My Mixed Feeling About
The Main Event Of The Season
As someone who discovered professional wrestling almost at the exact time this episode originally aired, I've been looking forward to this viewing ever since I perused all of the upcoming hosts after sitting through the very disappointing lineup from Season 7.
Though I definitely remember seeing their segment with Billy Crystal as Fernando from highlight shows, I don't think I ever realized that Mr. T and Hulk Hogan were actually featured on the show as full blown hosts, so I was excited to see how the SNL/WWE relationship started out because these fake fighters usually make for some pretty funny shows, but then again I might just be thinking of The Rock.
Anyways, I know that this was the exact time that I got into wrestling because I was still on the fence about watching men fight in their underwear so I missed out on watching the first WrestleMania when it originally aired on Pay-Per-View which took place as Hulk Hogan said, happened twelve hours after the airing of this episode.
I was fully on board by WrestleMania II and didn't miss a single major event until I was about sixteen-years-old where men fighting in their underwear once again lost its appeal. I had another window of fandom between twenty-one and twenty-five when my roommates and I really got into the fake fights but that was mainly as a goof that was fueled by one of my best friends who was a legitimate huge fan.
So now that my history with wrestling is out of the way it's time to talk about the actual episode that ended up being a bit of a letdown but based on some clues throughout the viewing, may be due to the fact that this was a last minute plan after the original host of the night may have backed out due to a potential writer's strike.
Keep in mind, I don't claim to be an SNL expert who knows the history of every episode, I'm just a fan who makes up theories based on things that I vague memories of interviews from the cast and evidence I pick up from the show.
In this episode, there were two clues, first, Billy Crystal got a segment to share a short film he shot for extra content just in case the strike was still going on at this time. Next Steve Landesberg was given a segment to do some stand-up since he is the person in question that was supposed to be the scheduled host and his story as to why he backed out while still being there was so convoluted that it felt like a total lie.
There was also an outside clue that during this time the WWF would get one Saturday a month to take the place of Saturday Night Live so this might explain the last minute collaboration that made the episode feel rushed and why the two host may have been underutilized because as horrible as both Hulk Hogan and Mr. T were as performers, the nostalgia alone made me love every moment they were on the screen so my biggest complaint was that I wanted more.
Other than that, this was a pretty fun show and it even had a fun appearance by the late Rowdy Roddy Piper which I felt was the best performance of the night, including the two hosts, the official cast and even the Commodores who were the guest band.
Alright, now that all of the wrestling talk 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 started with an MTV news parody about how Prince wasn't part of the USA For Africa video due to an incident where his bodyguards beat up a group of his fans outside an LA restaurant so to make up for his absence he put out a video of his own called I Am Also The World where Mr. T and Hulk Hogan play the bodyguard as Billy Crystal in blackface once again brags about his humanitarian efforts involved in bailing the bodyguards out. Any time famous singer steps up to the mic to join in on the song either Mr. T or Hulk Hogan quickly takes them out and of course, the song ends on the line, "Live from New York..."
Mr. T & Hulk Hogan then officially opened the show with a monolog that's more of a wrestling promo about their upcoming main event at WrestleMania I which was taking place the very next day. They also threaten the audience to laugh or else everyone involved in the show will get beat up and Mr. T proves that they are not joking by beating up a heckler that he grabbed from out of the crowd.
Fisherman Bob is a pitchman who is trying to sell toxic waste as a solution to useless lures and bait.
We then meet a young man and his family who are looking for a summer camp to send the boy off to. One camp's marketing director comes to sell the family on Crystal Lake, the same Crystal Lake from Friday The 13th the kid is aware of all the murders as if it were not a movie which really freaks the kid out. Then the marketing director opens the door to reveal Jason and everyone's hair lifts off their heads in fear because it's definitely implied that they are as good as dead.
We then got a repeat of the Ronald Reagan Jeans ad from earlier this season.
Fernando's Hideaway returns with both Mr. T and Hulk Hogan as guests and again it's almost like a legitimate interview only with, "You look marvelous," being repeated again and again and again... but the WrestleMania aspect kept me from getting too annoyed. It also gets pretty funny when both Mr. T and Hulk break from the intimidating characters that they've been playing in every sketch of the night so far.
Fin-de-Siecle Prison Homosexuality was an investigative sketch that exposes the homosexual acts that ran ramped in the prison system around 1899. We then cut from the host who is introducing the piece to see Martin Short's first night in jail where Christopher Guest plays more of a romantic than the rough prison rapist that he's built up to be, especially when I assumed that either Hulk Hogan or Mr. T would have been involved. By the end of the sketch, Martin Short is in love and Belushi who plays his cellmate wants to hear all about it in a very gossipy way.
Billy Crystal then got a segment to share a short film that he made about his life as a substitute teacher before his comedy career. Of course, it's a sketch that parodies the cliche white teacher who is sent to the roughest school in the district to solve all the problems in their world only in this sketch the bad ass students are only in the third grade. It also has a School Of Rock vibe to it being that he decided to teach them stand-up comedy over anything they could actually use.
We then got a fake ad for Ohio Saving and Loan where you will be saving your money because the bank won't let you in the door to get near it as if the bank's sudden closure was actually a good thing.
Steve Landesberg then made his SNL debut to perform one of his stand-up routines after having to turn down his original intended role as the host of this episode.
Once again, Christopher Guest gave us the news. This week
The Joe Franklin Show returns for another boring segment that parody's the real show, with the same name, that I'm not aware of enough to appreciate the joke even though I do actually get it. As always, the guests are kind of funny and weird, especially since they got the real Liberace since he was also a part of WrestleMania I.
The Commodores then took to the stage to perform Night Shift.
One of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T's WrestleMania opponent, Rowdy Roddy Piper and his "manager" for the fight, Cowboy Bob Orton, then got a shot to cut a wrestling promo for WrestleMania one and Piper outshines both his opponents in his ability to deliver his lines which might be why his partner for the match, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff wasn't involved. Hell, even Bob Orton was a better actor and he did nothing but pace around the scene.
Martin Short then makes an appearance as his sleazy lawyer character, Nathan Thurm in his first full-blown sketch outside of the news and his first "60 Minutes" appearance. In the sketch, we meet his mistress just before he gets caught by her husband who also used to be a good friend but he denies everything through obvious lies and the type double talk that only a sleazy lawyer would try to pull off.
The Commodores then returned to the stage to perform Animal Instinct.
Finally, Mr. T and Hulk Hogan closed the show by thanking the audience and saying their goodnights.
My biggest problem with this viewing was that I couldn't find a decent copy of the entire episode so sorry for the crappy image connected to the one sketch that wasn't part of the Seeso version that made this list of favorite moments. First, I live Fernando's Corner with Mr. T and Hulk Hogan even though I was only so-so about until both the Hulkster and Mr. T couldn't hold back their laugh breaking the bad ass characters that they tried to portray throughout the rest of the episode. Next, I really liked the Fin-de-Siecle Prison Homosexuality sketch because of the romantic twist that I really wasn't expecting due to the homophobic setup, the tone of the hosts and the time period that this episode aired. Finally, I was a fan of "Prince's" I Am Also The World parody because I like the play on We Are The World and it may have been the best utilization of the aggressive hosts.