Well well well, Mr. Chase. Finally, Chevy comes crawling back to Saturday Night Live, albeit to host rather than come back for good. Chevy had his own movie coming out, "Foul Play", which would open to modest success but didn't necessarily capitalize him to stardom like everyone assumed it would. Prior to this episode as well, Chase had a fistfight with Bill Murray (that some say was orchestrated by John Belushi and this led to Michaels having to change the sketch lineup at the last second so as to avoid any potentially disastrous on-air collisions. Billy Joel here is the musical guest on the same night as his high school reunion and so it is pretty cool of him to still go through with this appearance rather than be at the social gathering. Would the tension hurt this show rather than help it? Let's take a look.
Host: Chevy Chase
Musical Guest: Billy Joel
"The Little House on the Prairie Burns to the Ground" will not be shown tonight.
Cold Open: A Former President Speaks to the Nation (Chase, Curtin, voice of Davis) (4:05)
--Chevy reinstates his Gerald Ford 'impression' complete with the usual hijinx like using a cup of water as a phone, talking to his nonexistent dog, making constant gaffes, and bringing his wife Betty (Curtin) into the picture. Pretty solid opening.
Note: Interesting that they use the same opening montage as they do from the second season because Chevy is hosting.
Monologue (Chase) (4:27)
--Chevy goes for cheap applause ("You know what I love about your applause? It's spontaneity." from mentions of places in New York and appreciation of the cast and crew before delving into a brief musical number. Good monologue.
Commercial: Moth Masher (Aykroyd, Newman) (1:36)
--An oddball commercial bit with a spokesman (Aykroyd) advertising the Moth Masher, which will squash your moths for you (because I mean, who doesn't like doing that?).
Conversation After Sex (Chase, Radner) (5:51)
--A man (Chase) and woman (Radner) have a delightfully awkward conversation after they're done having sex about various lies and miscues they had. Funny character piece.
Billy Joel sings "Only the Good Die Young" (3:31)
--Billy, who should be cavorting with his school chums, delivers a powerhouse performance with one of my favourite tunes from him for sure.
King (Aykroyd, Morris, Murray) (4:00)
--JFK (Aykroyd) chats with Martin Luther King Jr. (Morris) along with brother Bobby Kennedy (Murray). King suggests a march on Washington, but the Kennedys oppose it and John tries bribery to prevent this. I'm not really sure what the point of this was, but the impressions of the Kennedys were hilarious and the banter was entertaining at least.
Weekend Update with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin (also: Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, and Al Franken) (14:30)
--This is probably the longest Update from the third season and what starts off with a few good zingers from our two correspondents ends up with Chevy Chase delivering a faux phone call about Danny's ailing mother that allows him to take his spot on Update. He also tries the same scam on Curtin but gets caught doing the phone call at the other end of the desk ("Nice try, Sparky"). Chevy does a swell job on Update with his usual schtick (including a humourous horse voice). Laraine Newman also interviews Ray Floyd (Franken), a miner with a severe coughing fit who wants to keep the right to strike to get stricter enforcement of safety regulations. John Belushi also gives one of his manic rants, this time about the title fight between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks and ends with knocking Curtin over with boxing gloves. Emily Litella comes back to visit "Cheddar Cheese", which allows for Curtin to give a great rant on Chevy hogging the spotlight (almost too true!). AND finally, Garrett Morris repeats the top story for the hard of hearing just for old times' sake. There was some pretty good stuff in here, but man oh man, way too packed.
Baggage Inspection Counter (Chase, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, Newman) (5:26)
--A new trainee (Chase) is trained by his mentor (Aykroyd). Once he gets to two of the travellers (Belushi, Newman) whose suitcase is obviously filled with drugs, the hilarity ensues. The priest (Murray) with the wheelbarrow of cocaine is also a great capper too.
Weis Film #35: Bad Day Soundtrack (Newman + Valri Bromfield) (2:32)
--Laraine has a bad day, which is narrated in song by a mysterious voice (Bromfield). Interesting experiment, but only mildly amusing.'
Sermonette (Chase) (3:25)
--Reverend Archbishop Maharishi O'Mulliganstein, D.D.S. (Chase) provides a sermon at the end of the church day. This completely fell flat in my opinion.
Somewhere in France, 1944 (Chase, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, Murray) (4:04)
--Catching a couple of soldiers (Aykroyd, Murray) sneaking behind enemy lines, they're quizzed to see if they truly are Americans even though they are VERY obviously German. Eventually, their true identity is discovered but then the Americans don't know the answers too, causing the sergeant (Belushi) to think them as turncoats too. Not bad.
Billy Joel sings "Just the Way You Are" (4:10)
--This is another one that is definitely in my top ten for Billy Joel tunes. His magnificent piano playing and wonderful singing voice give this song real gusto.
No Funny Ending (Chase, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman, Radner) (5:01)
--What starts off as a tea party between three old buzzards (Curtin, Newman, Radner) soon morphs into a series of faux endings after Chevy breaks the fourth wall and interrupts the sketch. This means Rod Serling (Aykroyd), Truman Capote (Belushi), Land Shark (Chase), and more make an appearance in a very entertaining sketch to finish the show.
Chevy gives a brief farewell sitting at the piano while Bill Murray clearly keeps his distance, coming in late and waving while Belushi jokes around with him.
Best segment: No Funny Ending
Worst segment: Sermonette
Host: Chevy Chase - 7.75/10
Musical Guest: Billy Joel - 8.5/10
Well, the quality of the host dwindles a little bit with this episode, but that is not to say that Chevy Chase was nothing short of an affable host, one who fit in with the cast like he used to years previous. It was obvious, however, that there was some tension in the air and so the show probably didn't flow as well as it could have, but Chevy still held in there and gave it his all despite that. Billy Joel was a really fun musical guest and it was obvious why he was invited back thrice more to perform for the show. Now, this episode has been unfairly criticized for being one of the low points for season 3 and I disagree with that sentiment (my least favourite episode so far was still a good one), but this show does kind of have an ominous mood hanging over it and it is fairly Bill Murray-less (which I'm sure was due in large part to the altercation). Still, a good solid show nonetheless.