SNL: S12E20... HOST: DENNIS HOPPER... DATE: MAY 23, 1987

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or...

My First And Only

High School Alumni To Ever Host SNL

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I don't think it's possible for anyone my age to not be a fan of Dennis Hopper. Even if you're like me and not a fan of Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, or any of his earlier work, with a resume containing movies like Hoosiers, Waterworld, or Speed, he's bound to have something for everyone to like. Hell, he even played King Koopa in the Super Mario movie.

Two of my favorite Dennis Hopper movies are Blue Velvet and The Rivers Edge where not only did Dennis play a similar deranged character but they also came out in the exact same year and they were probably both still in theaters on the night this episode originally aired, and even though this is before the time of blatant promotion, I'm sure at least one of these films was the reason for this visit.

Not only do I like many of Hopper's major roles, I probably liked him more when he would pop up in random movies as one of the smaller characters. Also, with the title as a clue, I'm also a fan of this man because I would say that he's the most famous person to go to my high school unless one of the sports stars on the list is a bigger deal than I'm aware of, which is enough evidence for me to land Hopper solidly in first place.

Since I mentioned ranking, it might be time to switch gears and talk about the actual episode. Where I thought this episode was just fine to where it would make top ten for the season but it didn't feel like a season finale and may have lost a couple point from having to follow Gary Shandling which wasn't only the best show of the season but was the best episode I've seen so far.

So now that I've shared my thoughts on both Dennis Hopper as an actor and my thoughts on this episode. It's now time to move on and share what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with an Easy Rider parody where it uses clips from the real movie before going on to show what happened the day after the final scene that is just as rambling and pointless as the original movie but at least this version of the burn out's world is pretty funny because of the special effects of Dennis Hopper doing motorcycle tricks before announcing, "Live from New York..."
  2. Dennis Hopper then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he used to provide the cast drugs and now here he is as host then goes on to joke about fried food being a worse thing to put in your body than anything that will get you high. Right after this, he announced his new found sobriety before throwing to the first sketch of the show.
  3. Church Chat then returned for another segment with the Church Lady cherry picking her guests answers to accuse them of aligning with... "SATAN." As always, when it comes to this sketch, I liked it when I was a kid but have seen it so many times and heard so many impersonations over the years that I find it more played out than the nostalgic joy that I know, deep down that this character actually deserves, especially when dealing with such a demented Dennis Hopper.
  4. Roy Orbison then took to the stage to perform Crying and Pretty Woman back to back. 
  5. Dennis Hopper then revived his Blue Velvet character for a game show of a sketch called Frank Booth's "What's That Smell?" In the sketch, Frank Booth is the host who asks celebrity contestants to huff fumes from a tank and guess what the source of the smell is.
  6. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, The Pathological Liar returned to the news for a segment to defend Oliver North that of course is filled with nothing but lies.
  7. Problem Drinkers From Outer Space was a parody of an old black and white low budget film with a War Of The Worlds feel only our invaders were alcoholics.
  8. This Week with David Brinkley was a parody of what I assume was a real show from the time where talking head fixtures from the time talk about world events. The main joke to this sketch is that Sam Donaldson is constantly on the verge of falling out of his chair, but I couldn't find any evidence on the internet as to whether or not this was based on something that actually happened. A. Whitney Brown also sat in for a Big Picture segment with a message to the class of '87 who are entering the working world similar to today only this was before all of our problems were pumped up like they are on steroids.
  9. We then went to a fancy executive meeting room where a bunch of executive type interview Dennis Hopper about his interest in cannibalism as if it were a requirement for the job that he's aiming for.
  10. Roy Orbison then returned to the stage to perform In Dreams. 
  11. Last Chance Gas Station was a sketch that took place in a gas station with the titular name where Phil Hartman plays a rich businessman who high-end car broke down in the middle of nowhere and the yolk mechanics are upset with him for abusing his car. At first, Hartman talks down to the two idiots only to find out that they not only know about cars but they also know plenty of details about his career as an investment banker to the point where they can also point out his work related errors as well.
  12. Sweeney Sisters then returned to the show, only this time they had no additional pretext as to why. It was just the two girls on the Saturday Night Live stage singing a medley of their lounge style songs to the audience.
  13. Finally, Dennis Hopper closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

This episode ended up being a nice end to the most solid season I've seen in a while having these three moments as my favorite of the night. First, I loved the Frank Booth's "What's That Smell?" because I saw Blue Velvet at too young of an age and that character has always stood out to me. Next, I really liked the opening parody of Easy Rider because even though I hated the original film, Dennis Hopper doing motorcycle tricks via horrible special effect was hilarious. Finally, I was a fan of the Last Chance Gas Station sketch because I like how they highlight how having a less glamorous job doesn't mean that a person's an idiot. 

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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.