Bringing The Bar Back Up This Season
After being disappointed by season four of Saturday Night Live, I was really looking forward to this fresh start to season number five. Again, as I had to keep pointing out throughout that season of reviews, it's not that there were funny moments but the overall season was so consistently average. Even the line-up of hosts was acceptable but rather bland.
Looking at the list of hosts alone, I am very excited about this season. It also helps that I know that this will be the last season with the original cast so I have hopes that they will be putting in an extra effort before jumping into their after show careers. That said, it is sad to see that Belushi and Aykroyd have already jumped ship to start their big-time careers, but I sense that Belushi might have been bringing down the overall energy of the group by actually being the diva that they keep portraying him to be in their jokes.
Either way, this episode was a strong start to the season. The fact that Steve Martin was the host allowed me to compare the energy to the two shows he hosted last season. Right out the gate, this appearance just had an energy that made me happy no matter what the content.
The rest of the show carried that same positive energy. It felt kind of like, now that the upperclassmen are gone, the underappreciated, underclassmen now have a voice, and they are more than happy to use them. I'm also excited to see that Steve Martin is settling into the man that I'm a fan of, with less of the annoying high energy guy at a party and more of a comedic plan.
So, once again, I'm very excited about this season, and now it's time to share what I just saw to put me in that state mind as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
Garrett Morris plays the bouncer, backstage during the Pope's visit to America. The sketch is similar to another bouncer sketch they did in an earlier season, only this time he is turning away religious groupies instead of burnouts claiming to know the band. Steven Martin eventually steps out as the Pope to announce, "Live from New York..."
Steve Martin then opens the show with a monolog/routine about how he's giving up stand-up to be a male model but then gets interrupted by the band. At first, he's furious that they cut into his routine but then gets swept up by the music and begins to literally shake his booty all around the stage.
This was followed by a fake ad for Craig's Checks, a traveler's check issued by some guy named Craig.
Bill and Gilda play a couple at home watching TV. The doorbell rings, and it's Steve Martin who is offering door to door Spanish tutoring. At first, Bill Murray is annoyed because he just wants to watch TV but then gives in to the lesson as he remembers a few words from college. Eventually, Steve Martin asks where the "bano" is when we learn that this is just a scam for Martin to get into the bathroom in order to steal a quick shower.
Then we get the back story to the history of the Vandals before seeing a sketch from Roman times when Steve Martin plays a general who keeps getting pranked by this mischievous tribe.
Blondie then hits the stage to perform Dreaming.
Then we go to the Port Authority for a fake ad for those who fear germs in public restrooms. The product is called Rise, and you spray it in your mouth to make you repel germs which somehow makes you float about the toilet? I don't know, I didn't really get the logic, but Buck Henry makes a cameo, so that's cool.
This year, the news hasn't changed at all, same set and same good job done by Jane and Bill. This week they get a visit from Father Guido Sarducci who is covering the aftermath of the Pope's visit to America along with griping about all the cheesy merchandise and has examples to show just how bad they are.
In this week's Great Moments In Rock History we see the night that Carol King wrote You Got A Friend after turning away her friend who was desperately depressed to finish writing her tune. This abandoned friend then gets mugged and stabbed outside of her apartment as she continues to sing away about how she wouldn't let something like this happen because she is so good at being a friend.
In this week's The David Susskind Show, David interview a bunch of people who have crazy stories of seeing some senator from the time that I've never heard of, doing a bunch of cocaine and the story gets crazier and crazier as each of the three guests share their tales.
Blondie then returns to the stage to perform The Hardest Part.
Then, an announcer that I recognize but can't place his name comes out to introduce a Russian Ballet and explains why there is extra security in order to stop the trend of defecting Russian dancers. The ballet then plays out with Martin and Gilda dancing around the stage as Russians with guns guarded all the exits and danced along from time to time.
The All-New Mr. Bill Show was fun but not all that new. He starts saying that he's getting rid of Mr. Hand and Sluggo and begins with a more family-friendly show. Then Mr. Hand sneaks his way back into the program, and the accidental abuse begins.
Steve Martin and Bill Murray then do one of my favorite of the minimalist sketches out there. It starts with Steve Martin walking out onto the stage and then seeing something off in the distance. He then just keeps repeating different ways to ask, "What the hell is that thing?" Until he is joined by Murray, who joins in on the questioning.
Finally, Steve Martin returns to the stage to close the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Again, I don't even care about the content, this season already has a much better tone. Hopefully, it stays this way but until we find out, here are my favorite moments. First, I loved the "What the hell is that thing?" sketch, even though I think I know it better from a later visit from Steve Martin. Next, I liked the Great Moments In Rock History because it was a hilarious use of irony. Finally, I was a fan of the Vandals sketch because I'm a fan of the band that shares the name and the idea of a pizza delivery prank in Roman days is something I find rather funny.