Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Turnaround, Aug 23, 2017.
While it is hard to pinpoint exactly when in the last 15 years it started, this much is certain....one has to compare the more recent seasons (including this current season) to the original five seasons (1975-80). Those first five seasons are where the real glory for SNL is. Quality hosts, quality cast, quality guest appearances (stand up comedy segments), occasional side humor from the Muppets, short films, quality musical guest appearances from legendary acts, surprise appearances. A time when we didn’t have to deal with all the raunchiness of the current seasons. Some of the best shows, in fact, came when Buck Henry was hosting (though I still think the pilot with George Carlin is the best episode over all). Once in a while you get that special innocence of young talent hosting (Drew Barrymore in 1982, and Macaulay Culkin a decade later...who knows what might have happened had Darci Lynne been selected as host for the Xmas show, or even Celine Dion when she started her career in the early 1990s, though she was in her late 20s then—but the show when Fred Savage (“The Wonder Years”) hosted was interesting to watch). Other than the occasional show where the host doubles as musical guest (last year’s Ariana Grande show I thought was excellent), the real problem with the current shows is the current crop of talent, where it is cheaper to get former cast members as hosts, no-name or indie artists as musical guests, and so forth in terms of raunchy content. That is why I say the show is on a downward spiral because the current seasons are nothing like the original five seasons. One must see these early shows to fully appreciate SNL as the landmark show it has not been capable of being for so long.
Au contraire, one must see those early episodes to realise that the show has always been hit or miss, and how much better it got once the producers figured out what worked and how to pace the show. Some of those early episodes are borderline unwatchable now, with their crap hosts, half-realised skits, bits that just don't work (like those awful Muppets segments) and monologues that go on and on. I suspect most people who speak of the original show so glowingly haven't watched those episodes in years, if not decades.
I think there have been dead spots or things that didn't work great on the first couple seasons anyway and less so after that. But usually when things were flat it was because they overreached or tried something radical. I think seasons 3-5 is where they really found their groove. And although there was weirdness and a general druggy vibe over the whole first cast/seasons, generally it worked in a subversive kind of way.
The problem with the modern SNL (after the stumbles of the 80s) is that when they had dead spots or things didn't work it was because they played it too broad or tried to force a formula. Too much reliance on one joke/one note recurring characters and especially in recent years... way too much stupid sex jokes. It's not a smart show but it used to be.
I don't think Weekend Update ever really worked in general though. Each host had their own energy to it. But it was almost always the worst part of the show. Bill Murray did a pretty good job. Dennis Miller and Norm Macdonald brought interesting things to it. But now it's this stock complaint department where there aren't jokes so much as sarcastic grievances. It's not a news show parody anymore... it's like 3rd rate Jon Stewart.
On recurring characters too... in the early days you had for instance Rosanna Danna, Emily Litella, the cheeseburger guys, the creepy uncle, Lisa and Todd, etc. who were seemingly more based on actual human people or human behavior. You could totally picture Rosanna as this pain in the butt NYC girl who gets to talk on local tv or Emily as some conservative old lady given a spotlight. The Lisa and Todd characters felt like real people... sweet and kind of gross. Even things like Father Guido Sarducci felt real. A chain-smoking modern priest with thoughts on modern life. It's interesting, original and also pretty real.
Eventually though the characters didn't care about being real anymore and were all about the joke. It's just a broad set up for a punchline. It's formulaic and lazy and that's what SNL has been for a really long time. There is no verve or originality.
It's like the first 5 seasons were this off-off-Broadway experimental theater group and these days they are a chain restaurant dinner theater or something. Blah.
They couldn't do most of those jokes now without being crucified by the self-anointed moral arbiters on insta-twit.
Though the original cast/first years will always be the most "important" as they built the legacy, in terms of sheer quality I think the show peaked in the Hartman/Carvey/Hooks era of about '87-'93...
I love that you simultaneously decry the "raunchiness" of current seasons and long for the hosting of Buck Henry, whose most well known recurring character on the show was a child molester. Pretty much says it all.
But the creepy uncle character while disturbing was darkly humorous because he was sneaky about getting what he wanted and the parents thought he was great. That's twisted but also smart because it really happens. It's disgusting but real.
Compare that with Leslie Jones making blunt sexual come-ons to Colin Jost. That's not smart. That's broad and lazy. Why is it funny? Because she's sexually aggressive? There is no joke there. It's like making farting noises with your armpit.
IMO, it came back during that period. I know political humor has been a key part of the show since its inception, but, today I'd prefer more creative humor. I saw Carol Burnett on some show yesterday, and she's still funny. With N. Korea and all the other issues that can divide the US, we need humor now more than ever. And, I know people have different senses of humor, but try new things.
yep, the fog of time really makes a difference. There were plenty of sketches with the first cast (end every cast) that just didn't work. Those don't make the highlight reel and have been long forgotten. Were really comparing the greatests hit of an era to one recent show or season.
I bet there were a lot of people that supported Gerald Ford that had pretty hard feelings about the cast from 75-76 in that time.
The show has no responsibility to unite or divide, its just kids in their 20's trying to come up with something funny so they can keep their jobs. Taking comedy seriously kind of defeats the purpose. I don't expect every sketch to be to my liking any more than every musical guest. In fact, most are not my thing.
I think it's safe to say Luke Null will be out after this season.
Heidi Gardner could very well be the next big star of the show.
So they showed a picture of 50 "red buttons" in a "musical number". The Late Night talk show hosts continue to find ways to make jokes concerning the sex scandals. But not SNL.
SNL is still doing 10th grade blue humor. How formulaic. Like some morning radio drive time show. (Re: the Airline skit).
My favorite era is the 1st 5 years, because of the novelty of it all. It had never been done before like that. So many Classic skits and characters!!
But there was GOLD in other decades with Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Eddie Murphy, Mike Meyers, Chris Rock, and Jason Sudeikis.
My gripe about SNL is I don't think they're even trying to be funny to the whole country. They've never been more divisive. I don't remember it being that way back when.
"Now, I'd like to speak about the subject of a certain Mick Jagger - of the Rolling Stones. ... And I'm going to talk about the song he sang -- a song in which he sings these very words: "Black girls - just want to have sex - all night long."
Now, Mr. Jagger, there is only one question I want to ask you -- Jaggs. ... And you better have the answer, man, you better have the answer, since you have besmirched the character of black women. Therefore, here is my question, Jaggs. Where are all of these black broads, man? ... Hey, like, where ARE they, baby? You got any phone numbers for me, baby? ... Please send 'em to me. Thank you."
Thanks for the recap. I fell asleep at the end of the B1G Championship game. It sounds like I didn't miss anything funny. I may try to watch some later, but it won't be a priority.
Nice that SNL can still piss people off when they want to. And even when they don't, I suppose.
Does every page of this thread have a “good old days of 75-80” comment?
What I hate about it is how late it's on these days. I mean, I know back in the 80s and 90s, I had NO problem staying up to watch it, but I haven't been able to see a single episode this season, so they had to have moved the time, RIGHT?
I can't stay up either. Love my DVR.
You jest, but SNL now airs earlier on the west coast, since they started airing it live (at 8:30 PM, rather than on a three-hour delay) beginning last April. I used to watch most episodes on Sunday morning, but now it's convenient to watch on Saturday.
To paraphrase Wayne Campbell, Saturday Night Live didn’t make comedy that everybody liked, they left that to The Bee Gees.
To the best of my knowledge, SNL pays a standard fee to all hosts and musical guests. They don't negotiate fees with every individual so it's not a case of trying to get hosts who are "cheaper." I don't see any marked difference between the hosting pool now and in the early seasons. There's a few actors, a few comedians, occasionally a political figure. And as far as musical guests, they were far more likely to book no-name or cult favorite acts in the first five seasons than they are now.
I really want to like this show and try not to "dis" episodes.. . . but this one was pretty weak. Ah well. . . .
Please, no political opinions.
For someone with such a thick Irish accent, Saoirse Ronan can sure hide it well. The "Welcome To Hell" bit was probably the most incisive commentary on sexual harassment I've seen lately. U2 were meh for me, but I'm not crazy about the new album anyway. Cecily Strong had a good show.
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