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Trying not to jump the landshark.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Trying not to jump the landshark....
Last night, NBC spent almost four hours reliving my younger days- three nights before I'll hear an Innocent Man singing about missing his younger days. We watched about a third of it last night as it aired, and finished it tonight. So we didn't see it all Live, but it was quintessentially New York, and brought me back to many a longago Saturday Night.

The SNL 40th special was mainly a retrospective, with some Awards Show juju and plenty of network self-promotion mixed in. Why else would Jimmy Fallon be given such an outsized role? He had a five-year run on the show a decade ago, no more (or less) than the original Players, and none of his characters broke into the general pop culture zeitgeist the way so many did from the original cast, the early 80s, the days of Myers/Carrey, or even Fey and Ferrell's shows from his own era.  The closest last night came to jumping the landshark was when they gave the single biggest retro block of the night to The Californians, a Wiig-era spoof of soaps.  Blessedly, Betty White killed the shark with her brain and saved the night at the end of that bit.  (And the landshark literally appeared during the next sketch:)

Most of the night was relatable for this grumpy old guy.  All five of the living original cast members (six if you count Bill Murray) appeared and got lines, ranging from Laraine Newman reprising her Bass-o-Matic line (in a sketch where the blender failed Danny, just like it did the first time out) to Garrett Morris once again interpreting Chevy Chase for the hard of hearing.  That was the incarnation of the show I knew by heart- from discovering it late in high school, to watching every 77-78 episode in a community dorm lounge- where, for 90 minutes a week, the preppies, the jocks, the stoners and the nerds (guess which one I was?) put the differences and prejudices of the rest of the week aside and laughed together. The Eddie Murphy incarnation was also mostly familiar; later years became watchable again once the VCR and cable brought episodes within my fast-receding bedtime, but except for the occasional breakouts like Celebrity Jeopardy! and Lazy Sunday, I have very little of this century's show to connect to.

Still. I found even their out-of-context moments to be funny and fitting of the anything-goes format.  Even this episode, for all its tuxedos and "suits" within them, broke plenty of taboos.  An early montage included a few seconds of Elvis Costello's banhammer-inducing performance of Radio Radio, and various alumni and guests made plenty of fun of Brian Williams's recent troubles.  Even Kanye got a little comeuppance from Wayne and Garth- after his somewhat bizarre performance moment earlier which seemed more fitting to Bad Cinema- as he went along with being restrained in his seat during their "Top Ten" list which praised Beck over Beyonce.

The rest of the music was a mix. Miley Cyrus actually did a good cover of Paul Simon's "50 Ways," while the Pauls Themselves played a quick opening tune together before each tested the limits of their vocal ranges.  His Sir-ness came out the worse for wear of the two (with a Wings song?!? He could've at least claimed the $3,000 check if he'd done a Beatles tune;), but Not Sir Paul had his own issues with a couple of the high notes in "Still Crazy."  (Interestingly, I read at least one note of Simon's current resemblance to Mel Brooks; I said the same thing when we saw him and Artie perform here over ten years ago;)  Good, too, that Dave and CBS released Paul Shaffer back to his old gig for the night; he was as responsible for the Blues Brothers as anyone.

The memorial reel at the end was touching. Not just of the stars, but of many past writers, longtime crew members and, fittingly, inclusion of Don Pardo, who probably had the longest on-air tenure of anybody.    The opening notes of the show's 40-year-mainstay closing theme (it's called "Waltz in A" and was written by original bandleader Howard Shore) played under their photos and brief clips; then the tempo upped and the sax piece came in for the closing credits to the special itself- including at least a few names I remembered from the early seasons who, along with Lorne, are still making us laugh, even if, even now, they're only occasionally Ready for Prime Time.
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symian From: symian Date: February 17th, 2015 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have not seen it. In fact, I had not realized it had been made. I've been living mostly off my Roku. You miss a lot.

SNL. 40th Anniversary. The thing of it is, the name is the same but it has never been the same show. When I think of it I think like this: SNL 75-80, SNL 90-95, etc.. It's not the same show, not the same cast, so really, it's not due the 40th anniversary. I also thin Dcctor Who should not be due a 50th - especially considered it was canceled for long stretches.

Now, a show like "Last of the Summer Wine" that ran from 1973 to 2010 having the same premise and some of the same cast for the entire run, they deserve kudos for that.
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