Canndid Cameras With Mitch McCann | Vol. 1

I’m Mitch, one of two columnists (the other being the dashing Mr. Greg Bright) who will be sharing our sometimes radical, other times boring, but hopefully always original take on television in the modern age.

This week I thought I’d use my space here to explore something I usually just ponder to myself until impressionist/comedic genius Dana Carvey discussed it during his hosting slot last week on Saturday Night Live.

‘SNL’ may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s even long been a staple of the times to talk about how (this cast) sucks, how it isn’t as good as (that year) or (that cast.) That perhaps sometime around Adam Sandler’s time on the show, or maybe before Molly Shannon left, was SNL’s last “hay-day”, or could it be the Mike Myers years? Shit, now I can’t remember.

Somewhere amongst the harping of these old fuddy-duddies, there may lie a grain of truth, but in an age where everything is single camera this, Chuck Lorre that, C.S.I. here, Law and Order there, it seems traditions - like those ingrained in America’s Saturday nights - may be more important than ever.

Somewhere along the line, fans of late night live television were lost in the shuffle of a Jimmy Fallon with a severe case of the giggles, a cast who - for lack of a Will Ferrell - allowed Bush to be played by a different individual every episode, and controversial (while simultaneously lack luster) performances by musical guests and celebrity hosts alike. It seemed clear to everyone watching that the show was no longer the Saturday Night Live they remember.

I can’t tell you how many ‘Simpsons’ episodes I’ve thought “there’s no way Matt Groening saw that.” Matt Stone and Trey Parker must have days where they look at their script for next week episode of ‘South Park’ and think, “you know, there isn’t really much here,” shrug, and then make the damn thing anyway. But in a way, isn’t that what makes the shows what they are? Epic episodes parodying everything you’ll ever learn about in high school, while mocking its own (and your own) existence?

My head swirls when I try to fathom what these fossils of a slightly different time are doing for today’s average television viewer. Simply modern day relics of a time when Nirvana was on the radio, gas was under two dollars, and the President haggled with the nation over the definition of the word ‘is.’ But nostalgia doesn’t quite cover it. SNL, The Simpsons, and South Park aren’t quite lost to previous generations, but they aren’t adjusting as well as one would hope either.

Back to what I suppose was the intended genesis of this diatribe, programs like SNL and The Simpsons embody the tumultuous state of popular culture. And while it may make me yet another brick in the wall, it seems to me that being aware of that, this latest Saturday Night Live cast has begun to turn it around. Seth Meyers, Bill Hader, even down through newcomer Jay Pharoah, have continued, or maybe renewed, the sense that both they and the audience are part of something special, and the SNL stage remains the dream of nearly every young comedic star working today.

In moments where society is at its most impressionable, the turning points of a generation, running commentary on pop culture will carry us through. So even when Seth MacFarlane drops the comedic ball every once in awhile, hopefully there will always be another foul-mouthed, witty so-and-so to pick it up.