SNL: S05E15... HOST: RICHARD BENJAMIN AND PAULA PRENTISS... DATE: APRIL 5, 1980

or...

Definitely Not The Cure For Depression...

... and that's not by any means a way of saying that this is a depression inducing show because that would've at least been interesting and possibly memorable. No, this was just a boring episode that unfortunately landed on a day where I needed some cheering up.

This is the first time since I've started this challenge that an episode hasn't gotten me out of a funk. For one, I haven't been all that down in the dumps this year. For two, even on the days that do start out a little rough my viewing of SNL has always been enough to lighten my mood but I've yet to have this issue with timing.

Up until now, I've yet to have a slump show line up with a day when I desperately needed to be distracted by entertainment. Normally these shows have landed on days where I felt fine so I was more open to finding the subtlest of funny moments. I think this was the first episode since Hugh Hefner where I just couldn't wait for it to be over.

I don't blame this all on my mood. The personalities of both Richard Benjamin and his wife Paula Prentiss are so over the top happy that they don't even seem human. Meanwhile, a bulk of the material is about infidelity and hints at a horrible relationship. The two also have a swinger vibe that I don't find charming at all.

I could go on and on with my criticisms but since about 75% of my negative thoughts were heightened because of my mood, it just wouldn't be fair to knit pick so I'll just move on to share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Tonight's "special episode" is "interrupting" a fake show called Police Boat.
  2. Then we go to the opening sketch which is a parody of ABC's news coverage of President Carter being held hostage in the White House in order to keep him to his word about not leaving until he figures out the Iranian crisis of the time. Though there is an update with information from a pundit, this is mainly a set up for Harry Shearer to announce, "Live from New York..."
  3. Richard Benjamin returns to the show with his wife Paula Prentiss, the same woman he openly joked about cheating on during his last visit. Granted, that was a total joke but I still don't find humor in blatant affairs. The two do a bit of a monolog that leads to a bit where Benjamin is jealous because Paula is getting more of the attention.
  4. Larraine and Gilda then play their kid characters who watch a movie about Jesus while having a slumber party. The two go on to compare the Jesus they are watching from Jesus's from other movies and show and then go on to talk about the fictional savior the same way girls from the '90s would talk about Brad Pitt.
  5. The Grateful Dead then hit the stage to perform Alabama Getaway.
  6. Richard and Larraine are in a motel room after just having sex. Richard is overly thankful but then freaks out when he notices she's wearing his shirt. This is when it's revealed that it's a cheating sketch and where I started to check out. Mainly, he's freaked out that her smell is now on his shirt which makes him freaked out that he's going to get caught. There's a knock on the door leading him to rush into the bathroom to hide, thinking it's his wife but it turns out to be room service. Larraine decides to play into his fears and pranking by keeping up the fear that it's his wife, which causes to go into pre-stroke conditions because of his overwhelming fears of getting caught.
  7. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news. This week, Harry Shearer covers women's golf and tries to make it sound excited which ends up in a rant about how he's forced to watch this nonsense because of the baseball strike. Al Franken also does a segment on filing taxes which ends up being a way for him to brag about his success during the Decade Of Al Franken while calling for the audience to help him out in some sort of tax fraud.
  8. This is followed by a sketch about Assertiveness Training where Paula hosts a training session for women who need to be more assertive when dealing with their husbands. This ends up being a sketch filled with modern cliches that feel like they were even old at the time... but I could be wrong and too bored care because by this point I just wanted the show to be over.
  9. The Franken and Davis Show finally returns with a parody of the tonight show. In it, the leader of some group, which was involved in the Iran problem of the time, played the Ed McMahon to the Ayatollah's Johnny and the two do their version of Carnac The Magnificent.
  10. Bill and Gilda then host their new neighbors, Richard and Paula for the evening to welcome them to the neighborhood. The two couples have just finished dinner and are heading to the living room for an evening of conversation, only Bill and Gilda put in all the effort and the return is an awkward silence. That is, until they discover their mutual love of Joy Bishop. This gets to two couple chattering on about their favorite perform. Then they go from indifferent to best friends to enemies when the two couples disagree on whether it's the early or later performance that is always better.
  11. The Grateful Dead return to the stage to perform The Saint Of Circumstances.
  12. In Mr. Bill Strikes Back, Mr. Bill decides to turn in Mr. Hand and Sluggo to the police. He then heads down to the police station to register a complaint only to become a victim of abuse by the sheriff.
  13. Finally, Richard and Paula close the show by thanking the audience and saying their good nights.

Though I will admit, I wasn't all that fair to this episode but I do think that if I were in a better mood, I'd only be slightly more impressed but these would still be my favorite moments. First, I loved The Franken and Davis parody of Carnac because Carson was another show that I loved as a child because it made me feel more mature. Next, I liked Mr. Bill Strikes Back because his segments are always good enough to fill a spot in situations like this. Finally, I was a fan of Gilda and Larraine's preteen crush on Jesus sketch because it was sort of quirky 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.