Since WordPress seems to have a weird disconnect with the International Dateline, I’m just going to start…
Anyway, There are many things in this world I simply couldn’t live without growing up aside from food, shelter, clothing and the overriding sense of getting noticed by my family & peers–“Saturday Night Live” is one of them (If not in the Top 5). What can be said about this comedy institution that Tom Shales, James Andrew Miller and a slew of others haven’t already said? “It’s a Comedy Institution…It’s Long past its Prime.” “It launched a lot of Careers…some people were annoying.” “It created a lot of catchphrases…For God’s Sake, STOP IT WITH THE CATCHPHRASES!”…You get the picture, for every good thing about SNL, an equally bad thing will pop up. And this has probably been the mentality of the average SNL viewer since possibly the 2nd show in 1975. Yes, it’s true, Every so often I’d hear the occasional bellow from the masses “The Show will Never be as Funny as the old years”, “The show hasn’t been good since (PICK ONE) left”, and of course the ever-so-classic critiques/variations of calling the show “Saturday Night Dead”. To which I say, you’re welcome to think so, I just happen to find at least ONE funny thing per episode every week—even on weeks when it clearly isn’t, there are always silver linings among the clouds—but then again, I’ve always been the optimistic type.
To some, it’s Just a TV Show. But it’s never been “Just a TV show” to me, the best way I can describe SNL in my own words is this…Imagine putting in a long week of work, you’re tired, you’re frustrated, and you need to unwind a little. So what do most people do when the week ends? You go to your favorite Bar/Club, knock back a couple of drinks, enjoy the entertainment either on stage or on one of the 10-12 big screen TVs surrounding you all while you get blissfully intoxicated thanks to the bartender of the evening. SNL to me is like going to that favorite bar every week & unwinding; The 10-12 TVs could represent each of the sketches that air that night—some work with crystal clarity & reception, others are a little fuzzy but still working, while others still have bad reception that may take weeks or months to fix, or they simply throw that TV out and get a new one. The bartender could represent that night’s host and can either be somebody you want to hang with, vent all your problems to, or somebody who’s simply there for the paycheck with little regard to your feelings. The person singing on stage could represent the musical guest, and that person could be an undiscovered superstar, a major talent making a surprise visit, or a person who clearly needs to knock back a few more drinks in order to be more talented. And of course, the booze you drink at the bar could represent the audience’s laughter intoxicating you even if you KNOW a sketch isn’t all that great to begin with. Of course, that’s just MY interpretation of it, your mileage may vary.
When I was 9 years old, I somehow became a fan of “SNL” during one of their darker times…the dreaded 20th season in 1994-95 (For the record, Dana Carvey’s episode from October of ‘94 was my first show—one of the Very few high points of that year I would soon realize). Fortunately, my sister bought me a “Starmaker” brand VHS Tape that Christmas—an episode with Billy Crystal hosting (which I still own), and that’s what REALLY got the ball rolling. Fast forward to 1999, and with newfound access to a still primitive internet, I started writing episode reviews for an SNL fansite where—up until a few months ago when it abruptly shut down–you Originally had to e-mail them directly to the webmaster so he could post them on his site. In later years, instead of waiting several days for a review to pop up, the easier thing to do would be to vent on that same fansite’s message board. When I first started doing episode reviews back then, So many things were different. I was only 14 years old and barely had a grasp on both scruples, tact and the English Language–And if you go to the internet archive [archive.org] do a search for Saturday-Night-Live.com, and actually Find my reviews from 1999 to 2015, (Under the names “JK’s SNL”, “Dr. Theodore J. Fugelheimerson”, and eventually “The Doc”) you’ll have a pretty good idea as to how immature/grammatically incorrect I was back in the VERY early years. Thankfully for the passage of time, as well as having a number of adult experiences be thrown at me along the way, I learned how to become a better writer, a better judge of character, and a better rational thinker when I came back to do reviews 5 years later—the goal was the same; discuss the show in a frank & honest manner, and share your opinion with the opinions of others—and nobody is ever right or wrong.
Then—as is the case—life got in the way once again, some scattered time off to finish school once and for all, and by 2013 I came back full-time up to this moment right now—older, wiser, more critical of things, but doing so in a more rational way than back in 1999. So much so, that I have actually been criticized once in a while either for either being Too full of myself, or accused of either “Swallowing a Dictionary” or using too many “20 Dollar Words”. That said, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize in advance if any of the next few months of entries comes off as pompous/arrogant/smug/full of myself to any of you out there (Call it a leftover side effect from watching a LOT of Keith Olbermann back in the day). It’s just that when you write about something you’re very passionate about, sometimes you get carried away. I know this isn’t exactly the New York Times, and I’m CERTAINLY Not Joe Blevins or Dennis Perkins from the AV Club. But I hope you can forgive me for taking this a little too seriously every now and then (I Love the show THAT Much, in good times or bad). Altogether, I’ve put in a total of 12 of the past 17 years as a reviewer. And whether those years are all in a row, full seasons or not, that’s still a lot of time to devote to venting out frustrations regarding—what some would consider—“just a TV show.” Rewind a little to 2014. The 40th season of the show was about to begin, just as the tenure of another episode reviewer/colleague came to an end. One of the things he did in his final year was re-review a sketch he did during his own 15 year run as a reviewer. Some say it was because of hindsight, others say it was because of nostalgia. But when I heard this reviewer was going to be retiring, I asked him quite simply if I could continue his “Flashback” segment in My reviews, and thankfully he said yes. Unlike him, however, I wanted to go one step further and not only review sketches from a random point in the show’s 40+ year history, but also on some weeks, do a Top ## Lists of certain “SNL-ements” (Favorite Characters, Update jokes, bloopers, et.al.), and maybe even a random editorial on a former cast member or two…and that’s exactly what I’m going to do every day for the duration of the summer on a new page I established; S.O.S.N.L…which contrary to popular belief is NOT a distress call, as I’ll explain…
- I’m not going to go in any particular order of airdate, nor will this be a “This date in SNL History” kind of thing—kinda hard to pull off in the summer anyway. I’m also going to Try to not stack the deck with too many “familiar” sketches, or All-time Favorites. So yes, I will probably do a number of obscure sketches, some sketches from the Dick Ebersol years, and maybe even some famously “Bad” sketches that might be worth checking out a second time either for morbid curiosity sake or to see if they were ever “Bad” to begin with. Since I intend on doing one entry per day for the entire summer, (Hence the title of these postings; S.O.S.N.L = “Summer of SNL”, Duh!), that adds up to about 90 sketches/lists/editorials to rifle through from 6/21/2016 to 9/21/2016.
- For logistical reasons, this new page will be set up differently from the main Blog, partly because I want to keep this separate from writing about actual things (However, depending on the size/scope of some entries, there will be SOME occasions where the entry of the day will be seen here on the blog as a space saving measure)—Unfortunately, I am unable (for whatever reason) to contain these short reviews as individual entries on this new page; In essence, the page itself will be an ever-increasing and continuous “flow” page from one sketch to the next. And as you will see as time goes by, the newest entries will be at the top of the page, older entries at the bottom (and counting). Think of it as a Written “Best Of” show that bounces from one decade to the next—either way, enjoy and endure!
- In an effort to keep this from being too mundane, each entry will come equipped with a link to a video or transcript from either NBC’s SNL Page, Hulu, or SNL transcripts—The reason for this is so that you can watch the sketch at your own free will, and then decide for yourself if you agree with what I think of it…In fact, I ENCOURAGE there to be a reasonable discussion on these sketches at any given time during the summer. Luckily, this is just an introductory piece, so we’re actually going to start looking at sketches Tuesday; beginning with SNL’s first sketch ever.
In the meantime; sit back, relax, BOOKMARK this link (https://usefullyuselessinfo.wordpress.com/s-o-s-n-l), and LIVE FROM NEW YORK……………………………………….eh, You know the rest.