A Clusterfuck Of A Transition
In Every Single Way
Before I even start to discuss the content of the show, this viewing of the first episode with the new cast of SNL was plagued with problems that had nothing to do with the show itself. Where the first five seasons of Saturday Night Live are available on Seeso in their entirety, every other episode from here on out are abridged episodes minus the music acts as well as several random bits.
I wish I would've known about this abridged aspect before starting the challenge. I could have sworn that the marketing said watch every single episode of Saturday Night Live as they originally aired. This is why I thought nothing was wrong when the first episode of the new season was only 49 minutes long. I just figured that after Lorne and the original cast left that they dropped the show down to be an hour per episode.
It wasn't until I got to the end of the episode that I realized something was wrong because when Gould hit the stage to say his goodnights, not only were cast members in costumes that I didn't see during the show but he had the musical guest that he thanked standing right behind him.
Keep in mind, this is before I did the legwork to find out these were abridged episodes. Now, I get why they cut out the music because I learned back when Beavis and Butthead came to DVD that it's tough for distributors to deal with all of the licensing but I don't understand why they cut out the extra random sketches that they did.
As I said earlier, it seemed like this episode was cut to air as an hour program but looking ahead at future episodes, the run times range from 22 to 49 minutes, making it seem like sketches were dropped for various reasons. This is frustrating when the whole point of this challenge is to satisfy my completist need to watch every single sketch in existence.
Luckily, I found a way to catch the sketches that were not available through Seeso, but it's going to make this entire experiment more of a chore than I initially planned on when I heard the promise, every episode as they originally aired but I'm still not disappointed in the original idea of the challenge.
So this is going to be the first and last time I talk about jumping from source to source to watch each entire episode, that is unless something else comes up to send me on another rant. From here on out I will mainly focus on the content of the show and what it means to me just like I've done in the past.
This episode was horrible watching it the abridged way. For some dumb reason, they skipped the monolog which alone made it an entirely different show. Also, though, I'm not always a fan of the band, the music performance is always an appreciated break and a necessity to the Saturday Night Live pacing.
I found a strange site with a streaming version of the entire show from when it aired on Comedy Central. Watching it in its entirety made it feel like less of a knock-off and more like the real deal only with a struggling new cast.
I feel like the abridged version made it feel like this was an attempt to create a "best of" reel based on the episode which made it feel like twice the failure because there wasn't a real "best of" moment in the batch. Watching the show as a whole felt less "best of" so I was willing to go with the ups and downs just like any other episode.
No matter what, I feel bad for this cast because a bulk of them weren't even given a real chance. Between the fact that the first cast was so strong, and the viewer had yet to settle into the idea that show has a revolving door cast, unlike a show like Kids In The Hall where it's a specific set of cast mates that makes the show what it is to where it wouldn't do well with such constant changes, this group felt a sacrificial group to get over the hump of acceptance.
Alright, I've rambled on enough about my issues and willingness to accept this new group. Now I need to settle into my new way of having to view the show as I watch the cast figure out who they are. So with that, it's time to move on to share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
The show starts in a hotel room with Elliot Gould and new Not Ready For Prime Time Player, Gail Mattius in bed as if they just finished having sex. She is nervous about being late to the first show of her career, but Gould is not worried because this is old hat to him. We then see that Gail is lying next to Charles Rocket. The camera then pulls back, and we see that Ann Risley was also involved in the orgy and it pulls back even further to reveal Joe Piscopo is also in bed with the group as Gould tells tales of the original cast's relationship with drugs. At this point, there is no more room in the bed, but Gilbert Gottfried then climbs out from under the box springs to introduce himself, and we find Denny Dillon lying across everyone's feet, and she's the first of the new cast to announce, "Live from New York..."
Elliot Gould then opens the show as he enters the Six-Timers Club! He starts with a monolog about his connection to the old cast and his history of the show then goes on to share his history with underwear, and he transitioned from diapers to boxers. This monolog isn't available on Seeso. Instead, it skips the following fake ad and goes straight into sketch number four. Taking out the monolog completely takes us out of the world of SNL and makes it feel like an entirely different show.
In the full episode, the monolog is followed by a fake ad for street sign novels where there is a street sign every couple feet, each with a new sentence to make up a novel when you complete your entire trip.
In the Seeso cut, we go straight from the opening sketch to this bit that makes fun of Carter for losing to Reagan. In it, Carter mopes around the oval office as his wife, and Amy Carter try to cheer him up, but he still ends up feeling like a loser.
Elliot Gould is waiting for Ann as she gets ready to go out for her birthday dinner. She puts on her earring and fixes her hair as she asks Elliot if he's heard from her mother. It turns out that she's concerned because parents are super religious and are against her new unmarried living arrangement with Gould because they think it is unholy. This is when there is a knock on the door, and it's a man dressed as a singing telegram. He said he was sent by her parents which works to cheer Ann up until he reveals he's a singing Billy Graham who is there to perpetuate her parent's religious hate with a song that supercritical about her choices.
Next, Gail hosts a PSA for The American Cancer Society. In this informative ad, she attempts to show the American audience how to check for breast cancer. The only problem is, between the censor bars and restricted speech, this vital information isn't intelligible at all making the entire bit of advice completely pointless.
What's It All About? With Pinky And Leo Waxman is a cable access show hosted by Gilbert and Denny Dillon who plays an old Long Island Jewish couple who interview Elliot as himself as they try to get some hot gossip.
Elliot Gould then announces a new segment of the show called Short Shots. It's pretty much the same idea of the short films from past episodes, but instead of one guy, there's a rotating list of already established directors. The first Short Shot was from the director of Grease called Foot Fetish which was a cartoon/stop animation featuring a man's shoe and a woman's shoe having sex on the beach and the woman's shoe having a baby.
Kid Creole and the Coconuts then hit the stage to perform Mister Softy.
We then get introduced to our new host of the new, Mr. Charles Rocket, his reading of the news is very stiff, but nothing worse than any of the past anchors on their first go round. Hell, I'd go as far as to say he's better than Aykroyd at delivering the news even after an entire year behind the desk, but Aykroyd was brilliant in sketches. This week, Gail does a segment from outside of the White House with a candidate that doesn't know that he lost. We also get a visit from Gilbert who is responding to claims that Reagan will not live through his first term as president to which Gilbert argues that he is already dead.
At One With is a talk show where Elliot Gould interviews a drill sergeant about the new law that allowed gays in the military. The drill sergeant then uses a gay cadet to show Gould how to spot and handle a homosexual and how they are all trained to the point to where sexuality, in general, shouldn't make a difference. Though there were a few cliches thrown around while providing evidence that this cadet is really gay but for the most part it handled the topic in a way that I didn't think was all that offensive, but this season already seems to be obsessed with the gay jokes.
Heart To Heart is another short film, but it's not introduced as being part of the Short Shots series. In it, a man and a woman lay in bed, and the woman is asking for sex. The man says that he is just not feeling it which leads the woman to start smoking this also causes her attitude to change and gets him to point out the difference. As he goes on to plead his case, she gets swapped out with a woman that looks similar only a little older and a little bigger and a little less attractive who claims she's still the same.
The next couple sketches were not available on Seeso. The first one was with Elliot and Gail out on a date. It was reminiscent of the sketch where Rodney Dangerfield was dating a 10-year-old, only this relationship was between a 20-something-year-old girl and a 40-year-old man. Though this still may be considered inappropriate, at least it's a legal age gap which allowed me to laugh along rather than feel horrified about the treatment of a child when this show is supposed to be a comedy.
This was followed a detective sketch where Gould is looking for "The Accordion Killer," who "polkas women to death" after going out on random "computer date," whatever that means from that time.
Kid Creole And The Coconuts then return to the stage to perform There But For The Grace Of God Go I.
We then get introduced to another Short Shot, this one is directed by Jonathan Demme which was more of a music video than a story. The song is called Gidget Goes To Hell by The Suburban Lawns, and it follows the average SoCal surfer day at the beach with a couple loose references to Jaws.
Finally, Elliot Gould closed the show by thanking the crowd and saying his goodnights.
Where I felt very nervous about having to struggle through the next few years worth of shows based on my Seeso viewing experience, seeing the show in its entirety made me happy they decided to keep this show alive. First off, as you can see, the fit in 19 segments. This alone makes it so that we are in and out of sketches to where even the longest of sketches wasn't long enough to make it feel like the show was dragging on.
Alright, so, I think I have all the issues of this transition figured out, and tomorrow we'll be back to our regular programming, but before I go, it's time to share my favorite moments. First, I loved What's It All About? With Pinky And Leo Waxman because so far Gilbert and Denny are my two favorite characters of this cast since they are the two that are silly. Next, I liked the breast cancer PSA because not only is this Gail person is growing on me quickly but because it makes a great point about how we can't talk about anything serious when we are busy safeguarding everything for the kids. Finally, I was a fan of the opening sketch because it was a great way to introduce this new cast of strangers.