I was looking forward to this 3+ hour extravaganza celebrating SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’S 40 anniversary for weeks.. Tonight when it finally began, I couldn’t to turn it off..
Let me explain.
I grew up watching the show.. from an early age, I recall my parents allowing me to stay up late on a Saturday to watch the cold open, usually with Phil Hartman nailing his Ronald Reagan impression. I typically was only able to stay away until the band’s first song.. As I got older, the show was a staple of my existence on weekends.. after working late at a restaurant for several years, this program was the go-to before turning in and waking up the next day to do the same grind job again. There are even particular seasons I find the best: The 92-94 years, and then 97-the early 2000s..
The special airing tonight is giving me a different sense of SNL.. In a sense, I think the forced nostalgia is a bad thing. The live recreation of old skits using the same actors–actors clearly who have aged and gained weight–are not kind. The parade of stars is obviously interesting to watch, but it’s also a bit unnerving to see how fast 40 years went by. And how many stars have left our world.. the number of unfortunate deaths of cast members is normal with a program that spans four decades.. But the sharp recall it gives so many people seemingly makes them also think of their own demise..
Call me a little too negative on this, but I was reminded watching it of my own aging process as well.. Some may call me young yet.. But when you realize that you’re about 6 years younger than this program, you get the ‘oh boy’ moment..
There are some other things that are called to mind when seeing this many years of memories. First off, SNL is running shorter clips of the classics. They used to be 20 years old.. but now as they age, the life of the memories has become abbreviated to fit more..
And in fitting more, it also showcases how the ‘not ready for prime time’ comedians of the 1970s have led to a ‘does anyone still watch this show?’ mentality of our current age..
The modern world of comedy is a bit different.. The youth of today, for better or worse, like watching clips on Youtube or short 10 seconds VINES.. or even shorter three second GIFs.. Or better yet, one frame memes usually featuring some sarcastic or rude commentary about life. The live entertainment offered up on SNL is not cutting edge. While they have attempted to mix the internet generation onto their show, the last effective cast to do that was Andy Samberg. And really, he only gave us a ‘dick in the box’ as the fondest memory some have of him on the show..
I am really not trying to be negative–I am not. But seeing Chevy Chase’s weight start gathering around his neck like a brace, and “Opera Man” coming back, Steve Martin singing ‘King Tut’, and Dan Aykroyd blending up a fish al-la-70s style, I get a bit nostalgic. And a bit sad.. And quite honestly a bit too much.
Maybe some nostalgia should be left to the personal moment, the time when you’re alone and contemplating all you have seen and done.
Maybe this 40th anniversary special is a little unhealthy..
Yes, I am seeing the Facebook and Twitter messages of people “LOL”ing .. And they are taking photographs of the show from the smart phone of the TV, mostly trying to brag about the APPLE TV or SAMSUNG in their homes… It all seems so vacant.. It seems so forced..
Compared to the early clips of racy and risky humor, the current incarnation of this show is overly safe and about as cutting edge than a dull butter knife.
This is my honest assessment and gut instinct of this NBC special..I may be wrong.. But it’s how I feel.
Perhaps I am alone..
Or maybe 40 years worth of three generations is LOL in spite of themselves tonight.. and when it’s over they will wonder where their night has gone. And their lives.. As the beat goes on.