SNL: S10E16... HOST: CHRISTOPHER REEVE... DATE: APRIL 6, 1985

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or...

Superman In A Night Of Superlong Sketches

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If you've been following along at home, you probably have run across multiple reviews where I complain about the fewer but longer sketch structured shows which is my main issue with this episode hosted by Christopher Reeves.

With seven of the twelve segments being either guest performances or standard segments that take place no matter who's the host, episodes like this barely give me anything to sink my teeth in, so even the decent viewings with this structure have an okay, at best, vibe and this was one of those episodes. 

First off, it was really nice to see Superman in his prime before his horrible horse accident. I found it funny that he started the with jokes about how there's more to him than his superhero role and then went on to play the character in two out of the three sketches that he was featured in for the night but like with a bulk of the host from this season, I wanted to see him more which again was my biggest issues with this episode.

Part of me wonders if this episode was affected by the potential writer's strike that I learned about during last week's Mr. T/Hulk Hogan episode where a bulk of the content may have been written earlier in case they had to finish off the season without any writers. Again, I don't claim to be a show expert so any of my behind the scenes theories are pure speculation but this would explain why there were so many pre-recorded bits and characters that felt more like ones you would find in improv.

Once I'm done with the viewing portion of the challenge, I do plan to read SNL history books to see if my theories are right but until then, it's time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The week's show started with a fake ad for the fake mini-series A.D. 13, Part V, A New Beginning that makes fun of how fictionalized these historical specials have grown to become while stunt casting the TV special. Of course, the ad ended with the "Pope" announcing, "Live from New York..." 
  2. Christopher Reeve then officially opened the show in a bunny suit for to celebrate Easter to go into his monolog about how he loves the show for how they treat the host with dignity. He then goes on to share his non-Superman stage roles to show that he's more than a one trick pony.
  3. We then went straight from the monolog to a sketch that shares Chris Reeve's "Superman Auditions" and how he got the role after being third in consideration to both Gary Kroeger and Rich Hall, with Kroeger in the definite lead. During the second scene of the audition, the director uses a live gun to test the scene where Superman catches a bullet with his teeth. Reeve is unable to catch the bullet because they keep bouncing off his teeth, Rich Hall does it perfectly and Kroeger is shot dead making Rich Hall the new front of the pack. In scene three, the test if to crush a piece of coal into a diamond. This time Reeve is too strong and smooshes the coal to oil and once again Rich Hall does a perfect job. Finally, we end on a heat vision scene were, once again, Rich Hall outshines Christopher Reeve to get the part but can't take it because of his busy schedule leaving our host with the part of Superman by default and the director and casting agent both seemed pretty peeved.
  4. Jackie Rogers Jr.'s $100,000 Jackpot Wad was a game show sketch hosted by Martin Short's Jackie Rogers Jr. character where celebrity contestants, Captain Kangaroo and Sammy Davis Jr. try to win money for the non-famous partners by playing a $10,000 Pyramid-like game.
  5. Steven Wright then returned to the show for yet another stand-up routine and I'm happy to see every appearance.
  6. We then went to a war scene during WWII where a group of American fighters get stuck in a church and come up with a bunch of dumb escape plans the first being to sneak by the enemies by dressing as nuns. When they test this first one out the soldier gets shot right away so they move on to test two where Belushi tries to get Reeve to also dress as a nun but this time claim to be a penguin but he is just not having it so Belushi shoots him thinking he's a spy then goes on to get everyone else killed because of his dumb ideas. 
  7. Once again, Christopher Guest gave us the news. This week, Jim Belushi got a segment to comment on the breaking up of AT&T due to monopoly concerns and his outrage over the noticed change in service, Paul Harvey also returned for his awkward delivery of the news and Billy Crystal got a segment as his Vaudeville character to comedically complain about the horrible quality of modern entertainment and goes to the audience where he finds Larry Bud Melman!!!
  8. Santana then took to the stage to perform Say It Again. 
  9. We then got to see Superman as an old man living in a nursing home where everyone thinks he's crazy for claiming to be the superhero even though in the world of the sketch, he's actually telling the truth. Though the concept is fun, this sketch runs pretty long, especially considering there is pretty mush only one note. 
  10. Talk Back was a talk show host where Christopher Guest interviews an Amish man about the communities hatred of the movie Witness with very specific details of how the movie got them wrong, except for the building of the whorehouse but it turned out the guest wasn't Amish at all but is instead a guy just pranking the show. The "real guest" then arrives only he ended up being a prankster as well.
  11. Santana then returned to the stage to perform Right Now.
  12. Finally, Christopher Reeve closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights. 

Though there were so few sketches to choose from it was easy to find my favorite moments of the night only these moments might be my favorites for the weirdest reasons so for. First, I love the Jackie Rogers Jr.'s $100,000 Jackpot Wad sketch, not because I actually liked it but because I was unaware that I've been quoting Christopher Guest's character from this sketch for most of my life whenever I say "Japuti." Next, I really liked seeing Larry "Bud" Melman during his cameo appearance during the news because I was such a huge Letterman fan at this time. Finally, I was a fan of the Superman Audition sketch because it was actually the best sketch of the night and is only this low because I like the two sketches about more due to sentiment over quality.

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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.