SNL: S09E04... HOST: BETTY THOMAS... DATE: NOVEMBER 5, 1983

or...

So That's What She Did Before

Directing Private Parts

Up until I saw the name Betty Thomas in my queue, I was only aware of her as a director. This is mainly due to the fact that she directed Private Parts back during the prime of my developing fanboy days of listening to Howard Stern and he used to talk about her all the time. The only problem was that I mixed her up with Amy Heckerling who was also talk about a lot on the show after former cast member Gilbert Gottfried was involved with her children's babysitter.

Either way, I was interested in seeing how this episode turned out and though it wasn't my favorite, I was far from feeling disappointed. I really liked how they went back to the short sketch format for this one because it meant were in and out of sketches before they got too boring. In general, no matter who's the host, this is my favorite structure of the show because I feel sketches are meant for short attention spans with the focus on laughs over story.

I also really liked this episode because, as you may already know, I love when there is a throughline sketch that lasts the entire night which they did well with the fake invasion of Switzerland news, complete with man on the street interviews with people who thought it was real. This combined with the rest of the fun, made this an above average episode when considering the rest of the season.

So, now that I have my thoughts on the show out of the way, it's time to move on to share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's episode started with an astronaut on the moon who turns out to be Jesse Jackson as the one Democratic candidate running for president that stands out from the rest of the candidate. He gives a fired up speech to the crowd that ends with the announcement, "Live from New York... 
  2. Betty Thomas then officially opened the show with a monolog where she talks about wearing a dress instead of her costume from Hill Street Blues and how the director was afraid that by doing this the audience wouldn't know who she was. This is when she flashes her badge and her gun before going on to playfully try and intimidate the audience with a billyclub that ends up hurting her hand.
  3. We then got a fake ad for Memorex Video Tapes as Brad Hall and Jim Belushi try and frame Lee Ayakoka in a cocaine smuggling bust ending with the catchphrase, "Is it a bribe or is it Memorex."
  4. We then went to a spa for Eddie Murphy's classic impersonation of James Brown where he sings the Hot Tub song during the James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub Party.
  5. This was followed by a sketch that claimed that Elvis tried out for the original part of Curly for the movie The Three Stooges Mania. Just when Elvis starts to sing in Curly's voice the sketch got interrupted by breaking news.
  6. Special Report was a mini news segment where it's announced that there was an incident in Switzerland following a Chocolate Shop owner who short changed an American tourist by giving him improper change which led to the US invasion. 
  7. Stray Cats then took to the stage to perform She's Sexy And 17.
  8. Sweetchuck's guru character from the news then got his own non-news segment where he shares Unanswered Questions Of The Universe but it's pretty much just an extended version of what he does on the news.
  9. You Win A Dollar was a game show parody where contestants have to perform torturous stunts to win a single buck. Stunts include, find the marble in a fish tank filled with razor blades, bobbing for chicken wings in a deep fryer, spending a minute covered in honey in a tent filled with bees, and finally, guessing the color the host is thinking which is the only thing that Belushi got wrong.
  10. Perfectly Frank was surprisingly not about Frank Sinatra but instead hosted by a guy named Frank who discusses the use of subliminal messaging in TV where Piscopo does an early version of Kevin Nealon's character Subliminal Man.
  11. Swan Lake Flashdance was a mashup of the ballet Swan Lake with the movie Flashdance.
  12. Once again, Brad Hall gave us the news. This week they start out by caring on the story of the US invading Switzerland following the chocolate shortchanging incident complete with man on the street interviews with people who believe it's really happening, Brad and Jim have a debate only Jim keeps stealing characters from the original cast of Saturday Night Live to make his point, and "Ronal Reagan addresses the nation about the ongoing Switzerland incident showing the Swiss Army Knife as their terrorist tool which leads to a conspiracy style mini-documentary about the country.
  13. Jane Fonda Pregnancy Birth, Labor, Re-Entering The Job Market, Trying To Catch A Man, Trying To Keep A Man, Making New Friends, Holding Your Breath, And Going Over Your Credit Limit Workout is a parody of one of Jane Fonda's workout tapes for pregnant women where one of the girls gives birth mid-workout.
  14. Gumby's Life Story was a sketch that shows Eddie Murphy as Gumby directing Gary Kroeger as Gumby in a movie that tells how he grew to be the famous actor we all know and love.
  15. This was followed by another news break to inform the audience that the incident is over and Switzerland Under Control.
  16. Stray Cats then returned to the stage to perform I Won't Stand In Your Way.
  17. We then went to a Transsexual Support Group Meeting where all the women involved in this episode play men who are transitioning into women who discuss the differences in their lives since the change and how they all actually miss being men.
  18. Finally, Betty Thomas closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Not only was this an overall fun show it contained one of my all-time favorite sketches which =tops the list that I am about to share right now. First, I love the James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub Party sketch because as goofy as it is, I actually like the song and it was literally my introduction to James Brown. Next, I really liked the You Win A Dollar sketch because it reminded me of a violent Minute To Win It where the prize is only a buck. Finally, I was a fan of the Jane Fonda Pregnancy Birth, Labor, Re-Entering The Job Market, Trying To Catch A Man, Trying To Keep A Mab, Making New Friends, Holding Your Breath, And Going Over Your Credit Limit Workout because I'm a fan of super long titles like Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood, or The Favor, The Watch, And The Very Big Fish.

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.