It’s time for Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s ongoing column dedicated to the science fiction of the past.
Today, we’ll take a look at the ‘The Coneheads’, a classic ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch starring Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin turned movie.
The concept of ‘The Coneheads’ isn’t really going to blow anyone away. It’s your basic “aliens stuck on Earth and try to fit in” story, much like ‘Mork and Mindy’ and ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’. But it features the best comedy actors of the 90s, from Chris Farley, to David Spade, Adam Sandler, Drew Carey, Jason Alexander, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Kevin Nealon, Julia Sweeney, Ellen DeGeneres, Sinbad… and really I could go on. It’s just small cameo after small cameo. If you were born in the 90s, it’s a bit like watching ‘This Is Your Life’, provided your life was watching ‘SNL’ reruns on comedy central.
As for science fiction, it’s really not the greatest. Other shows and movies have done the concept better. The real comedy gold of “The Coneheads’ is in the original sketches from the early seasons of ‘Saturday Night Live’. Perhaps it’s because the idea is funny for five minute stints, and not for an hour and half. Or, maybe it’s because the jokes are funnier the first time, and the movie is a repeat of nearly all of them.
Or maybe I’m just curmudgeonly and believe that while Jane Curtin is amazing as the Prymatt, the mother in the Conehead family, and the best part of ‘The Coneheads’, she was far more amazing as the human straight man in ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’.
Or, maybe it’s because I honestly don’t think you can top the alien Conehead family going on Family Feud, as it was done on sketch.
Still, I think it’s a movie to remember, and one that’s often forgotten in the onslaught of ‘SNL’ movies. Maybe its jokes don’t translate as well as they did in 1993, but it’s a nice nostalgic look back on what we considered “advanced” technology in the early nineties and a glimpse into what we considered alien (a favorite concept in science fiction). Plus, it has Jane Curtin, so it’s hard to complain about that. It also had some truly inspired concepts, such as the main antagonist being the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services), a play on the idea of “illegal aliens”. But, while it may not be a favorite of my mine, it has a soft spot in my heart because of actors, the original sketches, and simply because it reminds me of the my childhood.
If you have Netflix streaming, be sure to check it out!