Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Saturday Night Live' on a Thursday

I might be taking my pop culture obsession a bit too far, but I'll take the chance.

I have seen very few SNL episodes, and ever since I've been watching 30 Rock / read Tina Fey's Bossypants / been watching Parks & Rec and loving Amy Poehler, I've been meaning to watch SNL regularly. Now, SNL is not the type of show you catch up on. For the very simple, obvious reason that it's been on the air since 1975. Marathoning 36 seasons plus the current one would be a little on the OCD side. So, what about watching the current season in parallel with the first season? That sounds doable, and just enough to satisfy my curiosity about the beginnings of SNL. I think.

The funny thing is that the very first SNL monologue is about football. Funny as in "curious", because I wrote about football just yesterday. But not funny as in "ha ha", I'm afraid. Here's the transcript:
George Carlin: Thank you! Talk about a live show! It's nice to see you, welcome, and thanks for joining us - live. Um... I'm kinda glad that we're on at night, so that we're not competing with all the football and baseball. So many, man... And this is the time of year when there's both, you know?

Football's kinda nice, they changed it a little bit - they moved the hash marks in. Guys found it and smoked them, anyway! But you know, football wants to be the number-one sport, the national pasttime. And I think it already is, really, because football represents something we are - we are Europe, Jr. When you get right down to it, we're Europe, Jr. We play a Europe game. What was the Europe game? [ high voice ] "Let's take their land away from them! You'll be the pink, on up; we'll be blue, the red and the green!"

Ground acquisition. And that's what football is, football's a ground acquisition game. You knock the crap out of eleven guys and take their land away from them. Of course, we only do it ten yards at a time. That's the way we did it with the Indians - we won it little by little. First down in Ohio - Midwest to go!

Let's put it this way - there are things about the words surrounding football and baseball, which give it all away:

Football is technological; baseball is pastoral.

Football is played in a stadium; baseball is played in the park.

In football, you wear a helmet; in baseball, you wear a cap.

Football is played on an enclosed, rectangular grid, and everyone of them is the same size; baseball is played on an ever-widening angle that reaches to inifinity, and every park is different!

Football is rigidly timed; baseball has no time limit, we don't know when it's gonna end! We might even have extra innings!

In football, you get a penalty; in baseball, you make an error - whoops!

The object in football is to march downfield and penetrate enemy territory, and get into the end zone; in baseball, the object is to go home! "I'm going home!"

And, in football, they have the clip, the hit, the block, the tackle, the blitz, the bomb, the offense and the defense; in baseball, they have.. the sacrifice.
- George Carlin's Monologue, SNL (season 1, episode 1)

The first SNL has a few okay sketches, but overall it is quite unimpressive. If this were the pilot for a new show, I would not be watching the next episode. Neh, whom I am kidding? I'll watch pretty much anything that is at least half baked. Besides, on the second SNL they have Paul Simon as a host!

What I did enjoy was seeing the young Chevy Chase doing the Weekend Update. Plus: his characters are a lot nicer than Pierce, that's for sure. Now, then, and now again:

SNL: Seth Meyers doing the Weekend Update (season 37, episode 1)

SNL: Chevy Chase doing the Weekend Update (season 1, episode 1)

Community: Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne (season 3, episode 10: "Regional Holiday Music")

{I have been watching a lot more tv (even though I've had my tv turned off for a really long time) and fewer films during these past few months, and I'm starting to feel guilty.}

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