Ten Shows In To Get To The First Female Host
During The Least Diverse Season So Far
It's been a while since I have used the term second half slump because it feels like it's been at least a couple season since I feel there has been one. This being the exact midpoint of a season that I'm not fully on board with may have brought the return of the slump episode but I in no way blame the host, Kathleen Turner.
At the very beginning of her monolog, Kathleen yells something to express her excitement about a woman finally hosting the show. At first, I thought this was just an in general girl power reaction but then, just like with Jesse Jackson's joke about the all-white cast, it didn't take much research to find out both were true during the least diverse season in the show's history, so far.
Not only haven't they had a female host but they've been underutilizing the girls in the cast which might be why I don't like this season as much as I feel than I should, considering both Billy Crystal and Martin Short were both already established stars and the fact that I'm such a huge fan of Rich Hall.
I think the pre-established careers of both Crystal and Short may be my biggest issue as they get a bulk of the scenes with the women of the group, two of which, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mary Gross, were senior cast members at the time yet only got supporting roles except for when they are tossed a bone to both appear as dual starring characters the few times they've gotten to play their two Russian characters where their accents are the biggest source of humor in the sketch.
It's no wonder this episode felt so off because this season of writers have absolutely no idea how to write anything out of the white male voice which is a common problem but this season there doesn't even seem to be an effort to at least try, unless you count how many times they attempted to add diversity by putting Billy Crystal in blackface.
So, again, this was a bummer of an episode because I am actually a fan of Kathleen Turner and had high expectations considering this point in her career but let it be clear that I definitely don't see my disappointment as being her fault.
Alright, now that that is out of my system, it's time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
- The week's show starts in Donahue's Green Room as Fernando tries to steal guest for his own show and runs into some interesting characters from little people in drag to a Nazi who still thinks there's a war. He eventually spots Bernard Goetz and decides he's the one to steal for his show but has to borrow a quarter to use the payphone which I'm guessing was the question that triggered his shooting rampage on the New York Subway because this question scares everyone in the room. At first, it seems like Goetz is going to attack but ends up being super nice, leading into the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
- Kathleen Turner then officially opened the show with a monolog about how proud she is to be the first female host of the season then goes on to explain her new look and how there is pressure to appear different in every film before going on to show photographic evidence that I thought would eventually lead to a joke that never came.
- MacDouglass-Drummond Miracle Wrench is a fake ad for the $50,000 wrench that the government buys to build military jets as a way to hide what their spending is really going to.
- Willie and Frank then returned once again to do even more of their "Do you know what I hate," complaining only this time they play the base position for a waterskiing stunt team that is being towed in their pyramid formation.
- This was followed by a sketch in a lobby with a shoe shine stand only the man in charge doesn't shine shoes but instead trims people's nose hair for a fee. The sketch is so-so for the most part until he finds the man with the world's largest nose hair that stretches across the room and ends up tripping an unexpecting Rich Hall.
- We then got a fake ad for SafeCo Security that tests its latest security product by going backstage during a taping of Dynasty to use Joan Crawford as a battering ram against their new plexiglass technology.
- Martin Short then played a clumsy dad who blames everyone else for his mistakes. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays his daughter who hates the mom and is about to go out on a really late date. Billy Crystal then arrives as the date and the Short tries to hypnotize him by fire to try to gauge his intentions in a convoluted sketch where none of the pieces really fit together and the funniest bit was the fact that Billy Crystal's wig slipped, revealing a bald cap for a sketch that must take place later on in the show.
- This was followed by a fake ad for the latest crazy predictions from Jeane Dixon.
- The Joe Franklin Show returned for another installment where the boring host interviews "Magician Doug Henning", "Alan Arkin", and an up and coming actress played by Kathleen Turner. Must of the comedy from the sketch comes from how bizarre Henning is during an otherwise bore segment, though it also gets funny when Kathleen Turner (in character) can't keep up with the lip sync when her character goes to sing her song.
- Billy Crystal then plays a peanut slinger at a sporting event who tells a boxing-themed story in the style of a one man show.
- We then went to a New York loft party where Kathleen Turner tries to pick-up on Martin Short who is a neurotic mess still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and is a bit overwhelmed by her aggressive advances and is flattered and scared at the same time.
- Once again, Christopher Guest gave us the news. This week Gary Kroeger dropped by with a consumer report on how many lame calendars come out in time for the Christmas holiday and he shares the one that he made on his own, and a different "Doug Henning" got a segment to talk about his attempt to make the deficit disappear.
- John Waite then took to the stage to perform Saturday Night.
- Strictly From Blackwell is a talk show sketch where Mr. Blackwell interviews the host of a new dinner theater where the food is more sought after than any performance in the dinner show.
- Finally, Kathleen Turner closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.
This ended up being such a slump episode that it's the first time in a long while that I found it difficult to find these three favorite moments. First, I kind of loved the opening sketch because Where Fernando meets Bernard Goetz because the Goetz subway story has always stood out in my memory even to this day so it was interesting to see the joking that took place right after it actually happened. Next, I really liked this week's visit from Willie and Frank because even though they are repetitive and annoying, I have to admit, the fact that they were in a ski pyramid this week actually made me laugh. Finally, I was a fan of the MacDouglass-Drummond Miracle Wrench because I like how lightly they took overspending by the government at the time and treated it as just a joke to be laughed at.