Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies who will dazzle you with insight on various topics. After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World
Nope, it’s not Thursday. Due to a never-ending loop of viruses and illnesses in my family (the latest, pink eye, or what I affectionately refer to as, “poop eye”), I couldn’t complete my blog post in time. Instead, I hung out with my sick little guy, picked up meds , and desperately disinfected my house so the rest of us won’t get it. We’ll see how it goes.
Better late than never!
Melissa chose the 90’s for this week’s topic, which fit in well with my thoughts regarding Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special.
Who tuned in last Sunday? I’ve seen a lot of polarizing opinions. Some say it wasn’t very funny. Others wish the skits, the memories would have lasted longer, and then you’ve got the people who absolutely loved everything, from start to finish. I fall in that last category. Watching the 40th reunion special was like reconnecting with characters I idolized and grew up with during my turbulent teen years.
It was 1992. I was 14. The highlight for me in those days was starting freshman year in high school. I was what you’d call a “late bloomer”, a tad bit shy and backwards for my age. I was living with my grandparents at the time, and Grandma decided I was old enough to let me in on a little secret. At 11:30 PST every Saturday night, she would watch a show called Saturday Night Live. I’d never heard of it before. I felt special, scooping out massive amounts of peppermint ice cream, filling our respective bowls and carrying them into what we referred to as, “the tv room”. This was late for me, later than I’d ever stayed up while in her care. She’d cuddle under a blanket on the recliner with her ice cream, while I bundled up in a blanket on the couch. To this day, I can’t lie on a couch without a blanket.
In those early years, I didn’t understand the political satire. I only knew that at first watch, Dana Carvey was the greatest comedy genius, ever. His impressions of George Bush and Ross Perot prompted me to imitate Carvey to the best of my ability. I have to say, I did a really good job of it, too, although I got some really strange looks from friends of mine when I’d swing my hands around aggressively and say, “Stay the course.” Or, “I’m not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.”
When I think of Carvey, I think of Massive Headwound Harry. I practically peed my pants when I saw it for the first time!
Years later, I found out that the dog’s “acting” in the scene was entirely not planned, and Carvey had to ad lib, along with everyone else in the room. Only Carvey could come up with, “He probably smells my dog!”
Then there was Chris Farley, our man “down by the river”. Who didn’t laugh at the Gap girls and Farley’s fries?
Or, his impeccable dance moves with Patrick Swayze? To this day, after seeing it multiple times, I always laugh.
Then there’s Phil Hartman. He could be serious or silly, and you bought it all, because he had this way of coming off as very believable, no matter who he impersonated or what character he represented.
I seriously considered going as Adam Sandler one year, for Halloween, after seeing this:
There are so many great moments, there’s no way I could list them all. Jan Hooks as Sinead O’Connor. Phil Hartman as Old Blue Eyes. Even if the comedy went over my head, none of that mattered to me. In some weird way, I still got it. I also loved the musical guests, like Janet Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and of course, Nirvana, my favorite.
Nearly every Saturday night, Grandma and I were glued to the television. We had our favorites, and the ones we weren’t so fond of. Grandma never liked G.E. Smith, the lead guitarist and musical director for the Saturday Night Live band. Not because he couldn’t play or wasn’t talented. She thought he was creepy. I wasn’t sure how I felt about a few of the new cast members, especially during the 1994-1995 season, like Michael McKean, or Chris Elliot. I guess what I was used to, what I loved seeing was changing on me, due to a lot of changes with the cast. It seemed everyone I loved to watch had left, like Ellen Cleghorne, Kevin Nealon, Chris Farley, and Adam Sandler.
I stopped watching.
It wasn’t really SNL’s fault. I was growing up and moving past those coveted Saturday night rituals with Grandma. I spent time with my new boyfriend, or with friends. Saturdays were no longer a time for staying at home.
Five years or so had gone by, before I picked up the SNL bug again. I’d caught a re-run of the classic episodes from the late 70’s, early 80’s. I’d never seen Gilda Radner or Jane Curtain getting attacked by the Land Shark, or Eddie Murphy. Seriously, Eddie Murphy! How could I not fall in love all over again?
Fast forward to the present. While I don’t watch religiously, I do watch an episode from time to time of the latest episodes or the re-runs shown on the weekends. I’ve also purchased a few SNL Best Of DVD’s, of Dana Carvey (of course) and Chris Farley. It’s nice that we have the technology we have now, and can watch episodes and clips from past decades online. I’ve been able to re-watch a lot of the skits that brought me in all those years ago, too.
In closing, I’ll leave you with one of the “commercials” that has never ceased to make me laugh, even now. Thanks for the memories, Saturday Night Live, and for making my teen years a little less turbulant. And a special thanks to Grandma, who was and still is the coolest grandma on the planet. I hope someday soon, we can watch a little SNL together with a big bowl of ice cream, although this time around, I think I’ll go with strawberry.