I haven’t felt especially social lately; it’s been well over a month since I’ve gone to Charlie’s for beers, and whenever I have large blocks of time to myself, as I did on the Labour Day weekend, I took advantage of not having to do anything, see anyone or anything like that.
I finally updated the site to have a general "home" page whenever people visit using just the domain name; as much as I liked tricking people who mainly come here for the SNL reviews into reading some of my personal writing, I wanted to make a better first impression.
My brain is weird sometimes. I guess that's a truism when you're prone to depression, anxiety, or just occupy the space outside optimal mental health or sociability, but lately I'm in a space where I'm craving both rest and distraction at the same time.
In four seasons, executive producer Dick Ebersol had brought Saturday Night Live back from the cancellation, had the hottest comedian in America in the cast, and oversaw its transition from a live incubator of new comic talent to an increasingly prerecorded showcase for established comedians. By 1985, though, Ebersol found himself tired of the show’s grueling schedule, and, after toying with staying with a mostly-prerecorded version of the show that wouldn’t premiere until the next January, decided to step away. Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC Entertainment, had to consider his options, and fast.
I started this review project back in the summer of 2010; at the time, SNL message board regular Stooge was posting reviews of the early 90s shows with screen captures of sketches and occasional tidbits about which scenes were altered in repeats with dress rehearsal footage. I figured I may as well do my own set of reviews for a more obscure part of the show’s history.
Dick Ebersol’s “Steinbrenner season” gambit, where he loaded the SNL cast with established comedy writer-performers, paid off for the most part. Compared to the preceding seasons, the show was more consistently funny, and even the weakest show of the year wasn’t truly bad. The professionalism that the ringers brought to the show and increased use of prerecorded material gave this year an increased slickness; in a way, this may have given the show a bit more of a blandness than in previous seasons, but only insofar that the risk of failure wasn’t as big a factor as it had been before. Indeed, there were a number of enduring classics that came out of this season, and even though the big stars dominated every week, the returning cast and writers contributed some of their best work.
Each week, I will be posting a list of 25 sketches from each 5 year block of the show's history (five sketches per season), a description of the sketch, and what about it that's worth checking out.