Saturday Night Live

Season 2 Episode 10

Candice Bergen/Frank Zappa

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Dec 11, 1976 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
22 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Gilda Radner!

Sketches include "Patty Hearst At Home," "Jimmy Carter Can't Keep His Promises," "Santi-Wrap," "Consumer Probe," "K-Put Price-is-Right Stamp Gun," "The Right to Extreme Stupidity League," "FX-70 Cheese Slicer," "The Killer Trees," "Diana Nyad" (film), "Adopt John Belushi For Christmas," and "Let's Kill Gary Gilmore For Christmas."

Frank Zappa performed "I'm The Slime" (featuring Don Pardo), "Lagoon" (featuring Samurai Futaba), and "Peaches & Regalia."moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Candice Bergen makes her third hosting appearance on this special Christmas show with her musical guest, crazed musician Frank Zappa!

    Candice Bergen was one of the earliest hosts that Lorne and the cast could be sure to rely on for a good performance even if the show would not be up to par all the time (case in point, the Christmas show in Year 1). Here she is again, hosting their annual Christmas show with a very unique and wonderful musician in the form of Frank Zappa who would make another appearance after this that was much lauded as an over-the-top camera-mugging performance for a host. Here though, he would only serve as the musical guest and make one quick appearance later on in the show. Could they erase the memory of last year's Christmas show (which at a 5.75, wasn't AWFUL) or would it be just as mediocre? Here we go at the halfway mark of the season.

    Host: Candice Bergen

    Musical Guest: Frank Zappa

    Cold Open: Patti Hearst At Home (Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman, Radner) (3:18)

    --Patti Hearst (Radner) comes home to her family for the holidays and they play Scrabble and watch television, but things continue to be awkward. Funny opening.

    Monologue: "Casablanca" (Bergen, Belushi, Curtin, Morris + Lorne Michaels) (5:37)

    --Candice doesn't show up to the stage due to John Belushi ignoring her after their torrid love affair. Belushi, looking like Humphrey Bogart, escorts Bergen back out towards to the stage and as they stand in the fog, the "Casablanca" reference kicks in. Even Sam (Morris) shows up. The greatness keeps coming.

    Carter's Promises (Aykroyd) (1:36)

    --President Carter (Aykroyd) tells everyone that the promises he has made will be pretty impossible to accomplish. This is obviously just to help hone Aykroyd's impression of Carter, but it's still amusing.

    Commercial: Santi-Wrap (Aykroyd, Belushi, Newman) (2:04)

    --Santi-Wrap, the new sanitary seat cover that you can put on Santa's lap before you risk catching a disease from him. Decent.

    Frank Zappa sings "I'm The Slime" (3:13)

    --One of the most unique acts to ever appear on Saturday Night Live, Zappa delivers a wonderful tune with the help of Don Pardo and some green slime. Simply amazing.

    Consumer Probe (Bergen, Aykroyd) (4:39)

    --Candice interviews Irvin Mainway (Aykroyd) on his dangerous new Christmas toys including one that is simply a bag of glass. This is one of Dan's great character creations and the way he keeps defending his dangerous toys and talking about the dangers of very harmless toys is hilarious.

    Commercial: K-Put (:48)

    --The third repeat of this commercial from Year 1.

    Right To Extreme Stupidity League (Bergen, Radner) (2:45)

    --Lisa (Radner), an extremely stupid woman, speaks for the rights of people like her while Fern (Bergen) insults her. Bergen cracks up early on though and it completely changes the direction of the sketch. The way she just shamelessly laughs in the background is quite funny and adds to an already well-written bit.

    Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (also: Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner) (8:15)

    --Jane chats with writer Tom Schiller in an awkward conversation to begin the news, so Schiller hides under the desk and constantly makes his presence known throughout this edition. Jane is in good form, making a sharp jab at Barbara Walters and then President Carter. Ray Basalt (Aykroyd) speaks on the December Radiation Fallout Report in an amusing bit and then we also get a visit from Emily Litella (Radner) to report on "collecting money for unisex." This turns into the first Curtin/Radner interaction on Update, which is even funnier than when she did the same routine with Chevy. Wonderful.

    Commercial: FX-70 Cheese Slicer (Bergen, Belushi) (:42)

    --A quick bit in which Candice advertises the new FX-70 Cheese Slicer. Kodak didn't care much for this and dropped her as their spokesperson shortly after.

    Frank Zappa performs "Lagoon" (with help from: John Belushi) (3:56)

    --Another showstopping moment from Zappa, with the best part being when Samurai Futaba (Belushi) shows up to assist with the "lyrics." Awesome.

    The Killer Trees (Bergen, Zappa, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, Radner) (8:37)

    --Just as it sounds. There are killer Christmas trees on the hunt and after taking their first victim (Morris), it is discovered that they only attack when one is singing "O Tanenbaum." Two cops (Aykroyd, Belushi) are on the case and even Zappa makes an appearance as one of the suspects in this sketch. More great stuff.

    Weis Film #22: Diana Nyad (2:56)

    --This film focuses on some swimmer who swam around Manhattan Island. It's interesting, but doesn't belong on the show and therefore, it kind of slowed the great pace that this show has going so far.

    Adopt Belushi For Christmas (Bergen, Belushi) (2:31)

    --Candice announces that after all the Not Ready For Primetime Players go home for Christmas, John Belushi will have nowhere to go and will definitely need a home. Works because of Belushi's charm.

    Let's Kill Gary Gilmore (Bergen, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman, Radner) (3:29)

    --Candice and the cast sing an ode to killing Gary Gilmore, the evil bastard who killed a couple of people and then asked to be killed by a firing squad. Pretty hilariously dark tune sung to perfection by all.

    Frank Zappa performs "Peaches and Regalia"

    --Zappa's musical trio ends with another wonderful ditty. Great drum solo to finish it off too.

    Candice has to waste time before the closing and then joins the cast on the ice rink for a little skating before she says goodnight and they then wrap up the show.

    Best segment: Consumer Probe

    Worst segment: Diana Nyad...but it wasn't that bad.

    Host: Candice Bergen - 7.5/10

    Musical Guest: Frank Zappa - 10/10

    I absolutely loved this episode in case you couldn't tell as Candice was her usual reliable self as a host. Usually and for the most part, she was playing straight-man to the cast's goofy antics but she excels in that department and was especially charming and hilarious in her sketch with Gilda. Frank Zappa was a revelation for the show and an absolutely amazing musical guest who provided a very unique and mesmerizing set of three of his great songs. For the cast, I believe John Belushi took the cake this week but there was an overall great effort by the cast and an awesome show overall. Perfect.

    Rating: 10/10moreless
Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa


Guest Star

Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad


Guest Star

Candice Bergen

Candice Bergen


Recurring Role

Lorne Michaels

Lorne Michaels


Recurring Role

Tom Schiller

Tom Schiller

Jane's husband

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • In the "Right to Exterme Stupidity" sketch, Bergen (as Fern) accidentally calls Radner (as Lisa) "Fern." Both actresses break character but Radner quickly rebounds ("You know, we all can't be as bright as Fern here...!") while Bergen laughs through the rest of the sketch. The blooper leads to a much funnier interpretation of the sketch's original premise.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Consumer Reporter: Well, this is certainly a very sad situation. One of the precious joys of Christmas warped by a ruthless profiteer like yourself.
      Irwin Mainway: Well, that's just your opinion, you know what I mean?
      Consumer Reporter: Well, I just don't understand why you can't make harmless toys like these alphabet blocks. [ points to blocks ]
      Irwin Mainway: C'mon, this is harmless? Alright, okay, you call this harmless? [ holds block in hand ] I mean.. [ plays with block and fakes injury ] Aagghh!! I got a splinter in here, look at that! This is wood! This is unsanded wood, it's rough!
      Consumer Reporter: Alright, that's enough of this ridiculous display. [ holds toy phone ] Here is another creative toy, safe enough for a baby!
      Irwin Mainway: [ grabs phone ] You say it's safe, I mean, look at this cord.. the kid is on the phone - "Hello? Hello?" - then.. [ twists cord around his neck, screams, and falls backward in chair ] You know what I mean? It's an example! You see my point, a dangerous toy like that?
      Consumer Reporter: Well, let's try this one. What about this little foam play ball? I mean, even you, Mr. Mainway, can't find anything dangerous about this. Huh?
      Irwin Mainway: [ takes ball, bounces it on table, then shoves it in his throat and feigns choking ]

    • Consumer Reporter: Alright. Fine. Fine. Well, we'd like to show you another one of Mr. Mainway's products. It retails for $1.98, and it's called Bag O' Glass. [ holds up bag of glass ] Mr. Mainway, this is simply a bag of jagged, dangerous, glass bits.

      Irwin Mainway: Yeah, right, it's you know, it's glass, it's broken glass, you know? It sells very well, as a matter of fact, you know? It's just broken glass, you know?

      Consumer Reporter: [ laughs ] I don't understand. I mean, children could seriously cut themselves on any one of these pieces!

      Irwin Mainway: Yeah, well, look - you know, the average kid, he picks up, you know, broken glass anywhere, you know? The beach, the street, garbage cans, parking lots, all over the place in any big city. We're just packaging what the kids want! I mean, it's a creative toy, you know? If you hold this up, you know, you see colors, every color of the rainbow! I mean, it teaches him about light refraction, you know? Prisms, and that stuff! You know what I mean?

      Consumer Reporter: So, you don't feel that this product is dangerous?

      Irwin Mainway: No! Look, we put a label on every bag that says, "Kid! Be careful - broken glass!" I mean, we sell a lot of products in the "Bag O'" line.. like Bag O' Glass, Bag O' Nails, Bag O' Bugs, Bag O' Vipers, Bag O' Sulfuric Acid. They're decent toys, you know what I mean?

      Consumer Reporter: Well, I guess we could say that all of your toys are really unsafe and should rightfully be banned from the market. I guess I would just like to know what happened to the good ol' teddy bear.

      Irwin Mainway: Hold on a minute, sister. I mean, we make a teddy bear. It's right here. [ picks up giant teddy bear ] It's got a nice little feature here, you see? I'll hold it up here. We call it a Teddy Chainsaw Bear. [ revs chainsaw in teddy bear's stomach ] I mean, a kid plays with saws, he can cut logs with it, you know what I mean.

    • Consumer Reporter: Good evening, and welcome to the holiday edition of "Consumer Probe". Our topic tonight is unsafe toys for children. For instance, this little bow and arrow set. [ holds up ] Pull the rubber suctions off, and the arrows become deadly missiles.

      [ cut to full shot, showing Irwin Mainway seated to Joan's right ]

      We have with us tonight, Mr. Irwin Mainway, President of Mainway Toys. Uh, Mr. Mainway, your company manufactures the following so-called harmless playthings: Pretty Peggy Ear-Piercing Set, Mr. Skin-Grafter, General Tron's Secret Police Confession Kit, and Doggie Dentist. And what about this innocent rubber doll, which you market under the name Johnny Switchblade? [ holds up doll ] Press his head, and two sharp knives spring from his arms. [ demonstrates ] Mr. Mainway, I'm afraid this is, by no means, a very safe toy.

      Irwin Mainway: Okay, Miss, I wanna correct you, alright. The full name of this product, as it appears in stores all over the county, is Johnny Switchblade: Adventure Punk. I mean, nothing goes wrong.. little girls buy 'em, you know, they play games, they make up stories, nobody gets hurt. I mean, so Barbie takes a knife once in a while, or Ken gets cut. You know, there's no harm in that. I mean, as far as I can see, you know?

    • Fern: Oh, hi! You're just in time- I made some cookies, and here's some milk.
      Lisa: Oh, great! I'm so thirsty, I could drink a horse!
      Fern: Boy, are you stupid. It's "eat a horse." "I could eat a horse."
      Lisa: (sits) Well, you do whatever you want, Fern, I'm still thirsty!
      Fern: Well, here, have some milk. (hands Lisa the glass)
      Lisa: Oh, thanks! (pours the milk into her purse) Gee... this milk isn't too good. I'm still thirsty!
      Fern: Well, that's because you poured it in your purse, you see?
      Lisa: Oh..
      Fern: You're not too bright, are you, Fern? I mean... (breaks character and laughs) Whatever your name is! (keeps laughing)
      Lisa: Lisa!
      Fern: As a matter of fact, you're extrememly stupid!
      Lisa: Well, you're right, Fern. And, you know, I'm proud of it! (to the camera) You know, we all can't be brainy like Fern here... ("Fern" tries harder to stifle her laughter, the audience applauds)

  • NOTES (4)

    • This episode features the debut of recurring sketch "Consumer Probe" as well the character of sleazy entrepreneur Irwin Mainway.

    • The ad spoof "K-Put Price-is-Right Stamp Gun" is repeated from Season One.

    • When the episode was rerun on NBC on January 29, 2005 in the show's "All-Night" timeslot, this message was displayed on screen before the airing in a white font on a black background: "The following episode of Saturday Night Live was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1977 for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Series." NBC aired Emmy-nominated or Emmy-winning episodes for five weeks in the "All-Night" timeslot (at 3AM ET in most cities) beginning 1/22/05 to promote a "Live From New York: The First 5 Years of Saturday Night Live" primetime special.

    • Bergen was the spokesperson for Polaroid at the time of this episode. The company was not happy with the FX-70 Cheese Slicer ad spoof (a Polaroid camera that dispenses a slice of cheese instead of a picture) and dumped Bergen a month later.