A So-So Step Back Season Starter


Now when I say this was a so-so show, I wouldn't say that it came as a surprise. For one, this was the season starter which is a notorious weak episode, especially of the seasons that I've seen during this challenge so far. I get it, these people are coming back from vacation to who knows what was happening behind the scenes, that I see the season starter as a perfectly acceptable adjustment show to introduce the changes even if they're not literally seen on the screen.

The second part that made it feel so-so was the fact that the boss was hosting the show. Even though Brandon Tartikoff had a great sense of humor, I couldn't help but see his humbleness as just another PR move in an attempt to get his own shows from the network to ease up on their attacks by seeming like he has the ability to play along, only to fire people in private.

I don't really have anything to back that up, it's just how I see things playing out in my mind, especially after years and year of seeing people in the media use this type of tactic. Again, he wasn't horrible, and it looked like he was genuinely having fun. It's just, seeing a CEO type start a season with a far less impressive line-up of hosts leaves me with a little concern.

That said, I'm still excited to keep going and can't wait for episode two.

And now it's time to move on from sharing my insights to sharing the things that I saw as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's episode starts with members of the cast breaking into Brandon Tartikoff Watergate-style in an attempt to find evidence he used his power as the president of NBC to land this hosting role. Eddie uses the phone to prank Mr. T which is weird because they treat it like he would have caller ID as proof to where the phone call is coming from. They then find his schedule where one of the entries tricks Eddie into saying, "Live from New York..."

  2. Brandon Tartikoff then officially opened the show with a red carpet entrance and a monolog about his plans to continue to create high-quality programming for the network, only to have the subtitles make fun of his every word by listing all of his failed ideas.

  3. Julia Louis-Dreyfus then played a Calvin Klein model who rambles on vapidly about her narcissistic issues until she gets hit in the face with a pie and we learned this was a fake ad for Calvin Klein Cream Pies For Girls You Hate.

  4. We then went to James Watt's office. Watt’s was apparently a politician from the time that recently made a racist flub. In the sketch, his underlings do everything to try and cheer him up while he continued to dig a bigger hole with awkward replies to his staff.

  5. In Jazz Riffs, Sweetchuck plays a Beatnik host who interviews Eddie as a jazz musician in a mask who is disguised because he's embarrassed by the fact that he has to prostitute himself by doing weddings for pay and shares some funny stories about several of his nightmare gigs.

  6. Flen's Discount Food And Clothing Warehouse was a Crazy Eddie's: Everything Must Go style commercial for a store that sells clothing and food.

  7. We then went back to Brandon Tartikoff's office where he's dressed in leather like Eddie Murphy who is also in the sketch to get pitched Tartikoff's horrible programming ideas. Eddie turns him down right away, but the Whiners enter as soon as he leaves and demand that they get a show using their Nielsen Family status as leverage to get their foot in the door.

  8. Next was a Gumby and Pokey rehearsal for their upcoming reunion where Pokey is late because he's a drunk and Gumby is super pissed off. Pokey eventually arrives sounding like the stereotype of a hypochondriac Jew and the two fight the entire time.

  9. Tartikoff then took to the street to ask New Yorkers about the current NBC line-up only to get a pretty harsh response of unrecognition and disinterest about every single show.

  10. Larry's Corner was a talk show sketch where "Larry" interviewed a few average and uninteresting friends from his youth who all have childish stunts. At first, I was only half entertained by this concept, but then one of the friends (Gary Kroeger) started to fart with his armpits. This led to milk to stream out of one of the other friend's nose and the third friend (Sweetchuck) who was introduced as the kid who would drink anything drinks the mild as it streams out of this guys nose while everyone is laughing hysterically in a way that you can't help but laugh along.

  11. Once again, Brad Hall gave us the news. This week, Piscopo drops by with sports, and Sweetchuck gets another segment where he bashes the New York Post.

  12. Jon Cougar then took to the stage to perform Pink Houses.

  13. Sweetchuck then enters a gun store dressed like a meth head looking punk and asks if he can rent a gun. Piscopo plays the owner who attempts to do a bit of a background check but quickly gives in to every excuse that Sweetchuck gives to why he can't comply while obviously being up to no good.

  14. We then went to the audience to find Siskel and Ebert who once again gave us an insightful review of the show while it's still in progress.

  15. Jon Cougar then returned to the stage to perform Crumblin' Down.

  16. NBC: Be There is a fake ad for the network the slams the upcoming season of shows.

  17. Ethel's Diner Tragedies is a sketch where Mary Gross plays a waitress on a day where she learns that every aspect of her life takes a turn for the worst. Customer after customer enters the diner with escalating bad news. She accepts every bit of information with a smile right up to the very end even though I was expecting/hoping for some type of exciting twist.

  18. Finally, Brandon Tartikoff closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I know that I said this was a so-so episode to start out the season but that said, two of these three favorite moments had me laughing out loud which hasn't happened in quite a while. With that, here's what I've got. First, I loved Larry's Corner because when it started as an interview show feature average Joes who were friends of the host just seem sort of funny, but when that milk pours from the friend's nose without any sign of a house, I just lost my shit with laughter. Next, I really liked the Gumby and Pokey sketch, one, because I love the real claymation characters and two, because I laughed out loud during this one when Piscopo kept breaking the scene especially since Eddie's expressions made it seem like Pokey was really farting and not just part of the sketch. Finally, I was a fan of seeing Siskel and Ebert again because I'm a fan of their work, but I also love this whole live review routine and hope it's not the last time they do it.


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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.