SNL: S15E01... HOST: BRUCE WILLIS... DATE: SEPTEMBER 30, 1989

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Now That's What I'm Talking About, Willis

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I had mixed feeling going into this viewing, especially since I was so disappointed by Mel Gibson's appearance last season. It's not that I see the two as the same person but that episode made me a little weary of heart-throb action heroes as host.

On the other side, I've always actually found Bruce Willis to be funny himself and not just a good-looking person with a pretty smile who gets comedic credit for simply reacting the people who are actually responsible for the laughs. I tend to forget this and compare the two because though totally different the two carry themselves in similar ways.

Keep in mind, when I said mixed feelings in the opening line, I wasn't referring to a 50/50 equation as Bruce's action star status was my only concern. Other than that, I was fully prepared for the funny from the star of Hudson Hawk, Moonlighting, and Beavis And Butthead Do America were just three of the many roles where I found him to be funny enough justify having him as a host of a comedy show as opposed to just booking him for being one of the biggest names at the time.

This was a solid start to another season where there were no real significant changes to the cast other than the fact that they boosted Mike Myers to be an official Not Ready For Prime Time Player while dropping Ben Stiller from the cast. This makes me excited to keep watching, especially since last season ended with such a strong second half.

So, now that I've shared my views on this opening show, it's now time to move on and share what I actually viewed as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From the White House with Dana as Bush for an update on what he did on vacation to decompress from his first hundred days as president. He then went on to update us on a recent hurricane relief project before sharing his next step in the war on drugs which included his kids stepping in with almost X-Men like powers before finally announcing, "Live from New York..."
  2. Bruce Willis then officially opened the show by with a monolog about how he used to work for the show as a caterer back when he was a struggling actor. He then went on play the harmonica and with the band after claiming it was his only demand to return to the show because he was still a bit bitter about being fired back in his catering day.
  3. We then got a fake ad for thirtysomething Cereal that parodied the dry tone and melodramatic issues from the show that inspired this morning meal.
  4. We then went to an airplane sketch where Bruce Willis is joking as a way to flirt with Victoria Jackson who is his seat neighbor. Terrorists then took over the plane threatening to kill anyone who disobeys their orders. Being Mr. Funnyman, Bruce Willis can't resist delivering a one-liner that gets Victoria Jackson killed and gets warned that one more joke will get them to kill again which isn't enough to stop the jokes from flying out of his mouth. Passenger after passenger gets killed until the terrorist realize they created a situation that they can get out of so, following one final joke, the main terrorist blows up the plane.
  5. Neil Young then took to the stage to perform Rockin' in the Free World.
  6. Sprockets then returned for another segment with Dieter and his strange German dissection of comedy where this week he has on "Jimmy Stewart" as his guest and the two talk about the dark nihilistic points of Stewart's life that influenced the book of light-hearted poems he was on the show to promote. After drinking some hooch to get in the right mood to read some of his work, Steward almost gets into a fight with Dieter's monkey.
  7.  This was followed by a Donahue Promo where the white-haired host pitches an upcoming show for Women Who Name Their Breast.
  8. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Imelda Marcos checked in via satellite once again to talk about her life in Hawaii following the death of her husband. A. Whitney Brown also dropped in for another brilliant Big Picture segment about how free speech includes the right to burn the American flag even if it is something that he wouldn't recommend or do himself.
  9. Home Improvement With The Anal-Retentive Carpenter was another installment of the Anal-Retentive series. This time, as the title suggests, our anal-retentive host is giving home improvement lesson with the main project being a window box. As always, he ends up getting too hung up in the cleaning process following step one to ever get to any significant details of the task at hand.
  10. Wayne's World also returned for another installment, this time the basement dwelling cable access hosts setup that the show is being recorded while their parents are upstairs having a party and that they hope they don't get interrupted. Their guest was played by Bruce Willis who plays the coolest guy in school who looks pretty tough but has zero personality. They ask their guest the new cool word for the year and get super excited to learn that it's sphincter. They then go on and attempt to prank call the partying parents upstairs where Bruce Willis claims to be Wayne's teacher Mr. Sphincter and needs to talk to her son. This leads Wayne's mom to come downstairs and say sphincter on live TV. 
  11. Neil Young then returned to the stage to perform Needle And The Damage Done, as well as the song No More, back to back.
  12. We then got a fake ad for a new album called Bruce Willis: The Man And His Music with Bruce Willis singing made up commercial jiggles to the tune of his Seagram's Wine Cooler ad tune. 
  13. This was followed by another Donahue Promo where this time the topic of the white-haired host show being advertised is When Your Shoelace Gets Caught Inside Your Shoe.
  14. Johnny's Replacement is another sketch that I couldn't find anywhere on the internet but while looking for it I found a site that notes it was actually replaced in reruns by the Airplane Hijacker sketch that was shot during dress rehearsal that didn't actually air the original night of this episode.
  15. Finally, Bruce Willis closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I'm so glad to see another solid opening show to a season thanks to these three moments that were my favorite from the night. First, I loved Home Improvement With The Anal-Retentive Carpenter because as I keep saying, he's one of my favorite Phil Hartman characters and will probably land somewhere in my top three whenever the segment is aired. Next, I really liked this week's Sprockets because like the Anal-Retentive guy, Dieter is another favorite SNL character and the fact that "Jimmy Stewart" was his guest added awesome icing to the cake. Finally, I was a fan of this week's Wayne's World making this list the first repeating character trifecta since I usually attempt to have at least one original sketch as a favorite but there was no way around it today.  

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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.