SNL: S09E17... HOST: GEORGE MCGOVERN... DATE: APRIL 14, 1984

or...

A Politician At Play

In A Way That I Might Hate Today

It's hard to believe that there used to be a time that I actually didn't mind a majority of politicians and people from the press. Sure I had candidates that I rooted for over other but for the most part, I felt that even the people who opposed my views were at least working under good intention making it easier to like them despite their political stance.

This season, taking place during an election year, had multiples host from both the worlds of politics and press. Though these hosts may have taken a couple gaps at their opponents, they yet to reach the point where the language they use has reached the divisiveness that even the most middle of the road political person can no longer seem to avoid.

It's gotten to the point now where I can't even stand seeing politicians involved in satire. Where back in the day these political publicity stunts were used to win over new fans by sharing who they are as a person in a way that felt like there was risk involved by turning off some of their base, these new political visit seem far too calculated and are more about roasting not only their political rival but anyone who gives them support in a very safe environment where they are preaching to their choir.

George McGovern is a perfect example of this. All I knew going into this viewing was that he was the bad guy in Hunter S. Thompson's Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail which I read so long ago that I couldn't remember the problem but I was expecting to not be a fan. Whatever it was, it must have been bad because he did lose out to Nixon after all.

After the viewing, he actually won me over as a person but I still don't know his politics. This is another problem that I have with these modern day politicians who take on satirical roles, it seems more and more that we are electing people base of the fictionalized performance of self over what anyone actually stands for.

All of that said, my lack of knowledge of the political state at this time combined with the more than three decades that passed, made this episode, not just tolerable, but one that I actually enjoyed.

Alright, enough political talk for the day as it is time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show starts ten years in the future (1994) where Nixon returns to 60 Minutes to reflects on a CBS interview he must had recently done that earned him a very big paycheck. When asked if he had anything to say that was actually true Nixon thinks for a second, turns to the camera and announces, "Live from New York..."
  2. George McGovern then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he had to back out of the presidential race and that he's hosting the show because he really needs the money, following campaign spending then goes out into the audience to beg.
  3. This was followed by a short film called Midtown Open where Piscopo, Belushi, and McGovern play a round of golf on the streets of New York City instead of using a course when McGovern just wants to learn his lines. It turns out that McGovern is actually a ringer when the SNL guys admit to playing for money.
  4. We then got a commercial for White House Food where "Ronald Reagan" pitches a TV dinner called Hungry, Hungry Man Meals with poverty level cuisine from around the world for the impoverished here in America.
  5. Mary Gross then tries to host a date in her one bedroom apartment when the circus folk from downstairs ruin the romance by popping up through a hole in the floor that was cut so they could practice their trampoline stunts. This upstairs-downstairs neighbor feud eventually turns into a gun fight where the trampoline performer gets killed right before we hear the rumblings of the upstairs elephant trainer.
  6. Direct Hits is another fake album ad that SNL seems to love as this was the time when they were ever present on television. This album features songs that promote America's military power through parodies of popular tunes. 
  7. Jim Belushi and Mary Gross then had an apartment date with Eddie Murphy where they try to talk him into a menage-a-trois only to find out that he's already committed to Sweetchuck and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
  8. Prop Comedian Frankie Pace then made his SNL debut where he got to share his latest routine with props that you can get at a dollar store but the audience was having fun, which I'm sure I also did at the time this originally aired.
  9. This week, George McGovern was the special host of the news. Gary Kroeger also got a segment where he was supposed to review a movie but instead blindsides McGovern with a backstage recording of McGovern being a nightmare backstage, Sweetchuck also dropped in as a new character who suggests all kinds of crazy tax refunds to think of during the upcoming tax day which was near, and Piscopo gave us the sports.
  10. This was followed by a parody of Cosmos where "Carl Sagan" tells us of parallel universes before we got introduced to a world where McGovern actual beat Nixon back in '72 and he solved America's problems but I couldn't find this anywhere on the internet so I based this purely on what I've read.
  11. George McGovern then took to the stage with the "Where's the beef?" lady only this time she asks, "Where's the band which led to the performance of Our House by Madness.
  12. Book Beat is an interview show where Piscopo interviews an archeologist who authored a book about an amazing discover who totally outshines the second guest who's archeology book looks like it was written for a child but turns out to be a publicity stunt leading to the box that the first guest was so proud to find.
  13. Robin Duke and Gary Kroeger then played an old couple who have taken in McGovern who plays Gary's loser of a younger brother and it's time they ask him to leave, only it turns out he's the responsible one.
  14. Madness then returned to the stage to perform Keep Moving.
  15. Finally, George McGovern closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Again for an episode hosted by a politician, this was a pretty good show with these as my favorite moments. First, I loved the sketch where Belushi plays the Downstairs Circus Performing Neighbor because it totally reminds me of the weird things I'd hear back in my apartment dwelling days. Next, I really liked the Book Beat sketch because of how it was one of those sketches that takes a while to get to the real joke but when it finally does the payoff is great and had me laughing out loud. Finally, I was a fan of Piscopo and Belushi taking McGovern out for some city golf because it reminded me of some sort of Letterman stunt from back in this era of his show.

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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.