SNL: S09E08... HOST: FLIP WILSON... DATE: DECEMBER 10, 1983

or...

Unfamiliarity? Or Flip In A Filler Show?

As a fan of "black comedy" I've heard the name Flip Wilson for most of my life and though I know that I've seen him on TV shows here and there, I'm not as familiar with his work as I feel that I should be. I think that, because of this unfamiliarity, there was no real nostalgia linked to this viewing to boost my interest and save it from feeling like a filler episode during this underwhelming year.

Again, that's not to say that I blame the host because it was a perfectly average episode, just like most of the shows of the season so far. It's just, with these other hosts, it's easier for me to give bonus points based on pre-established connections their non-SNL work.

I had this same problem with season three with the original cast, where they were coming off a very successful season two and everyone seemed to be coasting instead of fighting for their lives.

It was as if John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were so focused on their outside career and the writers didn't really know how to work with the rest of the cast. It kind of feels like this same thing was going on with Eddie at this time.

Being that he's not always a big part of each show this year, as he works on other projects, it seems that his flexible schedule may have led to some of the inconsistent work as the rest of the cast try their hardest to work without their standout star.

That said, Eddies was fully involved in this episode, so this may not have been the best week to bring it up but it is an idea that I've been throwing around in my head and since I had nothing else to say, I figured why not share my theory right here.

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

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show starts in Dion's Salon where he and Piscopo get a visit from Flip Wilson in drag who is playing Dion's mom and is there to rekindle their relationship after being estranged for many years. She tries her best to explain herself but Dion just isn't having it. After a while of sharing the family history, Dion eventually gives in which leads Flip to announce, "Live from New York..."
  2. Flip Wilson then officially opened the show with a very quick intro where he claims this episode is his birthday/Christmas gift to the world before quickly throwing to the first sketch.
  3. We then went to Robin Duke's apartment where she is hosting an evening with a date and the two trade off pretty dirty sexual innuendos leading up to their Sleazy Christmas Gift Exchange. Despite all of the sex talk, this date ends up going nowhere because both people involved are all bark without any bite.
  4. This was followed by a sketch that took place on a plane where Brad Hall goes to use the bathroom only to find Flip as a bathroom attendant in that little tiny space. 
  5. Sweetchuck's guru character then got another non-news segment where he shares more Unanswered Questions Of The Universe.
  6. Hello, Trudy was a call in show where Belushi and Piscopo take calls from Trudy, their one and only caller, who asks questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the guest. 
  7. Stevie Nicks then took to the stage to perform Stand Back.
  8. Mary Gross then played Mary Tyler Moore for a fake ad for Older Sisters Of The Young a service where old women can adopt young successful doctors in time for the holiday season.
  9. Solomon And Pudge then returned to the show for another segment of character play, which I enjoy, this week Solomon complains about his aching feet and Pudge surprises him with a new pair of shoes.
  10. MST3K creator Joel Hodgson then returned for another prop comedy/magic routine.
  11. Flip Wilson then plays Reverend Leroy who is upset with his followers because there was zero money in the collection plate that leads to a lame joke based on his call and response type of preaching. 
  12. Jim Belushi then plays the commercial pitchman named Crazy Weinstein who isn't actually selling anything and is really just insane.
  13. We then got to meet a Shoelace Tier who has a shoe shine stand but doesn't do any shining as he only knows how to tie. Everyone else thinks this is foolish except for Flip who stops by on the regular. After he gets his shoes tied and is charged five dollars he says this was a rough week and only tips the old man six hundred dollars. Though the old man doesn't complain when Flip is around he seems a bit disappointed by the smaller tip the moment his only customer is gone.  
  14. Once again, Brad Hall gave us the news. This week, "Dr. Ruth" drops in to use sexual innuendo to talk about Christmas that is only sometimes unintentional, Sweetchuck drops by with a review of The Truly Tasteless Joke Book where he suggests some spin-off books and Brad Hall gives out Cabbage Patch Kid cooking instructions now that the trend is dead.
  15. We then went to a subway train where everyone is singing random songs while listening to them on their headphone. Sweetchuck is the only person on the train without headphones in his ears so he goes up to each and every passenger to tune them into the same FM classical which gets everyone singing the same song as this evolves into a fake Classic Radio Station ad.
  16. Stevie Nicks then returned to the stage to perform Nightbird.
  17. Finally, Flip Wilson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Again, I liked Flip Wilson and I liked this show but these favorite moments that I'm about to share won't be topping any other lists. First, I loved seeing Flip as the Airplane Bathroom Attendant because I can barely fit in an airplane stall on my own so the idea of having extra help is hilarious. Next, I really liked seeing Joel Hodgson's second appearance because I'm such a fan of his MST3K work. Finally, I was a fan of the Shoe Tier sketch because it was just a ridiculous concept. 

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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.