Why Do I Have Childhood Memories Of
This Man As A White Haired Ted McGinley???
When I first saw that Ted Knight was hosting the show, I was fully expecting a flash of fond movies moments from my favorite movies and TV shows way back when I was a child. For some reason, I had a solid memory of Ted Knight being the go-to bad guy in comedy. I would have sworn that there was a Ted McGinley type ruling to determine the exact moment when a series or movie where the project takes a turn for the worst and ends up jumping the shark.
That's not to say that I feel that Ted Knight is the type of performer to bring down a show, hell I don't even think that Ted McGinley deserves the criticism because his career is too good to be summed up in an oversimplified joke. No, I just genuinely thought Ted Knight was one of these people who was in everything during the decade where my entertainment options first started to expand.
Now don't get me wrong, these samples that I'm about to give are examples of the TYPES of roles I pictured, fully aware that while I was alive, he pretty much only did three projects that I'm aware of Caddyshack, The Love Boat, and Too Close For Comfort. Though I'm aware of a few of his older resume entries, this is not the source of my confusion.
I think part of the deal is that he was so good as the baddy in Caddyshack that I can see him as that guy in every movie. For example, he seems like he could easily be every uptight father from movies like Bachelor Party, or maybe not the main baddy but one of the henchmen in something like Revenge Of The Nerds, or even a grumpy investor type for something like Brewster's Millions.
The when it comes to TV, I have the same type of confusion. It not that I necessarily thought he starred in any of these shows, but I could totally see him as a go-to man in the case when shows need to do recasting or an extra character added in like the grandfather moving into a basement. For example here, he seems like he played some part in Empty Nest, and I'm still not entirely sure that he's not in the spin-off of Three's Company, called Three's A Crowd, but it turns out the character I was thinking of was played by Robert Mandan.
Again, these are just the types of roles that I genuinely thought would fill Mr. Knight's IMDB page. Part of me felt like there was some Mandela Effect type nonsense going on here. In a way, this is the case because I did just experience false memories of a past that just didn't happen, only unlike the M.E. YouTube experts I'm not stubborn enough to stick to my guns after working through the reason for the mistake that was going on in my head.
Alright, enough sharing what I thought I saw in the past... well, the deep past... now it's time to move on to the near past to share what I just saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
The show starts with a Christmas Special being broadcasted from Panama and is hosted by the exiled Shah of Iran. He talks a little about his circumstances before breaking into We Wish You A Merry Christmas And A "Live from New York..."
Ted Knight then opens the show with a pretty funny impersonation of a few opening moments from when Steve Martin hosted the show. He then goes on to claim in a Vader-like announcement that he is actually Steve Martin's father.
This was followed by a couple real quick parody ads for upcoming NBC programming, continuing the joke that the network is trying to rebuild off of the back of Gary Coleman.
The Chudd Insurance Corporation sketch was another sketch that felt for the most part like an actual work meeting. In this sketch, a group of executives tries to investigate a claim of sexual harassment. Gilda is the only female executive in the bunch, but after hearing the harassment case, it's clear that they are suggesting that she slept her way to this promotion. It's also obvious that this fictional corporation is full of scumbags as the group drags their feet as they attempt to turn the harasser into the victim. This felt more like it was highlighting how life really worked at the time because I had trouble really feeling the satire.
This is followed by a Christmas announcement from Ted Knight as a Boston cop that sound way more like a threat than a seasonal greeting before introducing the band.
Desmond Child and Rouge then hit the stage to perform Tumble In The Night.
This was followed by more quick ads for upcoming Gary Coleman shows.
Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news. This was a pretty slow week as for as news guest goes, but Roseanne Roseannadanna does a segment that starts with her complaining about corporations begging for handouts during the holidays, only to end up rambling about the time she mistook Gene Shalit was a dog.
Ted Knight then plays the director of the local community Christmas pageant on the last day of rehearsal. Luck for him his star characters are Gilda and Bill as the nerd. Unlucky for him, they are both distracted in their usual way, but it worked better this time because at least there was an entertaining situation and not just these two playing around the stage counting only on character.
Andy Kaufman then hits the stage to wrestle the female fan that won the fight Andy Kaufman contest. Just like I thought the last match was compelling, I felt this fight was exciting as well. Since this was real deal rolling on the floor wrestling, this felt more like UFC style wrestling over the off the ropes slam men of the WWE. I also like how the added incentive of Andy claiming he would shave his head and retire from the ring made the crowd twice as angry at his technical win because they rarely set up a situation like that without a pay off in the real world of fake wrestling.
Once again, this is followed by more Gary Coleman ads.
Then Garrett Morris plays Sammy Davis Jr. as Santa in a fake ad for Sammy-Seltzer to relieve holiday based indigestion.
This week's short film is noir in style and follows a man to his favorite dinner to get served cup of coffee after cup of coffee by Teri Garr until he because a coffee addict aka the titular Java Junkie.
This was followed by a sketch about the family on the block that over decorates their house for the holidays. It turned out that they do this because one individual is overly festive but also because of the personal attention he receives by being part of such an obnoxious spectacle of an abode, and it's also a way for grandpa, in this case, to finally feel appreciated by the family.
This is followed by one more segment of Gary Coleman ads. I'd go into more details, but these are just fake posters with voice over and not actual mini-parodies.
Desmond Child and Rouge then return to the stage to perform Goodbye Baby.
Finally, Ted Knight closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.
Just like the rest of the non-return host shows this season, this episode was fun, on the positive side of average, with an entertaining host and here are my favorite moments. First, I liked the Andy Kaufman fight because it managed to be more exciting than last time. Not only that but I was still at the edge of my seat even though I've known the outcome for close to 40 years. Next, I liked the over decorating the house on Christmas sketch because it brings back memories of Christmas Vacation. Finally, I was a fan of the nerds doing the Christmas play because this was my favorite of their appearances since their introduction.