Readers (or at least one reader) have warned me that Emily Litella wears out her welcome something fierce in this stretch o' SNL. Oh dear Lord were they not kidding me. Today's episode featured perhaps the first instance of a hacky trope that would be repeated relentlessly over the show's now seven thousand year run: the skit where a recurring character interacts with a relative or friend who behaves exactly like them. Hey, if audiences love Joey Tacopants who only talks about tacos then they'll love his older brother Tito Tacopants who–get this–only talks about tacos! In this instance we're introduced to Emily Litella's sister who–get this–behaves exactly like Emily Litella! How crazy is that? Listening to Gilda Radner and Ruth Gordon screech their way through various "comical" misunderstandings was downright unbearable. And the show had the fucking nerve of bring back Emily Litella for Weekend Update. Please tell me she gets killed off in the next episode. I love me some Gilda Radner–who was looking good in a French maid outfit in her Mr. Mike bit–but this is getting ridiculous.
At this point I've stopped thinking of Gary Weis' short films in subjective terms. They aren't good or bad, really. They just are. That's especially true of today's head scratcher, a raunchy homemade music video for Bob Seger's "Night Moves" that lingers lasciviously and at length on the sensual curves of a gorgeous black woman still smarting from a doomed relationship with Garrett Morris. The short feels unmistakably like a warm-up for Weis' later work directing music videos like "Walk Like An Egyptian" and, like Gordon's monologue, features nothing that even vaguely resembles humor. In the parlance of e-slang WTF? On a similarly WTF note why is Bill Murray only in the show for about three minutes, most of them in a brutal Howard Hughes skit? Why does Mr. Fucking Bill (who I find mildly amusing) have as much screentime as Bill "Groundhog Day Ghostbustin' Ass" Murray? It all just feels kind of wrong. I dug the young Ricky Jay though, with his glorious, lion-like mane of hair, leonine beard and king of the jungle-like mastery of card tricks and witty banter. History casts a ghostly pall over the cold open, which finds a wheelchair-bound John Belushi feverishly intent on doing the show so that his doctor doesn't cut off his drug supply. It's far too creepy and loaded with historical irony to be funny.Final Verdict: After last weeks' transcendent, historic episode Saturday Night Live falls back into a rut with this sub-par time-waster. Grade: C Stray Observations– –I suspect that the laughs will return–with a vengeance–on next weeks' show starring the always hilarious Fran Tarkenton and music by the always even hilariouser Leo Sayer –What hilarious skits did I overlook this week? Which did I overrate? Which did I underrate? –Watching Garrett Morris try to remember his lines has proven a strange source of fascination. Why doesn't he just read them off the cue-cards like everyone else? –Morris and Newman seem to have less to do every week –A Barbra Streisand parody was sorta funny, then tedious, then sorta funny again, then way overlong, then over