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Date Posted: 18:40:52 04/02/17 Sun
Author: HerbertMcHoover
Subject: Bob Newhart / Des'ree - February 11, 1995 (20.12)
In reply to: HerbertMcHoover 's message, "Retro Reviews - April 2017" on 18:35:53 04/02/17 Sun

Leading Off:
• Poor Bob Newhart, getting the short end of the stick both times he hosted the show. He hosted in the bad half of season five and is hosting when bad is about to get to worse in this season. He is a rock and will be reliable for laughs this episode, but how will the cast fare off after two above-average episodes for this season?

Colin Ferguson Trial: ****
Another court cold opener? Oh please. Tim Meadows played Colin Ferguson, questioning everything and claiming he was part of the conspiracy theory. Laughs were plentiful when Tim Meadows started talking to himself and eventually ducked when David pointed at the person who shot him. Tim is really starting to get it going in this time of cast instability and sketches like this were a big reason why he was invited back for another season.

Monologue: 1/2*
Bob seems like such a strange pick for this season. He does not seem like a person that would gel with this cast. Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey and Jan Hooks' cast makes more sense, because they were not as rambunctious as these guys. Bob Newhart makes the obligatory "I must have been so great that they asked me back fifteen years later" line to start off his stand-up. Bob's stand-up on SNL was never must-see and it did not help to have that one girl's fake laugh dominate most of the monologue. It was very audible and annoying. The King Kong material was better when sped up and I wish Bob was more lively to make it work. I was very bored watching this.

Ricki Lake: **1/2
Jay Mohr played a ghastly-looking Ricki Lake. Very rarely do I defend Melanie Hutsell, but I must say that her Ricki Lake impression should have returned once by the end of last season. Jay's Lake was a sad statement to where SNL had gone over the past few years and needed to resort to for laughs. He did not do bad, but leading off the show... Jay as Ricki Lake... I am not sure who would have preferred to watch this. Farley screamed and made sound effects, Spade wold make a zinger and the audience would go wild. That was the sketch. A poorly timed camera angle showed Ellen switching seats and putting on a new costume to become a different audience member (she played three audience members in this sketch.) She had the most laughs out of any cast member in the sketch and Bob's excellent deadpan helped out the sketch as well.

Book Buzz: DUD
Records that Farley could personally verify are included in this new record book. It was very different to see a sketch with only two people and Farley not to scream his way through a sketch for a change, but I am not handing out stars for that. This should have been briefer. The fact that these two sketches are leading off the show is not making me optimistic at all.

Weekend Update: **1/2
Best jokes were: 49ers, Johnnie Cochran(!), OJ Simpson/book, Lance Ito/tour, Monopoly, Taco Bell.

Chris Elliott plays a pizza delivery man who answers questions from Marcia Clark in front of the court. This back and forth is being recorded by a nearby camera and Elliott makes faces and waves at it. This was actually very funny and Chris Elliott was probably the only cast member who could have pulled this off.

Get back to Hollywood Minute, David Spade! He gives a commentary on Cindy Crawford's possible suitors for her love life.

Three commentaries this Update! Not common at all for a Norm MacDonald era Update. Adam Sandler sings an unmemorable Valentine's Day song about the phone sexline lady. I wish he gave the audience what they wanted and appeared on the desk more as himself or as his characters, instead of the lackluster Religious Cult and Gil Graham.

Baywatch: DUD
Germans love David Hasselhoff! Why not just get him to host the show? There was a lot of build up to this sketch, with Farley screaming in water once again and Bob going out to rescue him. However, the ending was extremely frustrating. All this work with the opening credits and some characterization and "Dad?!" That is it?! THAT is the end of the sketch?!

Post Office HR: **1/2
This reminded me of The Continental but in a workplace setting. If Bob were to return after this, I wished that they changed the setting. The sarcastic responses were funny and this was another sketch that did not utilize many cast members at all. In fact, none! Only Bob Newhart appeared in this sketch.

Hi Bob: ****
A backstage sketch with Chris Farley and Chris Elliott taking shots each time someone said Hi Bob. Janeane Garofalo plays the fun police for the umpteenth time here.

Sports Beat: *
Another sketch with just two people! This time, it is Kevin Nealon making his first impactful appearance of the night and he talks to Bob Newhart, in another sketch similar to Book Beat. Bob Newhart plays a commentator who could not have been any more excited for the events, but is actually depressed in reality. Rob Schneider already did some dull voiceovers for some of the most important plays in baseball history while he was in the cast, so this was quite a ripoff.

Such a cool moment in the goodnights with Norm making a rare appearance, getting Bob to sign a few of his records. Janeane is in a corner with David Spade. Bob Newhart wakes up in bed from a horrible dream (hosting SNL) with Suzanne Pleshette after the goodnights, which was a fun touch.

Episode MVP: Bob Newhart.
A lot of his trademark characteristics and traits were used in this episode, making it a much more refreshing show than usual.

Final Thoughts:
Even though the start was rocky, Bob Newhart did a nifty job and carried one of the better shows of the season.

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