Saturday, December 22, 2012

Homesick for the Land of Gorch: 1975 Saturday Night Live

Land of Gorch Muppets, Left to Right:
Mighty Favog, Scred (holding a chicken), Queen Peuta, 

Her Son Wisss, Vazh and King Ploobis (with horns)
At night before sleep I have been watching old episodes of "Saturday Night Live" on my iPad, via Netflix.  I am currently watching shows from 1975, and it is interesting to see the original cast again, in their youth:  Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Garrett Morris, Gilda Radner, Lorraine Newman and Jane Curtin.    This group was known as "The Not Ready for Prime Time Players."

I still laugh a lot when Chevy Chase, news anchor, allows a counter-viewpoint to be expressed on his news show "Week End Update": Chase then mocks the speaker from the background, making faces, mouthing words and pretending to mirror the speaker's body language.

Jim Henson's muppets had a part in the 1975 episodes, not the cute little critters from Sesame Street, but some weird and ugly creatures from "The Land of Gorch."  I loved them!  In my opinion, they were the best of Henson's muppets.  The Land of Gorch was described like this:

Come with us now … from the bubbling tarpits to the sulfurous wasteland … from the rotting forest to the stagnant mud flats … to the long lost Land of Gorch!

The creatures lived in a rocky and craterous landscape surrounded by sulfurous volcanos and an orange sky.  The Kingdom of Gorch was presided over by a comically gross monster named King Ploobis, attended to by his loyal servant, Scred, and nagged constantly by his hag of a wife, Queen Peuta.  Whenever King Ploobis needed spiritual or other advice, he would visit the god of Gorch, a sphinx-like character with a strong Jewish accent and facial demeanor, whose name was the Mighty Favog.  Favog would answer questions for a sacrifice, usually of a chicken, which was inserted into a barrel held by Favog, where it would be flushed somewhere.  Wisss was the son of King Ploobis and Queen Peuta, who was constantly getting high by sticking his long nose into holes in the rocks and sniffing the foul gasses emitted therefrom.

Servant Scred always refers to King Ploobis in hilarious terms:  "Your Flatulence," "Your Grossness," etc.

Ploobis also had a maid-servant and mistress named Vazh, who by Gorchian standards was pretty hot stuff. Those early days of Saturday Night Live were the best, I think.

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