SNL: S12E12... HOST: WILLIE NELSON... DATE: FEBRUARY 21, 1987

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or...

Coastal Kids Clowning On Country Folks

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First off, I am a fan of Willie Nelson even though I only like a handful of his songs and wouldn't claim to be a fan of his music in general because I am just not a fan of Country Music at all. I am more a fan of him as the pop culture, pot smoking redneck who one could argue is the older white prototype for Snoop.

I wouldn't say that Snoop is Willie's inverse because other than skin tone, age, and music genre these two are almost the same man who both get interesting treatment by shows like Saturday Night Live. I say interesting because part of me thinks that it's bad but then there is another part I feel both are proud of the jokes that they put out to the world that lampoon their upbringing as well as the lifestyle of their fans.

I mention Snoop not in that, "I've got a black friend," attempt to get away with saying something offensive but because I see a similarity in how celebrities similar to these music legends are used. Just like whenever there is a black host on SNL they pull out all of their ghetto jokes the same thing happens if the host is white and from the Midwest, only the jokes then focus on white trash.

As a coastal white, I have mixed feeling about this because sometimes I feel that everyone involved is fully onboard and having fun but then other times it feels more exploitive and forced and as an outsider looking in I don't want to through the baby out with the bathwater by claiming that it is all 100% wrong because in this case, Willie seemed to get kick making fun of "his kind."

Then again, I get even more confused because who cares if the host thinks it's fun because they are not official representatives and if they are successful enough to be invited as host, these people that are making fun of can't even be considered their peers especially when they make fun of the poor who will never have a real voice in society.

Then to add to the confusion though I do live on the coast, I am still poor and was humored by the poor white trash themed sketches that related to either my present situations or my white trash experiences from the past so is worrying about representation when it comes to comedy even worth the effort up to a certain point.

For the most part, I find that SNL at least tries to make a point when they go racial even though sometimes they miss the mark or worse yet hit the group that they are trying to defend with shrapnel in the process of making their point but that is the risk of trying to be funny in a world where what is acceptable is constantly going through change.

As for this episode, I felt that it was okay but a little weak because of how thanks to the modern day reality show, most of the white trash activities that were the butt of the jokes are now kind of common place.

I don't know, it doesn't help that this episode came up during another high tide of racial tension.

Oh well, that's what I've got as far as this episode goes and now it's time to move on and share what I saw as I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a sketch called Afterlifestyles Of The Rich & Famous which of course was a parody of Life Styles Of The Rich & Famous where they showed us the life of Liberace who had died earlier in the month that this episode originally air. Apparently, this is before the invention of the "Too soon," rule as they also made fun of the late celebrity during the last episode which also ended with the announcement of, "Live from New York..." 
  2. Willie Nelson then officially opened the show by singing Nightlife instead of giving the traditional monolog. 
  3. We then got a repeat of the fake General Dynamics ad from the first episode in the season that I didn't think was all that funny the first time it aired, but then again all that I know of General Dynamics is that my grandfather used to work there and that it has something to do with defense.
  4. Great Moments in the History of White Trash was a parody NBC special to highlight the network's devotion to cultural diversity. This first installment shows us Danny DeVito and Nora Dunn as first cousins, white trashing it up as a couple in a diner while sneaking booze into their morning coffee while discussing their white trash plans for the day.
  5. We then went to a sketch featuring Danny DeVito getting set up with a Police Wire before going to talk to a mob boss. During his meeting with the mob boss, the gangsters reminisce about things that DeVito has done that are far worse than the reason he is there in the first place as a wire trap.  
  6. Great Moments in the History of White Trash then returned for another installment this time we are still in the diner where we see the white trash waitress set a white trash date with one of the white trash guests. Other than the setting a costume design neither of these sketches seemed to portray activities that are all that white trash other than the cousins in love. I mean the first sketch they just make fun of DeVito for working on his car and in the second the joke is about two adults hooking up.
  7. Church Chat then returned for more of the same only this week we are back at the church for her interview show where she questions her guest's alliance to... "SATAN." Again, I really liked this character as a child and I'm not sure if it's not funny now and never was or if I am just bored with it because it's been played out over the years because I can still see some of the charm and I don't actually hate it like I do with the Pat Stevens sketch that is continually crammed down our throats. This installment of Church Chat also ended with a nice duet between Willie and the Church Lady singing You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Anymore.
  8. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, Victoria Jackson dropped in for an Entertainment report where she discusses a recent TV special called America that I guess brought up some controversy, she finished her report by doing a handstand on the desk to reveal American Flag underwear while singing America The Beautiful before falling into a split. A. Whitney Brown also dropped in for another Big Picture segment on US and Russian relations that once again is ahead of its time and still extremely relevant today.
  9. Redneck Tanning Parlor is a sketch that takes place in a tanning parlor/truck stop where rednecks sit under heating lamps wearing a special vest to give them the perfect farm's tan. Jon Lovitz plays a special customer who has a tan that he wants to turn into a burn in order to not stand out at a wedding he will be attending on the weekend. 
  10. Willie Nelson then switched back to music guest mode to perform Partners After All. 
  11. Great Moments in the History of White Trash then returned for a third installment. This time we are back at the diner and two pieces of white trash discuss the benefits of hooking up with welfare mothers to freeload off their benefits.
  12. The Pathological Liar then visits a country bar where he has a run in with Willie Nelson as himself where the two have a conversation filled with lies.
  13. Willie Nelson & Victoria Jackson then performed The Boyfriend Song. 
  14. We then went to a Truck Stop where Willie Nelson attempt to pick up on the waitress who just isn't having it as she reveals she used to fall for his trucker tricks and fool around with him whenever he would come through town but is now an "80s woman with a new outlook on life but Willie refuses to give up and eventually wins her over by playing Crazy by Patsy Cline.
  15. Once again Willie Nelson finished the night by performing his song called Blue Eyes.
  16. Finally, Willie Nelson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights. 

Even though I'm a little confused about how I feel about this episode, I still know for sure that these were my three favorite moments. First, I loved the sketch where Danny DeVito a Police Wire and we find out that he is way worse than anyone he is trying to trap because it was a genius idea and DeVito's reactions were the best. Next, I really liked the Redneck Tanning Parlor sketch because I thought it was going to go one way but then laughed out loud when it turned out to be a sketch where they reproduce the perfect farmers tan for rednecks on the move. Finally, I was a fan of The Pathological Liar talking to Willie Nelson at a country bar because I love the Liar character and I loved Willie Nelson as himself.  

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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.