SNL: S18E02... HOST: TIM ROBBINS... DATE: OCTOBER 3, 1992

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An Infamous Night With The Pope

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Aside from this being a pretty fun episode hosted by Tim Robbins, this was also the infamous night that Sinead O’Connor ripped up a picture of the Pope after singing an interesting song where she was calling for world peace. Though the show often uses politic to deliver their comedy, this seemed to be the first episode where it was the comedy that was being used to deliver a political message.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been sketches in the past that have also used this tactic but between Tim Robbins and Sinead O’Connor, this felt like the night's theme making the night more interesting than downright hilarious. If I were to write a paper at the end of this entire challenge where I would share my findings on the political views expressed through SNL, I would definitely note this as an example of the more pretentious political shows.

That’s not really a bad thing but it did lead to a couple unintentional funny moments from Tim Robbins’s political passions colliding with comedians who are only acting to care on the same intense level. For example, there were more than a couple of moments where Chris Farley would deliver a line that was supposed to be serious only to sound like his Black Sheep character which how could you not but laugh?

Whether you agree with the politics or not, this was also the first time in a while where the host brought in an overall tone to the night that added to my interest in the episode. Other than that, this is starting out to feel like a strike or pre-strike season where the episodes have been just average while still being fun which rarely happens this early in the season on non-pre-strike or strike years.

I guess I could do some research but I prefer took for signs throughout the season so I’ll wait until next season to figure it out. Until then, it’s now time to move on from my insights to share what I actually saw as I give you…      

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From Ross Perot where Dana Carvey as Perot announced that he was once again back in the presidential race then went on to defend his choice to come back while denying that he was a flip-flopper. He then took the rest of the time to defend other flaws that have been attributed to him and he built up to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Tim Robbins then officially opened a show with a monolog about his new movie Bob Roberts which started out as an SNL short film back when Steve Guttenberg was the host even though that never got mentioned. Instead, Tim Robbins pointed out how the character Bob Roberts was a political man who was against big companies like General Electric who own NBC at the time. He then went on to explain why GE is such a negative influence on the world which causes a behind the scenes panic. Halfway through Tim got called back to talk to Lorne only to have the show taken off the air. It was then revealed that this was all just Lorne’s dream before we returned to the stage to find Tim Robbins performing a tame monolog that towed the company lines.
  3. We then got a fake ad for Caracci's Pizza whose claim to fame is that if you catch an employee doing anything weird with your pizza you will get an instant fifty percent off your meal.
  4. We then went to the signing of The Declaration Of Independence where we discover that our Founding Fathers were actually Quantum Leap-like time travelers who visit the future thinking that they can solve our modern deficit problem only our modern media is too hung up on their involvement with slavery and other flaws the same way they’d criticize a contemporary politician to the point where nothing is changed at all.   
  5. This was followed by another repeat Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack pondered about a brain scientist who got hit on the part of the brain to trigger them to be obsessed with studying the brain.
  6. Cooking With Dennis Miller parody cooking show that made fun of the ex-news anchor’s style of comedic delivery while he taught his audience how to cook. This was following the canceling of The Dennis Miller Show that fell victim to The Late Night Wars from that time.
  7. That's Not Yogurt was a fake ad that parodied that I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter ads from the day, only in this ad the ingredients are secret and all that the company will share is that it’s not yogurt even when the star of the commercial (Kevin Nealon) grows concerned with whether or not this will trigger his allergies.
  8. Sunday Morning Videos was a show with Rob Schneider and Tim Robbins playing the two extremely religious hosts. Tim Robbins started out complaining about the vices of the youth only to a little too enthusiastic when he stumbled onto the topic of sex.  
  9. Sinead O'Connor then took to the stage to perform Success Has Made A Failure Of Our Home.
  10. Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, David Spade introduce his infamous Hollywood Minute gossip segment where he rips on celebrities who made the tabloids that week.
  11. We then met up with Tim Robbins’s Bob Roberts character who took a group of high school kids out camping to push his political agenda while singing a collection of folk songs around a file that was fueled by books that don’t fit into his plan.
  12. This was followed by a parody of Larry King Live where Larry interviewed “Brian Wilson” of the Beach Boys where the two had a bit of a crazy off. Brian from being literally crazy and Larry King from simply being himself.
  13. Tori: 90210 Vs. The Real World was a sketch where “Tori Spelling” discusses the difference between her life on the show versus her day to day living where we discover her real life is even twice as luxurious as the life of the spoiled character on the show and how she often confuses the two worlds.
  14. Sinead O'Connor then returned to the stage to perform War and then famously finished her segment by ripping up a picture of the Pope. 
  15. Sweet Jimmy, The World's Nicest Pimp was a, as the title suggests, a sketch that featured Tim Robbins as Jimmy who was a pimp who is super nice to his stable of girls.   
  16. Daily Affirmation then returned for another installment where this time Stuart Smalley went back to his old no guest format but decided to tread on new grounds and chose this to be the night where he would attempt to talk politics while he shared that he’d be voting Bill Clinton for President because he related to his child of alcoholic ways about the world.  
  17. Finally, Tim Robbins closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said above this episode was more interesting than hilarious thanks to these three moments of the night. First, I loved the Time Traveling Four Fathers sketch not only because I love time travel jokes but I also loved seeing our founding fathers being held accountable for not living up to our modern standard which is probably even more relevant today. Next, I really liked the Sinead O’Connor moment where she ripped up the Pope because I remember it being such a big deal that blew my mind as an Atheist kid who didn’t understand why people were so pissed off since this was around the start of my interest in controversy. Finally, I was a fan of That’s Not Yogurt because it was hilarious neither the pitchman nor company would share what’s inside kind of like an early calling out of not labeling GMO products even though that was not there intent.

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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.