SNL: S05E20... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: MAY 24, 1980

or...

The End Of An Era...

In Many Ways

It's hard to believe that we are already one hundred and seven days into the new year, and even harder to believe that I've spent each and every one of those days watching and or writing about Saturday Night Live. So far, it's been a real interesting experience to revisit the first few seasons with the original cast.

When I started this challenge, I thought for sure that I had seen all of these original episodes. Granted I was born during the second half of the first season, I thought for sure I caught everything through reruns from when I got old enough to remember and the fact that Comedy Central aired the show at least ten times a day.

Even if I had seen them all, I definitely never saw them in the proper order. Though there is no through storyline as far as sketches go, there is a through storyline from history.  In fact, I'm as intrigued by the history lesson I passively receive as I am entertained by the comedy.

Not only does this episode mark the last show with the original cast, but it's the last season for the featured cast as well even though this was the first year of the featured players. Finally, it's also the last episode to be hosted by Buck Henry who's hosted ten to twelve episodes depending on how you count them.

Though this was a perfectly fine show, it wasn't that great of a send-off. I probably wouldn't have thought much of this back in the day because none of the season finales have really stood out so far so I wouldn't have expected anything different, but then again, Buck Henry starts out the show by announcing that it was on the verge of being canceled and would reboot with a new cast next year.

With this added information I'm sure I would have expected way more of a farewell and not just an average episode. Even though I'm not a fan of "Specials," I am a fan of closure so even now I find it sad that only Buck Henry said "So long," leaving us thankless for all the memories.

Tomorrow will be my first day getting reintroduced to the second cast and though I will miss the originals, I am excited to be moving on and I can't wait to see Gilbert and Murphy!!!

Before I can go and move on it's time to close out this season, so with that I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. The show starts out making fun of the new but not via Weekend Update. I'm not sure which network they were ribbing but the sketch parodies the coverage of the presidential campaign as they reach the end of the primaries. The first half of the sketch is so serious that it almost feels like real coverage but Paul Shaffer saves the bit by breaking down the polling numbers using an actual pie to fill up a pie chart. Harry Shearer plays the main host who gets handed breaking news right as he was about to sign off. He opens the note and reads, "Live from New York..."
  2. Buck Henry then opens the show with news that it's not being canceled. He then goes on to announce the replacement cast but I don't really get the joke. At first, I was excited to see Eddie and Gilbert hit the stage this early in their careers but instead, we meet a bunch of strangers. I don't know if all these people were replaced over the break with what became the true second cast or if something went over my head but no one seemed to be trying anything funny (maybe this is why they had to be replaced because they looked like a boring bunch.) 
  3. This was followed by my forgotten favorite sketch of all times. In it, Buck Henry and Gilda play Lord and Lady Douchebag. I strictly remember loving this sketch before I even knew what a douchebag was. To me, it was just a funny word and I loved the reactions that I'd get when I used it. There's something about an adult laughing their ass off while telling a child to shut up that's the best reaction by far. I also found this sketch twice as funny when I was finally old enough to truly understand the real joke.
  4. The Cow Minder's Daughter was a parody of The Coal Miner's Daughter, which is a title I'm familiar with but never knew the story. In the sketch, Larraine plays a country singing in India who lives with her dad who minds cows. Bill Murray plays a cowboy in India for some reason who takes her to become a star. Once again, I didn't get the reference material and from what I saw I wouldn't be interested in the real deal and didn't really care about the parody.
  5. Andrew Gold then hits the stage to perform Kiss This One Goodbye.
  6. Once again, and for the very last time, Jane and Bill anchor the news. Bill genuinely messes up the main camera by taking a flash photo directly into the lens, burning a big orange square in the middle of the screen. Other than that we get a visit from an art critic who is doing a segment about an art exhibit featuring the paintings from the movie Big Eyes. Chico Esquela also drops by for one last update on sports and Roseanne Roseannadanna talks about the recent eruption of Mount Saint Helens and ends up rambling about seeing Gloria Vanderbilt who had a feminine itch. 
  7. Then we get a visit from my least favorite of character's which is Buck Henry as the creepy uncle. Though this sketch is another molestation joke that's too real to be funny, it's over the top and cartoony, unlike the authentic creepy material that used to be put out by Mr. Mike. Either way, this character should have died when said Mr. Mike left.
  8. Bill Murray then returns as his lounge singer, this time he's at a tiki bar. Once again this sketch is the exact same as the others in the series and though I don't mind it, I am not the biggest fan.
  9. Week In Review was a panel interview show, which runs just like the world today. It shows that even before the internet people had different sources for news, so one guest would want to talk about politics while one wanted to talk about world news. Meanwhile, the other two guest were interested in celebrity gossip and what would now be considered click bait news with miracle diets and all that other nonsense. Not only do they each have their own agenda, they each look down on the others for not being on the same page.
  10. This was followed by a fake ad for Mommy Beer where a bunch of hunters return to a cabin to celebrate their kills by enjoying a beverage with a nipple on top while they all join in to sing the slogan song.
  11. Andrae Couch And The Voices Of Unity then hit the stage to perform Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus.
  12. Finally, Buck Henry closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights but there was no real special goodbye from the rest of the cast.

Sometimes I end up liking an episode more as I go through and type up my notes but unfortunately this final episode with the original cast was so void of closure that I'm still disappointed even though this was close to forty years in the past. Since this episode was the end of an era my favorite moments should come to me in a snap.

Even though I had to put more effort than I would like in order to put this list together, here's what I managed to come up with. First, I loved the Lord and Lady Douchebag sketch because it was my introduction to one of my favorite words. Next, I liked the Weekend Update this week because the biggest thing that I realized from rewatching these early episodes is that Jane Curtin was an underrated Not Ready For Prime Time Player that should get way more credit in the development of the SNL news. Finally, I was a fan of the Mommy Beer fake ad because it was a somewhat funny concept and song.

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.