Another Case Of A+ Acting

In An Otherwise Average Episode 


I have to admit, though I like this season much more than I liked season four, I haven't been all that impressed by the episodes featuring first time hosts of the show. It doesn't help when these rookie hosts aren't known for a comedic career. This is why my expectations started out low only to instantly drop lower when Martin Sheen started his monolog with my biggest pet peeve.

The very first words out of Martin's mouth was how he wasn't a comedic actor and told the audience to brace themselves for the upcoming boring show. I know this technique is meant to be a humble admission to working out of one wheelhouse, but more often than not it turns out to be a very accurate prediction for the night.

Once again, the acting in this episode was great, the only problem is that they really too much on referencing Sheen's portfolio of serious work which results in drier material especially since they handle the reference material respectfully and not going deep enough with their attempts at parody.

As I say with every average episode, it was still a pretty solid show there just wasn't much material that was silly enough to get me laughing out loud while being nowhere near bad enough to ruin my enthusiasm towards the viewing or overall challenge. 

Alright, now that the above is out of my system, it's time to move on to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with the parody of a docudrama following Bill Murray as he heads off to Europe to get a sex change. When he gets there, he is given two options, an expensive one that takes months to transition and a discount package where you can go through the switch in a day. Be a cheapskate he opts for the same day service where it seems they cut off his penis with a scalpel then complete the process by adding a dress, wig, and makeup. Bill then wakes up from the surgery takes a look at his new female self and announces, "Live from New York..."

  2. Martin Short then opens the show joking about how unfunny he is. I always find this to be a discouraging intro, but at least he follows it up with a humorous routine where he promotes Toys For Tarts to provide Christmas gifts to hookers.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for French shoes called Le Shoes.

  4. Martin Sheen then reads Gilda's child character The Raven before putting her down to sleep. She then thinks she sees a bear in the corner, but when her parents rush to the room, it turns out to be nothing more than a pile of clothes. Next, Garrett Morris enters the room which again causes Gilda to freak out. Once again, the parents rush to the room only to get upset that she's overreacting because Garrett is just the electrician who is there to retrieve his toolbox. The parents leave the room again, and this time Gilda's bed begins to bounce up and down, causing to fear that this is being produced by ghosts and still the parents return to the room scolding Gilda for being rude to the Gypsy family that has been living under the bed for a while. Gilda is left alone one more time when she finds an ax murderer in her closest. She tests the waters as to whether she can call for help but when the parent promise problems if they have to return to the room she decides to risk it and silently hide under the blankets.

  5. The next sketch was about a Teacher's Union meeting to discuss negotiations following a multi-month ongoing strike. This felt like an authentic work meeting with a couple chuckles sprinkled into an otherwise dreary situation.

  6. David Bowie then hits the stage to perform The Man Who Sold The World.

  7. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news. This week, Bill breaks down this week's movie releases complimenting Steve Martin for The Jerk and subtly jabbing at Belushi for his decision to quit the show to make 1941. Father Guido Sarducci also has a segment where he pitches his new product which is a follow up to Mr. Coffee called Mr. Tea which was pretty much just a glorified funnel because you have to provide the tea bag, hot water, and cup and the machine does zero percent of the actual effort.

  8. Martin Sheen then meets with studio executives and is given the mission to head over to the Philippians to pull the plug on the filming of Apocalypse Now for how crazy Coppola is burning through an already extreme budget. Haven seen Hearts Of Darkness, this was more of an interesting sketch to me even though it was rather long-winded and felt very dry at times.

  9. David Bowie then returns to the stage to perform TV-C 15.

  10. The short film series First Love returns this time the spotlight is on Bill Murray and his first love who turns out to be a puppy named Fanny who he still stalks to this day, even now that she's a fully grown dog.

  11. This was followed by a parody of the Eveready Battery ads that I kind of recall starring a tough guy who's toughness is supposed to translate to how tough the battery is. Only in this ad, Martin Sheen plays the tough guy who gets beat up the second he lays down his challenge and runs off to get his father to save the day, only he instantly gets beat up as well.

  12. Garrett then holds Jane hostage until Martin returns to the room with the ransom of one million dollars. They manage to pull this off in a way where only Jane knew their identity, so they decide to kill her to create the perfect crime. A second after Garrett shoots her, there is a knock on the door from what turns out to be a pizza delivery guy who now has knowledge of the crime scene. This leads Garrett to have to kill him too only there's another knock on the door right away. Garrett and Martin then commit a killing spree as everyone in the area seems to have a reason to visit the room to become another witness to silence.

  13. Bruce and Chrystie Jenner then do a commercial for a camera as they capture the signing of their divorce papers.

  14. Revisions Of Freudian Theory is pretty much a Franken and Davis sketch where they discuss the newly discovered nasal stage of child development.

  15. Jane Curtin then does an ad for Martin Sheen, whose saliva is supposed to do wonders to women's hair giving them that Martin "Sheen."

  16. David Bowie then hits the stage for a third time to perform Boys Keep Swinging.

  17. Finally, Martin Sheen closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.

As with other episodes this season, this show did have two extra-long sketches that were interesting at best, but the rest of the show had many consumable shorter moments that allow me to easily put together my list. First, I loved the sketch where Gilda is trying to go to sleep with the Gypsies living under her bed. This was the first classic sketch that I remember from my childhood that I've seen in quite a while. Next, I liked the hostage sketch because it's always a funny gag when a random crowd of people keeps piling on to an already intense situation. Finally, I was a fan of the Apocalypse Now sketch because I'm a fan of the documentary Hearts Of Darkness about the real making of chaos that was involved in the film and this was a funny addendum.   


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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.