Welcome To The '80s!!!
Up until this episode, I have been so focused on the change in the cast that I hardly noticed the extreme shift in style that seemed to happen over the summer vacation. I would have noticed this a lot quicker if I wasn't so preoccupied with getting to know the new faces and names and I had no prior reference to compare their style but after two female hosts in a row hit the stage with that horrible '80s curl and commercialized disco attire solidified the change in decades.
Not only is there a distinct evolution of fashion going on during this season, but you can also see the '80s influence enter the cinematic style of the show where everything seems streamlined and efficient over the more artistic look of previous episodes. Where the original cast felt like it was lit with a hybrid style of stage, television, and cinema, a majority of these new sketches feel like they were simply lit to make it shootable from every angle.
Though these fashion and lighting trends from the time don't really detract from the quality of the content, I'm sure they have to create a subconscious hurdle. It kind of, after the fact, reminds me of the first time that I saw my first prime time show that was market toward a millennial audience. I can't remember what the show was, but I do remember liking less that I might have if I was only able to look past this style that I didn't agree with.
I don't get too hung up on style and bashing the younger generation though. I was a punk in the late '90s, and we were a generation that felt utterly misunderstood, just like every upcoming generation has been. Just like every generation will be, which leaves me wondering if this transition would have gone more smoothly if it didn't happen right at the change of the decade.
Lighting and fashion aside, this was a pretty good episode. I've always been a fan of Jamie Lee Curtis and find her to be a talented actress who can pull off both comedic and serious roles. Holy crap, I just looked her up to see what movie she might have been promoting as they didn't seem to openly announce they hosting duties as a marketing tool back then, at least they weren't blatant about it. Anyways, I looked her up, and she had eight projects between 1980 and '82, but I'm guessing she was there for Halloween II.
Alright, enough with my thoughts, it's time to move on to share what I saw, so with that, I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
The show starts with an announcement from The Mean Majority (AKA vocal Republicans) who tell America how things are going to be now that Reagan is in charge. The divide is the same as it is today and this "Mean Majority" has the exact same targets. At one point during their announcement the team pieces together the sentence, "Live from New York..."
Jamie Lee Curtis then opens the show fully decked out in '80s attire and goes on to do a monolog about how excited she is to have her very own catchphrase like many of the comedic hosts from the past. Her catchphrase being her scream from the first Halloween.
We then cut to Gail plucking her eyebrows with her figures as she plays an airhead in a fake ad for Clovin Hind Jeans.
The Attack Of The Terrible Snapping Creatures is a horror sketch where Jamie Lee and Gail just moved into an apartment that is infested by evil cloth pins (or as we used to call them in the lighting department C-47s.)
Eddie Murphy then appears in his first talking/non-Weekend Update sketch where he plays a Three Card Monte dealer who tries to run a scam on Piscopo's "I'm from Jersey" character. The two almost get busted by the cops, but Piscopo is so awkward and obnoxious that the cop just tells them both to move on, making Murphy very thankful.
Gilbert then hits the stage to explain how he got onto the show. We then cut to a profile style mockumentary where we follow Gilbert's life from childhood to his decision to get into show business, including the day that he robbed a bank in order to use the security footage as an audition tape to send off to the casting director of Saturday Night Live.
Dying To Be Heard is a dark show hosted by Ann, who plays a moody feminist poet type where guest commit suicide before she reads their final poem. This week, Jamie Lee kills herself by bashing her head in with The Joy Of Cooking right in front of her family because they never appreciate her meals. When she dies, Ann goes on to read her final poem which is a vicious attack on the family that leaves them feeling this is the better way.
James Brown then hits the stage to perform Rapp Payback.
Once again, Charles Rocket does a perfectly good job at giving us the news. We get a segment from Denny "The Woods Woman" who's an early survivalist living in the woods and is hearing rumors that the government is going to start dumping nuclear waste in her backyard because Reagan personally feels it's safe enough to do so. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)
This is followed by a PSA called Poker And Drugs Don't Mix where they advise against smoking marijuana while playing poker because you're likely to get so high that you will misread your cards. They also caution against caffeine and cards because it might give you some much confidence you may jump the gun and scare people off with big bets. I don't know why they didn't just go with cocaine because they've joked about the drug in the past.
The next sketch takes place in a hotel meeting room where the Badgers hold their banquet. The Badgers are a Shriner type group who walk around with skinned badgers on their heads and spend their entire meeting busting each other's balls.
James Brown returns to the stage to perform a medley of his greatest hits.
This was followed by a fake ad for the Tortu-Matic the all in one workout machine that not only beats you into shape but makes you brave enough to face anything after you receive such a beating because you learn you can take damn near anything.
This week's Short Shots was a short film directed by the guy who went on to direct Beverly Hills Cop. The short is called Hot Dogs For Go-Getters and is starring Danny DeVito who is obsessed with the guy who caught the footage of the Hindenburg Disaster and wants to capture the same photographic fame by catching the explosion of The Statue Of Liberty's head that he also plans to blow up in order to create the incident. He almost pulls it off but knocks over the camera at the last moment.
We then go to a hair salon in a small town where Denny plays an old woman getting her hair done. Jamie Lee comes in as her daughter who has returned from L.A. and is now the lead singer of a punk band. Both women seem so stunned by the changes in appearance and attitude that the mom can't even keep up the strength to stay. As soon as the mom leave the hair stylist switches her tune and goes on to add to Jamie Lee's outrageous hairdo.
Jamie Lee then hosts a special new segment where she interviews Ann as a tough looking female biker whose gang provided funeral services for dead animals they scrape from the road. Though she looks extra tough, she gets super emotional as she explains.
Ellen Shipley then hits the stage to perform Fotogenic, which is cool because this is the second week in a row that they've given new performers their television musical premiere.
Finally, Jamie Lee Curtis closes the show by thanking the crowd and saying her goodnights.
Once again, I'm finding this to be a perfectly fine season that I would go as far to say is better than most of season four and a lot of season three and these are the three moments that have brought me to that conclusion. First, I loved the mockumentary that profiles Gilbert Gottfried's career. Get ready for a lot of Gilbert love this season because of all of the cast including the originals he's the only person so far that I still actively follow his career as I listen to his podcast and can't wait to see his real feature-length documentary that just came out this year. Next, I was a fan of seeing Eddie Murphy's first official non-Weekend Update sketch because he is the first stand out of the show that I actually remember being a fan of when the shows were airing for the first time. Finally, I was a fan of The Attack Of The Terrible Snapping Creatures because I used to work in film and we used clothes pins (aka C-47s) in the lighting department to clip on colored gels, and we used to sneakingly clip them on to players on the set on a regular basis.