SNL: S05E16... HOST: BURT REYNOLDS... DATE: APRIL 12, 1980

or...

Two Scoops Of Old Fashion Misogyny

In Every Single Bit!!!

Now, I openly admit that I've fallen for the trend of becoming way more easily offended than I used to be. Part of this evolution definitely comes from seeing things in a different light as external sources of entertainment evolve as well and part of it is that "but you said..." fascination.

As someone who once openly try to offend, I've experienced people knit-picking the mere acknowledgment of differences. I've found that this has turned me hyper-vigilant in spotting even the slightest of slips. Sometimes I'm more excited about finding the flaw than I actually am offended.

With all of that said, I wouldn't say this was the case with this episode. No, this show lost me right away in the opening sketch when Burt Reynolds referred to Garrett Morris as a "Nigger in Hollywood," and then went on to violently abuse Gilda and this was just the introduction to the show. I don't know what to be offended by more, the fact that these jokes didn't flop at the time or the fact that they referred to Reynolds as a comedic actor.

Not only did every single sketch that featured Burt would now be considered sexual harassment, this is the first time I realized how big of a bore Burt is, as he plays the same exact character in every sketch, even when they travel to a different time period. The rest of the cast did a perfectly fine job but all Burt did throughout the night was just stand there in his alpha male posture and smile out of the side of his mouth from time to time.

If you are following along you know that I partially blamed yesterday's negativity on my mood because of a personal situation. I wouldn't say that I've fully recovered from those blues but unlike yesterday, I don't feel that my mood had anything to do with my negative review of this episode.

I could go into more details about my hatred of this episode but it would just end up becoming more redundant, especially if you are actually following along because the rant would be filled with already covered pet peeves.

So with that, it's time to move on to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts in Burt Reynolds's dressing room. He is in the make-up chair and Larraine is telling him what a shame it is that he wasn't nominated for an Oscar based on his latest role. The condolence comes across a little backhanded, especially as they go on and on and on. Larraine eventually leaves and Garrett takes her place and continues this line of complement. Garrett then leaves to get ready himself which is when Burt refers to him as a "Nigger in Hollywood" to the make-up guy before leaving the room. He then goes to the locker room where Gilda and Jane were discussing the same aspect of Reynolds's career. Jane bounces quickly but Gilda sticks around and gets her head repeatedly bashed into the locker just for trying to start the same conversation once again. He ends up shoving her in the locker and locking the door before storming off to the stage. This is when a battered Gilda blurts out from within her cage, "Live from New York..."
  2. Burt Reynolds then hits the stage and as a person with Misophonia, just watching him chomp his gum throughout the entire performance is enough to drive me out of my mind. He does a bit of a monolog about how great it is to host the show then has a seat at the front of the stage and pulls up a member of the audience. This audience member is obviously not a plant because the two have a bore-off of a conversation.
  3. And then for tonight's pedophile sketch, Bill and the girls are staying up late waiting for a special guest. At first, I thought this was a continuation of the sketch where politicians drop by random houses as they do anything to win a vote but it turns out to be Burt and Burt, and he's there to have sex with a 16-year-old kid because she wrote him a fan letter and he's horny. The parents are fully willing to play along and go as far as to throw the 15-year-old in, in order to sweeten the deal. Again, this could be just a sketch that didn't age well, but the most disappointing part of it is how the cheers and laughs without there being any sense of shock, which I expect being a former fan of offensive comedy.
  4. We then go to Rome 65 A.D. Bill Murray plays a vomitorium attendant at an all you can eat restaurant. The sketch starts out sort of funny as Brian Doyle-Murray and Harry Shearer discuss their dining activities but then enters Burt Reynolds who goes on to sexually harass all the women who are just there to vomit.
  5. Anne Murray then hits the stage to perform Lucky Me.
  6. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news. This week, Father Guido Sarducci has a segment on the plight of the panda and how he's tired that man is always getting blamed for most forms of animal endangerment. Bill Murray also does his annual Oscar predictions.
  7. Up until this point, the show already had racism and sexism nailed down, so when I saw that this sketch was Deliverance II I was expecting over the top homophobia to complete the offensive trifecta. The fact that this sketch was set up to where Reynolds plays an undercover cop who plans to infiltrate a gay camping ring caused me to double down on this expectation. Surprisingly, however, when we get to the actual Deliverance portion of the scene, it was actually handled rather well as they reveal that everyone involved in this debauchery is an undercover cop. That is, until the true reveal shares that there is one guy who is actually gay and is now pretending to be a cop as well.
  8. This is followed by a fake ad for The Burt Book, which is pretty much just beat-off material for women. 
  9. The short film this week is what appears to be behind the scenes footage of a director yelling out instructions to extras for b-reel coverage. The director then doesn't like how one of the buildings looks so he tells his crew to bring it down. It turns out that this is actually footage from a building being demoed as it collapses to the ground like Building 7.
  10. We then start with Larraine on the phone and it sounds like she's making prank phone calls. She announces with each call that she is a Pepper and would like to know if the person on the other end would like to be a Pepper too before going on to push Dr. Pepper products. The more she does this the less silly it seems and the more she sounds like a missionary trying to draw new members into her Dr. Pepper cult. Her parents are concerned about her obsession until her friends stop by to add to the cult-like atmosphere as they get the adults to finally give in and play along.
  11. Burt and Gilda then return home from a party and get into a very realistic and unfunny couples fight about how he's too self-absorbed to introduce her to anyone to talk to when they go to his company events. Of course, he tries to turn it around to the point where she's wrong and when that doesn't work he once again resorts to violence, lifting Gilda off the ground and shaking her until she agrees. Then when he puts her down and she's a crying mess, he offers to ease her nerves with sex, which again get a cheer from the audience and again is the darkest aspect of these jokes.
  12. Anne Murray then returns to the stage to perform Why Don't You Stick Around?
  13. In this week's Baba Wawa At Large, Baba interviews Burt as Marlon Brando but when the sketch started with a rape joke I tuned out because what I did here was just making fun of speech patterns anyway.
  14. Finally, Burt Reynolds closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights. 

Lucky for me that I have Weekend Update, a short film and the start of what was set up to be funny sketch because I don't have a single favorite moment with Reynolds and this is the best list I could come up with. First, I genuinely did love the short film because it was a very creative way to create a behind the scenes parody. Next, I liked the opening to the Vomitorium sketch before it was ruined by Reynolds. Finally, I like Bill Murray's Oscar picks because it's an interesting way to get a better idea of what was going on in cinema at the time.  

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.