SNL: S09E16... HOST: MICHAEL DOUGLAS... DATE: APRIL 7, 1984

or...

A Night Of A Thousand Shameless Plugs

One of my favorite things about these early seasons of Saturday Night Live is how the host at least try to pretend that they are there because they're a fan of the show and not just on a promotion tour for their latest project. For the most part, I often have to look up the host on the IMDB to triangulate where they were in their career at the time of the episode's airing.

I noticed this first when Jamie Lee Curtis first hosted and mentioned Halloween in her monolog. I assumed that this was because it was the movie that she was there to promote but after referring to the IMDB, Halloween actually came out two years prior to her appearance and there were three different movies that show could have been promoting but never mentioned one.

David Carradine was the same case. Though he mentioned Kung Fu in an opening joke the show had been off the air a little over half a decade and I think he made the joke because he is almost inseparable from Caine as he played him for half the night.

Other than that, there have been a few cases where there have been sketches that parody the host latest work, like Richard Dreyfus getting a Close Encounter's sketch and Drew Barrymore revisiting E.T... For the most part, they don't even parody the current work but as long as it doesn't come across as an advertisement, I don't really mind when they do.

It wasn't really until Jerry Lewis that I first found the shameless promotion to be annoying. Not only did he directly call for the viewers to see The King Of Comedy, a movie I really like, they worked the title into about half of the sketches but compared to this Michael Douglas appearance, I'd consider Jerry's self-promotion to be extremely subtle.

Michael Douglas took to self-promotion in such a blatant way that it made his entire appearance seem gross even if it wasn't that bad of an episode. There was no parody of the movie at all, just joke after joke with the "punchline" of, "Go see my movie Romancing The Stone," complete with promotional clips.

Hopefully, this doesn't mean that nonstop promotion is around the corner because I really like SNL as a show to highlight the host, not to give them time for an infomercial disguised as a sketch comedy program.

Well, there you have my stance on shameless self-promotion, it's time to move on and share what I saw as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show starts with Michael Douglas frantically looking for his script when "Karl Malden" steps in was a replacement script for American Express Traveler's Checks which leads to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Michael Douglas then officially opened the show by following the advice that he got from his father, who hosted the show a few years before, to skip the monolog and focus on plugging the movie he is there to promote, which for the most part no hosts at this point, other than a few of the jerks, have done. While sharing a clip of Romancing The Stone, the captioning explains how he has been doing nothing but plugging the dumb movie backstage all week.
  3. Once again, Julia Louis-Dreyfus portrays Nina Blackwood to do a parody of the MTV news with news on John Cougar, and ZZ Top.
  4. This was followed by a fake ad for Foldger's Crystals where that takes place in intensive care and has the pitch man swap out a bag of real blood that was being transfused with Foldger's Crystals which leads to an instant recovery.
  5. MTV News returned for a segment on the crappy garage band from a few weeks ago who were turned down by a talent scout and now have a music video to promote, which is a pretty amazing video for a song called Look At Our Video which is just about how they don't care about the music and that they just want to get rich.
  6. We then went behind the scenes at the Price Waterhouse accounting firm to show how the Oscar winners are actually chosen and it turns out it's all personal opinion and not votes from the Academy as promised.
  7. Four Minutes To Live is a short film where Gary Kroeger is given four minutes to live and tries to fit in as much living as he can only his slow trip down the elevator leads to different plans because first, it takes forever to get there and when it finally does there is a stop on every floor especially after a kid hits all of the buttons. The elevator finally gets to the bottom floor only the doors end up getting stuck.
  8. This was followed by an audition scene where Mary Gross as an adult auditions against a bunch of kids for an Annie-like role in an upcoming movie and is way too explicit in her audition scene while claiming the entire time that she's only seven. She finally admits that she's 33 but her flirtatious audition still got her the part.
  9. Deniece Williams then took to the stage to perform Let's Hear It For The Boys.
  10. Julia Louis-Dreyfus then took to the stage to announce George McGovern as the upcoming host and shows a real of interviews of various reactions to this news.
  11. Michael Douglas was this week's special host of the news and all he does is plug his movie until Sweetchuck's new Hispanic Business character returned with more crazy suggestions of how to clean up New York, and Gary Kroeger dropped in for another movie review, this time it was Romancing The Stone where he admits that he hated the movie purely because his girlfriend thought that Michael Douglas was sexy which triggers a jealous rage.
  12. Footless was a parody of Footloose where the reverend from the town talked all the locals to donate their feet to the Chinese and banned all music leading to a parody theme song performed by "Kenny Loggins." Just like the song earlier, it's a surprisingly good parody considering it's the entire freaking song.
  13. Michael Douglas then plays a man whose life is scored by music and is visiting a psychiatrist because the constant sound is driving him crazy. The therapist suggests having water thrown in his face as the only solution but it only works for a little while. This leads the therapist to introduce him to someone who can help only he introduces him to Robin Duke who suffers from the same problem and the two end up falling in love.
  14. TV's Foul Up, Bleeps, Blunders, Bloopers, Practical Jokes, And Political Debates is a parody of the similar title blooper show only with this new aspect of political debates. Michael Douglas plays his dad and Robin Duke plays Shelley Winters as hosts who share a blooper reel from this year's presidential campaign.
  15. Sugar Or Plain is a short film that starts out with the simple questions about the ice cream that the couple wants and gets more and more intense as the ordering process goes on and on. Sugar or plain is the final question that turns the employees insane and that's when craziness happens.
  16. Deniece Williams then returned to the stage to perform Wrapped Up.
  17. We then got another repeat ad for the Sleep-Boy 2000 that blows up cars in the middle of the night to stop their alarms from squealing.
  18. Finally, Michael Douglas closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights. 

Again, though I didn't like the shameless self-promotion, this was still a pretty good show with these as my favorite moments. First, I loved the MTV New/Look At Our Video sketch because it was surprisingly a funny yet well-done song that reminded me of The Vacant Lot's song Song. Next, I really liked when Michael Douglas's life was scored, not only because the dumbass cut his head with the cup when splashing water in his face, the end of the sketch was adorable. Finally, I was a fan of the short film Sugar Or Plain because of how it was a surreal type of sketch that ended on a very insane note where part of it, I don't fully understand can't even really explain. 

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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.