24 November 1999 | RJV
Brilliant satire of television
Like SATURDAY NIGHT, SECOND CITY TV was a sketch comedy show with a repertory cast. But there, the resemblance ended. Instead of a bunch of disconnected sketches with musical interludes, SECOND CITY TV was a concept show about the programs and behind-the-scenes shenanigans of a cheesy, low-budget TV station. Therefore, unlike SNL, which took potshots at anything from current events to whatever celebrity was guesting, SECOND CITY TV concentrated on the television industry.
The results were some of the most incisive and skillful parodies in TV history, from commercials for useless products to self-congratulatory talk shows to pompous "cultural" programming. The talented cast members skewered such icons as Bob Hope and Barbra Streisand and created such memorable characters like Joe Flaherty's sleazy station owner Guy Caballero and Andrea Martin's vulgar station manager Edith Prickley. Unlike SNL, SECOND CITY TELEVISION never pandered to the lowest common denominator; it always respected its audience with intelligent humor that satirized the foibles of both the television industry and the people in it. The syndicated show's success would result in a 90-minute network version.