My Birthday Episode: Year 14
Being that Fred Savage and I are the same exact age, me being a couple months older, he often played my surrogate into fictional worlds whether it was The Wonder Year, The Princess Bride, or even Vice Versa. Not only did he represent my eye and ears to the stories that played on the screen, I also feel that he was the best actor of his age from that time.
I think I related to him more than other actors around our aged because his characters seemed to struggle more with finding their fit in the world rather than chasing a desire to become popular. For the most part, at least with the stories that stand out to me, his characters also felt like they desired a better connection with their family over trying to fit in with his peers.
Since I was such a fan of this little man, I was excited to see that he was hosting the show but still had concerns that the curse of the so-so season would keep it from being all that great. Now that it's after the fact and I've actually seen the episode, it turned out to be exactly what I expected.
This was a perfectly fine show, considering the season. The sketches were all fun but nothing was funny enough to write home about. This episode also suffered from the longer but fewer sketch format that I'm not a fan of, especially since this was an episode where I could only find abridged versions no matter how hard I looked. This means of the already shortened show was missing two extra sketches making it harder to form an opinion.
Normally, I also complain that the sketches are too safe this year. That wasn't the case with this episode as there was a sketch that promoted leaving kids home alone which led to the said kid running around the house with his father's gun in a way that made gun safety sound silly but ended by making a point. They also had an edgy sketch where they killed Donald Trump way before there was even a hint that he would go on to be the president.
All in all, aside from a few minor annoyances, I would say that this was another fun episode, I just wish that I could find an unabridged version because Frankensteining the viewing together was my biggest issue with this appearance.
With that, it's now trying to move on from sharing my views to sharing what I actually viewed, as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
- This week's show started with another installment of Church Chat. This time, Fred Savage played a Mini-Me to Dana Carvey's Church Lady and the two team up on their scandalous guests with the usual focus on their dealing with SATAN. Also as always, this being the opening sketch it all builds up to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
- Fred Savage then officially opened the show with a monolog about how great it is to host the show that films way past his bedtime, he fits in a couple other funny jokes before the monolog became a parody of Wonder Years as Fred Savage starts to speed through the opening stages of puberty to a voice-over explaining his inner thoughts.
- We then got a sketch about Gun Safety where Phil Hartman and Victoria Jackson are about to head out to see a movie leaving the thirteen-year-old home alone to watch himself. Victoria is concerned about leaving him alone for the first time especially because there is a gun in the house. Phil Hartman tells her not to worry because the gun is safely hidden behind his collection of Playboy. We then meet Fred Savage as the kid in question who is dressed in camo and obviously into gunplay but they decided to leave him anyways. The second they close the door, Fred Savage rushes up to his parent's room and comes down playing with the gun like it was a toy. Phil then returns to find his son with the gun and informs him that he's in big trouble. Fred Savage quickly realizes that he has the gun and therefore he is the one with the power and tells his dad that he is the one who is in trouble. Luckily for Phil, Victoria joins in on the standoff with a gun of her own and tells Fred Savage to go to bed. It's then revealed that this is a PSA as more silly gunplay plays out.
- The Pat Stevens Show then returned after a long break and was still more of the same with Nora Dunn playing Pat Stevens who interviews Fred Savage as himself in a style that makes it feel like you have to know the real Pat Stevens Show in order to get the joke.
- Technotronic then took to the stage to perform Pump Up The Jam.
- Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Jon Lovitz's Annoying Guy character dropped by again to continue to pester Dennis Miller while performing a bunch of crappy magic tricks that aren't even tricks at all but are cringe-worthy acts like chewing foil and scrapping a fork across a chalkboard. Kevin Nealon also dropped in as an on the scene reporter who provides News From 10 Feet Away where he gives an update as to what is currently going on from the audience where he has nothing to report but how the fans seem to be irked by this segment. Then, to close the news, Dana Carvey returned as his Grumpy Old Man character to share how people struggled in the past and how "they liked it!"
- Imaginary Friends was a sketch where Fred Savage is on a playdate with a friend and their parents get super competitive over which kid is more creative when describing their pretend friends. When Fred Savage shares that his imaginary friend is just some guy it leads to the end of the get together because his parents are so disappointed. This seemed like it could have been a funny sketch if it were to stop right here but then it goes on for what seems to be forever as Fred's parents send him up to his room to come up with a better invisible companion since they entered him into an Imaginary Friend contest. Weeks then go by and we cut to the contest where Fred starts to give a dramatic speech about how his father is now his imaginary friend because their real relationship is dying. Rather than touch the crowd this speech leads to nothing but boos until Fred Savage manages to Kaiser Soze together a new friend based on items around the room.
- This was followed by a sketch that took place during a Rocket Launch that keeps having to be put on hold as various people walking onto the launch pad and right under the rocket's thrusters. They save everyone from Lassie to Hitler (only because he's holding the Mona Lisa) but rush to launch when Donald Trump and Marla Maples get in their way.
- Lothar Of The Hill People apparently returned but I couldn't find this sketch anywhere on the internet.
- Technotronic then returned to the stage to perform Get Up!
- Hooked On Sushi was apparently a Schiller's Reel short film but it was yet another segment that I couldn't find online.
- Finally, Fred Savage closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Between the fact that this episode had so few sketches to choose from and the fact that most of the sketches were good, it ended up being super easy to determine these three moments as my favorite from the night. First, I loved this week's Church Chat because the image of Fred Savage as the Church Lady's Mini-Me is something that managed to pass the test of time because it instantly tapped into a sense of nostalgia within me. Next, I really liked the Imaginary Friend sketch because I loved how the audience turned on Fred Savage during his sentimental speech about his dad because they were expecting him to be silly. Finally, I was a fan of the Gun Safety sketch because it highlights how my generation was left to fend for themselves and how it was no big deal.