SNL: S19E16... HOST: HELEN HUNT... DATE: MARCH 19, 1994

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Desperate Lives From Saturday Night…

I almost forgot that I was actually a pretty big fan of Helen Hunt. I guess this is because I just really liked a lot of the movies and TV shows that she starred in but she wasn’t really the driving force behind why I was tuning in. That’s not an insult in any way, if anything, it’s a sign that it was a combination of her acting and project choices that drew me to her work as opposed to blindly going into a viewing simply based on a name.

This episode turned out to be another one of those show that I knew almost every sketch based on the titles alone. Going into the sketch I thought part of this might have been due to the fact that as a huge rap fan at the time, I must have watched this episode multiple times since Snoop Dogg was the musical guest but then once the show actually started I quickly realized that I watched the episode multiple times simply because it was good.

In fact, this is the quality of show that I expected from the rest of the season rather than the rollercoaster of a ride between good and bad episode that the season turned out to be. This season took place during my senior year in high school where my Political Science teacher allowed me to put Weekend Update on the TV every Monday to entertain the class until the starting bell rang. I figured this had to be a really good year since I’m not usually outgoing enough to make such an offer since I would take it personal if my offering turned out to be really bad.

Then again, I think the big issue with this season was that there was a lot of focus on just a handful of controversial topics that were very time period specific, went on for multiple weeks like and had nothing to do with politics or anything that would still be relevant today like the Amy Fisher, Tonya Harding ordeal and Lorena Bobbitt cutting off John Wayne’s penis which was even played out back in the day.

Aside from the fact that this episode had less time specific sketches and those that were focused on political events that we’re still dealing with today, this was still a really good show because Helen Hunt is an underrated comedic actress and this was her time to shine.

I’m glad this episode came when it did because I really needed a boost to round out the end of the year. With that, 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 Rockers To Help Explain Whitewater which was another Farm Aid style parody where the entire cast got to impersonate popular music acts from the time to sing an explanation of the Clinton’s Whitewater Scandal which is still pretty controversial to this day. Of course, this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to Cindy Crawford’s announcement of, “Live from New York…”   
  2. Helen Hunt then officially opened the show with a monolog about her early acting career which led to her to share the classic scene from the After School Special, Desperate Lives where she snorted angel dust and instantly freaked out so badly that she ended up jumping out the window and running around like a crazy person throughout the college campus.
  3. Total Bastard Airlines was the introduction of David Spade and Helen Hunt playing the flight attendants who passive-aggressively, “Bah Bye,” the passengers as they try to exit the plane.
  4. Coffee Talk then returned with host, Linda Richman who had Helen Hunt on who played a family member to do the usual Coffee Talk routine.
  5. Snoop Doggy Dogg then took to the stage to perform Gin And Juice. 
  6. Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, Jay Mohr dropped in as Dick Vitale to scream about his Oscar picks. Chris Farley also returned as his Bennett Brauer character to bash himself while using finger quotes. This led to the classic moment where Farley was supposed to randomly lift off and fly around the crowd only to have his strings get caught up in the lights.
  7. Profiles In Cowardice was panel show sketch where Phil Hartman interviewed guest who were extreme cowards in the past which included the only man to surrender to the Iraqis during the first Persian Gulf War even though he wasn’t there, a man who continually runs from wild animals even though they’re not near enough to be a threat, Helen Hunt who play a woman whose child was stolen by her husband and taken back to Iran but rather than do anything about it like the real story, that Helen acted in a movie about, she did absolutely nothing about, there was also a guy who did nothing during a brutal attack on the street and finally ended on a character who put himself in the FBI Witness Protection Program even though he had no reason to be scared.
  8. Emotional Director was a sketch where the director was built up to be someone who was great at understanding women only it turned out that this meant he was a sexist creep who frustrated the actresses into giving their emotional performances.
  9. The Washing Machine was a parody sequel/short film of the movie The Piano where Ellen Cleghorne finds a washing machine that washes onto the beach and becomes an expert at using it even though this seems to be a period piece from a time before washing machines were even made.
  10. Snoop Doggy Dogg then returned to the stage to perform Lodi Dodi. 
  11. Astounding Information was an infomercial parody where Helen Hunt and Kevin Nealon introduced the idea of frying eggs in a frying pan to save you money and time even though there is absolutely nothing special about any aspect of the fake infomercial at all other than the exaggerated excitement.
  12. Office Space: Part 2 was the second installment of the cartoons Milton cartoons that inspired the Office Space movie where he continues to be moved to worse areas of the office while his stapler continues to be taken away as well, leading him to threaten to blow up the entire building.
  13. Rob Schneider's Girlfriend Theater returned for another installment where Rob Schneider introduced another story of another past relationship that was then acted out on the stage only this time it ended as a musical.
  14. Finally, Helen Hunt closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Again, I didn’t even have to watch this episode to know that I was going to like it thanks to the fact that I remember these three of my favorite scenes without even having to watch them. First, I loved the classic Total Bastard Airlines sketch because it’s another one that was so good that people quote it to this day even if they don’t know the reference. Next, I really liked the opening Whitewater Scandal song because I’m a fan of all of the SNL Farm Aid parody bits. Finally, I was a fan of the Profile In Cowardice sketch because I’m a bit of a coward myself since my size alone is usually enough to protect me from danger but other than that I’m screwed.

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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.