SNL: S11E01... HOST: MADONNA... DATE: NOVEMBER 9, 1985

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or...

How Could This Season Possibly Go Wrong???

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Once again, I find myself in a situation where a season that has traditionally been panned had a better opening night than all of the episodes from the last season combined that may only be due to the passage of time to where I don't feel as devoted to the last batch of Not Ready For Prime Time Players because I'm now more used to the revolving cast and only retrospectively get disappointed when I don't feel that cast members lasted as long as they should.

First off, the cast is a great collection of characters without any big shots who seem like they will get special treatment from the show, making it feel like everyone will be involved. Not only do we have Dennis Miller, Jon Lovitz and Nora Dunn who continue on as cast member for what seems to be at least a decade, but we've also got Robert Downey Jr and Anthony Michael Hall coming off of Weird Science giving us cast mates with a connection that hasn't been seen ever since Piscopo and Murphy were split up.

Continuing on, we also have Randy Quaid and Joan Cusack can't image not adding to the show with both of their quirky ass personalities. My only concern is Terry Sweeney and Danitra Vance but that's only because I can barely remember them from the time and neither went on to do anything that public with their careers.

So that's what I think about the main cast alone, I haven't even mentioned that this was the season that brought the return of the featured player with an alternative cast that could easily take over for a permanent player as we've got Al Franken, A. Whitney Brown, Father Guido Sarducci, Damon Wayans and some guy named Dan Vitale who is the only feature player that I'm not sure I've ever heard of but look forward to seeing him perform.

I started this episode a little concerned based on last season's disappointment but after this first viewing, I'm very excited for this season and hope these enthusiastic reviews continue because I feel that I get repetitive whenever I watch bad episodes.  

 Alright, now that my excitement for this season is out of the way, it's time to move on and share what I actually saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a Drug Testing sketch where Lorne returns to drug test the new cast at least that's what the wiki page says as I couldn't find this sketch anywhere on the internet. 
  2. Madonna then officially opened the show with a monolog her marriage to Sean Penn acting as if the event were a low-key day instead of the extravagant affair that the tabloids were reporting it to be. We then got to see a "home video" of the wedding that starts out parodying the couple's family's until the press arrived turning it into a full on war zone with choppers galore trying to capture Father Guido Sarducci trying to marry the young couple off.
  3. Where You're Going was a fake ad for a beer aimed at the executive class who are heading to hell for their corrupt business practices. 
  4. National Inquirer Theatre was a sketch that takes headlines from the National Inquirer and with the help from the magazine's experts they put on a play to share how the story went down. This week, we got to see Marilyn Monroe's last day on the planet and how she was about to break up with the dozens of men she was involved with and get her life together only to be gang murdered by her gaggle of men after Elvis's attempt to thwart their evil plan.
  5. We then got a lesson on the Blacklisting days to then learn about the new Pinklisting fears that were triggered by the outbreak of Aids that was starting to pique at the time. The sketch then shows a character who is obviously gay and his attempts to act straight in order to save his career. By the time they get to the make out scene our star has to admit that he is gay only to find out it's no big deal because everyone else on the set is as well their just not flamboyant, making it much easier to hide. Madonna seems to be the uptight one in this episode but it turns out she also has Pinklisting fears as an intravenous drug user, only rather than this being a uniting bit of news she's the one that ends up getting shunned. 
  6. Simple Minds then took to the stage to perform Alive And Kicking. 
  7. Critic was a fake ad for a suspense movie that treats Jon Lovitz Critic character as if his reviews were as important and dangerous as the reporters who broke the Whitewater break in while ironically pointing out how useless a professional opinion on film actually is.
  8. Anthony Michael Hall and Damon Wayans then played the Jones Brothers' which is pretty much the same idea as the Mo' Money characters from In Living Color who sell things out of their van only these characters are more crack-head like than the high energy fencing hustlers they later became when Damon teamed up with his brother Keenen to portray them.   
  9. Dennis Miller then made his debut as the new head anchor for the news, finally, the show has a proper news man again. This week, Jon Lovitz displays the proper Heave-Hoe technique to avoid damaging your back while throwing out your trash, and Dennis Miller also got a special sport's segment where he gives a sports fan a chance to live out his dream by giving him an attempt to bat against one of the toughest pitchers from that time only to get hit in the head by the pitch making his new sports dream the hope to recover from living out his first dream. 
  10. El Pectaculare De Marika was a Telemundo style show where Madonna sings Take On Me with a Spanish accent and dance, the sketch then goes on to be almost the original version of Viva Variety at least when it comes to parodying the real deal Mexican shows, that being from San Diego, I used to catch while watching TV during the rabbit ear days of my life.
  11. Simple Minds then returned to the stage to perform Sanctify Yourself.
  12. Penn & Teller then took to the stage with Teller in a tank of icy water and plans to hold his breath until Penn can find the card from the trick he is going to perform at a very casual pace being that his partner's life is on the line. Of course, the trick goes wrong in that Penn and Teller way that is far more entertaining than the actual setup of how things are supposed to work. 
  13. We then went to the White house where Ronald and Nancy Reagan Meet Charles & Di. First, we see a press conference that just sets up the scene but then got to see how dysfunctional the presidential couple is the moment the cameras are gone in a nightmare of an evening for Charles and Di that goes on and on and on until the perfect British couple finally let down their polite wall and reveal their dysfunctional marriage as well.
  14. The Limits Of The Imagination was a parody of the Twilight Zone's " The calls are coming from inside the house," episode only it's Madonna getting told that the calls are coming from within her car which was weird enough for the time because she was talking on a landline and not the big boxy car phones from the time. We then find that the killer is up in the engine and the cop that saves the day was also calling from the trunk in a very cinematic scene.
  15. Cabrini Green then got a moment to promote her new color book called I Don't Want A Baby Coloring Book that she created in an attempt to keep her kids from growing up to have kids while still being kids themselves.
  16. Finally, Madonna closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

I'm having flashbacks to the Gilbert Gottfried year where I went into the first episode with major doubts only to be won over right away which was the same exact case with this episode, making it very easy to find these three favorite moments of the night.

First, I loved the Jones Brothers' sketch because it was totally the prequel to the Mo' Money routine from In Living Color. Next, I really liked El Pectaculare De Marika because it felt like the original Viva Variety with Madonna doing a great cover of Take On Me. Finally, I was a fan of Dennis Miller doing the news because it's a feature that been need of a lot of help since the removed Brad Hall from the role even though he was doing a perfectly fine job and was still a part of the show. 

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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.