Happy To See Judge Harry Stone
On What I'm Guessing Is An Oasis Episode
First off, I've always been a huge fan of Harry Anderson because of his role as Judge Harry Stone on the TV show Night Court. The thing that I liked the most about Night Court was at the time it originally aired it was more adult themed so it would come on at 10:00 in the PM which was normally the time for hour long dramas that I hated.
Unfortunately, the 10:00 in the PM airing meant it was past my bedtime. Lucky for me, I had a TV in my room so I would turn down the brightness so my parents couldn't see the flickering of light under my door and get the volume down to where I was the only one who could hear to watch this show that was totally age inappropriate. This made Night Court another one of those shows that I felt cool for watching because everyone else I knew was not allowed.
Due to the fact that I was already a fan of Harry Anderson and the fact that he already had a working relationship with SNL, I had high hopes this episode would be a break in the slump episodes after getting dealt three in a row. I really think that him having a history with the show was the key factor in this episode being so good because the writers seemed to write for him as the star instead of playing second-fiddle to Crystal and Short which if you've been reading this you know is my major complaint about this season.
Though not my favorite episode of the season, it does reassure me that when I do have a complaint about an episode, it's not that I'm getting burnt out on the overall challenge and that I still have it in me to be entertained, making me feel that when I do complain, it's actually a valid opinion, at least when it comes to my point of view.
Looking ahead, I'm a bit nervous about the rest of this season which is why I feel this is an oasis episode pinned between a collection of slump shows but I'm very happy to get it.
Alright, now that that's 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 with a Congressional Address where they took actual footage of Reagan giving his address to Congress and added Rich Hall as the guy who wandered into the White House n inauguration day using green screen technology from the day to announce, "Live from New York..."
Harry Anderson then officially opened the show with a monolog about his history of with the show as a guest performer to do his magic and how he credits the show for his current career as a Judge on the TV show Night Court which he also credits for changing his scamming ways from his street performing magician days only to go on and give us a scam of a magic trick where he "eats a live Guinea Pig," after it doesn't play along with the stunt.
The parody Kate and Ali returned with Martin Short as Katharine Hepburn and, of course, Billy Crystal in blackface as Muhammad Ali. In the sketch, they promoted an upcoming Valentine's Day Special Episode.
We then got a segment called American Profile where Christopher Guest and Billy Crystal are being profiled as two novelty inventing brothers as they practice against the Mets at Fantasy Camp where they show off their baseball themed pranks. I remember really liking this sketch as a kid because I was blown away that they actually got the entire Mets team to play along with the bit and may have even been young enough to believe that the pranks weren't scripted and that the reactions were real.
Dueling Magi is a sketch where Harry Anderson and "Doug Henning" have a crazy magic off where Harry reveals all of Doug's tricks, ending with Henning getting shot.
Jim Belushi then shows up home 20 minutes late from a trip to the post office to find that his wife has been remarried as if he were missing for 20 years. We eventually meet the wife's first husband who is actually on time with his return but was gone all day because of work and also got the missing person treatment.
We then got a fake ad for Ronald Reagan Jeans which included real footage of Reagan walking around in his Canadian Tuxedo.
Ricky & Phil returned as the two roommates who do nothing but bicker while they obviously get along. I think this would be more fun if Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest had real chemistry like Eddie Murphy and Piscopo did but Crystal always seems like a character in a one man show and Guest seems to be acting a role. Being that these are character-driven sketches I don't it works as well because I see the acting when it seems like it should feel more like improv.
Once again, Christopher Guest gave us the news. He's okay but I really wish they would have given Rich Hall the main new anchor role. This week, Rich Hall plays a key player at the Pentagon who plans to hold his breath to get the crazy military budget that he demands, minutes go by with more news reports before we checked back in with Rich Hall who was still holding his breath but his eyes were bugging out of his head, following the rule of three we then got another news story, check back in on Rich Hall right when his head blows up from continuing to hold his breath. Billy Crystal's Vaudeville comedian character also got a segment to joke about suggestions for Valentine's gifts and gets Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Christopher Reeve involved because they just happened to be in the audience.
Bryan Adams then took to the stage to perform Somebody.
We then got a bit of a parody of Night Court in the sketch Salem Court where Harry Anderson plays the Judge during the Salem Witch Trial era. Other than the court setting, I wouldn't say this is a parody at all.
Harry Anderson then took to the stage to perform another magic/comedy act reminiscent of his past performances on the show, though I wouldn't say it was actually a magic trick but more of an origami trick where he turns a felt ring into various types of hats.
We then went to a talent agent's office where Juliet Louis-Dreyfus and Mary Gross paly a niece and aunt duo following an audition that apparently didn't go all that well. The Julia can sing the aunt cannot but Julia can't split the team because her aunt has saved her multiple times throughout her life and even saves her from a rattlesnake before the end of the sketch.
Bryan Adams then returned to the stage to perform Run to You.
Finally, Harry Anderson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Though I really liked the energy of this episode, I have to admit, I still struggled a bit to find these three favorite moments. First, I liked Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest's visit to the Mets Fantasy Camp because I totally remember being blown away as a kid by how they got real-life baseball players to participate in a sketch on my favorite comedy show. Next, I really liked Harry Anderson doing his hat trick just because it was an interesting visual routine. Finally, I was a fan of the 20 Minutes Late sketch because of the surreal play with time where they treated 20 minutes like it was actually 20 years.