SNL: S21E02... HOST: CHEVY CHASE... DATE: OCTOBER 7, 1995

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Now This Is A Way To Start A Season

Granted, I understand why they might have held off on having Chevy Chase as the first host of the year, considering the fact that they opened this episode by pointing out this appearance was four days shy of being the exact twenty year anniversary of the very first announcement of, “Live from New York…” which was made by Chevy, himself.

That said, why not just start the season a week later in order to open the season on a special note to introduce the brand new cast. Especially with how Chevy opened the night by taking us back to the season one premiere by pointing out exactly where all of the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players were waiting on that exact same stage, waiting for their sign to go. I don’t know if it was shtick or not, but at one point Chevy even seemed to be on the verge of tears.

The rest of the night had the same ups and downs as the actual opening night as the mostly new cast continues to find their legs, but I’ve grown to expect seasons with significant cast overhauls to take at least five episodes for everyone to figure out their roles. This is why I think it’s more important than ever for the show to prop up a new team with alumni hosts or hosts with multiple appearances, at least for the first few shows.

I think, even if this season had swapped the order of the first two shows, this episode would have gotten me amped enough to find Mariel Hemingway’s visit to be average instead of a bit of a letdown. Fortunately, as I said in my last review, I’m already aware that this group will grow on me so I’m not all that concerned but back in the day I might not have been as willing to wait how the season played out.

Then again, this was at a time where I was way more obsessive about my viewing routine so, in all honesty, I would have watched this year no matter what. Either way, I’m very excited to continue to watch and see how things played out because whether or not I like a particular episode or era, this overall challenge has been an amazing walk down memory lane, and this episode really tapped into that feeling with Chevy’s monolog.

With that said, it’s now time to shift gears and share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of  NFL On NBC where O.J. Simpson joined the NFL announcing team after being found innocent of a double homicide. While reporting from the sideline, O.J. kept inadvertently hinting at his guilt while interviewing the coach about the game. Of course, this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Chevy Chase then officially opened the show with a monolog about how great it was to be back just four days short of the exact day that he opened the very first episode of SNL exactly twenty years ago. He then went on to share a touching recollection of how things went down that night which for some reason led him to impersonal Jiminy Cricket to sing When You Wish Upon A Star.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Lobotol which was pretty much just valium meant to keep overachieving women in the proper place.
  4. Althea was a hyperactive child played by Cheri Oteri who got to visit the cockpit of a plane in flight only to annoy the hell out of Chevy Chase as the plane’s lead pilot.
  5. The Blame Game was a game show sketch hosted by Mark McKinney where contestants earned points through their efforts to pass the blame. The contestants this week were Chevy Chase and Tim Meadows who both used race to determine who was to blame for every question that was asked.
  6. Fuzzy Memories returned, this time, Jack Handey shared the tale of when a young Jack had a run in with an escaped convict while wondering where said convict now is.
  7. We then got a parody of Braveheart at least that what the sketch set up. After being introduced to the castmates dressed as Scottish troops all with their faces painted blue, we cut to Lorne Michael’s office where Chevy was dressed as Braveheart while he told Lorne that he didn’t want to do his famous fall. Lorne then pointed out the Chevy still owed him a couple of fall from his original contract from years ago. Chevy had nothing to do but give in and while walking to the set had a run in with Jim Breuer who offered to take Chevy’s fall. Chevy then gave Breuer a very touching warning about physical gags and how it led to his pill addiction, which ended with Chevy accidentally shoving Breuer down the stairs before introducing Lisa Loeb.
  8. Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories then took to the stage to perform Do You Sleep?
  9. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Norm started the news by announcing murder is now legal in California following the O.J. verdict. Father Guido Sarducci checked in after an extremely long absence for a satellite segment where he announced that the Pope had lost his wallet during his recent visit to Central Park. Several news stories after the announcement the Father returned to announce that the wallet’s been found.
  10. Prom Flashback was a sketch where Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri played and dull but successful married couple with kids we then flashed back to their wreck of a prom night to learn how they landed on this pathetic path.
  11. Gangsta Bitch Barbie was a fake ad for a line of Barbie products aimed at toward “urban kids,” that mainly played upon “ghetto” stereotypes.  
  12. The Mark Fuhrman Show was a parody talk show hosted by, racist O.J. cop Mark Fuhrman who in a desperate attempt to clean his racist image, had Tim Meadows as his guest who played a “gangsta rapper” who really hated white men. Fuhrman is successful in biting his tongue throughout the anti-white/anti-cop interview, only to plant evidence on the set the moment that Meadows was gone.  
  13. O.J. Today was a follow up to last weeks all O.J. morning news show where the morning O.J. news crew shared a few clips of their favorite outtakes from the trial after sharing how sad they were to have to go back to their old jobs.
  14. Spade In America also returned for another installment where David Spade discussed the decline of modern music, especially rock and roll.
  15. Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories then returned to the stage to perform Stay.
  16. Lampreys was a sketch where Will Ferrell and Nancy Walls played parents to Cheri Oteri who played a little boy named Timmy. Timmy was a boy who kept lampreys as pets which are apparently large leech creatures that rely on Timmy’s blood for sustenance and have grown to be too large for Timmy to support without dying, so he had to let them go.
  17. Finally, Chevy Chase closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights. 

This, should have been season opener might have been a little rocky thanks to the mostly new cast still trying to find their legs, but it was still pretty fun to watch thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, as much as I hate to have the monolog land so high I these lists, I loved Chevy’s opening routine because when he looked back nearly twenty years, it took me back 388 episodes to where I started this challenge last year, which feels like a lifetime ago. Next, I really liked the opening sketch when O.J. wrote out, “I did it,” on the teleprompter while reporting on a game because I distinctly remember this sketch cracking me up on the night that it originally aired. Finally, I was a fan of the Braveheart sketch, because just like with the opening monolog, it was interesting to see Chevy explain the pain and addiction that comes with physical comedy having witnessed this evolution in just a little over a year.

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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.