John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Miscellaneous ramblings on TV shows

  1. I just saw something rather curious. Acting on the advice of Mark Evanier, I recorded the NBC Overnight airing of a 1986 episode of Saturday Night Live. Evanier recommended it because of a segment featuring Penn and Teller, which was indeed very funny. But as I was fast-forwarding through the episode to see Penn and Teller, I stopped to watch the musical guests perform. The band that evening was a group I was not familiar with: the Nelsons. But as I watched and listened, I realized that I was seeing the band that would later be known simply as Nelson. They sounded exactly the same, but they looked very different—instead of their familiar straight blonde hair, both Matthew and Gunnar were sporting trendy teased mullets, and were wearing jackets with the sleeves pushed up to the elbows. It's not a look that has improved with age, let me tell you.

    But I digress. Nelson hit it big in 1990 with the release of their first album, After the Rain. So how did they score a gig on SNL four years earlier? I don't know, but I have a pretty good idea. The guest host that night was Ron Reagan, who, according to some accounts, dated Kristin Harmon—Matthew and Gunnar Nelson's mother—in the late 70s. I can't quite figure out when they would have had time to date; Reagan got married in 1980, and Harmon didn't divorce Rick Nelson until 1981. I guess Nelson and Harmon must have been legally separated for a while before divorcing. Anyway, the way I see it, Ron probably arranged for the boys to perform that evening, proving once again that it really is who you know that counts. Though, to be fair, the Nelsons were pretty good. They were hardly the greatest act I've ever seen on SNL, but God knows I've seen a lot who were much worse.
  2. Incidentally, in case you were wondering, the best SNL musical performance was Eric Clapton performing "Wonderful Tonight" in 1989. Just thought you should know.
  3. I was pleasantly surprised to find the TiVo recording the season premiere of Celebrity Poker Showdown tonight. If you'd told me during the first tournament that it would grow into one of my favorite shows, I would have laughed in your face. But once they brought in Dave Foley to replace Kevin Pollack, and expanded it to two hours, it got much, much better. I watched a first season episode earlier today, and found it barely watchable. And speaking of barely watchable, I watched a bit of a World Poker Tour tournament on the Travel Channel this weekend, and found it much less interesting than CPS. I think it's because I'm not really all that interested in poker, so I appreciate the more irreverent tone of the CPS games.

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