gold who are hanging out with their big-assed best friends/neighbors.

  6. The Shah's Final day is a scattered sketch that takes place in the US embassy on the day of the Iranian revolve. The receptionist is a valley girl who has to play gatekeeper to block people's access to the ambassador. There is a quirky cast of characters, but nothing really goes on, luckily this was a shorter sketch than usual, so I was happy to see it move on.

  7. Talking Heads then hit the stage to perform Take Me To The River.

  8. We then have at least a minute long intro about how rough it was to live in the frontier days before it's revealed that we are watching a fake show called Frontier Midwife with Cicely Tyson playing the titular midwife who stumbles into a cabin full of fur traders. She gets them all doing busy work to prepare for the birth of a baby. This is when everyone looks at her like she's a nut because she's the first woman that they've seen in two years and they have no idea who she thinks is giving birth.

  9. Once again, Jane and Bill host the news and this week there was nothing but stories. Dan Aykroyd did step in as the manager of the news department but he too just delivered another outdated story.

  10. Bill Murray then returns as his crappy lounge singer character and delivers the same routine as every other appearance only the songs are different, and we're now on a train, but all of the small-talk is pretty much the same in a way that funny but far from my favorite.

  11. Black Perspective was a thought-provoking bit this week. This time the topic was black women in film, and Garrett asks why there aren’t more black role models. Cicely then makes an interesting point about how living in a male-dominated world leads to races and cultures being evaluated base on the action and attitudes of the male representatives. Though I thought this was a compelling takeaway, it gets a little harsh when she goes on to explain the next part of the equation. That part being, in her words, not mine, that black women have to pay for black men being such "losers."

  12. This was followed by the parody of a D-Day documentary about a special ops group called the Walkers. These were men who used walkers during battle, even though they could walk just fine because it would have been breaking the Geneva Convention if the enemies were to shoot them.

  13. The X-Cop return to do a carbon copy of every other sketch they've been in. This time, the X-Cops kill and frame to nursing school roommates claiming the events were caused by lesbianism.

  14. Cicely Sings Sicily is a parody of a music commercial with Cicely Tyson singing songs from Sicily.

  15. The Emily Litellavision is a bit where Emily does what she does best as she introduces the show she is watching. Tonight, she presents some sort of opera where Porky is the word she messes up on. We then cut to Cicely and Garrett singing said opera, only Garrett has the stutter of Porky Pig and the entire orchestra is wearing pig masks.

  16. Talking Heads return to the stage to perform Artists Only.

  17. Finally, Cicely Tyson closes the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

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SNL: S04E12... HOST: RICK NELSON... DATE: FEBRUARY 17, 1979

SNL: S04E12... HOST: RICK NELSON... DATE: FEBRUARY 17, 1979

The Wicker Breakdown:  

  1. The show starts with Bill Murray as a radio DJ taking calls from listeners. He treats them kind of like the internet asking for callers whenever he doesn't have an answer. He promotes some fundraiser thing where if they meet the goal he will get a lobster. Dan Aykroyd then sits in for the weather. This is followed by more calls, but it's boring almost like real random AM radio. Then Belushi comes in with two lobster and why Murray asks for more details he says that they are, "Live from New York..."

  2. Rick Nelson then opens the show with a quick joke about how most of the audience is seeing him for the first time when he's not in black and white. He then goes on to sing three songs back to back; Hello Marry Lou, Travelin' Man, and Fools Rush In.

  3. This is followed by a Twilight Zone parody where Rick Nelson plays his character from Ozzie and Harriet only he keeps ending up in the wrong black and white shows. They mix up TV reality even more by also swapping out the person playing the Rod Serling role of narrating what is happening.

  4. We are then backstage at a Don Kirshner produced show. This allows pretty much everyone in the cast to impersonate some famous performer. We jump around from impersonation to impersonation while the sketch seems to be going nowhere until finally Gilda shows up as Candy Slice and once again performs a pretty good/legitimate punk song.

  5. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news. This week, Chico Esquella says his goodbyes as he is heading back to the big leagues of baseball. There's also a Point Counter-Point segment when Jane and Dan argue about cocaine.

  6. Who Is More Macho is a Mexican game show where contestants are given multiple leading Latino men and are asked Who Is More Macho? This was a great sketch up until Elliot Ness shows up and they burn through two minutes of a pointless immigration joke.

  7. Judy Collins then performs Hard Time For Lovers.

  8. This was followed by a PSA for helium and why you should use it when giving bad news to "lighten" the mood.

  9. Next was a Barbershop sketch that tells the tale of a dying old mall as the only clients that come in for haircuts are mall employees who are also struggling to make ends meet. I worked at one of these malls so it was sort of funny but there wasn't enough happening to justify it being so long.

  10. The short film this week was a mockumentary called Picasso: The New York Years. Where they interview the locals about the fictional time that Picasso considered New York his stomping grounds.

  11. Rick Nelson returns to the stage to sing Dream Lover.

  12. Finally, Rick Nelson remains on the stage to close the show by thanking the crowd before saying his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E13... HOST: KATE JACKSON... DATE: FEBRUARY 24, 1979

SNL: S04E13... HOST: KATE JACKSON... DATE: FEBRUARY 24, 1979

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. As I mentioned in the intro above, the show starts with a Charlie's Angels parody where we learn that the new CEO of NBC came over from ABC and is actually there to sabotage the network. This gives some validation to my theory that it's the Network that is messing up the show and why this is such a sucky season. That said, the sketch isn't that bad, though, the hand-off from Kate Jackson to Belushi is rather sloppy leading to a very lame announcement of, "Live from New York..."

  2. Kate Jackson then opens the show with a monolog about how she used to be the tour guide for NBC before becoming an Angel. Her monolog is suddenly interrupted by a tour, and she spends the rest of the intro answering tour related questions.

  3. Gilda Radner's nerdy kid character sits in a chair with a hot water bottle. Jane enters as her nerdy mom with a cast on her arm and finds out that Gilda is heartbroken. It turns out that Bill's nerdy character has a crush on Jane's nurse who will be by in a bit to provide cast removal services. This is when we see that Bill does have a crush, but Kate is just being nice to a child. As soon as Bill finds that his love is unrequited, he goes right back to flirting with Gilda.

  4. We then revisit the new NBC CEO who is working on the Fall Season Schedule. This goes back to the Charlie's Angels sketch, and this is all part of his plot to continue to sabotage the network.

  5. Gilda's "special needs" character and family then visit a child psychiatrist later it's revealed it's a literal CHILD psychiatrist played by Larraine who does a great job at playing a kid. At first, this sketch was sort of boring because, other than her age, Larraine is a very competent psychiatrist. It wasn't until the end when she realizes that she has to pee and starts to squirm and rush through the rest of the appointment, that this sketch becomes rather funny.

  6. Delbert McClinton then performs B' Movie Boxcar Blues.

  7. Once again, Jane and Bill do the news. This week we get Father Guido Sarducci doing weather, and Roseanne Roseannadanna does a segment of the travel Tut exhibit that ends with her rambling about dental care.

  8. Andy Kaufman returns to the show to do a bongo routine with a tough looking band of bongo players. Though the music has a traditional bongo sound to it, Andy starts to do a yodel. He then goes on with his song and dance which is silly as usual, but the funniest part is when the tough looking band join in as they sing backup and also start to yodel.

  9. Once again we get caught up with the new CEO of NBC. This time he is trying to pitch the show Super Limo to Garrett Morris in order to take him away from the show. Once Garrett leaves the CEO catches Kate as she passes by to get to her next scene. It turns out she's falling in love with the cast and wants no longer wants any part in this plot to sabotage the show.

  10. Bad Cabaret For Kinds is another in the "Bad" series we see precisely what the title promises only there is no extra title for the Cabaret act.

  11. Delbert McClinton returns to the stage to perform. I'm Talking About You.

  12. Mr. Bill then has a snack party which results in him having to go on a diet. He also gets introduced to Sluggo LaLanne who puts him on an extreme workout regimen.

  13. The Coneheads then go to the movies where Beldar is given a joint by Belushi who is smoking in the back of the theater. Beldar then gets super high and heads out to the lobby for munchies. He then returns with an armload of snack and ruins the movie with his laughter until an usher kicks out the entire family.

  14. Finally, Kate Jackson closes the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

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SNL: S04E14... HOST: GARY BUSEY... DATE: MARCH 10,1979

SNL: S04E14... HOST: GARY BUSEY... DATE: MARCH 10,1979

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with Gary Busey in the SNL locker room griping to Jane about how he's been ignored by Belushi. Jane goes on to explain that it's because Belushi feels that Busey stole his Oscar Nomination for the Buddy Holly Story because of how Hollywood likes to reward artsy films when blockbuster comedies like Animal House are never given respect. She goes on to explain why Belushi blames Busey over the other contenders because of all of the actors up for nomination Busey is the closest in age and experience. Then Gary asks for advice to which Jane suggest he tell Belushi he'd trade all of his success in order to be in a sketch as good as Samurai Night Fever. As you can see by the length of these notes, this conversation goes on forever, and at this point, it's not really coming across as a joke. This is that dramatic setup I was talking about in the intro. Also, keep in mind that this is still the opening sketch when we get a scene change which is rarely worth the effort. We then go to Belushi's dressing room where he's bitching about precisely what Jane was talking about to his entourage. Busey enters and says the two need to talk. He does what Jane tells him and says he's jealous of Belushi's career this boost Belushi's ego and then he goes on to give Busey advice which leads to a sloppy setup to the announcement, "Live from New York..."

  2. Gary Busey then hits the stage to open the show by saying he following Belushi's advice to skip whatever what written for him and to just be himself. This leads Busey to do some sort of hand jive, and that's all we get.

  3. Next is another long-winded sketch where I have almost a page worth of notes. This is not a good sign because I'm only waiting for a sentence or two to summarize the point of the sketch. If I have to write more than a paragraph that means I'm still searching for the setup of the joke. This sketch starts out in the White House with Carter preparing for some trip to Jerusalem, but they wrote this for the people of the time, so they don't really go into why. His wife also makes a hemorrhoid reference which has been the go-to joke about the president for the past couple weeks. The wife then leaves, and the mom steps in and tells Jimmy that he need to bring his brother Billy along. Then Busey comes out as Billy, and his appearance alone gets a laugh but other than that it's just redneck bashing until we cut to Bill Murray as Walter Cronkite who joins in to ramble on about this trip. By this time I was over the sketch, so I missed the historical relevance, luckily the sketch then cuts to Jerusalem when we see that it's a Nobel Prize banquet, but that doesn't matter because they just keep making, "Billy's a redneck" jokes.

  4. Eubie Blake and Gregory Hines then come out to perform three songs back to back: Low-Down Blues, I'm Just Simply Full Of Jazz, and I'm Just Wild About Harry. This was fun because I'm a big fan of Gregory Hines from History Of The World and I knew he was a dancer, but I didn't realize that he sang to the point where he'd be the musical guest on SNL.

  5. Woman's Problems was a sketch with a bunch of guys bitching about women in that cliche old school way. You know barefoot in the kitchen, PMS, blah, blah, blah.

  6. Once again, Jane and Bill host the news. This week there is a segment where Bill interviews the wife of the late actor who played Mr. Ed, only the people on the horse end of the interview have a hard time keeping her under control. I liked this one because there is a quick moment in the opening sketch where they lead said horse to its dressing room while Busey had to use the locker.

  7. Unsung Heroes Of Rock And Roll is a sketch that seems to go nowhere. It takes place in a high school dance with a music group saying good night before packing up their gear. Then we jump around between the students and chaperones as they have conversations over the now piped in music. Larraine and Garrett then sign a song for a bit, but I still have no clue who this Unsung Hero is even potentially in reference to. Bill Murray spikes the punch causing Gilda to get drunk, so I was hoping this was the birth of Candy Slice, but no, she just dares Busey to play some rock and roll which he does but it still not the Unsung Hero. Then at the very end of the sketch, we learn that Busey and his band were burned badly in a boiler room accident when they were going to retrieve their coats. The fact that they never performed again is what made them Unsung Heroes, a joke that is far from worth the buildup.

  8. This week's short film is called Perchance To Dream, where Bill Murray plays a drunk on the street rambling on about phone fees and who should be charged for a call. He then finds a random bottle of booze on the ground and picks it up to drink it. This transports him backstage where he is now a Shakespearian actor. He does a pretty good performance only to be awoken by the cops back on the street as we are brought back to reality.

  9. The next sketch takes place on a porch in the South with Aykroyd hanging out in the heat with Larraine who is playing his daughter. Garrett approaches with a warning that there is a Muck Jumper in town which makes Aykroyd a little nervous. He and Garrett then leave to deal with some problem that his two sons started out in the field. With no one around when the Muck Jumper arrives they are quick to buy into his scam. Apparently, a Muck Jumper was an original Jackass that would charge $0.30 to jump in the local septic tank. The kids think this is such a great deal to see such a feat so they pay him and he sticks to the offer. Only now that he's covered in muck, he charges $40.00 to get him to leave along with the odor he's collected.

  10. Gary Busey then hits the stage to perform Stay All Night.

  11. Finally, Gary Busey closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.

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

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

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 understand 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, once 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 suddenly 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 entertaining how 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 was 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.

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SNL: S04E16... HOST: RICHARD BENJAMIN... DATE: APRIL 7, 1979

SNL: S04E16... HOST: RICHARD BENJAMIN... DATE: APRIL 7, 1979

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts in the SNL locker room where Aykroyd punches in a little late, and Jane informs him that Belushi is out "sick" this week. We then get introduced to some random dude from NBC's talent pool who is there to replace Belushi for the day, kind of like a substitute teacher. Aykroyd this is weird at first but then goes on to give the guy advice on how to act like Belushi. It would have been awesome if they carried out this idea and had this stranger play the King Bee or Samurai but no, he just throws out a sloppy set up to get Aykroyd to announce, "Live from New York..."

  2. Richard Benjamin then opens the show with a monolog about how he thought this week in New York would be boring because his wife, a famous actress from the time, is off working on another project. He then goes on to say what a great time he's had and how he's now cheating on said wife after spending the week out and about with the cast. He then reveals that it was Gilda he was cheating with and she acts shocked that he's sharing such a scandal. Though this was a total joke, I just don't find careless cheating to be funny, and starting out this way also shifted my mood to where I was already disappointed.

  3. This is followed by the Two Mile Island sketch that you can read about up in the intro.

  4. Then Bill Murray's nerdy character arrives at his brother's apartment. Richard plays said brother, and he is also a nerd. Murray's plan is to borrow the apartment to sleep with Gilda's nerdy character. Gilda then shows up has a couple of nerdy interactions with Richard and then is left alone with Murray who gets very date-rapey as he fills her with drinks to "make this easier." Once again, this rubbed me the wrong way especially when it works, and Gilda's body goes limp as they make out. It doesn't help that the audience is cheering this on without the slightest sense of shock. Luckily, Gilda is saved by her mom, who dropped by early to pick Gilda up. For some reason, Richard then returns to flirt with the mom, and everything ends hunky-dory.

  5. Once again, Jane and Bill give us the news. This week Bill Murray heads down to the Mets training camp to interview Chico Esquella in the interview that made this character a classic even though he's been around for a while. Bill also gives his Oscar picks for the year and Roseanne Roseannadanna does a segment on the rising cost of meat and ends up rambling on how disgusting fish are.

  6. Rickie Lee Jones hits the stage to perform Chuck Es In Love.

  7. A Bird For All Seasons is a short film where Bill Murray plays a network executive introducing this season's lineup of programming where birds replace actors in famous roles from movies and television.

  8. Richard and Larraine then visit a Scottish restaurant run by Aykroyd who is all decked out in Scottish garb. The sketch then goes on to make fun of how cheap Scottish people are which is a stereotype that I was unaware of. They also manage to make fun of Scottish food and complete the cliches by ending the sketch with a quick jab at bagpipers.

  9. This is followed by a repeat of the Donuts of Champions ad.

  10. Then Rickie Lee Jones returns to the stage to perform a song called Coolsville.

  11. Finally, Richard Benjamin closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E17... HOST: MILTON BERLE... DATE: APRIL 14. 1979

SNL: S04E17... HOST: MILTON BERLE... DATE: APRIL 14. 1979

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The opening sketch takes place at the Texaco Star Theater and is a parody of a black and white TV days live commercial for a gas station with all of the guys from the cast singing and old-timey tune about a Texaco Station. Though the opening title card says starring Milton Berle, he never makes it into the sketch before the singing stops with the line "Live from New York..."

  2. Milton Berle then opens the show with one of his stand-up routines. As I stated above in the intro, I was surprised by how much I liked it.

  3. The Wide-End family make their return to the show as the parents wake extra early to start their Easter routine. Uncle Miltie plays the Wide-End uncle and is running late for his Easter Bunny duties of hiding the eggs. He finally arrives, and it's a laugh riot as he and daddy Wide-End rush to hide the eggs barely finishing before the kids awake to search for the hidden eggs. Once again, I love this family because they have such a positive attitude which makes me feel like I'm laughing with them and want to be a part of this world.

  4. Don Kirshner and his daughter then introduce their latest find. This time it's a group of young gay men called The Village Persons who sing Bend Over Chuck Berry, which I think is about disco taking over the reins from rock 'n roll.

  5. Once again, Jane and Bill give us the news. This week, Bill returns to Florida to continue to cover the comeback of Chico Esquela. Larraine plays a punk girl named Z Jones who breaks down who's hot and who's not in music. Bill winded thing down by singing a goodbye song to the bust of King Tut because his traveling exhibit is leaving New York to make its way to the west coast.

  6. Uncle Miltie then plays a comedy scout, auditioning local comedians. Several members of the cast try out each imitating a different style of open mic level stand-up comedians. He gives everyone encouraging words only to talk trash behind their backs. He calls them all back to informs them that they are all pretty good but could benefit from his $100 workshop that he just happens to have the same amount of spots open as the number of comedians who tried out.

  7. On The Spot is an interview show and once again, Dan Aykroyd plays his sleazy salesman person who continually tries to sell dangerous things to children. This week, he's selling hazardous theme park rides that sound so dangerous it drives Jane to the point where she attacks him for being such a scummy salesman.

  8. Uncle Miltie then plays the crotchety old man that I remember him as when he plays an old man in a retirement home. This is mainly a sketch about how out of it old people get as he struggles to follow the conversation of his two daughters.

  9. Uncle Miltie then addresses the audience about claims that he's been known to steal jokes. In order to squelch these rumors, he brings out his writing staff which turns out to be a group of old Chinese men that can't even speak English. He then goes on to introduce the band.

  10. Ornette Coleman then hits the stage to perform Time Square.

  11. Uncle Miltie then hits the stage to sing one of his old man tunes. He then goes on to wing his way through a sentimental monolog about his life, career, and appreciation.

  12. Finally, Milton Berle returns to the stage to close the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

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SNL: S04E18... HOST: MICHAEL PALIN... DATE: MAY 12, 1979

SNL: S04E18... HOST: MICHAEL PALIN... DATE: MAY 12, 1979

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. Belushi opens the show as the current CEO of NBC and addresses the audience about the reports that he is doing a terrible job with his transition into the role of the creative leader. In doing so, he points out his one success and makes Gary Coleman his V.P. before announcing, "Live from New York..."

  2. Michael Palin opens the show with a Mother's Day themed monolog where he shares how miserable his childhood was due to the fact that he was too you to fully understand what was going on but had to deal with the effects of WWII. He has a really entertaining way of sharing this tale of neglect but then randomly seems to jump ship to introduce James Taylor just when I was getting into the story.

  3. James Taylor then performs Johnny Comes Back.

  4. Family Classics (Chapter II) continues the saga of the Miles Cowperthwaite from the fake Dickens novel that was introduced when Palin last hosted the show. When we last saw him, he was a drool collecting orphan who was sent off with the gay navy and this time we follow his adventures on the gay boat. Though most of the jokes targeted the gay lifestyle, I wouldn't really say that it came across as homophobic.

  5. This is followed by a fake commercial for Magna-Gro where Aykroyd pitches plant steroids for those that live in the city but still want to garden.

  6. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news. Also once again, Bill does a segment on Chico Esquela's comeback in Florida, then he and Jane sing a charming tribute to Fred Astaire in honor of his latest birthday. After that, the news wraps up with yet another guest visit from Father Guido Sarducci who is there to discuss the discovery of a strange planet just outside of the solar system.

  7. James Taylor then returns to the stage to sing Up On The Roof.

  8. The Boulevard Of Proud Chicano Cars is an epic sketch that takes on the topic of the gas shortage on the Chicano's of East LA. First off, Gilda plays the lead male character, and her accent sounds so French Canadian that it alone makes the sketch hard to get from but then the sketch takes turn for the worst after turn for the worst as it does every single one of my pet peeves. The sketch has a funny premise of treating gas like drugs as the Chicanos look for fuel so they can cruise the boulevard in their classic cars. The sketch nailed that joke, but then they change scenes and the tone of the sketch as it turns into a statement on interracial dating. We then change scenes about five more times as well as the tone and point as this becomes boring after-school special.

  9. Mr. Bill then tries to run away from home and New York only to be picked up hitchhiking by Mr. Hand.

  10. James Taylor returns to the stage one more time to sing Millworker.

  11. This is followed by a Mother's Day sketch between Tom Snyder and his mother where the point is that they are pretty much the same person.

  12. Finally, Michael Palin hits the stage again to close the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

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

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

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 is 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 be a black citizen in the USofA.

  11. Aykroyd then introduces a very serious segment on terrible 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 the 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 funny 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.

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SNL: S04E20... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: MAY 26, 1979

SNL: S04E20... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: MAY 26, 1979

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. First, the show starts with a Mr. Bill sketch where he gets tickets to see the final episode of season four then ventures over to Rockefeller Center to join the audience, getting abused all the way, of course. He gets to his seat just in time to announce, "Live from New York..."

  2. The opening credits then start to roll but then are almost instantly interrupted by Jane who is angry that a piece of Play-Doh was allowed to make the opening announcement before she was despite the fact that she has put in four years with the show. Belushi comes in to defend her only to steal her thunder and make a second announcement of, "Live from New York..." to officially kick off the show.

  3. Buck Henry then hits the stage for the tenth time as some form of host considering he’s also co-hosted and pretty much hosted the Anyone Can Host special. His opening monolog is about how great he feels to break through via SNL despite being a behind the scenes entity throughout the rest of his career. He then points to a section of the stands where audience members have electrodes attached to their heads. The idea is that this technology will cause the screen to grow or shrink depending on how much interest they have in what is being said. Every time Buck starts his smart talk, the screen begins to shrink, then when he switches to simpleton humor the screen returns to the standard size. I was hoping that this effect would come into play throughout the episode, but it ended up being just an opening joke.

  4. The next sketch was a fake ad for a getaway camp called Ray's Disco Roller Fishing Park which is a place where campers can take advantage of all three activities as you disco dance in roller skates while trying to reel in a fish.

  5. Being that this is a Buck Henry show, we need to have a Samurai sketch. This time the two interact in Samurai Bakery as Buck places an order for his brother's wedding cake and the Samurai is up to is usual antics as he tries to help out.

  6. Next, they play at least a full minute from a mini-series called Blind Ambition where Rip Torn played Nixon, and they take on his tendencies to tape every conversation that he had while working in the White House. We then pull back from the TV to see Aykroyd as Nixon watching the show with his family. Nixon claims that this series is based on the transcripts of his tapes and they totally missed the tone of the conversation. We then cut to a reenactment as Nixon explains how he and Buck, who plays the campaign manager, were just joking in an attempt to get a laugh making the tone of the reenactment much sillier than the context of the conversation.

  7. Bette Midler then hits the stage to perform Married Men which was performed just last episode by Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow.

  8. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news. At this point, I forgot how awkward Bill was during his early days behind the desk, now he's a real pro. This week Garrett Morris gets a segment to discuss whether or not The Rolling Stones were racist based on a line in their latest album about how black women just want to have sex all night. It turns out, Garrett just wants to know where these black women are. We also get a segment with Roseanne Roseannadanna where she starts out talking about the struggles of holiday travel during the gas shortage only to end up rambling about an incident she witnessed with Jane getting sand in her bikini when the two had a run-in at the beach.

  9. Then the show falls apart for a segment with the return of Buck Henry's creepy uncle character that I've already mentioned above, and whether or not he actually wrote this, I blame the disturbing failure on Mr. Mike.

  10. Franken and Davis then do a routine about Franken becoming a Hare Krishna. He claims that despite having more of a flowery delivery, this change hasn't affected his comedy. Davis however disagrees and seeks revenge by chopping off Franken's Krishna man bun which gets a very violent reaction.

  11. 11.  We then head over to The Olympia Cafe which is only taking to-go orders as they work around the mess of what appears to have been a fire. It's hard to tell whether or not this is supposed to be an insurance fraud sketch, but Belushi is definitely trying to take advantage of the situation adding items to the claim any time the claims adjuster makes the slightest of question/suggestion. It then turns out that the policy is void when they admit that Murray lives under the sink. Just when it seems like Belushi is about to snap, he announces that he's Greek, so his solution is to dance, and dance they do.

  12. Bette Midler the returns to the stage to sing Martha.

  13. This week's short film was a pretty entertaining mini-mockumentary about the cloning of human babies.

  14. Not For Transsexuals Only is an interview show hosted by Jane where she interviews a couple that switched genitalia as if this were a transplant situation instead of reconstructive surgery.

  15. Finally, Buck Henry hits the stage for the traditional goodnights, only to introduce Mr. Mike who does another one of his dumb impersonations of celebrities getting needles jammed into their eyes. This week it's Elvis, but that doesn't really matter because it's the same dumb joke either way.

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