SNL: S05E03... HOST: BILL RUSSELL... DATE: NOVEMBER 3, 1979

or...

A Flashback To Four

It's rather early in the season to already be sneaking in a second-half slump episode into the queue. We don't usually get to see all-star sports legions until at least show number fourteen. That said, it was nice to see very early on how this season will deal with such a slumpy episode.

 This episode felt like it would have fit in much better if it aired during season four. There were a couple very long sketches that felt like an after school special with flat jokes and far too many scene changes but there also seemed to be a season five saving grace.

Where those couple segments seemed long and overwritten the rest of the show felt like it was done to a pretty good pace and these shorter sketches were successful at keeping me entertain. Between this and the fact that the cast just has a more enthusiastic energy, this episode could very well be the worst of the season but it would still be up there near the best of what happened last year.

With that, it's time to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. We start out behind the scenes of a Ted Kennedy event for his announcement that he's running for president. He shows up late and soaking wet and everyone is worried that this is a repeat of the Chappaquiddick Incident. Davis of Franken and Davis then steps out onto the stage to create a delay to figure out what is going on before making the announcement. He hands over the podium to some old guy who rambles on as Davis goes backstage to deal with Kennedy. It turns out he just went out for a swim and his wife if safe and sound. Kennedy then goes out to announce his decision to run along with announcing, "Live from New York..."
  2. Rill Russell then opens the show with a monolog about how the show runs a lot like a basketball team and then breaks down every position.
  3. This is followed by a fake ad for an electronic device called the Banshee that wails in your place at funerals for people that you can be bothered to go to.
  4. Next is one of the long winded after school special sketches that I can't stand. It's called The Black Shadow and is about a black high school basketball coach and his white team that does everything they can to defend him. Meanwhile, he live up to every black stereotype, selling drugs, fighting, sexual predator, and the list goes on and on and these white kids defend him no matter what and every time anyone has a problem he says that they just have a problem because he is black without acknowledging the fact that he is just a horrible individual. It's an interesting point that ages in a way that feels like it's straight up racist.
  5. The Landers File is a parody of Ann Landers advice column where she reads the letter from a reader as we see a reenactment of the events. The reader asking the question is pretty much how everyone in her life turned on her during her husband's funeral in a humorous but inappropriate way where she is clearly not to blame.
  6. Chicago then hits the stage to perform I'm A Man.
  7. Once again, Jane and Bill give us the news. This week Larraine visits a Korean Surprise Dinner Party where Gilda and some guy to horrendous Asian accents with the surprise being that the guy randomly shoots Gilda as she tries to explain the meal. Bill Murray also celebrates the 100th birthday of the light bulb by singing a bulb a song.
  8. Bill Murray returns as his crappy lounge singer this time he is performing for the troops in Greenland. Though it's funnier than the past couple installments of this sketch, it still pretty much the exact same thing.
  9. The Continuing Correspondences Of Eleanor Roosevelt is a sketch where we see Eleanor writing elegant correspondences only to find out that they are all going to bill collectors. We see a couple samples of this as she also starts a chain letter that is also spread by these bill collectors who could care less of these flowery letters and only want their cash. The sketch then ends in an adorable way, when Franklyn Roosevelt defends his wife's actions in a letter of his own by paying off the late bill and explaining how she was busy with way more important things.
  10. Mr. Bill then has to deal with Mr. Hand after claiming to be sick in order to avoid hanging out. Of course, this leads to Mr. Hand "caring" for Mr. Bill in a very abusive way.
  11. Bill Murray then plays a sports talk show host who interviews Bill Russell as himself, only apparently Murray lives in a parallel universe where no one has ever heard of basketball and all follow some other bizarro world sport.
  12. This is followed by a fake ad for a car salesman who is encouraging people to buy a second car in order to sell enough cars to be able to pay off the rebate they were supposed to get for the first car.
  13. Chicago then performs Street Player. I had no idea this was a Chicago song since I've only heard it in every other rap song since 1988.
  14. We then see a quick fake ad for a Barry White Big and Tall store. We then cut to a franchise of said store that just opened in the crappy mall where the Scotch tape store is the only establishment that is having any success.
  15. Finally, Bill Russell closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.

Once again, this wasn't my favorite episode but it was extremely far from the worst. Even though I didn't really like the big sketches, these were my favorite moments. First, I liked the fake ad portion of the Barry White Big And Tall And That's All sketch because I have experience with these stores as a man who is both big and tall. Next, I liked seeing Mr. Bill again and am happy to see how the quality is improving over the years. Finally, I was a fan of Bill Murray as the sports guy who barely knows that basketball even exists because as a non-sports fan, this is how I often feel.

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.