Homecoming Fun With A Comedy Hero
Now if you go back and read a couple of my reviews from the latter half of season one you might not think I was a huge Chevy Chase fan. Even I felt like I was being overly critical about being disappointed with his commitment to the show while watching it for the first time in the order that these episodes originally ran.
My biggest problem was the way he handled his contract negotiation using an audience that loved him as hostages in order to make a few extra clams. Between this and the arrogant but aloof character of himself that he had yet to master made him come off as an unfriendly diva that didn't play well with others.
I do think he made the right move to leave when he did though because it did feel like SNL was developed to be his show where he would have been like a Carol Burnett or Benny Hill. Shows like this have a collaborative process that would've attempted to make Chevy stand out from the rest of the cast which would have never led SNL to be the long living institution that I still enjoy to this day.
Not only do I think Chevy left at just the right time, but I also love the way he kept up a relationship with the show. When he first left, I thought for sure he wouldn't show his head again, at least until they got a whole new cast, but no, it was only a couple weeks after he was officially gone he kept popping up in random cameos before coming back as a host.
This episode that I just watched was Chevy's second shot at hosting and like most episodes in this season it was more fun than funny, and I'd take it over anything I saw in season four. With that, it's now time to share the funny that I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
Since this is a Chevy Chase hosted show, it starts out with a visit to Gerald Ford when Henry Kissinger drops by the house to try and talk Ford into running for president because he was the best of the puppets who was super easy to control. This whole conversation takes place with Ford talking from the top of the stairs. He keeps heading back and forth to his office, building the anticipation as to which return would end up with the famous Chevy fall. The fall eventually does take place leading to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
Chevy Chase then opens the show with a monolog about how great it is to be back. He also wants to squelch the rumors that he and Bill Murray were having a feud. The two then go into singing a duet of a few tunes that were obviously not rehearsed and makes it look like the two are having a blast.
Billy Murray then rushes over to another set to do a fake ad for Pre-Chew Charlies, a restaurant for those that are too old, too injured or too lazy to chew.
We then get a follow up to The Bel-Arabs which is a pretty offensive take on the Beverly Hillbillies. In this episode, the FBI takes advantage of these Arabian rubes with oil money to frame a congressman who must have been involved with some sort of campaign financing scam. The saving grace to this sketch is, despite the fact that they are making bad jokes playing off of stereotypes the point of the piece is just how corrupt the US government is, as not only do the FBI agents successfully catch the congressman, they give in to a pay off as well.
Marianne Faithful then hits the stage to perform Broken English.
Once again, Jane and Bill host the news and again there is way more focus on the upcoming elections. Bill Murray does a commentary on being for drafting women into the army so if we go to war with Russian we'll have the extra bodies we need to win but if we lose the Russians won't be able to take pride in their victory because they only beat a bunch of girls. He also sings happy birthday to the bust of Washington and Lincoln in celebration of President's Day, which at the time I remember being two separate holidays, celebrating the individual man. I was surprised that Chevy didn't even make a guest appearance since it was his original role.
This was followed by a game show parody called You Can't Win which offers the contestants a grand prize of one million dollars, as well as a bunch of high-end luxury merchandise but the challenges are so impossible that there is literally no way to win.
Speaking Of Fashion (And Other Things) was a black and white cable access show where Mr. Blackwell interviews Chevy as his arrogant self about his new line of men's clothing that uses a style called California Flare.
Marianne Faithful then returns to the stage to perform Guilt.
This week's short film was called Hollywood's Forgotten Directors which was pretty much a career profile of Linden Palmer who was blackballed during the first round of the Red Scare.
Somewhere On The Coast Of Honduras was a sketch that I just didn't understand. I'm guessing that the characterization of the impersonations being used was enough to clue the audience into who was being referenced because they never mentioned a name. Minus any knowledge of the source material, this sketch is just Jane Curtin rambling into a cassette recorder about her mundane upper-class existence why on vacation for at least three minutes and then everyone gets randomly poisoned by blow darts in the very end.
Chevy and a guy named Tom Scott then hit the stage to perform 16 Tons.
Finally, Chevy returns to the main stage to close out the show by thanking the crowd before going on to say his goodnights.
Again, like most other episodes this season, this viewing was entertaining without being all that memorable and here are the moments that stood out. First, I loved Pre-Chewed Charlies because I was once involved in a pre-chewed food stunt so I could really relate to the sketch. Next, I liked Chevy and Bill singing their duet to prove there is no real feud because it was just a sweet moment where the two seemed to genuinely have lots of fun. Finally, I was a fan of You Can't Win because I'm always down for a good game show spoof especially when they're ridiculous like this.