SNL: S12E08... HOST: WILLIAM SHATNER... DATE: DECEMBER 20, 1986

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or...

Not A Bad Episode

Considering It Was Full Of Shat

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I have a weird relationship with obsessive fandom to where I'm obsessed with said obsessed fans even though I might never even care about the thing that they are a fan of in the first place. I would say this all started with Star Wars but that wouldn't be true because when it comes to this Sci-Fi trilogy, I was a genuine fan as a child. Star Trek, on the other hand, was a show that, of course, I was familiar with but the shows seemed to be too over my head as a child and I never really got into it as an adult.

However, I did really get a kick out of hearing fans talk about Star Trek as their favorite show which was solidified by a documentary called Trekkies that I've seen at least a hundred times. I think my love of exploring obsessed fans is also connected to my fascination with performance art to where I feel there is a blurry line between genuine interest and role playing as a character of what such an obsessed fan would actually be.

Where I do believe that these obsessed fans who go as far as to learn a fictional language while designing what looks to be official gear are genuine in their interest, I also feel that delving that deep into fandom is a cry for attention from people who are attempting to escape an otherwise boring life.

I don't say this as a bad thing because escapism from reality is the entire reason I started to write. I'm just a fan of watching people walk this line while wondering what side of reality they are actually on and whether or not their decision is a healthy choice considering the other aspect of their life and what they are trying to escape.

So, due to my obsession with Star Trek fans, I actually know a lot about the history of the show, even though I only watch Deep Space Nine on Sundays at midnight during a time in my life when I didn't have cable and it was the only show worth a watch. This means that I've had a lot of experience witnessing Shatner interacting with his fans.

Being an outsider looking in has allowed me to enjoy William Shatner's arrogant and often annoyed tone toward his connection with the show mix with his money hungry ways of profiting off the same people who he would otherwise have nothing to do with while never feeling like I am a fan being abused.

Because of this, I've always found Shatner to be funny, way before he became the character of himself where we now cheer on his smugness to the point where that alone seems to be keeping him famous. In fact, he's so entertaining at being himself that I'd say it's well deserved. This might be why I liked this episode more than I thought I would.

Alright, enough with the Shat talk as it is now time to share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with The Ballad Of Mute Marine that paid tribute to Oliver North for his silence during the Iran Contra Scandal hearings with Shatner as the non-speaking Oli who finally breaks his silence to announce, "Live from New York..."
  2. William Shatner then officially opened the show with a monolog where he promotes Star Trek IV before delving into so Star Trek Humor.
  3. We then went straight from the monolog into a sketch to show the audience what a typical Star Trek Convention looks like as we went to a room filled with nerds, mostly in glasses, who geek out over the Star Trek event. After a few moments of getting to meet the nerdy crowd, Shatner takes to podium to answer a few of the fans questions, only to shut them down right away because he doesn't know the show as well as they do which leads the former fictional captain to tell yell at his fan base to "Get a life," and stop obsessing over this show that was canceled over a decade ago, only to change his tone back to a positive one after the event coordinator gives the Shat his paycheck for showing up to the event. 
  4. This was followed by a holiday party at The Sweeney Sisters where Shatner plays one of the sister's date, who announces the two are engaged before the sibling duo performs a medley of Christmas tunes. I kept waiting for Shatner to join in but that moment never came. 
  5. We then got a T.J. Hooker parody and even though I found this sketch to be funny because of how silly it was, I don't know the reference material enough to get some of the inside jokes that got the audience laughing when I didn't really understand why. 
  6. Lone Justice then took to the stage to perform Shelter.
  7. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Al Franken dropped by as the show's medical specialist to talk about President Reagan's prostate issues that were recently in the news only to cringe and squint while discussing any part of the procedure that has to deal with handling the patient's junk.
  8. This was followed by a parody called Star Trek V, The Restaurant Enterprise where, like the title suggest, the Enterprise is now a restaurant and Captain Kirk is the restaurant's host with the rest of his peace promoting crew members filling in as the rest of the staff. Kahn eventual joins the scene with an inspector from the health department in his attempt to shut the restaurant die, only Kirk foils Kahn's evil plan by paying off the health inspector to get a passing score.
  9. We then went to a sketch that took place in a bathroom where Nora Dunn was getting ready to go out for the night. Shatner then entered the scene as her husband only to obsess over himself in the mirror. 
  10. Kevin Nealon's Classic Christmas Experience was a sketch where Kevin Nealon played himself to share a Christmas story from when he was a kid. He started by setting up the small town that he grew up in before sharing how easy it was to burglarize the mom and pop shop by breaking into it in the middle of the night before revealing more details of the suburban nightmare with the same enthusiasm you would expect from an excited child. 
  11. Lost Ending to It's A Wonderful Life was a parody sketch that shows how this Turner Classic ended before it was cut out. The scene starts with the normal ending but then extends to show Phil Hartman playing Uncle Billy who finally remembered where the money that the town accused him of losing actually went. This leads the Jimmy Stewart character to visit the bad guy banker to start a mini riot while Jimmy beats said banker to the edge of his greedy life. 
  12. Lone Justice then returned to the stage to perform I Found Love. 
  13. The True Life Of Frankie Toussaint was a black and white short film that follows the star of Cuckoo And The Cuckoo Clock who learns his brother died during an emergency room operation and kills the doctor after learning he was openly negligent. He then goes to court where ineptness leads him to get a death sentence. We then went to death row where not even the preacher who is there to provide our star with his last rights is too incompetent to pull this off. Even in the electric, they don't get it right as they kill our star in the middle of his last words.   
  14. Buster Poindexter then took to the stage to perform Zat You, Santa?
  15. Finally, William Shatner closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights. 

Though I was a fan of this episode and continue to see growth from the cast, I'd still say the quality of sketches were still on the average side with these three as my favorite moments. First, I loved Lost Ending to It's A Wonderful Life because I'm a fan of Jimmy Stewart and this is how the movie should have ended as a message to the greedy banks. Next, I really liked the Star Trek Convention scene where Shatner tells his fans to "Get a life," because you know that deep down inside, especially at that time, this was how he really felt. Finally, I was a fan of William Shatner checking himself out in the mirror because of how it highlights the unjustified arrogance Shatner while at the same time highlighting the fact that he's his own personal inside joke.

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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.