SNL 1985-86: Final thoughts

SNL 1985-86: Final thoughts

Lorne Michaels’ first season back at SNL following his five year hiatus from the show is considered one of the worst seasons in the show’s history, along with 1980-81 and 1994-95. Indeed, there are quite a few obvious problems with this season, and as a whole the quality was below the standard of the first four seasons of the show, or even the later Dick Ebersol years. Yet for some reason, this year has a certain watchability to it that 1980-81 or 1994-95 don’t have.

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Classic SNL Review: May 24, 1986: Anjelica Huston & Billy Martin / George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic (S11E18)

Classic SNL Review: May 24, 1986: Anjelica Huston & Billy Martin / George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic (S11E18)

Sketches include “Hands Across America”, “The People’s Second Choice Awards”, “Moments of Doubt”, “Glamorous Drinking”, “Actors on Film”, “Mafia Greeting Cards”, “Lesbian Pick-Ups”, “Bocce Ball My Way”, “Backstage”, “Book Minute”, “Movie Theatre”, “My Friend” and “Fire”, George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic perform two medleys. Damon Wayans also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: May 17, 1986: Jimmy Breslin / Level 42, E.G. Daily (S11E17)

Classic SNL Review: May 17, 1986: Jimmy Breslin / Level 42, E.G. Daily (S11E17)

Sketches include “Weigh-In”, “Reagan’s Command”, “Tornadoville”, “A Message from Marvelous Marvin Hagler”, “Midday with Jennifer Hicks”, “Lone Wolf McCord”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Assembly” and “A Message from Jody Hagler”. Level 42 performs “Something About You”. E. G. Daily performs “Say It, Say It”. Sam Kinison also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: May 10, 1986: Catherine Oxenberg & Paul Simon / Ladysmith Black Mambazo (S11E16)

Classic SNL Review: May 10, 1986: Catherine Oxenberg & Paul Simon / Ladysmith Black Mambazo (S11E16)

Sketches include “Geraldo Rivera Opens The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier”, “Guys Behind Bars”, “The Late Show with Joan Rivers”, “The Limits of the Imagination”, “Dirk Landers”, “Beverly Hills Liar”, “Brim Decaffeinated”, and “A Mother’s Day Message”. Paul Simon performs “You Can Call Me Al”, “Homeless” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and “Graceland”. Penn & Teller also appear.

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Classic SNL Review: April 19, 1986: Tony Danza / Laurie Anderson (S11E15)

Classic SNL Review: April 19, 1986: Tony Danza / Laurie Anderson (S11E15)

Sketches include “Vietnam Story”, “AT&T”, “Nancy’s Workout”, “Lyndon LaRouche Theatre”, “30 Second Count”, “Big Time Professional Golf”, “Love Scene”, “Master Thespian” and “The Further Adventures of Biff and Salena”. Laurie Anderson performs “Babydoll” and “The Day The Devil”. Penn & Teller also appear.

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Classic SNL Review: April 12, 1986: Oprah Winfrey / Joe Jackson (S11E14)

Classic SNL Review: April 12, 1986: Oprah Winfrey / Joe Jackson (S11E14)

Sketches included “Backstage”, “John Cougar Mellencamp’s Looking At America”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Cabrini Green”, “The Wart Hog”, “I Play The Maids”, “Actors On Film”, “Craig Sundberg, Idiot Savant”, “The Cute Shop”, and “One-Shoe Emma”. Joe Jackson performs “Right and Wrong” and “Soul Kiss”.

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Classic SNL Review: March 22, 1986: George Wendt and Francis Ford Coppola / Philip Glass (S11E13)

Classic SNL Review: March 22, 1986: George Wendt and Francis Ford Coppola / Philip Glass (S11E13)

Sketches include “Pep Talk”, “The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes”, “Commercials”, “Mystery Playhouse”, “That Black Girl”, “Whale”, “Actors”, “Ghost of Thespians Past”, “Vietnam Sketch”, “Suitcase Boy” and “Finale”. Philip Glass and the Philip Glass Ensemble perform “Lightning” and “Rubric”.

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Classic SNL Review: March 15, 1986: Griffin Dunne / Rosanne Cash (S11E12)

Classic SNL Review: March 15, 1986: Griffin Dunne / Rosanne Cash (S11E12)

Sketches include: “Rumors”, “Double R Marcos”, “Mr. Monopoly”, “You Bet Your Finger”, “Bad Seed”, “Buon Giorno Ireland Buon Giorno”, “Two Jones Cable Installers”, “You Can Pick Your Friends, You Can Pick Your Nose, But Your Can’t Pick Your Friend’s Nose”, “Business Beat”, and “Tea and Sympathy”. Rosanne Cash performs “Hold On” and “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”. Penn & Teller also appear.

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Classic SNL Review: February 22, 1986: Jay Leno / The Neville Brothers (S11E11)

Classic SNL Review: February 22, 1986: Jay Leno / The Neville Brothers (S11E11)

Sketches include “Studio Tour”, “Target Earth”, “Dinner With Mike”, “Star Search”, “Evil Twin”, “Stand-Ups”, “Man Beat” and “The Further Adventures of Biff and Salena”. The Neville Brothers perform “The Big Chief” and “The Midnight Key”.

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Classic SNL Review: February 15, 1986: Jerry Hall / Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (S11E10)

Classic SNL Review: February 15, 1986: Jerry Hall / Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (S11E10)

Sketches include “Bar”, “The Limits of the Imagination”, “Models Against The Wilderness”, “Master Thespian”, “Line of Death”, “The Pat Stevens Show” and “Sore Toe”. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble perform “Say What!” and “Change It”. Sam Kinison also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: February 8, 1986: Ron Reagan / The Nelsons (S11E09)

Classic SNL Review: February 8, 1986: Ron Reagan / The Nelsons (S11E09)

Sketches include “Risky Business”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Dalkon Shield Trout Lure”, “Back To The Future”, “The Limits Of The Imagination”, “Shakespeare In The Slums”, and “David’s Date”. The Nelsons perform “Walk Away” and “Do You Know What I Mean”. Penn & Teller also appear.

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Classic SNL Review: January 25, 1986: Dudley Moore / Al Green (S11E08)

Classic SNL Review: January 25, 1986: Dudley Moore / Al Green (S11E08)

Sketches include “Monastery”, “Miss Pregnant Teenage America”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “The Limits Of The Imagination”, “Name That Tune”, “Master Thespian”, and “Concerto”. Al Green performs “Going Away” and “True Love”.

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Classic SNL Review: January 18, 1986: Harry Dean Stanton / The Replacements (S11E07)

Classic SNL Review: January 18, 1986: Harry Dean Stanton / The Replacements (S11E07)

Sketches include: “Press Conference”, “Gulf Coast Furniture Warehouse” “Cleveland Vice”, “Death of a Gunfighter”, “Hospital”, “That Black Girl”, “Big Ball Of Sports”, “No Offense” and “Jack’s Discount Emporium”. The Replacements perform “Bastards Of Young” and “Kiss Me On The Bus”. Sam Kinison also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: December 14, 1985: Tom Hanks / Sade (S11E05)

Classic SNL Review: December 14, 1985: Tom Hanks / Sade (S11E05)

Sketches include “Entertainment Tonight”, “Trojans II”, “Liars at Home”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Fantasy”, “Stand-Ups”, “Holiday Moms”, and “Fisherman”. Sade performs “Is It A Crime” and “The Sweetest Taboo”. Steven Wright also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: December 7, 1985: John Lithgow / Mr. Mister (S11E04)

Classic SNL Review: December 7, 1985: John Lithgow / Mr. Mister (S11E04)

Sketches include “Halley’s Comet”, “Posterior Arthropod”, “Master Thespian”, “Double R Rolls”, “Ad Council”, “Cliches”, “Vegas Nancy”, “U.S.S. Cameron”, and “The Limits of the Imagination”. Mr. Mister performs “Broken Wings” and “Kyrie”. Sam Kinison also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: November 23, 1985: Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) / Queen Ida (S11E03)

Classic SNL Review: November 23, 1985: Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) / Queen Ida (S11E03)

Sketches include “Tightrope”, “Say No”, “Locker Room”, “Pee-Wee’s Thanksgiving Special”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Die Foreigner Die!”, “Big House”, “Dinosaur Town”, “Love Letter”, “Pregnancy Tips”, and “Money Magnetism Seminar”. Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band perform “La Louisiane” and “Frisco Zydeco”.

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Classic SNL Review: November 16, 1985: Chevy Chase / Sheila E. (S11E02)

Classic SNL Review: November 16, 1985: Chevy Chase / Sheila E. (S11E02)

Sketches include “Firefighters”, “Wacky Glue”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Ford & Reagan”, “Trojans (I)”, “Those Unlucky Andersons”, “Jose Cuervo’s Party School Bowl”, “The Jose Cuervo Institute”, “The Life of Vlad the Impaler”, “The Blue, The Gray, And The Yellow”, “Drums Drums Drums”, “Pathological Liars Anonymous”, and “Craig Sundberg: Idiot Savant”. Sheila E. performs “Hollyrock” and “A Love Bizarre”.

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Classic SNL Review: November 9, 1985: Madonna / Simple Minds (S11E01)

Classic SNL Review: November 9, 1985: Madonna / Simple Minds (S11E01)

Sketches include: “Drug Testing”, “Where You’re Going”, “National Inquirer Theatre”, “Pinklisting”, “Critic”, “The Jones Brothers”, “El Spectaculare De Marika”, “Royal Visit”, “The Limits of the Imagination” and “Coloring Book”. Simple Minds perform “Alive and Kicking”. Penn & Teller also appear.

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Lorne's Missing Links: Steve Martin's Best Show Ever and The New Show

Lorne's Missing Links: Steve Martin's Best Show Ever and The New Show

Lorne Michaels stepped away from Saturday Night Live after the show’s fifth season, and his creation was kept alive by other producers, writers and actors for the next five years; when he returned to the show in 1985, he had a whole new cast, but many of the behind-the-scenes personnel were those who had been associated with his original five year tenure, and there were a handful of additions that would shape the show’s tone and look for years to come. Because the Jean Doumanian and Dick Ebersol eras each had their own specific directions and mostly unique personnel. one wonders what the show would have been like if Michaels had stuck around during that time. There are a few hints of what a Michaels-helmed SNL would have looked like in two of his TV productions during that period: Steve Martin’s Best Show Ever, a special Martin did for NBC in November 1981, and The New Show, Michaels’ ill-fated return to weekly network television

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