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December 22nd, 2007


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01:50 am - do the Antler Dance!
Saturday Night Live's second season is out on DVD in an eight-disc box set like the first season and it's just as fascinating as the first season, especially since Chevy Chase leaves halfway through the second season (and misses two episodes during the half he is in due to being hospitalized after a fall in a skit -- unless you believe he was in California talking to agents.) Chevy literally phones in his then-traditional fall during the shows' cold openings, calling from his hospital room and having someone onstage drop the receiver off the desk so that after it falls with a clunk, then cheerfully announces Live, from New York...

This is also the season, then, when Bill Murray comes in. I'm eagerly awaiting Bill's arrival plus his defining moment on the show a few episodes later, when he goes out and basically says "Hi, I'm Billy Murray, the new guy, and I know haven't done much yet, but I'm gonna be funny, just give me a chance, ok?"

So they gave him a chance and, whadya know, he turned out to be funny. Eddie Murphy did a similar thing his first year on the show. He just learned from the best.

One of the bonus features (besides Andy Kaufman's screen test) is the SNL Mardi Gras special, which was truly the first incredible disaster in the history of the show and probably the reason why they didn't venture out from the protective confines of 30 Rock for another live broadcast ever again. Basically, the idea to do a live 90-minute show from various parts of New Orleans during the 1977 Mardi Gras celebrations seemed like a good idea on paper, but it turned out to be a logistical nightmare: remotes set up all over city and barely controlled, hordes of drunken mobs waiting for some good old-fashioned debauching, and a parade that never showed up in front of the Weekend Update correspondents' stand because earlier that evening a float had run over and killed a bystander, delaying the entire thing, and apparently the update team weren't told until they'd flailed about a lot to try and make up for lost time.

It promises to be some of the best trainwreck television ever (and I say this with a copy of the Rifftrax commentary for the Star Wars Holiday Special in my grubby little hands.) It amazes me that these series came out as they have and presented as they are with almost no cuts whatsoever (purists who complain the commmercial bumper art is not shown, you have your corner to complain in) given that Lorne Michaels has been such a tight-fisted Type A martinet when it comes to showcasing the series. He's made syndication cuts that almost border on revisionism and given strict orders that under no circumstances are some of the most notorious early episodes, such as the Louise Lasser trainwreck in Season 1 and Milton Berle's horrible turn (he basically was the Television Establishment that the Not Ready For Prime-Time Players were trying their darndest to subvert back then) to be broadcast again.

Perhaps someone clued him about "archiving for posterity" and "letting the material speak for itself" and he relented. Or maybe just now he's been able to clear the music rights -- hell, there's even a 3-second sample of Stairway to Heaven during a brilliant Dan Akyroyd one-man piece where he plays both sides of an AM/FM radio station, with the fast-talking morning DJ then commonly associated with AM radio and the slow, smooth, mellow, "I'm high right now" FM radio jock who cues up Zep and Sabbath. I'm pretty sure arguing with Plant 'n Page to get the rights for that snipped was a needlessly complicated lawyer slapfight.

I haven't seen the Mardi Gras special yet. It's on the end of the 8th disc, and I'm determined to watch them all the way through. I consider it a reward for having to put up with celebrities I don't want to put up with like Karen Black and Frank Tarkenton. Then again, both Steve Martin and Eric Idle host twice (Idle's first appearance is brilliant, absolutely brilliant) and Frank Zappa as musical guest (before he gets banned in 1978 for a truly atrocious turn as host where he continually breaks character to bark at the cue card men, irritating Lorne to no end) and then there's the Paul Simon / George Harrison episode which I'm eagerly looking forward to...

...what?! This is my generation's comedic history and all, right here on eight (well, now, sixteen) DVDs. Presented as-is, they provide amazing snapshots of weekly life in America, from elections to recurring news stories to frequent namedrops that make you go Google up whoever it was they were talking about. It's awesome.

Speaking of awesome, I found the BEST DROP IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT EVAR. Maybe not EVAR but you get the point. Many of the green "uncommon" magic items are created randomly upon whacking open the loot pinata, much like the drops of Diablo 2. The item's prefix denotes one part of its attributes (usually the graphic, the item level, and armor/dps when necessar) and the suffix denotes the type of bonuses it'll have. An item "...of the Owl" will carry intelligence and spirit bonuses, which may help spellcasters; "...of the Tiger" gives strength and agility bonuses which help the DPSers in your group, and something "...of the Bear" will bonus up your strength and stamina, which is a nice boon to tanks.

That said, sometimes the random prefix-item-suffix construction turns out to go all pear-shaped. For instance, consider this lovely piece of loot what dropped for me tonight in Feralas:



It turns out to be completely useless. You see, there are three classes in World of Warcraft that can use shields: warriors, paladins, and the wily shaman. The shaman relies on elemental magic and has no shadow magic spells. Paladins deal entirely in holy damage and the only thing they can do with shadow damage is to shield it. Warriors don't deal shadow damage, either.

So it is here where I make the conjecture that a shield which gives absolutely no useful bonus to anyone who could actually use it (any other players' skills or enchants that let them proc a shadow damage effect notwithstanding) is quite possibly one of the most useless Useful Items I've ever seen drop in game. Usally if it's green, someone might find a way to use it, or off to the kind NPC vendor it goes (and from that tooltip, it goes for around 75s, not bad for a crummy drop.)

But I wonder if I should advertise it in the Auction House and get a lot of money for it. At least, I'd set the yappy dogs in the Trade channel a-barking for a while, and every now and then you gotta go over with a stick and wham on their corrugated metal containers for a while so they run out all full of piss and vinegar.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:28bytes
Date:December 22nd, 2007 07:58 am (UTC)
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I wonder if Frank Stallone will be as cooperative as Page & Plant when the time comes to roll out the 1984 season.
[User Picture]
From:samethreechords
Date:December 22nd, 2007 09:03 am (UTC)
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I actually saw the Fran Tarkenton episode a few years ago on E!. Was actually okay.
[User Picture]
From:annilita
Date:December 22nd, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
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Now I want to know more about Louise Lasser!
[User Picture]
From:annilita
Date:December 22nd, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]
From:susskins
Date:December 28th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
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Wow. I don't remember the Mardi Gras episode at all. And I was a complete SNL junkie during High School, right off the bat.

I'm hoping they leave Paul Schaeffer's inadvertant Effenheimer slip in there when they get to that particular season. (1979, I think.)

As for the Sparkleshell Shield of Infinite Ponies, aren't there some large melee weapons that deal Shadow Damage? I'm not up to date on all the axes and swords out there, but it seems like there are some that do a little shadow blasting when they proc.
[User Picture]
From:susskins
Date:December 28th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC)
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And then I go back and reread what you wrote, and you already address that. Doink!

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