Bright Lights Film Journal

Scenes From an Idiot’s Marriage

This is my all-time favorite SCTV sketch – a pastiche of Ingmar Bergman and Jerry Lewis, with Andrea Martin as Harriet Andersson and Martin Short (brilliant) as Lewis.

Clearly, whoever wrote and directed this sketch studied both Bergman and Lewis in great detail. Bergman aficionados will note the barren landscape accompanied by mournful cello music from Cries and Whispers, the marital discord of Scenes from a Marriage, the sinister dinner table conversation from Hour of the Wolf.

Lewis fans will note the pantomime to Leroy Anderson’s “The Typewriter” from Who’s Minding the Store? (directed by Frank Tashlin), the cigarette bit from Cinderfella (Tashlin), and the ejaculating seltzer bottle from The Errand Boy (directed by Lewis). We also get a healthy dose of what my late friend Risty used to call “Serious Jerry” (the non-funny persona occasionally employed by Lewis for talk shows and telethons).

Should appeal to viewers who love Bergman and hate Lewis, viewers who hate Bergman and love Lewis, those who love them both, and those who hate them both. If Bergman and Lewis leave you indifferent, you probably won’t get much out of this sketch.

Happy 83rd Birthday, JL!