SNL: S16E13... HOST: ROSEANNE ARNOLD... DATE: FEBRUARY 16, 1991

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or...

A Show So Memorable I Barely Had To Watch

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I think I was always a bit of an Anarchist because being from San Diego, I fully remember this visit because this episode aired soon after Roseanne Arnold's controversial National Anthem performance during an at home Padre game. Even at that time, I was fine with her reaction to the booing crowd because I've never had a problem with anyone using their First Amendment Right in any way to make any statement that they need.

Granted, there's always a chance that I'll disagree with the message but I just don't have a problem with the fact that these statements are being made. It also helped that I was a huge stand-up comedy nerd at the time leading me to double down on supporting comedians whenever they get in trouble over their words. 

I was also a big fan of both Roseanne and Tom Arnold because I was raised in a chaotic household so these maniacs seemed normal to me. Between this, what I've mentioned above, and the fact that Roseanne is one of the rare hosts from this season to actually have experience with both live crowds and working in comedy, it stood out as an extra fun episode in this solid season where episodes can tend to be really good while at the same time feel a little flat.

It seems like the show also took advantage of Roseanne's comedy skills because this episode was the first in a long time that they didn't debut any new ideas. To me, it always seems like a sign that they have more faith in a host when the night is filled with original stand-alone content like the sketches that made up this night where I could almost argue a reason for each and every segment could make my top three list.

Once again, this is yet another episode that has me excited to see how the rest of the season will play out especially looking at my list of upcoming hosts who seem more traditionally fit for the show. We'll see how things turn out but until then, it's now time to shift gears and share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a Gulf War Briefing From Mr. Subliminal where Kevin Nealon gives the press an update on the build-up to the ground war sneaking in his real thoughts between delivering the "official narrative" and also shutting down any question using his subliminal powers to perform the Jedi Mind Trick. Once the press went silent Kevin turned to look straight at the camera to announce, "Live from New York..."
  2. Roseanne Barr then officially opened the show with a monolog about her successes and failures building up to the announcement that with tonight's appearance she is now Officially Overexposed!!! Which leads to more of a stand-up routine about this controversial phase of her career.
  3. We then got the classic fake ad for MetroCard that parodied ads from the time that bragged about how helpful their call center support team members are only in this case Roseanne plays an operator who's a real pain in the ass but the customer's account of this instance of excellence makes it sound like she was actually super helpful.
  4. This was followed by a parody of Misery II with Roseanne playing the Kathy Bates character and in this silly sequel, she captures Dana Carvey who, in the world of the sketch, just retired the Church Lady and Roseanne is holding him hostage in an effort to bring her back to life.  
  5. The Sally Jessy Raphael also returned to the show, in this installment Jan Hooks as Sally host an episode with Tom and Roseanne Arnold as her guest to talk about an upcoming TV movie that exposes the behind the scenes chaos the crazy couple is creating. In the sketch, we jumped back and forth between the real Tom and Roseanne on Sally's stage and Victoria Jackson and Chris Farley playing them in the promotional clips of the upcoming show as we worked through what was fiction and what was real. It turns out, Tom and Roseanne are angry at the fictional tale about their lives because it made them look too tame even though they are portrayed as monsters. 
  6. Deee-Lite with Bootsy Collins And The Rubber Band then took to the stage to perform World Clique. 
  7. Once again, Dennis Miller gave us the news. This week, we got introduced to Iraqi Pete played by Adam Sandler and sold as a blatant stereotype built off of fear-based propaganda to yell at the audience like a pro-wrestler and dehumanize the enemy as we build up to war. 
  8. It's Pat then returned for another installment where this time the androgynist character has a run in with Roseanne who is staying late at work to put in a little overtime. As always, this sketch is mainly about the guest trying to figure out which sex Pat is by asking a bunch of roundabout questions instead of blatantly asking what sex he or she is and of course, Pat's answers are as ambiguous as his/her appearance.  
  9. McIntosh Jr. was a funny sketch but I could only find the sound file on the internet. What I heard was a bunch of kids talking about the assignment one kid created with his home computer. One kid noticed a typo, only the kid who created the piece of digital art admitted that he intentionally changed "Public" to "Pubic" in his image of the "Pubic Library."
  10. A Presidents' Day Remembrance was a sketch were Mike Myers shared a bit of history about President Lincoln's personal life through a collection of reenactments showing the manic relationship that he had with his wife. The fighting in the reenactment gets so extreme that it carries over into Mike Myers' separated set. 
  11. This was followed by one of the most memorable fake ads from my early teen years as this was the ad that introduced us to Happy Fun Ball which is simply a bouncy ball with more warnings that you would find in the most ridiculous of prescription pill ads.
  12. Iraqi Pete then returned for a quick installment outside of the news where this Iraqi stereotype continues to taunt the crowd in a very pro-wrestling tone.
  13. Comedy Killers was the classic sketch inspired by Roseanne's controversial performance of The National Anthem, where contestants play a Jeopardy-like show and have to answer questions related to joke topics that are guaranteed not to win any laughs from a mainstream audience. It's because of this sketch that I'll never forget what's credited for starting WWI.
  14. Deee-Lite with Bootsy Collins And The Rubber Band then returned to the stage to perform The Power of Love. 
  15. Victoria's Secrets then made its show debut where Victoria Jackson, dressed in lingerie, reveals a handful of her inner secrets in a way that leaves more mystery than the secret itself playing up her questionably dumb blonde character.
  16. Opposites Attract White Trash History Minute a reenactment sketch showing the night that Roseanne invented Tuna Noodle Casserole by randomly putting together white trash ingredients.  
  17. Finally, Roseanne Barr closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

I'm still finding it hard to believe that this episode makes thirteen solid shows in a row but then again, how could it fail when they are putting out sketches as good as these three favorites from the night. First, I loved the fake MetroCard ad because it's the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Roseanne in both her connection to SNL and when thinking about her performances in general. Next, I really like the fake Happy Fun Ball ad that would be number one if the MetroCard ad didn't get bonus points for featuring the host as the star. Finally, I was a fan of Comedy Killers sketch which I could also argue should be considered first place since it's responsible for solidly setting in my mind the historical fact that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the inciting incident to World War One.

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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.