Monday, January 11, 2010


by Tom McConville (NWM Staff Writer)

When I was a kid, I had a neighbor named Hank Fagan. He was a decent man, who was an unabashed dog lover. For the twenty-two years or so I lived on West End Road, Mr. Fagan was tied to the leash of one large dog or another that would drag him around the block while all the kids were playing outside. One such dog was a big clump of hair and eyes named Chin-Chin (or Chinny). I’m not sure what type of dog Chinny was, but he was the most mellow, lovable dog anyone could ever hope to meet. By the time I was in high school, Chinny was old. Real old. So old that he was still going even after his last legs. Let me explain. Arthritis or cancer had rendered Chinny’s hind legs immobile. He simply could not walk. Now, Mr. Fagan knew this, but he didn’t accept it. So he built as dog stroller of sorts, attaching wheels to Chinny’s back legs in order to walk. To see Chinny literally rolling down the block was touching to say the least. But it was also a struggle for that poor dog, and probably the most obvious sign that it was Chinny’s time to go.

What does this long preamble have to do with Saturday Night Live? Nothing much. You see, I’m one of those people that has never thought SNL was all that good – even in its heyday. Sure, they’ve had their share of really funny skits (Cowbell, Schweaty Balls, Chippendales tryouts, Sinatra Group). But those are so few and far between that I think the show has lived on its reputation for way too long. Like Chinny, it should have been put out of its misery a long, long time ago. These days, it is painfully unfunny, as evidenced by this week’s episode with Charles Barkley. Note to Lorne Michaels-Pro Athletes, even the ones who THINK they are funny, simply are not.) Watch five minutes of the ESPY’s to see what I’m talking about.

I’m tired of SNL getting a free pass. I’ve got nothing against the performers. Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader both make me laugh – when they aren’t on that show. But can we please stop all this and acknowledge one thing once and for all? SNL is and has been the most overrated show in the history of TV?

Mr. Fagan didn’t know when it was time to let Chinny rest in peace. I wonder if he’s now running NBC’s programming?

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