Halloween Extravaganza 2006
Saturday Night Live Halloween Special
Alright, we're off to a good start and while I'm awaiting the arrival of some good Halloween products at the stores, I've decided to concentrate these reviews on things I can rent.
For this review, I decided to do Saturday Night Live's Halloween Special. As a kid, I loved holiday TV specials. The networks all had their own special introductions to let you know that they were going to
depart from their local programming and play something good for a change. Whether it was the Grinch, Rudolph or a Peanuts special, they were pretty much the same every year and every year I watched them religiously.
Maybe it's just a commentary on the awesome power of television, but it never really felt like a holiday until the holiday special aired.
That's why I was so happy to find the SNL Halloween special on Netflix. This particular special originally aired in 1998 and is nothing more than a series of previous Halloween sketches. The special starts with a classic Land Shark skit and then goes to
Wayne and Garth who host the whole thing. Well, they don't really host it, they just do an opening sketch and an ending sketch. So it begins and ends with Wayne's world.
Wayne and Garth do a top ten list of sexiest Halloween costumes and they're pretty much right on. Why is it that women take Halloween as a chance to dress up as something naughty? But I digress, from there it goes from random Halloween sketch to Halloween sketch and maybe it's because
the writers of Saturday Night rarely come up with something good, or because the humor is all dated, but most of the sketches are pretty bad. That's one thing I've never understood about SNL- they come up with a character and then repeatedly use the same exact jokes every time they do a sketch with that
character, except the background is slightly different. You really only need to watch one episode a season to get the jist of what's going on.
But there were a couple of good sketches mixed in with the usual schlock, so let's focus on those and redeem this review, shall we? One of my favorite all time sketches made it to the special. It's an early one where Dan Aykroyd plays a smarmy president of a novelty company. He's being interviewed by a consumer advocate who
accuses him of selling unsafe Halloween Costumes.
Dan Aykroyd is incredulous throughout the sketch and it really reminded me of those early 80s reports where they would light Halloween costumes on fire or show how kids can't see through the masks to scare parents into ruining all your fun. And there was always that kid on your block whose parents bought into it hook line and sinker- you know, the
one who had the orange safety vest and flashlight. Anyhow, some of the notable costumes in this sketch are Johnny Space Commander which is nothing more than a plastic bag and rubberband, Johnny Invisible Pedestrian which is an all black outfit and Johnny Combat which comes with a real M1 rifle.
Another good episode on the special is the Martha Stewart one. I don't know who the actress is, but she does a great Martha Stewart. In this episode, she focuses on pranks you can play on Halloween from egging, TPing, and the good old flaming bag of dog doo. I like this episode because if you've ever seen an episode of Martha Stewart's show, it's obvious she's got an edge that she's trying to suppress. As the character says in this
sketch "364 days a year I suppress my demons, on All Hallow's Eve I invite them to dance." It not only captures the true spirit of Halloween, but the essence of Martha Stewart.
I wonder if the real Martha Stewart secretly does this sort of stuff? The other decent sketch on the disc is an early Coneheads episode. I never really liked the Coneheads so much, but I did like this particular sketch because they give the trick-or-treaters fried eggs and beer. Why not give a little something dad will enjoy? Like very Coneheads episode, everything is ok once the Coneheads tell the complaining block parents that they're from France.
Good old SNL, no matter how tired a punch line, the writers never seem to tire from it.
Other than that, the special is pretty flat. They include a Stuart Smalley episode, some Adam Sandler, and a Will Ferrell cheerleader episode. It's pretty much just a standard SNL episode- a few good lines sandwiched between a lot of filler. Sure, the show has been on tv for over 25 years, but I think it has more to do with the fact that it fills a horrible time slot than anything else. Other than trying to catch it for the musical guest, I stopped watching SNL a long time ago and I'm not sure if it ever recovered from losing
all the popular cast members. But it did make me reflect on just how popular so many of the characters were. Remember all the Wayne's world merchandise? Like you never fooled someone and then said fished in while making the hand gestures...
The show ends with Wayne and Garth doing a top 5 list of the worst things to receive while trick-or-treating and it was pretty accurate, if I recall. I would of have to add Bible tracts and circus peanuts to the mix. Remember those crazy people who would give out the Bible tracts, or simply answer the door and say the didn't celebrate Halloween in a condescending tone? I can't personally think of a better way of saying 'please egg my house later.'
Well, that's my review of the 1998 Saturday Night Live Halloween Special. I know, it's pretty disappointing, but I really didn't have much to work with here. I'll try to do better for tomorrow's post. In the meantime, please feel free to geek out about your favorite SNL skit on the blog, or return to the Halloween Extravaganza. As for me, I'm done with you.
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