Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My "Diddy Kong Racing" dream....

Horseshoe Gulch - a real life mystery level from DKR.

NOTE: The more I've pondered the dream I'm about to describe to you, the more I realize that it's based in reality.  So, if you see something in italics, it means I'm jumping to the real world to describe what likely inspired what I saw in the dream. :)

In the past, when I was a hardcore gamer (particularly Genesis and N64), it wasn't surprising to have a dream every now and then about a game I loved.  I've had numerous dreams about finding Stop N Swop in "Banjo Kazooie", and, in what was probably the earliest game dream I remember, I was playing some sort of overhead-view level in Sonic 3 where all the Sonic characters were in a canoe, rushing down a waterfall.  (The music in this imaginary level was that of Sandopolis Zone Act 2 - which, at the time, was only mysterious and intriguing, as "Sonic and Knuckles" had yet to come out, and of course all of its music could be heard early in the "Sonic 3" level select.)

But, those sort of dreams died out when I stopped playing video games.  In spite of that, I've twice had a dream that strikes me as very cool, and if I had game making ability (or the ability to make a Diddy Kong Racing mod), I'd totally bring what you're about to read to life.

(Okay, first I should point out that there is actually a lot of stuff hidden away in the data of Diddy Kong Racing, including several levels - most of which are unplayable completely, but one called Horseshoe Gulch is possible to drive around in, at least until the level suddenly ends in a wall.  So, this dream is sort of based on truth in that regard - the dream is just a lot cooler than what actually exists!)

So, if you've played DKR, you know that the worlds are basically a semi-circular hub, with doorways leading to the various levels within that world.  One world is called Sherbet Island and is a series of water-based levels, the hub for which (if I remember correctly) is inside some sort of round building you need to navigate with the hovercraft.  Importantly, for this dream, one of the levels is called Whale Bay.

Now, in my dream, the entire world was called Whale Bay, complete with T.T. saying the name of it when you entered.  In this version, though, the world was a small beach, with the level entrances (and world entrance) spread out neatly along a semi-circular mountainside, probably two to each side of the world entrance - I think DKR's worlds had four main levels, didn't they?  Anyway... as in the real DKR, if you drove down into the water, you could float out a short ways before hitting an invisible wall.  The edges of the mountain suddenly took 90 degree turns at the invisible wall, with the new flat sides inaccessible to the player and mostly out of view.

(I have actually seen Duke Nukem 3D homebrew levels designed like this, where a body of water enclosed by a mountainside had a very similar design, including an invisible wall that prevented a player from going out too far into the sea.  And yes, one might expect to see messages on the normally inaccessible portions of the mountainside - they are Duke 3D maps after all....)

(This part coming up may also be rooted in reality - namely, the "Sonic Adventure" glitch that allows Big The Cat to, with great effort and patience, break through an invisible wall and swim under the hotel, somehow accessing an early beta version of its interior.  If you know about that glitch, this next bit might seem a bit familiar!)

The main point of the dream was that someone online discovered a glitch that allowed you to break free of the playable semi-circular area of Whale Bay, and squeeze between the invisible wall and one of the flat mountainsides facing the sea.  As the story went, you entered the world in a hovercraft (no other vehicle seemed to work) and went towards the right from the world entrance, down to the edge of the mountain's curve where it met the invisible wall and hooked a hard right along the water.

(Yes, folks, these are early N64 physics - the beach plane + the invisible wall + the corner of the mountain would create an unstable vertex that could possibly be broken by a persistent player.  "Mario 64" has plenty of these, including corners you can long jump through at certain angles, and particular spots in the walls of the sunken ship that allow you to swim out into the black void.  So something like this could very easily exist in DKR.)

If you were to continually press forward, nudging against the corner of the invisible wall and mountainside at a particular angle, your character would eventually pop forward a bit and be alongside the flat mountain wall facing the water.  You would appear to be stuck in place at first, but if you kept forcing your way forward against the invisible force, you would very slowly grind along the length of the mountain wall.

(Again - this is VERY similar to how the 'secret lagoon' glitch in Mario 64's sunken ship works.  When Mario breaks free of the ship, he has to be forced upward towards the water's surface through invisible barriers.)

Eventually, you would see a new area ahead, and once you cleared the mountain wall, you would pop out into the new area, moving freely.  Here was ANOTHER beach, looking very similar to Whale Bay's hub, but with a totally different set of levels - all far from finished, being either simple beta test areas or half-finished ideas, Horseshoe Gulch being one of them.  Where one would expect the large world entrance door to be was a cave entrance, leading to a small series of tunnels lit with purple torches; some of the tunnels led to additional unfinished levels, some were dead ends, and at least one led to a large open area that seemed to defy purpose, almost as though it were intended for a large boss of some sort.  (Wizpig, perhaps...?)

That's basically the extent of the dream... but the idea of such an amazing find, a whole secret world of strange and unfinished levels tucked away in a game I know well, would be incredible.  Sure, massive things ARE found in video games years after the fact - look at GoldenEye (another Rare game), which not only includes all of the Citadel level fully intact, but ten totally playable and perfectly emulated ZX Spectrum games embedded in the cart's data.  Other interesting things have slipped by unnoticed for years, such as in Duke Nukem 3D (a well-hidden secret exit in The Abyss that only functions under a specific circumstance) and Link's Awakening (the "Glitch Dungeon", accessible literally by wedging Link into a corner).  But as far as I am aware, no, Diddy Kong Racing does not have a secret world of unfinished levels tucked away.

Granted, something like this DOES exist, but not in DKR - I'm almost certain it's in Heretic.  That was another hub-based game, from what I recall, where each world contained doors to several levels.  (If you've played Hexen, that did the same sort of thing.)  Accessible only by a warp cheat, however, was a secret hub world containing entrances to various unfinished levels.  That was more than likely the influence for my DKR dream.

But, you know, it seemed so realistic and so possible, especially since there are several mystery levels tucked away in DKR... almost makes me want to get a copy of the game, go down to where the mountainside meets the sea at an invisible wall (not far from the Sherbet Island entrance, mind you!), and see if I can push that hovercraft through it to unexplored territory. ;-)  

Monday, December 30, 2013


Okay... I have to make a post about this, because it's making me extremely angry at this point.

First, allow me to reiterate - THIS IS MY ONLY BLOG.  Any other blog you see with my name is 100% fake.  Again, THIS IS THE ONLY BLOG THAT BELONGS TO ME.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because, for the past couple years, there has been another blog with my name on it that is completely fraudulent.  It's creepy, something about hacking into websites or something of that nature.  Either way, it bothers me immensely that it exists - it's one of the first results one gets typing my name into Google, and I've always been concerned that its content has prevented me from finding a job, given my career field.

I've tracked down the creator of the fake blog and demanded its removal several times, and have been ignored completely - except the first attempt, where their response was an "LOL".  The fact that it's someone I absolutely don't know, and that they used my name, is obviously a bit frightening, especially since their comment left on the blog makes it clear that I was their intentional target.

Hell, I've even contacted Blogspot about it - you can report impersonators - complete with a scan of my driver's license.  No luck.

So, I'm making this post just to verify, especially if you are researching me in regards to a job, that the page you're on now is Steve Worek's only blog, and I have authorized no others to use my name.  I will continue to take action in the hopes that the fraudlent blog is removed soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Daddy's Song" - a Monkee duet!

I've been getting into the Monkees recently, having realized I've all but passed them by in my years of music collecting.  I dug around through the deluxe edition of "Head" earlier today and noticed that both Davy and Michael had recorded versions of 'Daddy's Song', so I was curious how they'd sound synched together. 

Some speed tweaking was necessary (Michael's version had slight fluctuations for whatever reason), but the result's not bad - be sure to use headphones for the best synch!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Grease - the deleted scenes: major correction!

I have to make a huge correction in regards to the 'part 2' post... I missed something entirely while skimming the script for material!

The 'jukebox' conversation between Danny and Sandy, which is different in the shooting script, is more different than I originally realized - in fact, it doesn't take place in front of the jukebox at the Frosty Palace this time, but rather in a hallway at Rydell.  On top of that, there's a totally different ending to the scene before it (at the Frosty Palace) that I missed.  Overall, this whole chunk subtly makes Sandy seem a bit less 'virginal' then she should've been by this point in the movie.

This happens right after Putzie's "Is that all it takes?  Fifteen minutes?":


Danny cannot take his eyes off Sandy and Tom.

Vi arrives with their order -- a single giant sundae with two spoons.  This is too much for Danny who rises, looks around the room and spots Patty Simcox entering.

Danny takes her arm and swirls her into an empty booth.  She is surprised and flattered.  He gives her a false smile and looks to see if Sandy is watching.  She isn't.



He is seething.


Sandy looks up surreptitiously from her sundae, then smiles a bit too hard as she sees Tom looking at her.  She feeds him a bite of melting ice cream just as Danny puts his arm around Patty.  Sandy spills the ice cream on Tom's shirt.

Patty turns out to be a lot hotter than anyone has given her credit for and she leans against him.

Sandy busies herself dipping a napkin in water and wiping Tom's shirt.

Danny watches Sandy in anger as she daintily scoops up the cherry on top of the sundae and lovingly feeds it to Tom who takes a big bite of it and chews for a long, agonizing time.

This is the last straw for Danny who rises, looks at Sandy as though she were beneath contempt, and swaggers toward the door where Kenickie stands.

He's just a dumb jock.

It ain't the dumb that counts; it's the jock.



The hallway is deserted.  Late afternoon sun shines in dusty shafts through the windows as Sandy stands in the hall tacking up a poster about dental hygiene week.  She wears Tom's oversized football jacket.

Behind her is a door with a sign on it reading DETENTION.

The door opens and Danny steps out.  Sandy turns and the two of them look at each other silently, unsure of how to act.

Danny starts away, then stops and turns to see that Sandy is still looking at him.

How's it going?

Oh, it's wonder.  I just love Rydell and I've got so many new friends.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


You all have likely noticed that I've changed my name from TheLazenby to The Rabid Child.  Allow me to explain why.

In 1985, They Might Be Giants filmed their first-ever music video to accompany "Rabid Child," a track from their widely-circulated demo tape that would shortly after appear on their proper debut album.  When the Johns felt that it didn't meet their standards, the video was shelved and never once shown to the public.  Outside of a mention in the 'Early Years' FAQ on TMBG.org (which claimed it merely showed Flansburgh clinging to a door jamb while staring dreamily into the camera), it was more or less unknown by their fan-base.

Then, in 2002, the documentary film 'Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns' was released.  Most surprisingly, the film included a very brief clip of the "Rabid Child" video which most certainly *didn't* show Flans clinging to a door jamb, and seemed to be a fairly well-done and quite surreal production.  Unfortunately, this brief clip is all the Johns would allow - director A.J. Schnack wanted to include the entire video as a DVD feature, and was refused without question.  Nevertheless, this clip left fans hungry for more.

In 2004, hoping that its appearance on the Internet would inspire TMBG to release their most notorious and mysterious music video in full, a high school classmate and I spent a wealth of time in our filmmaking class building a full length music video for "Rabid Child" out of the fragment of footage seen in 'Gigantic.'

Unfortunately, a decade later, this is STILL the only version of "Rabid Child" available for public viewing... the same short clip, looped and manipulated to pad out the minute-and-a-half song.  (The version currently on YouTube has been touched up compared to our original version - I tweaked the speed of the footage in spots to make Flans mouth the words a little more accurately, and added a 'Direct From Brooklyn' style title card.)

When faking the video failed to sway Messrs. Flansburgh and Linnell into revealing the rest of the genuine article, I started a petition that, sadly, faded into obscurity - but not after receiving more than 30 signatures from like-minded fans.

In 2009, on this very blog, I wrote a letter to TMBG, respectfully telling them of the wishes of their fan base to see this video once and for all.  Of course, this post didn't grab the attention of anyone in the TMBG camp, and likely did not bat an eyebrow on either of the Johns.

So, nearly a decade after my friend and I created our reconstruction, and almost thirty years since the video was filmed and hidden away, we remain devoted to our cause - though my determination is considerably stronger than his.

It consumes me - last night I had a dream (from my recollection, the third I've had about this video) where TMBG offered to release the video if fans gave them a collective $5,000.  Hell, if that were the case, I'd start a Kickstarter before you could blink.

From this day forward, I have but two goals in life - one, to join a Rocky Horror cast; and two, to feast my eyes upon the missing one minute and twenty seconds of the "Rabid Child" video!

You haven't won yet, Johns....

Monday, April 8, 2013

Grease - the deleted scenes! (part 2)

Sorry about that... totally forgot about this!  Well, better late than never, allow me to dive again into the shooting script of "Grease" and dig out goodies...


[The cheer at the bonfire - 'Do a split, give a yell' - was entirely different in the script, as was Calhoun's speech, which isn't pathetic this time around:]


Strawberry shortcake!
Huckleberry pie!
Stand 'em on their heads!
Stand 'em on their feet!
Rydell! Rydell!
Can't be beat!


Coach Calhoun and the team stand before the students.  Tom and Sandy are exchanging glances as the Coach addresses the crowd.

And we'll be expecting to see you all back out here after the game for that most joyous of Rydell customs -- the ringing of the victory bell!

He gestures toward a rope that hangs from a tarnished old bell that hangs over the ramp.  The Cheerleaders put their hands over their hearts.

Rydell forever!

The school BAND launches into the VICTORY SONG.

[Oddly enough, shortly after this, the T-Birds' version of the cheer still matches the version that ended up in the film - "Do a split, do a yell, shake a tit for old Rydell."]


[A couple differences in the next few pages - Sonny's clever line about having to "put out before she ever gets in" hasn't been refined yet:]

A girl is going to have to be willing to go... three-quarters of the way before she can even get in it...

[And Danny's response to "What happened to the Danny Zuko I met at the beach?" is considerably more asshole-ish than in the final film:]

Search me.  I'm clean.  Maybe there's two of us.  What was he like?  Was he short?  Was he tall?  Come on, baby, lay it on me.  I don't got all day to help you.

Sandy has to bite her lip to keep from crying.

That don't give me much to go on.  Look in the Yellow Pages... Take out a Want Ad... Try Missing Persons.


[The beginning of the slumber party scene is *not* Jan dancing to "Brusha Brusha Brusha", which may have been chosen after Jamie Donnelly's casting.  The dialogue and directions are entirely different:]


CLOSE on a bottle of Italian Swiss Colony wine.

PULL BACK TO SEE that Rizzo is pouring from the bottle into the outstretched jelly glasses held by Marty, Jan and Frenchy.  Sandy sits somewhat removed from the others looking unhappy.  The girls are in baby-doll pyjamas, mules and hair rollers, the room a typical girl's room of the period.  A large picture of Vince Fontaine is framed above the bed.  He's a good looking man with sharp features and an elaborate hairdo.  The room is full of wigs and hair dryers.

Both the RADIO and TV are ON.  A 50's TUNE ENDS.  The TV is a round Motorola.

Jeez, look what Loretta Young is wearing!

Marty squints.  Frenchy pulls a large magnifying glass in front of the screen.

I can't stand her.  I keep waiting for her to get her dress caught in the door.

(on the radio)
This is Vince Fontaine, your daddio on the radio playing stacks of wax for Jills and Jacks out there in Radioland... And now!... going out to Ronnie and Sheila.  For the first time anywhere, here's the National Bandstand premiere of a brand new song that's going to set you little dears on your cotton-picking ears!

[The girls' conversation while Frenchy and Sandy are in the bathroom is different:]

Rizzo lights a cigarette and passes around the pack.  The girls begin to smoke.

You know they've got peppermint candy cigarettes now.

If you don't watch out, you'll look like the Goodyear Blimp.

Well, at least I don't have a complexion like pimento cheese.

Marty looks into the mirror.

You can't see it through the pancake.

You can't see you through the pancake.

[Two points of interest - "Freddy My Love" is STILL not included in this scene, being replaced at this point by "Sandra Dee"; and the Elvis verse of that song is already intact - written to replace the verse about recently-murdered Sal Mineo.]


[An alternate exchange after Danny's 'sloppy seconds' line - notice Rizzo's question is not yet crude, and not as funny:]

If ya think the virgin princess is up there dying of a broken heart, I got news for ya.  The best she could do for love was prick an earlobe.

Danny looks at her disgustedly and starts away.

Where are you going?  To howl at the moon?

That's a better idea than hanging out with you dorks.


[At make-out point, before Rizzo requests that Kenickie call her by her first name:]

As they lie on the back seat -- both of them with their eyes closed, Kenickie manages to free half his mouth so that he can dislodge a wad of gum which he sticks on the car light.  They kiss a moment more.

(continuing; still kissing)
What happened to the gum?

It was gettin' in the way.

Rizzo opens her eyes and looks at him meaningfully.

Keep a cool tool, fool..  I'm wise to the rise in your Levi's.

You still thinking about Zuko?

I got one thing on my mind, baby, and that's you.

Oh, Rizzo.  Rizzo.

I always thought if I was to let a guy, he'd at least call me by my first name.

[In this version, Kenickie (sort of) already knows it:]

(he has to think)
Yeah... uh... Betty! Betty!

[This repeats just as Hell's Chariot backs into the car:]

Oh, Rizzo, Rizzo.

Please -- Call me Betty.

Oh, baby.



Suddenly there is a loud SLAM and Kenickie is pitched over the front seat.


[An almost entirely different lead-in before "Greased Lightning" begins:]


Danny, Kenickie, Sonny, Doody and Putzie stand looking gravely at the damaged car.

We gotta do something.

It's a hopeless case.

Kenickie gives him a dirty look.

Junk it.

Won't have to do much to do that.

Kenickie turns around and looks imploringly at Danny who approaches the car and contemplates it seriously while walking around it.

I don't think it's so bad.  In fact, it's okay.  It's pretty good.  No, I don't even think it's good. It's a major piece of machinery... I said a major piece of machinery.  We can't 86 it.

Yeah!  Tell 'em!

Look at the lines.  Look at the lights.  It needs a little work, sure.  But it's all here!  It's Hydramatic... Systematic... Automatic... Aristocratic...

HE begins to slide into an Elvis imitation as he speaks and moves.

It's boss!

(getting carried away)
Yeah boss!... Yeah, the best.  I tell you what it is!... It's Greased Lightning!

Greased Lightning.

Kenickie and Danny go through a hand-slapping ritual of enthusiasm as the others move in on them.

Greased Lightning!  Dual exhaust!  A good transmission!  Fluid drive!  Out, in and overdrive.  We can do it!  We can fix it!  Greased Lightning!

[Cue song.]


[Unused dialogue at the start of the first Frosty Palace scene.  Note that the design of the Frosty Palace was considerable more than a generic 50's diner here:]

FLOW with Danny and Kenickie as they enter the Frosty Palace where the igloo effect is carried out with the booths looking like chunks of ice and the brightly-hued juke box looking like the Northern Lights.  The waitresses wear short fur-trimmed skirts with hoods and look like bouffant Eskimos.  The place is crowded.  The Pink Ladies are in one booth -- Putzie, Sonny and Doody in another -- miscellaneous students in another and, in the middle are Sandy and Tom.  She is lost in his oversized football jacket, sees Danny out of the corner of her eye and gives Tom her undivided attention.

The boys greet each other like long-lost friends, but Danny can't take his eyes off Sandy and Tom.  He collides with VI, the tough/tender waitress who's seen it all.  Vi carries a loaded tray which almost dumps on the floor.  They barely catch it, but Vi is a precision waitress who manages to hold the tray on one palm.

Great save, Vi.

I used to be with the Ice Follies, honey.  It prepared me for life at the Frosty Palace.

She gives him a smile and he turns toward the booth.

Are you still thinking about that chick?

The only thing on my mind is Greased Lightning.

Danny and Kenickie slide into the already crowded booth.

Vi turns from serving a table and stands over the Pink Ladies' booth resting the tray on her hip.

How about an Aurora Borealis?

What's that?

The same as the Eskimo Surprise except it has colored sprinkles.

The JUKEBOX PLAYS an original 50's SONG -- "POOR LITTLE FOOL."


[Shortly after, the conversation between Danny and Sandy is a bit different:]

How's it going?

Oh, it's wonderful.  I just love Rydell and I've got so many new friends.

(not meaning it)
Glad to hear it.

Between meetings, parties and cheerleader practices, I hardly have any time to do my homework.

Well, you're just naturally smart, I guess.

It does help.

Danny looks at her for a moment.  She smiles blithely giving him no encouragement, looking lovely and knowing it.  She also knows exactly what she is doing as she feigns disinterest. 

Danny is torn and for a moment he drops his pose.

Look, Sandy... I'm sorry about the way things turned out... I mean I wish there wasn't anything between us.

But there isn't.

There is and you know it!... It's just that I wake up in the morning and I look in the mirror and there I am, Danny Zuko.  Then I get dressed and I come to school and I turn into DANNY ZUKO.  And there's one you know and there's one they know, but I'm both of 'em and sometimes Danny Zuko says something, but it comes out like DANNY ZUKO said it, but I mean the same thing... You gotta help me, Sandy.

That sounds like a wonderful idea for a term paper in Social Psychology.

It ain't easy being two people, you know.

That's why I'm so glad Tom is such a practical, simple person.


[Finally for this installment, there is a bit more between Calhoun suggesting that Danny take up long-distance running, and his failed attempt at hurdles.]


of Danny running.


The Thunderbirds and Pink Ladies are dancing when Danny jogs past.  A SONG is HEARD from the JUKE BOX.  He stops momentarily to look in, which is just enough time for them to see him.  They run into the street hooting and yelling.  "What are you doing in your underwear?  Where do you keep your Wheaties!?"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lorne Michaels' 20 greatest mistakes (part 2)

ADDENDUM - I realized since the first post that Lorne did NOT have anything to do with "It's Pat: The Movie," so our new reason #10 can be "Putting his name on 'Mr. Mike's Mondo Video.'"  Either that, or the embarrassing 1976 Beach Boys special.

The second half of why I believe that Lorne Michaels is not the "comedy genius" he is often said to be.  Let us begin....

11) Relying on the same characters week after week after week when the show is struggling.  Alright, I do understand that this can be a case of 'give the people what they want' in order to keep viewers from running away, but in some cases, the overused characters weren't exactly popular.  Take season 21; the show was struggling back to life after 1994-95, with a new cast.  When the Cheerleaders took off, it was somewhat understandable to see them again and again that season, because the audience was responding in a big way to something, and they hadn't for quite a while.  But also that season, we had Mark McKinney and David Koechner in nearly every episode as the Fops, Lucien and Fagen, sometimes twice in the same episode.  Ask anyone who raves about the Cheerleaders or Mary Katherine Gallagher if they found Lucien and Fagen funny.  The studio audience didn't.

12) The belief that any one-joke sketch that works in small amounts can be stretched to a feature length film.  Saturday Night Live movies are VERY hit or miss, with very few genuine successes, Wayne's World being an obvious choice here.  But when a recurring character has been done to death on the show, why believe that an audience would want to see a further 90 minutes of the same repeated schtick?  Superstar, The Ladies Man, A Night At The Roxbury, MacGruber, etcetera.  We almost got a full-length adaptation of the one-off 'Key Party' sketch that most viewers probably can't remember.  The only one we can't blame him for, though, was It's Pat - allegedly Lorne gave that the go-ahead despite predicting its failure.

13) Keeping people looooooong past their prime, even when the audience is tired of them.  This is a fairly new occurrence; even former cast members have commented that the show isn't quite the revolving door it used to be.  But that's the problem - why does everyone have to go for a Darrell Hammond-esque tenure?  What reason is there to keep Fred Armisen on for more than a decade, when he's on another sketch comedy show anyway?  He's a particularly good example, because his breakthrough character (Ferecito) hasn't even appeared for several years.  We need more change.

14) Letting absolute duds of sketches go through writing, re-writing, table reads, set building, and finally a dress rehearsal where they more than likely died with the audience.  I'll resist the temptation to pick an easy sketch from one of the infamously bad seasons, and use the example of "Wet 'Em Down" from Kelsey Grammer's 1998 show.  This is a one-joke sketch involving the bikini-clad female members of the cast as Baywatch girls, repeatedly being hosed down at the request of their director.  One joke, over and over again.  The audience doesn't respond at all.  Are we to believe that this made the final roster for that week's show, above a bunch of other sketches that were worse?  That it was deemed so funny that they willingly built multiple sets, even bringing in cameo appearances from known actors?  That it killed in dress rehearsal and was assumed to do so during the live show?  Seems like a major lack of judgment.

15) Over-reliance on nostalgia.  Sure, it was fun to see Chevy Chase come back and host a couple years after he left the show.  The little nod to 'Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger' in a 1985-86 sketch was even welcome.  But nostalgia factor has brought back the Wild and Crazy Guys on two occasions, both more than two decades (the more recent being nearly four) since their last regular appearance.  Younger viewers are likely completely in the dark when Dan Aykroyd shows up in an episode and it's supposedly a big deal.  No one cares that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is dead, forty years after the fact.  There's just no reason to rely on nostalgia so heavily when less and less people actually remember the bits that are referenced.

16) Ignorance of the non-Lorne years, even though Dick Ebersol (temporarily) saved the show.  One of Lorne's cohorts states in the "Live From New York" book that Lorne never reran Ebersol episodes, which wasn't true; a good many of them ran in the 3 AM 'Classic SNL' timeslot.  But how many times have you seen a surprise cameo by, say, Tim Kazurinsky?  (Somewhat subverted, as Martin Short has cameo'ed - but Martin has also hosted numerous times because of movies, and his time on SNL was short.)  The biggest flub on this topic is that after the 10th season with a killer cast (Short, Guest, Rich Hall, Dreyfus, etc), Lorne started the show from scratch, despite the fact that it finally grew back into an American institution, and nearly killed it.  Just to do things 'his way' and keep separate from Dick's work, despite its success.  Moving past Ebersol... the show's treatment of the Doumanian season is one asshole move after another.  Nothing was more insulting than the opening credits of the 25th anniversary special, where year-by-year cast photos were seen - including a skip from 1979 to 1981.  Considering much of the 1980 cast was in attendance that night, this was a slap in the face; made worse by the 'best of the early Eighties' montage skipping them entirely.  (Note - the most recent DVD of the special actually has a Charles Rocket clip in the Weekend Update montage; this was only tacked on for the DVD version and didn't appear in the aired special.)

17) Never being the least conscious of when the audience stops responding to recurring characters.  There is a very obvious concept known as "diminishing returns" - and what better example than The Californians?  Same jokes every time, less and less laughter.  More recent installments have died down to a light chuckle from the audience.  But, this is certainly nothing new; you can pretty much pinpoint when the audience stopped finding Matt Foley or any of Kristen Wiig's characters funny.

18) Letting sketches be performed twice in their entirety, especially if it's just to please a cast member.  There was no reason for Total Bastard Airlines (you know - "buh bye") to appear in two different shows, in two different seasons.  Well, okay, in Lorne's mind there was a reason - 'David Spade wants to do it again.'  At that point, Spade had more pull than lesser cast members because he was making money; not necessarily because the audience responded to him.  And surely enough, the repeat of "Total Bastard Airlines," with only slight changes, died COMPLETELY.  The audience had seen the sketch before, and the charm had worn off.  A waste of money, crew strength and air time.

19) Keeping Weekend Update anchors whose jokes only get tepid reactions a majority of the time.  Some of you are probably thinking "Like Seth Meyers."  No, I was mostly thinking Colin Quinn, who constantly fumbled over material, spoiling the phrasing and timing of jokes, and then became either verbally frustrated or pathetic when the audience made no sound.  After the first year with Colin, it should've been obvious that he needed to vacate the desk.  Instead, the show had *three solid years* of terrible, terrible Weekend Updates, being saved in 2000 when the winning Fey/Fallon combination took over. 

20) Choosing flavor of the month hosts that no one recognizes.  Remember Peter Saarsgard?  When the only jokes you can wring out of a host are "no one knows who I am" and "my name sounds like 'SARS guard'", something is wrong.  Or someone more recent - Jeremy Renner, who appeared on the show because 'the Internet wanted him to', and proved to be an awful host who even stated in his monologue (likely unscripted) that he didn't know what he was doing there.  And people gave Doumanian hell for booking Malcolm McDowell...

Well, I've probably cemented my spot as someone who will never, ever host Saturday Night Live in his lifetime; but these are simply opinions I've come to after the past couple decades of watching the show.  Overall, yes, I give Lorne credit for launching the most successful comedy series in history; and once in a while he makes a real find when choosing cast members.  But "comedy genius"?  Not in the least.