billymac72 | Chicago, IL United States | 10/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm very familiar with this season and would like to offer up a few of my favorite moments. This last season for Belushi and Aykroyd, along with the third season, includes the troupe's finest hours. Season 4 highlights:
1. Rolling Stones - You may be slightly disappointed by this season-opener if you're a big Stones fan. There is no opening monologue from them, which could have been interesting. Those duties are instead helmed by NYC mayor (actually, I think he was just campaigning at the time), Ed "How Am I Doing" Koch. Jagger shows up as the main guest in a very funny Tom Snyder bit, and Ron Wood & Charlie Watts are patrons of the always-classic Olympia Café. As for the music, it comes in one big chunk, as opposed to the usual two segments. Somewhat disappointingly, the boys perform songs exclusively from the then newly-released "Some Girls" album ("Shattered", "Beast of Burden" and "Respectable"). Amazingly, their biggest hit from that album, "Miss You", is ignored. Worst of all, Mick's voice is in unusually bad form; he sounds strained, hoarse and froggy throughout. My biggest - indeed oddest - memory of this episode's original airing was the talk that followed at school on Monday. "Did you see Mick tongue kiss Keith Richards!?" As time passed and my memory got sketchier, I thought this may have been urban legend, but after getting a copy a few years ago, Mick does actually - if not "tongue kiss" - lick Ron Wood's closed mouth, and tries a similar move on Keith, who seems to shy away from it. Incidentally, this episode also includes the great Nerds "refrigerator repairman" sketch, also the subject of some talk at school that week!
2. Other musical highlights - Devo's bizarre rendition of "Satisfaction" looks as wild today as it did then, beret-wearing Ricki Lee Jones' semi-forgotten hit "Chuck E.'s in Love" recalls the beat poets she emulated, and Belushi's Samurai makes a hilarious cameo during Frank Zappa's fusion-jazz-tinged "Rollo." This is one of the strongest musical seasons, in fact. The Doobie Brothers, James Taylor, The Grateful Dead, Kate Bush, The Talking Heads, The Blues Brothers and Van Morrison all put in excellent performances. And then there's the once-trademark variety, which we also get with old-time jazzman Eubie Blake, reggae maestro Peter Tosh and blues man Delbert McClinton.
3. Tape Store - One of my favorites because it doesn't play for straight laughs, but serio-comedy instead, something completely unknown on the current show. Fred Willard is the overly-proud, overly-optimistic owner of a tape store...."no, not the audio kind, the sticky kind!" Some patrons are cruel, others are sympathetic & supportive. Like the "Nick the Lounge Singer" and the often-overlooked "Knights of Columbus", quieter, and drier reality-based skits like these showcased the incredible range of the cast, and didn't rely on the narcissistic one-joke, one-character premise.
4. Carrie Fisher - What Star Wars geek could forget this appearance! Not only was the country still gripped in the original Star Wars Mania, but Fisher showed up for the monologue in her Princess Leia costume, buns and all! She looks as good as she did in the film, if not even more sparkly. The following skit is a very humorous Star Wars themed take-off of the Annette & Frankie "Beach" movies from the `60s. As a kid, I was most shocked by another skit wherein Fisher smokes pot with her date (Belushi). It actually a humorous parody of the Lauds, the notorious subjects of "An American Family". This one, however, just talks "loud".
5. The Pepsi Syndrome - One of the most finely constructed skits I think the show ever did. Everyone does their job here, from Baba Wawa to Franken & Davis' hilarious mime routine. It's spoof without being imitation, political without being obtuse. Again, one of the great things about the Not Ready for Prime Time Players was their ability to load up skits with a variety of different gags, not relying on the repetition of one (I stress this point a second time because it's one of the biggest killers of the show today).
6. The Bad News Bees - Double entendres abound as the Bees (rarely seen by this point) get the Bad News Bears treatment. Teammates tease another boy (Belushi) for "buzzing off". I don't want to spoil it beyond that. The presence of the great Walter Matthau, reprising his Buttermaker role, gives this one some comedic weight and authenticity.
7. Superhero Party - Margot Kidder, fresh off the heels off of "Superman" success, puts in a solid, St. Partick's Day themed show. As someone of Irish descent, I've always remembered this one fondly (maybe all those Chicagoans at SNL had something to do with it!). Highlights include the Celtic stylings of The Chieftains, and the hysterical Superhero Party, hosted by Lois Lane, naturally. Partygoers are offended at the bathroom odor left behind by Belushi's Hulk, who nonchalantly remarks, "hey, it ain't supposed to smell like roses."
8. The French Chef - SNL clearly drew inspiration from Monty Python, especially in these earlier seasons. Their awestruck admiration was obvious whenever Michael Palin or Eric Idle hosted. Earlier episodes hosted by them include British-themed skits as well as the spilling of one skit into the next, a common Python technique. Here, Dan Aykroyd may be channeling host Idle with his classic Julia Childs imitation. The ridiculous amount of blood-letting that ensues recalls Python's "Sam Peckinpah's Salad Days" sketch.
There's more, but if you've read this far, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. Haven't you pre-ordered yet? "
Best Season Ever
Movie Mania | Southern Calfornia | 11/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"SNL used to be the most inovative and funny show of the late 70's. It reinvented the variety show with a "supporting cast" and a rotating guest host every week. They knew how to create a funny pieces and keep it moving forward. Every show was not a masterpiece but the hits were more than the misses.
This season had the two best episodes ever with the two most unlikely hosts - Cicley Tyson and Maureen Stapleton.
The following are a list of the 20 guest hosts and musical guests:
Fred Willard / Devo
Steve Martin / Van Morrison
Buck Henry / The Greatful Dead
Carrie Fisher / The Blues Brothers
Eric Idle / Kate Bush
Elliot Gould / Peter Tosh with Mick Jagger
Michael Palin / The Doobie Brothers
Cicley Tyson / Talking Heads - This is the best episode ever. It starts Garrett Morris opening the show in drag as Cicley. And gets even better when she appears on Black Perspectives. She and Garrett visit the wide butts.
Ricky Nelson / Judy Collins
Kate Jackson / Delbert McClinton
Gary Busey / Rick Danko and Paul Butterfield / Eubie Blake and Gregory Hines
Margot Kidder / The Chieftans
Richard Benjamin / Rickey Lee Jones
Milton Berle / Ornette Coleman
Michael Palin / James Taylor
Maureen Statpleton / Linda Rondstat and Pheobe Snow - Maureen has a great skit with Lorraine Newman as the stereotypical Jewish mother.
Buck Henry / Bette Middler
Again, this is when SNL was funny, so prepare to do something than rarely happens when watching SNL today - laugh til it hurts."
Terrific Comedy Sktis from a First-Rate Cast
The Movie Man | Maywood, New Jersey USA | 11/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Saturday Night Live: The Complete Fourth Season" is a seven-disc box set containing all the shows from the 1978-1979 season. This is one of the great years of the NBC sketch comedy show, which has just passed its 33rd anniversary. Maybe it's nostalgia, but it seems the comedy landed a lot more frequently then than in the current season of "SNL." Some of the skits in this set include Nick the Lounge Singer (Bill Murray singing the "Star Wars" theme to a uninterested cocktail lounge audience), Candy Slice (Gilda Radner), The Loud Family (Jane Curtin), Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute (Dan Aykroyd), and the Nerds (Bill Murray and Gilda Radner). Also included is the "Wild and Crazy" Festrunk Brothers (Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd) and Buck Henry's inappropriate "Uncle Roy." Guest hosts include Fred Willard, Carrie Fisher, Kate Jackson, Gary Busey, and Walter Matthau. Musical guests include Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, the Doobie Brothers, Bette Midler, Talking Heads, Devo, Van Morrison, the Grateful Dead, James Taylor, and Rickie Lee Jones."
cs | Texas | 05/31/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I already had Seasons 1 through 3 and the packaging for Season 4 is of a lower-quality than the previous three ... at least the version Amazon is selling ... it's no longer the book-style package. The picture on the back of the degraded packaging displays the older and superior style which leads me to believe both are available. I'll check the local brick-and-mortar stores to determine if the previous packaging is available for Season 4. If yes, I'll return this and gladly pay more for packaging consistency. If no, then I'll just complain about this latest example of getting shortchanged."
This SNL fourth season DVD set is superb, but will the fifth
J. McKeon | Williston Park, NY USA | 12/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There isn't much left to say about the shows or the cast from SNL's Classic Years that hasn't already been said and/or written. After watching these shows again all I can say is how amazing and versatile the cast and writers continued to be without resting on their laurels. Back then they didn't beat recurring characters to death. They kept coming up with great new characters and ideas like Buck Henry's "Uncle Roy" and the terrific Knights of Columbus sketches. Even the bits that were repeated often, such as "Point/Counterpoint," remained funny. The big question on my mind is: Will they release a DVD set of SNL's fifth season? As a fan and admirer of Bill Murray, I certainly hope so. He became even more prominent after the departure of Belushi and Aykroyd. So let's hope the fifth season is released even though it featured a somewhat weakened cast. Long live the Not Ready For Prime Time Players!"