The Birth Of Opie Cunningham
I think I've brought this up in one of my Daily Breaker posts from the past, but I believe that I am part of one the last generations to passively share a large amount of pop culture reference with both my parent's and grandparent's peers. Where kids these days have to actively seek out, readily available classic content, we watched the same old stuff because we didn't have a choice.
During this time there may have been cable television but it wasn't a standard luxury especially not in a lower class home. This also seemed to be a time where it was only the networks that created original content so unless you were into soap operas when it was summer or you were home sick from school, your only other option was to watch the independent networks that always seemed to be at least two generation off.
This allowed kids from my generation to discover old TV shows completely independent of our of our parents. I did so to the point where my mom is still blown away by how aware I am of her childhood shows, while both of my sisters who are over ten years younger have a clue as to what either of us would talk about. They had so many options to bail out on these old shows while still having something to watch. In fact, they seem to have so many options they barely care about the current programming let alone the history of crappy TV.
I was raised with both Happy Days and The Andy Griffith Show running on some station at least once a day. Because of this, I'm so aware of Ron Howard that this was an extremely nostalgic show, especially now that I'm definitely sure that this is the first season that I started to watch live or at least the original West Coast feed.
Alright, now that I've gotten my theory on generational TV watching, it's time to move on to share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's episode starts with a message from The Bureau Of Weights And Measures that recommends viewers of SNL to watch the show with their TV on their laps and wait for further instructions.
Then Ron Howard opens the show with a monolog about how he is excited to escape the safety of prime time where he can show more of his mature side. He then goes on to list a bunch of words that may be titillating to a child but are far from the point of reaching adult material status. He finishes the monolog by drinking a real beer which makes the crowd go nuts, I guess because they are still so used to seeing him as an innocent little kid.
We then go to Mayberry for an update on the small town after Andy Griffith passes away. It turns out that after he died this innocent small town turned into a vice peddling slum filled with dirtbags. First, we check in with Floyd, played by Eddie Murphy, who is now cutting hair at the back of an adult bookshop. Otis then enters, and he's gone from a drunk to a junkie. Aunt Bee then enters and reveals that she's the madam of the local whore house. Finally, we find out that this is actually a fake trailer for Opie's Back where Ron Howard returns to fight crime in a Charles Bronson way.
Velvet Jones then returns after last season's claim that he was being retired. He no longer selling his pimp school material. Instead, he's now pitching his new line of Harlequin Romance Novels.
The Whiners then return for another installment. This time, they are at a fertility clinic where they whine about not being able to get pregnant even though their tests show that they are perfectly fine and it's just their attitude that is keeping them barren.
Harry Anderson then returns to the show for another one of his comedy/magic routines. This is the routine that taught me the true meaning of what a geek actually is.
We then get a parody of In Search Of... where Piscopo plays Leonard Nimoy, who is on a quest to find Francis The Talking Mule while also trying to determine if he was real in the first place.
Focus On Film returns with Eddie Murphy's movie reveal character interviewing Opie Cunningham about his career and is blown away by the fact that he directed the movie Night Shift which is about pimps and yet there isn't a "brotha" in the entire movie. He's also blown away that Opie had sex after learning he had a child.
Once again Brad Hall gives us the news. Now that he has his glasses on, I'm entirely sold on him as this season's news guy. This week, Mary Gross gets a segment where she talks about unemployment listing the people who should be unemployed due to what they've contributed to pop culture, and "Andy Rooney" also drops by for a segment where he bashes the Middle East while questioning why this turmoil has been going on so long,
The Clash then takes to the stage to perform Straight To Hell.
This was followed by an interview with President Carter where we flashback to see their interaction just before inauguration day where we look through Reagan's eyes as he explores his soon to be workspace only to get caught by Carter as he is digging through the desk. Carter then tries to relay his strategy in case Reagan wants to run with any of the policies that he's started only Reagan is too distracted by his surrounding to pay any attention, especially after finding the button to release all of the bombs.
Once again, we get another repeat of last season's America Is Turning Gay song and dance.
We then went to a motel room where Ron Howard attempts to make a deal with his very first hooker then goes on to interview her about her past in an attempt to make the whole experience less awkward, and he ends up talking to everyone in the establishment as they all try to work through their issues.
The Clash then returns to the stage to perform Should I Stay Or Should I Go.
Nukes Are For Kooks is kind of a Twilight Zone sketch where everyone in the town carries a nuclear warhead to make sure the town stays safe. Piscopo attempts to rob the town story and get threatened with nuclear annihilation only to walk away scot-free when he calls everyone in the store's bluff after pointing out that they'd just blow up as well.
Finally, Ron Howard closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Once again, this was an episode that made it very easy to find my favorite moments, and with that, here they are. First, I loved the Nukes Are For Kooks sketch because this sketch has stuck in my mind for decades and I've wanted to share it ever since the internet became a reliable source to find any video. Up until now, I've yet to get a nibble when searching for "SNL sketch, small town everyone has a nuclear bomb," which even now I think is a fitting description that should lead to a successful result. Next, I really liked Opie Cunningham on Focus on film, because even to this day, I can't see Ron Howard without thinking of Eddie Murphy mixing up his name. Finally, I was a fan of Opie's Back because even though it was way before my time, I was still raised with The Andy Griffith Show being the only thing to watch when I would stay home from school.