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SCTV - Best Of The Early Years
Even the worst of SCTV would be superior to much of what passes for contemporary sketch comedy. This three-disc set collects 15 of the now-legendary 30-minute syndicated episodes from 1978-80 that initially formed the bedrock of SCTV's Network 90 incarnation (now available in its entirety on DVD). There are but three episodes from season 2, which feature SCTV's most popularly known ensemble: John Candy, Joe Flahrety, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, and Dave Thomas. Arguably the best of these is "On the Waterfront Again," with Levy's old school and out of touch comedian Bobby Bittman and O'Hara's B-list entertainer Lola Heatherton appearing on "The Sammy Maudlin Show" to promote their hopeless remake of the Brando classic. The bulk of this collection hails from season 3, which lamentably saw the departure of Candy and O'Hara, but also the auspicious arrival of Rick Moranis. Also joining the cast were the unsung Tony Rosato (who does a wicked Lou Costello in "Midnight Express Special") and Robin Duke. They would later make the jump to Saturday Night Live, which gets an upstart thumping in the episode, "Thursday Night Live." One of the season's running gags is a series of promos for Taxi Driver, recast with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Gregory Peck, and even Bob Hope ("You talkin' to me? Nobody talks to me that way. I didn't let Darryl Zanuck talk to me that way."). Thomas's definitive Hope also pops up to upstage Bittman on "The Sammy Maudlin Show" to promote "I Owe Peking 2000 Dollars," and alongside Moranis' uncanny Woody Allen in the masterpiece, "Play It Again, Bob." Thomas and Moranis make their momentous first appearances throughout this season as bickering, beer-swilling brothers Doug and Bob McKenzie, SCTV's breakout characters. "The Great White North" (a.k.a. "Kanadian Korner"), their sublimely silly improved segments, introduced such Canadian patois as "Take off," "Hoser," and "Beauty, eh?" into the pop culture lexicon.
SCTV mastered the art of cross parody. "My Factory, My Self," one of Martin's finest half hours, somehow combines An Unmarried Woman, Coming Home, Norma Rae, Kramer vs. Kramer, and The China Syndrome. It's unfortunate that The Early Years represented in this collection do not extend to the first season (Harold Ramis fans, arise!). But these gems are dazzling in their--to quote the hilarious "The Trial of Oscar Wilde" sketch--"sparkling wit and unbelievable intelligence." Some of the references are dated (anyone remember gossip columnist Rona Barrett, transformed here into sportscaster Ronny Barrett?). But we agree with SCTV station manager Guy Caballero. This is "the hippest comedy you'll ever see." --Donald Liebenson
Disappointed that episode 61 and 62 were omitted, it jumps from 60 to 63Published 1 month ago by Viva Viletone
Wow, was that fast! Love this set, unfortunately not the complete early years, but I'll take what I can get of this fabulous Canadian comedy genius.Published 11 months ago by Jo Collette