The Grumpy Stepdad Show
Once again we have a host where based on his name alone, I felt I should be very familiar with his career even though I couldn't put said name to a specific role. Then I saw his face and instantly placed him in the movie The Burbs. Once I made this connection, I was fully on board for this episode. Unfortunately, the opening sketch put me right back on the fence.
I've pointed out in the past how the host's energy can be enough to turn an otherwise boring viewing into an episode that I find difficult not to adore. This sketch had the opposite effect on me because even though it was scripted, Bruce's bullying of Sweetchuck seem too realistic to get me to cheer him on.
I'm guessing that this persona was based on characters throughout Bruce's career, but it just seems too genuine and reminded me of an asshole of a stepdad. That said, the episode wasn't that bad, but it also was in no way any good. This was just an episode of blah.
I don't seem to be the only one that feels this way. I usually cross reference my Wicker Breakdown against other online lists to make sure that I've seen every sketch that aired and have them listed in the right order being that I have to Frankenstein these viewing together since Seeso only offers the abridged episodes.
These lists that I reference usually have a behind the scenes history of the episode along with the title and a more precise summary of the sketch than what I am trying to shoot for being that precision is already out there.
Anyways, other than the list of titles, everything else was left blank. Yes, this does happen from time to time, but this was the first time it happened no matter what site I went to in my attempts to double check my efforts.
Again, I wouldn't say that I hated this episode but I was also far from a fan, and with that, it's time to move on to share what I saw in this flat episode as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show we start backstage as the host, Bruce Dern, gets his cue as to when to head on to the stage after his name is announced. He seems a bit nervous as he gets encouragements from the cast. He stops Sweetchuck and compliments him for how great he is on the show only to go on to bash him for being old and funny looking to the point where he becomes a bully.
Once again we get the dumb opening huddle only this week it's a bit of a hybrid because Bruce does a bit of a monolog while the cast hangs out around him.
We then go to Bruce Dern's Apartment where he and Piscopo are preparing to head out for the weekend to ski. Piscopo leaves to get his things, and Dern receives a call from his date who is calling to cancel. Mary Gross then knocks on the door as a neighbor who asks Dern to move his car, and he decides to ask her to come along. She says she's too busy to go but then ends up suggesting he take her crippled dog named Fluffy that suffers from a laundry list of ailments including an iron lung.
Focus On Film is a segment with Eddie Murphy as his film critic character from the news who discusses a recent trip to see a Goldie Hawn movie with his friend but ends up talking more about the movie-going experience without making a single reference to the actual film.
We then revisit The Bizzaro World where everything works the exact opposite from the way things work on Earth. In this world, we get to see a performance by Bizzaro Rodney who brags about how much respect he gets but even in Bizzaro World NBC manages to be run the same horrible way. In the sketch, they make a joke about how bad of an idea it was to take Letterman from his horrible morning show to make him the star of Late Nite.
Luther Vandross then hits the stage to perform Never Too Much.
Once again, Brian Doyle-Murray and Mary Gross gives us the news, and they continue the joke from last week where they are now a flirting couple. This week, we get a traffic report from Christine who is so excited about being in a helicopter that she doesn't get to a single report and Piscopo gives us the sports. (Clip 2)
Schleimer And Laub are a pair of old-timey songwriters who collaborate to put together a few tunes to be sold to vaudeville acts. It eventually evolves into another way to crowbar in more singing from Christine.
We then go to a diner for a segment called The Mild One which is a parody of The Wild One only instead of two wild bikers we meet to bikers that are extremely mild and who feed off their friendly interaction with the customers who have prejudged them. This approach reveals who the real monsters are as everyone else seems to be filled with hate.
Next, we get a short film called Fracas, which is a classic stop-motion film featuring a claymation monster who prank battles with a human as he tries to start his day.
Luther Vandross then returns to the stage to perform A House Is Not A Home.
Melina's Cafe is a sketch that I couldn't find anywhere on the internet. Not only couldn't I find a clip, but I also couldn't find a single description, so I have no idea what this actually is.
Finally, Bruce Dern closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
It's a sad sign when the host doesn't make a single favorite moment but here's what I managed to come up with. First, I loved Eddie Murphy's Focus On Film segment because he reviews movies like I do, where I talk more about my experience over the actual content being reviewed. Next, I really liked the classic Fracas short because I remember seeing it at a quirky film festival where it had nothing to do with SNL. Finally, I was a fan of seeing Bizzaro Rodney perform in The Bizzaro World, where he highlighted just how much respect he actually gets since he's living in an opposite world.