Saturday Night Live

Season 20 Episode 6

John Turturro/Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

0
Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Nov 19, 1994 on NBC
6.7
out of 10
User Rating
9 votes
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EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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John Turturro/Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
AIRED:
Live from New York, it's... Chris Farley! Sketches include "It's a Wonderful Newt," "Christopher Walken's Celebrity Psychic Friends Network," "Phone Hang-Ups," "Taxi Driver: The Musical," "Stop That," "Dueling Dentists," and "The Movie Club." Tom Petty performed "You Don't Know How It Feels" and "Honey Bee."

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Let's Get to the Point, Let's Roll Another Joint

    5.5
    The twentieth season of "SNL" will be regarded in TV history as the standard-barrer how low a true American icon can go. The season started off rather sluggishly with top-notch hosts like Steve Martin and Marisa Tomei wondering what the hell is going on here, but it wasn't until episode five (Sarah Jessica Parker/R.E.M.) did we finally realize that something had gone horribly wrong. This was the first episode to air right after the first criticisms that Lorne Michaels was asleep at the wheel. The dissention was audible but muffled during year 19, but the constant criticism, now loud enough to shatter an eardrum, would dog the show all season.



    Of course, it's almost never the host's fault. They have no choice but to stand from the sidelines when they see TV's greatest variety program crumble into a shadow of its former self (selves?). I mean, it's not like Robert Hays and Ray Sharkey brought down year six. A perfect example of a happanstance host would be John Turturro, who was hyping the Academy Award-nominated "Quiz Show" while trying to carry the show on his shoulders. As it turns out, Turturro uses his chameleon-like persona and turns into the Phil Hartman-type cast member that Lorne couldn't replace. The rest of this episode, like many others that season, is brought down by bad writing and acting without nuance. As for five-time musical guest Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, they also play a key role in rescuing the show (sort of).



    And now, ladies and germs, a sketch-by-sketch analysis:



    "It's a Wonderful Newt": Then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is the centerpoint of yet another unspectacular spoof of "It's a Wonderful Life." In this one, Richard Nixon (Turturro) shows Newt (Chris Farley) what the world would be like if he never existed, and it's a very liberal one. I almost didn't recognize Turturro, which is a promising start to the show.



    MONOLOGUE: If you've ever seen the movie "Quiz Show," or remember it for that matter, then you might enjoy this spoof where Turturro reprises his role as the beleagured contestant. To jog your memory, it was a great movie but this is a stupid spoof.



    "Eych": A fake cat hairball-removeer ad with Ellen Cleghorne. Silly and gimmicky.



    "Christopher Walken's Celebrity Psychic Friends Network": An okay sketch with a one-joke premise. You could argue that the purpose of this sketch was to showcase Jay Mohr's incredible impression of the star of "The Deer Hunter." It's Mohr's impression that makes the sketch work, though you could give some credit to Michael McKean's interpretation of Gary Busey.



    "Sharing The Phone": The version I saw had this sketch moved from the cushy slot of second sketch to the cringe-inducing ten-to-one slot. If you see this five-minute excuse to see Janeane Garofalo and John Turturro argue over phone calls, you'll understand why.



    "Dentist Smear Ads": There were four different ads with this common thread scattered throughout the episode. Two dentists (Turturro, Chris Elliott) trade barbs similar to political attack ads, until an annoyed patient (Tim Meadows)tries to leviate the campaigns by starting his own practice. I thought this was somewhat clever.



    MUSICAL GUEST: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, truly one of best bands to appear regularly on SNL, perform "You Don't Know How It Feels." This may explain the name of this review.



    WEEKEND UPDATE: One of Norm MacDonald's favorite running gags was using the punchline "I guess that proves my theory: Germans love David Hasselhoff." Tonight, David himself talks about his music career and eventually gets bullied into saying "Germans love me." Um, okay...



    "Taxi Driver: The Musical": John Turturro plays duel roles in another sketch based on an obscure movie reference. Jay Mohr is surprisingly convincing in Harvey Kietel's role as a violent pimp.



    "Stop That": Turturro plays an annoying talk show host. Need I say more?



    "Jamaica": Fake ad with Cleghorne and Meadows providing racial commentary while describing the beautiful island they call home. Kinda funny, but it's too smug.



    "The Movie Club": Turturro and Adam Sandler play socially awkward brothers that review movies rented from Blockbuster. In the episode I saw, this sketch switched places with "Sharing The Phone," though it's not any better.



    MUSICAL GUEST: Tom Petty plays the bluesy "Honey Bee."



    Overall, this was an unbalanced episode, much similar to the other mediocrities that chipped away at year twenty. Turturro has no choice but to carry the show, and he does a satisfactory job by imitating President Nixon, Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro. The two regulars that stood out tonight were Jay Mohr, who also took the chameleon approach, and Norm MacDonald, who was confined to the "Update" desk but still made his on-screen time worthwhile. The best sketch was the "Taxi Driver" homage, while the big clunkers were "Sharing the Phone," "Stop That" and "The Movie Club." Overall, a fair effort.



    Feel free to drop me a line at sma17kc@netscape.netmoreless
John Turturro

John Turturro

Himself

Guest Star

Joey Buttafucco

Joey Buttafucco

Himself

Guest Star

David Hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff

Himself

Guest Star

Tom Petty

Tom Petty

Himself

Recurring Role

Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl

Himself

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Norm MacDonald: Talk show host Ricki Lake was arrested for vandalism after demonstrating against fur. She said wearing fur was in bad taste. Then, she returned to her studio to tape a show entitled "Why Whores Get to Clap". (audience laughter and applause) Yeah, Ricki Lake, you know, ah, she is - really is an animal lover though. She has three cats, two dogs and a big ass that follows her around everywhere. (audience cheers, with some applause, awws, and groans)

    • David Hasselhoff: (reading off a note written by Norm MacDonald) Germans love me.

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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