Saturday Night Live’s 40th year anniversary special aired last Sunday and I have to admit I enjoyed all three and a half hours. I found the entire idea of the interaction of all those personalities fascinating, and it has nothing to do with celebrity worship. These are the people who have defined humor, and impacted the mores of our society for the past four decades and to see them on parade like that was kinda like studying our own reflections. Isn’t that the entire point of satire?
To be honest I’m quite baffled by the range of reactions I’m encountering from co-workers, friends, et cetera, who say they didn’t like it – the negative reactions seem to go the whole gamut from boredom to outright disdain, and as far as I can tell the only real complaint about the special and about SNL in general is it’s just not funny enough. The negative responses seem to go beyond your standard dismissive attitude towards bad television to the kind of strong emotional response evoked by feelings of personal betrayal – “you made me love you and then you failed to live up to my expectations!” Is that the real issue, has SNL failed to consistently deliver, is that why they feel betrayed or has the viewing public just become so jaded over time that someone crashing through a desk just doesn’t stimulate our entertainment taste buds like it once did?
Either way, I squirmed a bit at some of the awkward moments you expect of live TV, groaned a bit at some of the weaker comedic attempts, scratched my head at the introduction of Eddie Murphy as the savior of SNL followed by a standing ovation and absolutely no related clips, and I laughed. A lot. I appreciated that it wasn’t just a ‘three plus hours of strung together clips’ flashback show, but a live celebration of some of SNL’s funniest bits. (I found the Californians extremely amusing – except for Taylor Swift, gods, I wish she would go back to her country pop thing and cease and desist with these painfully awkward attempts to become a cultural icon.) . . .
Yes, live TV is hit or miss, but it seems to me a small price to pay for something approaching genuine as opposed to over polished, pre-canned infotainment. Admittedly it lacks the real comedic edge of movie gems like This is the End, or A Million Ways to Die in the West, but you can only blame network television censors for that . . .
Found Norm Macdonald’s tweets an interesting look behind the scenes . . .