SNL: S15E06... HOST: WOODY HARRELSON... DATE: NOVEMBER 18, 1989

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Invasion Of The Reoccuring Characters

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I often hear SNL fans complain about the show's reoccurring characters because they find these sketches to be extremely repetitive. Hell, I've even made this complaint myself in reviews from the past, only I at least try to note, when I do complain, that my take isn't all-inclusive and just depends on the specific character. That said, even the characters that I do enjoy can leave you questioning whether or not the sketch is a repeat from the week before.

None of this bothered me at all when watching the show in real time because of the fact that at least a week would go by before having to sit through the revisit. This outlook isn't quite that same when watching the show on a daily basis being that there is not enough time between viewing to forget how similar these sketches are with the catchphrase almost being as big of a star as the character making it hard to develop an ongoing story without the phase that pays feeling forced.

Either way, watching the show weekly or daily, I really don't care as long as the content creates a laugh. With this has been such a so-so season, I actually look forward to these reoccurring roles because the charm of nostalgic familiarity has, more often than not, been better than anything new.

This is why I was excited to see the nearly half of the sketches from this episode featured characters that I've already been introduced to from back when the show was a bit better. Normally, I prefer these sketches to be limited to once or twice a night but for this season I'll take what I can get since this was one of the better episodes.

As always, I hope this season figures out how to improve just a tiny bit because the episodes I've seen so far have been so close to being good but keep ending up bland and average. This episode has me optimistic because even though I felt the reoccurring characters saved the day, I could easily argue the night's new content as my favorite moments from the night. 

With that, it's now time to move on from my views on this episode and share what I actually viewed, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody sequel entitled Five Easy Pieces '89 where Phil Hartman as Jack Nicholson as himself visited the Warner Brother Payroll Office to collect on the money he was offered to play the Joker in Batman asking for bonds and stocks and other forms of funds that or normally demanded as payoff for criminal activities. Though I've heard the title Five Easy Pieces, I've never seen the movie and have no idea what it's about, leading me to think that I'm not getting the references, only the audience is silent as well. When the payroll agent denies the request, Nicholson destroys the office space which does get a laugh while also leading to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Woody Harrelson then officially opened the show with a monolog about being excited to see David Byrne backstage which leads to a quick story about his failed musical interest. This story then leads our host to perform one of his horrible songs caller Pretty Lady which was hard to tell if he performed it as a goof or if he really thought it was good.
  3. Who's Dumber? was a game show sketch hosted by Jon Lovitz with Woody Harrelson and Victoria Jackson as the two final contestants from a long-running tournament to find the dumbest American. Even though the questions are super simple they all led to a "Who's on first?" type of runaround during the answering phase. 
  4. Pumping Up With Hans And Franz then returned for another installment where this week the two muscle-bound brothers talk about the bringing down of the Berlin Wall and go on to announce that they're going to bring down walls of their own with the help of their new liposuction machine. Enter "Roseanne Barr, who steps behind of a curtain and gets the fat sucked out of her ass. Trouble soon ensues as her fat starts to overfill the collection container and slip all over the floor leading to total chaos when the brothers start slipping around. The sketch ended with a reveal that all of this fat came from "Roseanne's" lower half with an up top still very heavy.
  5. Attitudes also returned for another installment with Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn as dueling hosts who fight for the spotlight while their guests barely seem interested in the show. This week the two passive-aggressive host interview Woody Harrelson who makes miniature models of tiny food in his effort to escape the 9 to 5 rat race. While the to host try and talk this up like it's the most amazing thing that they've ever seen, Woody's personality is so dry and awkward that he could bore anyone to sleep with his banter.
  6. David Byrne then took to the stage to perform Dirty Old Town.
  7. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, there were no special guests just Dennis Miller alone with his news.
  8. Three Very Lonesome Cowboys was a sketch that, like the title suggests, featured three cowboys on horseback who sing about the animals that they've contemplated having sex with when stricken by lonely feelings.
  9. We then went to an Army Hospital where Woody wakes up from a coma to find that he now only exists as a head only it takes a lot of questions for him to get the full extent of his injuries.
  10. Thanksgiving Good, Fire Bad was a sketch pitched as a Holiday Classic with Tonto, and Tarzan preparing their Thanksgiving meal while Frankenstein is outside where it's his duty to kill the turkey only he is too sensitive and attached being that he raised the bird from birth. After getting yelled at to complete the task Frankenstein kills the turkey at the same time the other two decide to go vegetarian. Their timing couldn't be worse because Frankenstein steps in the room with his dead pet in hand the second they come to this conclusion. Not all is lost though because Frankenstein takes what was going to be the holiday meal and hooks it up to the machine that brought him back to life creating a Franken-Feathered-Friend.
  11. David Byrne then returned to the stage to perform Loco de Amor.
  12. Sprockets also returned for another installment of the bizarre German talk show that awkwardly breaks down comedy with Dieter as the host with a very flat funny bone. This week Dieter interviews Woody Harrelson who is a German with more of a wild American attitude who is super loud and eats fast food while our host tries to pull off the serious show that we're used to.
  13. Tonto, Tarzan, and Frankenstein then returned to the stage for a Thanksgiving Greetings where the three share what they are thankful for.
  14. We then met Kevin Nealon and Woody Harrelson as two Adult Education Students who awkwardly try to get one another, misreading the simplest of clues (IE Woody wears a Mets sweatshirt which gets Kevin to think that he actually plays for the team.) In the end, it turns out that the class is for recognizing poisonous snakes playing off of how wrong these two adults are when it comes to looking for signs.  
  15. Finally, Woody Harrelson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Thankfully, this episode made it easy to find these three favorite moments from the night with the reoccurring characters help since they took the place of what might have been boring filler. First, I loved the Who's Dumber? game show sketch because it was the only original content from the night that genuinely got me to laugh thanks to its "Who's on first?" style of humor. Next, I really liked The Army Hospital sketch because the slow reveal that Woody was just a head was a funny concept to me. Finally, I was a fan of this week's Pumping Up because this installment with Hans and Franz pumping the fact out of "Roseanne Barr's" ass was another one of those sketches that got stuck in my head while watching this as a child.

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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.