SNL: S07E04... HOST: DONALD PLEASENCE... OCTOBER 31, 1981

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Wait a Minute...

This isn't Colonel Klink

We again we have a host who I've never heard of. When this has happened in the past, I was at least aware of their name or could recognize their face but just couldn't place the specifics. I have never heard the name, Donald Pleasence.

During the opening sketch, he was dressed in khakis that made him look somewhat like a dictating ruler. Between that and his horseshoe hairline, my first guess was that he was Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes. It wasn't until after the viewing when I looked up his resume that I realized that I was way off. 

This resume review also revealed that I do know who he is and can picture him in the movies that I'm familiar with, I wouldn't say that he was the draw. Even if at the time he was a bigger star than I'm aware of, his genre seemed to be more horror and suspense with comedy not even coming in third.

The fact that he's not a huge star and isn't really connected to comedy doesn't necessarily rule him as a host, it just seems like a weird choice for being so early in to the season. In fact, this entire season feels like it started out in the second-half slump in order to make up for season six being cut short.

That said, I like the music guest this season and they may be its saving Grace. Where I usually see the musical performances as just an excuse to take a break from taking notice, this season it seems to be the segment that I look the most forward to which is not a very good sign, because as good as the performances are, I tune in to this show for the comedy.

Alright, once again, it's time to stop bitching about this season and move on to share what I saw as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show starts with Donald Pleasence in the men's bathroom. He's nervous about hosting the show and practices saying, "Live from New York..." even though the opening call hasn't been used once this season. Eddie enters and heads straight to the toilet to throw up. He advises Donald that vomiting his common practice amongst the cast to deal with the pressure. As soon as Eddie leaves, Donald decides to give it a shot, just as John Belushi exits one of the occupied stalls. He doesn't say a word, he just stares into the camera as we go into the opening montage again, with no, "Live from New York..."
  2. Once again there isn't a monolog, instead, Donald Pleasence and the rest of the cast rush to the stage and stand like they're posing for a yearbook picture. No one even says a single word. They just stand there like a group of idiots for a beat before jumping into the first sketch.
  3. We then go to a BBC show called Profiles In British Courage where we meet a soldier who had his arm shot off during battle but barely notices kind of like a poor man's version of the "Tis just a flesh wound," joke from The Holy Grail highlighting how much the British don't want to be a burden and how that is mistaken as courage. We then see a very sloppy leg amputation.
  4. Next, we go to Central Park where we see a man out for a job he runs under a bridge and finds his foot stuck in goo and then we see several other trapped joggers. This is when it's revealed that this is actually a fake ad for the Jogger Motel which is playing off of an old Roach Motel ad.
  5. We then get a fake movie trailer for Two Faces Of Jerry which is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde type tale with Piscopo as serious telethon Jerry and Eddie as the rambling weirdo side.
  6. This is followed by a parody of a country song about a woman who just killed her husband called I'm So Miserable. In the video, Christine Ebersole sings while trying to clean up the mess as her husband lies on the table with a knife in his back.  
  7. Pumpkin Carving is a short film that treats pumpkin carving as if it were a horror scene in a movie with blood and guts in place of the seeds.
  8. Eddie Murphy then plays a Guardian Angel who gives self-defense advice on how not to get your necklace robbed by wrapping the necklace around your face so that the medallion looks like snot. 
  9. Michael Davis returns to the show to perform another juggling/comedy routine where he loads apples filled with razor blades in the name of Halloween and then juggles them with a third safe apple that he takes bites out of as he goes. Though the safe one is a bit larger, the first bite is still pretty intense.
  10. Once again, Brian Doyle-Murray and Mary Gross give us the news only Mary is "out in the field." This week, as I said, Mary is out in the field where she interviews Frank Sinatra about a controversial Reagan created bill, we go back to the ex-model weather lady, and Eddie talks about why black people love horror movie because they like watching rich white people get killed. 
  11. We then go to a public access jazz-themed show called Tales From The Hip where and old hipster discusses the origins of an old song that leads to the musical telling of Macbeth. 
  12. Fear then hits the stage to perform I Don't Care About You.
  13. We then go back to the men's bathroom during the intermission for the play Annie where Sweetchuck freaks out after Piscopo mistakes his greeting as a flirtatious advance when he was just saying hi. Eddie Murphy plays a country boy who is just excited to be experiencing life in the city including this major blowout which somehow manages to put everything into perspective and everything gets worked out.
  14. Once again, Piscopo and Mary Gross play a couple getting ready to face the day and they do so by eating their sugar breakfast, that actually has no food or liquids at all. The kids join in just in time to share sugar cubes covered in syrup. They all start out calm but by the end of the sketch, they seem like a bunch of tweakers.
  15. Andy Warhol's TV returns for another segment. This time Andy talks to a bunch of fashionistas about what they plan to wear to an upcoming party and then his head randomly falls off and his body goes about its day. 
  16. Mary Gross reminds the audience that there is a call for home movies and then we get to see one called Wonder Wally as an example of what they don't want.
  17. The Vic Salukin Show is a black and white call in show where the host offer the callers $100 bucks if they can manage to scare him. He gets a bunch of crappy calls and then gives an example of how to do it right by calling a random woman and teller her he shot her son. He then gets a call from a stalker which leads the camera to zoom in on the phone but when it pulls back out we see that our host is dead with what looks to be a brick sticking out of his head.
  18. Fear then returns to the stage to perform Beef Bologna, New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones, and Let's Have A War back to back to back.
  19. We then get a repeat of the Prose and Cons short featuring the Kill My Landlord poem by Eddie Murphy.
  20. Finally, Donald Pleasence closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Wow, even for having twenty segments it was hard to find three that I liked but here is what I managed to come up with. First, I loved sketch about the family that eats nothing but sugar for breakfast, because even though the idea of sugar induced hyperactivity is played out now, it might not have been then and either way, there was a fun energy amongst the cast. Next, I really liked pumpkin carving short film because it was shot in a way that made it artistically interesting. Finally, I was a fan of the Jogger Motel ad because of how my the Roach Motel ad that it's making fun of from that time stands out in my mind to this day.

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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.