SNL: S09E09... HOST: FATHER GUIDO SARDUCCI... DATE: JANUARY 14, 1984

or...

ZZ Top For President '84

I'm not all that surprised it turns out that I'm a fan of the old school rating stunts from the '80s, especially when it comes to the ones that they've done, so far, in the seasons that I've watched of SNL. Whether they were asking the audience to vote for the audience member they wanted to host, or Save Larry the Lobster, or even determine Andy Kaufman's standing with the show, I've been highly entertained by every attempt to get the audience involved with the show.

The thing I like the most is how this was before the internet leading the incoming numbers to feel more realistic than the modern day Twitter votes where millions reply, depending on the popularity of the show. 

This challenge to let the audience vote on who should win the role of Democratic Candidate for the 1984 presidential race started out rather lame because it felt like it was a standard poll without any twist at all. I was fine with this though because not only was I still looking forward to seeing the audience's thought, the fact that Father Guido Sarducci was hosting would have made anything tolerable because I am such a big fan.

Then about halfway through, I was fully on board when Sarducci admitted to being a bigger fan of the weekly MTV voting for Band Of The Week which led him to throw ZZ Top into the mix for the audience's vote which instantly made the stunt more interesting.

It still wasn't the best of the stunts tried so far but I continue to blame the averageness of this season for why this episode wasn't even more interesting that it was. As always with this season, it was still a fun show, I've just still yet to be blown away.

So, there you have my thoughts on this episode which make it time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show starts with presidential election coverage as Marry Gross and Piscopo announce another interactive stunt called Countdown '84 where the viewers can call in to vote for who they would pick for the Democrat's candidate. Piscopo closes the announcement by yelling, "Live from New York..."
  2. Father Guido Sarducci then officially opened the show with a monolog where he talks about the upcoming election then goes on to do a routine about how Canada is a bigger threat to the US than anyone in Central America based on the fear mongering threats from the day about Central America being extra dangerous due to its proximity. 
  3. Tasteless Choice was a parody ad of the Taster's Choice ad campaign from the time only in this sketch Piscopo admits to sleeping with their daughter instead of the loving couple talk from the real ad.
  4. Julia Louis-Dreyfus then portrays Linda Ronstadt to sing a medley of standard songs, making fun of the real Linda's latest release from the time.
  5. Buckwheat's Ghost then made his debut following "the real Buckwheat" getting shot last season. In the sketch, publishers try to talk Alfalfa into writing a tell-all book or else they won't make a deal. This is what causes Buckwheat's ghost to appear and stop these publisher's evil plan.
  6. We then got an update on the Countdown '84 stunt where at this point the Reverend Jesse Jackson was holding a very strong lead with about ten times the amount of votes than the person in second place. Guido Sarducci also checks in at this time where he admits to preferring MTV voting over the actual election so he throws ZZ Top into the mix and gives out a number for the audience to vote for them as well.
  7. Huey Lewis And The News then took to the stage to perform Heart And Soul.
  8. This was followed by a fake trailer for a movie starring Guido Sarducci called The Man Who Loved Swimmin' where he sits around the pool in his religious garb and has to jump in the pool every time a beautiful woman turns him on because he's that committed to the rules of his religious position.
  9. This was followed by yet another update of Countdown '84. This time Brad Hall is hosting the segment and ZZ Top is now in the lead with almost twice the votes of second place, Jesse Jackson. Guido Sarducci also takes to the street for some man on the street interviews about the vote.
  10. We then got a message from Michael Jackson where he reassures the audience that the lyrics to Billy Jean were not meant as a hint that he got a woman pregnant because "Nice boys don't get women pregnant."
  11. This was followed by yet another hilarious stand-up routine from Steven Wright.
  12. Joe Piscopo then got a segment to talk about the importance of using your Right To Vote only he's talking about their phone vote but also means the actual election.
  13. Huey Lewis And The News then returned to the stage to perform I Want A New Drug.
  14. We then went to an Airport where Guido Sarducci's flight gets delayed which causes him to freak out at the customer service rep who tries to cheer him up. 
  15. Finally, we got the results of Countdown '84 where ZZ Top was by far the winner, then Father Guido Sarducci closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Even though this wasn't my favorite stunt show, I still had a lot of fun watching it partially due to these three favorite moments of mine. First, I loved when Guido Sarducci added ZZ Top to the poll for president because that's when the stunt really started to get fun. Next, I really liked The Man Who Loved Swimmin' sketch because I like the line that Sarducci walks where he doesn't stray from the Father aspect of his character. Finally, I was a fan of seeing Steven Wright again simply because I'm a fan of his work and I don't really see him do stand-up much anymore so I was happy to see him on stage.

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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.