Attack Of The Hostile Host
I have to admit that I didn't have all that high of hopes for this episode from the get-go. My main reason for concern was the fact that I know more about Robert Blake due to his real-life antics more than I know his career and no, I don't just mean the fact that he killed his wife.
Even before he went that far, I knew him from a bunch of interviews where he always came across as a jerk. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind when a person like Charles Grodin portrays himself as an arrogant asshole who is completely out of touch, but I have to feel like they are being a character which Robert Blake is definitely not.
No, Robert Blake seems like a genuine hothead with a severe Napoleon Complex to the point where I don't see any charm. You see, I'm six foot four with a large frame and a very friendly personality. Just my size alone has led me through a life where I've never been in a real fight but get sized up by these mini men all the time, so I find no humor in this specific brand of comedy whether it's a joke or not.
So I had these low expectations, and Robert Blake lived up to everyone. Luckily for me, they barely used him this episode which I would generally see as a faux pas. Not only did I have an issue with the host, but this was also another episode with fewer sketches that run extra long. To top this off, two of these sketches can't be found anywhere so minus the opening sketch, monolog, two band performances, news, goodnights, and two missing sketches I only had five segments to base my opinion on and these five sketches were not all that strong at least not strong enough to overcome the deficit.
All of this said, the actual cast still did a pretty good job, considering what they had to work with. With that, it's time to move on to share what I witness said cast do as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show starts with a parody of the Merv Griffin Show, featuring the real Merv Griffin who begins with a monolog of his own. He then goes on to interview Robert Blake as himself, highlighting how much on a maniac he is. Piscopo and Julia watch from backstage and don't seem all that impressed. Meanwhile, Robert Blake is building in rage back in the world of the sketch. He storms out of the sketch only to catch Piscopo and Julia talking trash which sends him into maniac mode leading him to punch Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the gut rather than get physical with Piscopo. He then goes on to talk against battering women, which is kind of weird considering the fact that he killed his wife, but this was decades before that happened, so the sketch simply ends with Merv announcing, "Live from New York..."
Robert Blake then officially opens the show with a monolog about being happy to be back on stage and share the fact that he was part of The Little Rascals. The monolog then shifts to be more of a sketch as he has a reunion with his childhood friends with the standouts being Mary Gross as Alfalfa, Piscopo as Froggy and Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat.
We then go inside the space shuttle where the group of four astronauts sign off from ground control to go to sleep. As soon as two of the astronauts leave, Eddie announces that he's in love with Joe Piscopo which freaks him out to the point where he wants to abandon the mission. The other astronauts return causing Eddie to jump back into the closet which causes Piscopo to look crazy when he tries to share his concerns. This sketch was kind of interesting because it came off more that Piscopo was uncomfortable with the fact that Eddie was coming onto him while not really being homophobic even though I'm sure many viewers from the time saw it more like a horror scene.
Next was a PBS Promo showing what one of their ads would look like if it were done by a major network.
This was followed by a Talent Show with cheesy acts from a small town that is until Eddie Murphy shows up with his reggae band who perform the song Kill The White People (But Buy My Record First.) This gets the entire audience to leave.
According to one of my references, The Best Little Whore House On The Prairie is a sketch that is damn near impossible to find anywhere but based on how much padding there is to the repeat airing this sketch must have run very long.
Once again, Brad Hall gives us the news. This week, Joe Piscopo gives us the sports, Mary Gross carries on the sports discussion about the retirement of Sugar Ray Leonard by pointing out other sports figures who should retire, and Sweetchuck's doctor character gets a segment on orgasms with a list of funny names.
Kenny Loggins then takes to the stage to perform Heart To Heart.
Masterful Theatre returns and this week, Sweetchuck presents a performance called Airheads Revisited where we go to a stuffy British party where Eddie Murphy and Piscopo play brother and Eddie realizes he may just be adopted. Robert Blake wonders around as the butler who keeps asking the man of the house about the laundry with no idea what he is talking about. It's an interesting sketch, but it's too weird and random to clearly explain why.
Eddie Murphy then takes the stage and reads a letter from a young fan whose favorite Eddie material is the stuff that talks about his hatred or whites. Eddie then goes on to explain that he actually loves white people and then goes on to share a few funny examples of the white people he is rather fond of.
No More Andy Kaufman is another segment that I wasn't able to find. In the prior show that was hosted by Michael Keaton, they announce Kaufman as a special guest, but he never ended up on the air. I don't know if he was a no-show, or kicked off, but I'm guessing this has to do with the announcement that according to my reference was given by Dick Ebersol.
Kenny Loggins then returns to the stage to perform I Gotta Try.
Finally, Robert Blake closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
With so few sketches to choose from in the first place and two that can't be found anywhere online, it was kind of hard to come up with my favorite moments but here's what I managed to come up with. First, I loved the Kill The White People (But Buy My Record First) sketch because other than the fact that I would be a target in this scenario, I still genuinely like the song. Next, I really liked Eddie Murphy coming out of the closet as an astronaut to announce that he is in love with Piscopo because it felt more like a modern take where Piscopo's reaction was uncomfortable without being homophobic which was a stance that I didn't think existed at that time. Finally, I was a fan of Mary Gross's segment in the news because I didn't really like her as a full-time news anchor but I love this new outraged aggressive character with the adorable voice.