Creative commentary plus crafty composition

Last evening those of us who have been aficionados of Saturday Night Live, either limitedly through the myriad casts, or like myself more or less continually from the beginning, had an opportunity to revisit its history over a three and one-half hour broadcast marathon.

Was the length of time worth the trip?  As with avowedly award ceremonies like the Oscars, with this one an implicitly self-congratulatory affair, in some respects yes, in some no.

Here’s a list of, in my opinion, the highs and lows of the show:

Best segments:

  • ‘Jeopardy’ hosted by Will Farrell (as an exasperated Alex Trebeck), with several celebrity imitated clueless contestants, topped by Darrel Hammond’s Sean Connery
  • The three Weekend Update female anchors, i.e. Jane Curtin, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler, with excerpts of male and female anchors, especially a short Jane and Dan Ackroyd counterpoint,
  • Wayne’s World top 10 list, with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey
  • Memorial tribute to deceased cast and crew (except as noted below), ending with a lighter recall to early SNL re Generalissimo Francisco Franco
  • All-too-brief Blues Brothers musical number with Jim Belushi and Dan Ackroyd

Questionable segments:

  • A frazzled update pitch of ‘Bassomatic’ with Dan Ackroyd
  • Jerry Seinfeld, as opposed to a cast member or frequent guest host, answering audience member questions
  • Chris Rocks’ sycophantic introduction, leading to an overblown ovation, of Eddie Murphy
  • Paul McCartney and Paul Simon duet
  • Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg background number

Worst segments:

  • A seemingly endless saga of ‘The Californians’, notwithstanding the injection of Laraine Newman and Betty White
  • Kanye West performance (and additional screen time)
  • Opening song styling of Jimmy Fallon (are the opening numbers of this kind of show ever good?)
  • The inclusion of Jon Lovitz, who was sitting in the audience, in the deceased cast tribute

Sad sight:

  • How the years have taken a toll, especially it seems on male cast alumni

Missing in action:

  • The Church Lady
  • Geek brothers Will Farrell and Chris Kattan rocking to ‘What is Love?”

Well, you never get all you want in these retrospectives.  It just seems that, with over three hours to work with, adroit pacing and sharper content decisions would have made this anniversary experience more memorable.

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