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Date Posted: 16:00:59 04/06/17 Thu
Author: HerbertMcHoover
Subject: Don Rickles / Billy Idol - January 28, 1984 (9.11)
In reply to: HerbertMcHoover 's message, "Retro Reviews - April 2017" on 18:35:53 04/02/17 Sun

TV President: ***1/2 [i](+.5 for LFNY)[/i]
Great idea for a cold opener, with Piscopo advertising to get support for his re-election. There has not been much attention on Piscopo's Reagan and it was nice to throw in one of his strengths, salesman. Obviously, the writers cannot do any political material, so this turned out better than expected.

Monologue: ****
Ebersol has quietly had huge success with the hosts the past two seasons. Rickles and Joan Rivers are among the two one-timers that got off to a great start. His interaction with the man in the front, stating that he does not have any jokes for him since he was Swedishwas one of my two favorite parts. I also dug the interaction between Rickles and a few Mexicans as well. The Madden cameo did not work for me and it was nice to see Tartikoff again.

Witness Relocation: ***1/2
Improvised or not, I thought this was pretty weak. Watching Piscopo interact with Don reminded of me how he interacted with Joan Rivers last season. When Joe slapping around Don, barely holding a straight face, I had to reward the sketch with a bonus two stars.

Fascinating People and Their Friends: **
Actually, the 80s is the Al Franken Decade (but for obvious reasons, they did not mention that). Dr. Joyce Brothers started this off well. The stock footage was very funny and Eddie was alright, but I found this to be rather average as Eddie's time on the show was coming to an end.

Saint Don of Verona: ****
A bit slow until Don breaks out, telling Joe that he is very fed up with him and remembers when he got slapped by him in the other sketch. Gary and Julia play another couple. The ending was slightly abrupt.

Saturday Night News: *
The guest anchorperson era of Update/SNL News begins with Don Rickles! Jokes don't improve right away with some bad ones to begin. The Faces in the News photo montage was boring, despite Don's best efforts ("Forget it!" when Ford's photo came up). This lasted three minutes and got boring in a hurry. This has been a strangely off season for Tim Kazurinsky, who debuts his newest character, head of NBC Standards, Worthington Clotman. Bizarre ending after Don signs off, easily the highlight of this truncated mess.

El Dorko: *
The second sketch tonight in which Gary and Julia play a couple. I'm noting this because Julia and Gary played a couple so often and Julia ultimately would marry another man in the cast (who did not have much to do tonight since he was booted from SNL News), Brad Hall. Amusing to see Gary being kissed back and forth by Mary and Julia (where's Robin?!)

This is Your Afterlife: ****1/2
The most notable sketch in this episode, making its fair share of appearances during anniversary specials. This is the same set as the Ed Koch episode with a similar set-up, already guaranteeing that this is weaker than its counterpart. This took forever to go somewhere. Mary and Tim are just there, as I await Joe, who instantly brings up the energy from the audience. Don also really starts to get sharper and much funnier when Joe enters as well, continuing their strong chemistry from earlier. The funniest moment is when Don breaks character again to yell at Joe some more, stating he had enough of him.

I Married A Monkey: **1/2
Totally forgot this was a thing, because it has almost been a year since the last one. This would ultimately be the final appearance of I Married A Monkey. While the first few started off very strong and the monkeys always had a nice presence around the studio (example: Howard Hesseman's first cold open backstage), these felt very repetitive and it did not help that they had the same set for majority of the sketches. The unpredictability was nothing special after a while and the monkeys were more relaxed than usual (up until the last minute in this sketch). The way Rickles was holding the two monkeys was hysterical and I also liked seeing the monkey start making noise and motions. Rickles was perfect to interact with the monkeys.

The Hamlisch Maneuver: *1/2
Pushed to the end of the show in the rerun and a gross ending ruined this. Piscopo was alright, but it's one of those stale impressions from him.

Episode MVP: Don Rickles.
Will be one of the top ten hosts of this decade when it is all said and done. He improvised the entire show past all the weak material. Piscopo gets major credit for that remarkable chemistry. I would say along with Lovitz/Hanks, Lovitz/Lithgow, Fallon/Timberlake, among others, Piscopo/Rickles was a dynamic cast/host duo and one of the best in history. The running gag throughout the episode is my favorite moment so far this season (aside from Mister Robinson realizing Mrs. Green knows a lot of words, boys and girls).

Final Thoughts:
As Eddie's appearances reach another low, Don really came to save the day. This episode had similar charm and quality to the episodes that ended last season.

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