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For over three decades, Saturday Night Live has been the source of young comedic talent and helped to launch the careers of countless performers, making them household names. Still considered iconic for their live performances from Studio 8H in New York, the original cast of SNL (including Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner and John Belushi) set the tone for years to follow with their irreverent, edgy humor. They combined anti-establishment political satire with rock-and-roll attitude for a show that spoke to the youth of the 1970's, turning it into an instant sensation. Although only the second year on the air, the 1976-1977 season turned out to be the last for Chevy Chase, but the first for a young comedian named Bill Murray. The complete second season of SNL contains legendary musical performances by artists Joe Cocker, The Band, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, George Harrison, Frank Zappa, Chuck Berry, The Kinks, Santana and Tom Waits and classic appearances by hosts Lily Tomlin, Norman Lear, Steve Martin, Dick Cavett, Jodie Foster, Candice Bergen, Ralph Nader, Fran Tarkenton, Sissy Spacek, Elliott Gould and Shelly Duvall.
Saturday Night Live's essential second season looms large in SNL's tumultuous history. Breakout star Chevy Chase departed after several episodes to pursue specials and a movie career. Mustachioed "new kid" Bill Murray's inauspicious beginning (he joined the cast in the Fran Tarkenton episode) was shaky enough to warrant pleading his case to viewers during the Broderick Crawford episode that he was, indeed, funny. He sealed the deal with his breakthrough sketch in the season finale, in which a husband transforms his shower into a lounge act, with guest appearances by his wife and even the man with whom she's having an affair. Another momentous episode marked Steve Martin's debut as host, ushering in Martin-mania. Joining John Belushi's Samurai in the pantheon of classic SNL characters are the Coneheads (Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, and Larraine Newman), extraterrestrials struggling to assimilate ("We're from France"). Legendary National Lampoon writer Michael O'Donoghue introduced his sinister alter ego, Mr. Mike, in whose "Least-Loved Bedtime Stories" the Little Engine That Could has a heart attack, and Br'er Rabbit is skinned alive in a "random act of meaningless violence." Jane Curtin proves a formidable successor to Chevy Chase as anchor of "Weekend Update," but not before that now-infamous moment during the Tarkenton episode when, in a bid for "raw thrills" that will make viewers forget "sexy" Chevy Chase, tears open her blouse and proclaims, "Try these on for size, Connie Chung."
It is still thrilling to watch Saturday Night Live find its voice. Except for one brief appearance, the Muppet segments are out, as are Albert Brooks' short films, replaced by the New York slice-of-life entries by Gary Weiss. A couple of sketches, one featuring Lily Tomlin and Garret Morris and another with Sissy Spacek and John Belushi, are more dramatic playlets. And Eric Idle's first stint as host plays like a lost episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus with the sketches seamlessly flowing in to one another. But the series still fearlessly subverted television convention. Envelopes don't get pushed much more than the Christmas-episode holiday song "Let's Kill [death row inmate] Gary Gilmore for Christmas." Saturday Night Live is a topical show, and Earl Butz jokes don't play as well in the 21st century. But the musical segments endure, including the thrilling pairing of Paul Simon and George Harrison and an extended set by the Band. The hosts, as ever, are hit and miss. One of the season's high points is Simon, in an ill-fated attempt to shed his "Mr. Alienation" image, taking the stage in a turkey costume to sing "Still Crazy After All These Years." This set's bonus feature is a true rarity, the "Mardis Gras" special, an infamous primetime debacle in which the cast gamely copes with drunken crowds that pelt them with beads, and botched logistics (Penny Marshall must go on without Cindy Williams who is caught elsewhere in traffic). In their impact on comedy and pop culture, Saturday Night Live 's iconic first ensemble has been likened to the Beatles. Then, season 2 is Help! to season 1's A Hard Day's Night: still wildly funny, though not quite as exhilarating. --Donald Liebenson
Beyond Saturday Night Live The Complete Second Season on DVD
I've been looking forward to this release as it includes the guest hosting performance of my favorite Jack Burns! It is terrific that they are finally getting full seasons out of SNL instead of compilation best of sets so that those, like myself, who want an episode featuring a legend (or perhaps a forgotten personality) from the past can get it in awesome DVD quality instead of settling for grainy unofficial recordings. There are lots of legends from the '70s guest hosting in this season including Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton. Revisit or perhaps see for the first time the SNL days with Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Laraine Newton, Dan Aykroyd etc. For a sneak peek at the best SNL episode ever (that just so happens to be on this season set), check out my webpage "Jack Burns Hosts Saturday Night Live."
Here's what's on this season: 1. Lily Tomlin/James Taylor (First aired: 9/18/1976) Sketches include "Lily Won't Rehearse," "Debate '76," "The Muppet Morgue," "The Phone Company," "Women In Literature," "Tess DiSenzo," "Judith Beasley," "Television Viewer" (film), and "The Antler Dance." James Taylor performed "Shower the People," "Roadrunner," and "Sweet Baby James." 2. Norman Lear/Boz Scaggs First aired: 9/25/1976 Sketches include "Gilda's Fall," "Norman Fell's Actors" (film), "Jimmy Carter's Libido," "The Snakehandling O'Sheas," "Chevy's Girls," "Joseph Franklin's Metric Week," "Yankee Doodle Slapstick" (film) "Abusive Divorce Lawyer," "Rhodesian Peace Talks," "Norman's Joke," and "Spanish Peanuts" (film). Boz Skaggs performed "Lowdown" and "What Can I Say." 3.Read more ›
Season 1 of Saturday Night Live had some memorable moments, but Season 2 had even more! Included are the first time comedy legend Steve Martin hosted the show, the first appearance of Bill Murray's famous 'Nick the Lounge Singer' character, the time that John Belushi did his Joe Cocker Impression alongside Joe Cocker himself, Lily Tomlin's hilarious commercial for 'The Phone Company', and much more! Here is a list of the episodes in order of their original airdates(Along with notes on the major cast changes):
1. Lily Tomlin/James Taylor 2. Norman Lear/Boz Scaggs 3. Eric Idle/Joe Cocker,Stuff 4. Karen Black/John Prine 5. Steve Martin/Kinky Friedman 6. Buck Henry/The Band (Chevy Chase's Last Episode To Be 'Weekend Update' Anchor) 7. Dick Cavett/Ry Cooder (Jane Curtin's First Episode To Be 'Weekend Update' Anchor) 8. Paul Simon 9. Jodie Foster/Brian Wilson (Chevy Chase's Last Episode) 10. Candice Bergen/Frank Zappa 11. Ralph Nader/George Benson (Bill Murray's First Episode) 12. Ruth Gordon/Chuck Berry 13. Frank Tarkenton/Leo Sayer,Donny Harper,& The Voices of Tomorrow 14. Steve Martin/The Kinks 15. Sissy Spacek/Richard Baskin 16. Broderick Crawford/The Meters,Dr. John,Levon Helm,Paul Butterfield 17. Jack Burns/Santana 18. Julian Bond/Tom Waits,Brick 19. Elliott Gould/The McGarrigle Sisters,Roslyn Kind 20. Eric Idle/Alan Price,Neil Innes 21. Shelley Duvall/Joan Armatrading 22. Buck Henry/Jennifer Warnes,Kenny Vance
Another possible episode to be featured on this set is the live special from Mardi Gras, but only time will tell if it will be included.
Bottom line, I am really looking forward to this set!
I am absolutely thrilled that we are getting another complete season of Saturday Night Live. This season is where the show really started to gell into the show that everyone remembers.
I've only watched the first 4 discs of this set, but so far it has been great. Even better than season one. This season marks the birth of the Coneheads. Jane Curtin takes over Weekend Update after Chevy Chase leaves the show. Lots of great moments.
The only thing that I find disapointing is the people that continue to complain about the long wait between seasons and the price of the sets. In case no one has bothered to address the issue, here it is in black and white. Music licensing issues. Come on folks. You complain that TV shows on DVD are constantly replacing or deleating music and when a company bends over backwards to make sure that each and every piece of music is inclued in the set, then you complain about the price. Sorry but in this case you can't have your cake and eat it too. The same goes for the so called 'long wait' between seasons. It takes a lot of time to negotiate those pesky music rights. I know, reality bites doesn't it? I, for one, don't mind the long wait. If this is what it takes for Universal to give me complete uncut seasons of this great show, then fine. I'll fork over the $50.00+ dollars for the set and wait patiently for the next season. End of rant.
I've received the advanced copy on 11/19/2007 "for review purposes only" from Broadway Video. And I'm sorry to say that the commercial bumpers are NOT INCLUDED in the Second Season Box Set. I didn't look at all the shows in this set, but I can tell you that some of the shows are NOT complete. One good example would be......
The Karen Black episode doesn't have the LIVE "goodbye" close at the end. What BV did was recreated a credit close with stills from the show open.
However, the infamous Candice Bergen/Frank Zappa Christmas episode DOES HAVE the full, uncut skating rink goodnight in this set.
In all, minus a couple of edited episodes and commercial bumpers, it's still a good box set and a must have for die hard SNL fans!
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Bad news....I think. I have 10 complete episodes from this season and there is no Point/Counterpoint on them. Aykroyd becomes co-anchor in the third season which is when this skit may have originated. At any rate, you'll definitely see it there, but probably not on the second season. Emily... Read More