SNL: S19E02... HOST: SHANNEN DOHERTY... DATE: OCTOBER 2, 1993

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A Night Filled With Slight Signs Of Progress

As I said back when both Jason Priestly and Luke Perry were hosts, I was never a 90210 fan and only know the show through parodies and pop culture references. I also pointed out that even though I never followed the show I found most of the cast to be pretty interesting because they all seemed to be pretty funny in their efforts to differentiate themselves from the 90210 world. Because of this, I was intrigued to see Shannen Doherty as the host to see how funny she was.

Unfortunately, this didn’t turn out to be all that funny of an episode but with that said the reason it felt dry was for very fortunate reasons. First off, a majority of the jokes from the night where about Shannen Doherty’s reputation of being a bitch, only now watching the show through modern eyes all of the examples that were given made her seem more assertive than bitchy which invalidated most of the jokes.

Where at the time, I could see her being more of an anti-hero throughout the episode where she owned her bitchy way and wore it with a sense of pride in a way that made people hate her even more. Watching the show now, it felt more like everyone else was crazy and couldn’t handle the presence of a strong lady which especially shows in the Salem Bitch Trials sketch where she was actually bitchy but for valid reasons since the rest of the town was a mess.

Another example of progress happened later on in the night when Tim Meadows and Mike Myers played two gay men running the hair, make-up, and costume department. I’m guessing that back in the day them being gay in general was the only point to the joke since their gay impersonations were so grounded in reality that through modern eyes, it didn’t seem like a joke at all.

The final sign of progress came when Cyprus Hill took to the stage and DJ Muggs started the song by smoking a joint on the air. I remember this being a super huge deal at the time but now I watch Doug Benson and guest smoke weed every week live on the YouTube and nobody seems to care.

Other than following the news through satire over the past forty-three-years, my other surprisingly favorite aspect of this challenge is seeing how the cultural sensibilities through reactions to offensive bits. Like how early in the ‘70s people would laugh and cheer for pedophile joke which is a pretty disturbing thing to hear especially when the scenarios seem a bit too real. Nowadays people might still find these jokes to be funny but the reaction is more moans and groans to acknowledge disturbing the situation is even when it leads to a giggle as a reaction to the shock value.

So, this might not have been the funniest episode that I’ve ever seen but I’d still say that it was worth the watch to see that we’re actually still making progress in certain aspects of our societal life. With that said, 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 Phil Hartman announcing a sketch where Opera Man Plays The Scratch Lottery while singing a tune about the process only to end up one matching item off from winning a million dollars. Of course, this being the opening sketch it eventually built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Shannen Doherty then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she just got married and went on to share a prerecorded sketch of “home video footage” of her wedding reception where she got into physical altercations with all of her guests as if she were actually the crazy bitch that she portrayed on 90210.
  3. This was followed by the classic Crystal Clear Pepsi parody ad that pushed a clear gravy called Crystal Gravy.
  4. We then got a parody of The Real World that made fun of the opening warning that the show was going to be real to the point where it might be hard to stomach. They then went on to introduce the cast highlighting how each housemate was paired up with their polar opposite to create conflict that is by design and nowhere close to the reality that the opening warning promised.
  5. The Denise Show then made its debut where Adam Sandler hosted a cable access show devoted to Shannen Doherty, AKA Denise, who broke up with him five weeks ago and he desperate to win her back and thinks this show will win her over.
  6. Cypress Hill then took to the stage to perform Insane In The Brain. 
  7. Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, Rob Schneider dropped in for a new segment called Wacky Moments In Sports that aren’t actually wacky at all even though Schneider made it seem so, thanks to his over the top commentary. Tim Meadow also introduced his Ike Turner impersonation to talk about the new Clinton Health Care Plan while being abusive to our top news anchor which led to the introduction the, “I’m sorry Kevin Nealon,” routine that I’ve always been a huge fan of.
  8. Is It Date Rape? was a game show sketch with Phil Hartman as host to quiz college students as to what is and isn’t considered date rape after sharing questionable scenarios. The contestants involved are Chris Farley and Shannen Doherty with Farley feeling that every example is safe and Doherty thinking that everything is date rape even when there’s no sex involved and the scenario in genuinely innocent.
  9. Chris Farley then introduced The Relapse Guy for a family intervention. At first, it seems like he’s serious about his sobriety only to fall off the wagon right away and went back to his drinking ways only to end up in another intervention. Knowing the future of Farley this sketch was way more sad that it was funny.
  10. Noah And Frans took place in Shannen Doherty’s dressing room with Mike Myer and Tim Meadow playing the hair, make-up, and costume team who got her ready for the next sketch. I don’t know if the humor was supposed to come from these two characters being gay but now that it’s an acceptable lifestyle there didn’t seem to be any real jokes. In fact, the two characters are actually portrayed in such a non-offensive way that through modern eye there was nothing interesting about this sketch at all which is a nice sign that we’re making progress.  
  11. Salem Bitch Trials was, of course, a parody of the Salem Witch Trails only Shannen Doherty was on trial for being a bitch in a room full of angry men and women who couldn’t stand a strong female since all of her actions were valid efforts of her trying to speak her mind.
  12. Cypress Hill then returned to the stage to perform I Ain't Goin' Out Like That which they started by smoking a joint on live TV. 
  13. A Message From Michael Eisner was a sketch where the CEO of Disney tried to reassure foreign guest that Disney World is still safe despite a rise in violent crimes against foreign travelers that took place in Miami around that time.
  14. Finally, Shannen Doherty closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Even though this wasn’t the funniest of episodes, it was still good but not great experience thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Tim Meadows as Ike Turner even though it’s a horrible play on domestic violence but I still reference, “I’m sorry Kevin Nealon,” regularly to this day. Next, I really liked the fake ad for Crystal Gravy because I’m at just the right age the Crystal Pepsi was a big deal to me at the time so this was a funny reminder. Finally, I was a fan of Shannen Doherty’s “Wedding Video” from the monolog because it was fun to see her take on what the tabloids thought of her and it was also nice to see Norm MacDonald make a cameo since he was just a writer at this time.

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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.