SNL: S05E04... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: NOVEMBER 10, 1979

or...

Play Time With Buck Henry!!!

Once again, I'd like to start off by congratulating Buck Henry for becoming the inaugural member of another exclusive club as this episode marks the Nine-Timer's/Eleven If You Count Co-Hosting Duties On Special Episodes Club!!!

Though I still get excited every time that I see his name in the queue as the host I will be watching, I have to admit that I'm running out of things to say about his visit because my insights are always the same.

My main point is always how I like that he is almost an unofficial cast member who feels more at home on the Saturday Night Live stage than any other host so far. His coming across as being a peer to the performers seems to get everybody's guard down to where they are able to have fun performing without the fear of embarrassing a star.

 The only issue I have with this episode is that the cast seemed to settle into their comfort zone as the playground instead of pushing any lines. Either way, it was a fun episode and with that it's time to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts outside of the NBC studio with people protesting the eleventh appearance of Buck Henry with the joke being that people were sick of seeing him on the show. We then cut to the SNL locker room where Jane and Bill discuss the controversy and agree that he is taking airtime from real stars like Clint Eastwood. Every reason they give for why he shouldn't keep hosting are the exact reasons that I like seeing him on the show. Bill then goes into a convoluted story about how he got his hands on Buck Henry's NBC paperwork and discovered he was a war hero from the Korean War who saved the current CEO and is why he is getting special treatment by the network. Somehow Jane takes over the conversation and FINALLY gets to officially announce, "Live from New York..."
  2. Buck Henry then opens the show amongst guards to protect him from the protesters. He ignores the yells and the boos and powers through his monolog about how great it is to be a part of the show while casually dismissing the hecklers.
  3. Gilda then does an ad for Harley's Bristol Cream booze where she calls guy after guy to come to her house to drink with her. She gets turned down left and right and I'm guessing it's the quality of the booze that's the turn off since I've never heard of Harley's Bristol Cream or any other booze that it could be making fun of. Anyways, she ends up yelling out her window to some passerby who comes up to join her and turns out to be homeless who enjoys the booze as well as the make out session.
  4. The Mystery Of Toad Island is a mystery sketch where Buck Henry ends up on a strange island where everyone has the inflatable throat of a toad. The toad throat is the star of this sketch because there isn't too much of a story to hang on to.
  5. Gilda and Bill then play their nerdy characters again with Jane as Gilda's mom and Buck as Bill's dad. This time Bill is trying to get Buck to ask Jane out since they hit it off well the last time Buck Henry was hosting the show. This would allow for Bill to be alone with Gilda with an empty house so he can finally make his move, only in the process of setting up the date, Buck accidentally sends Gilda and her mom off to the event the date was to be based on.
  6. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers then hit the stage to perform Refugee.
  7. Once again, Jane and Bill host the news. It's interesting that as election coverage ramps up the focus is on Carter and Kennedy, without even one mention of Reagan yet so it will be interesting to see how and when that happens as far as Saturday Night Live goes.
  8. Bad Clams was an amazing sketch where Garrett Morris the barely publicized first black female cast member Yvonne Hudson, host a Baltimore passed morning talk show where they start out talking about movies and then go on to eat spoiled clams with their special guest Lucille Ball. I'm sad and surprised that I never heard of Yvonne because the type of unknown fact that I would love to bring up as trivia but also because it should have been a much more celebrated accomplishment.
  9. This was followed by an ad for a record that teaches children how to talk to their grandparents to make them like you enough to give you a buck by simply telling them everything that they want to hear, like how great they are and how they come across as being young.
  10. The short film this week is a repeat of the documentary style film that explores the afterlife that was witnessed during near death experiences. Each story ends with everyone getting to a bright room and being told to take a number and have a seat.
  11. Buck and Gilda are eating dinner when Buck randomly coughs up what is arguably his liver or lung and then Gilda cuts off one of her fingers. At first, this seems very random but it ends up that this is an ad for Speci-Pak the freezer pack for transporting body parts to the emergency room when these types of strange events occur.
  12. Bill is about to propose to Larraine but before they can get down to the romance they have a meeting with their lawyers to iron out the prenuptial agreement, highlighting just how unromantic this process is. Larraine wants everything is this doesn't work out and Bill wants to give nothing if it fails and they try to express this while at the same time saying that they are deeply in love. Then out of the blue, Jane and her lawyer enter into the apartment with a signed document saying that she's ready to commit to marriage. This is enough to get Bill to call it off with Larraine and decides to marry Jane because it is a better deal.
  13. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers return to the stage to perform Don't Do Me Like That.
  14. This is followed by Buck, Jane and Gilda all in a car on a wild ride because Buck Henry is too pee shy to use a public restroom and is running red lights and over pedestrians as he tries to get home before he explodes.
  15. Finally, Buck Henry thanks the crowd but before he can say his goodnights he's chased out of the studio by the cast and the crew as if they were an angry mob minus the pitchforks and torches.

Once again, this was an average but fun episode and here are my favorite moments. First, I loved the Bad Clams sketch. Where I am not a fan of sketches that uses convoluted randomness as filler to get out of a long winded story that is going nowhere, I adore when the convoluted randomness is the entire point of the joke. Next, I liked the Speci-Pak sketch because of fandom of randomness that got me laughing when Buck Henry randomly coughs up a lung. Finally, I was a fan of Buck Henry's Wild Ride because it was just simple and fun.

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.