SNL: S20E05... HOST: SARAH JESSICA PARKER... DATE: NOVEMBER 12, 1994

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or...

A Mid-Term Election Results Episode

Minus Fears Of The End Of The World

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I remember being a pretty big fan of Sarah Jessica Parker around the time that this episode originally aired. This was around the time that I really started to get into indie films, and she played a handful of characters that I really liked. Not only that but I also liked her in her mainstream roles and loved her whenever she was on Letterman. To top things off, her relationship with Matthew Broderick was an adorable pairing to me, so I was even rooting for that aspect of her life as well.

She fell off my radar during the Sex And The City phase of her career, but this was more due to a lack of both interest and access to where I never gave the show a chance to be able to say whether it was bad or good. That said, this stage of her career didn’t turn me off from the rest to her other work or make me think less of her so I was excited to see what would come from Sarah Jessica Parker’s first episode of Saturday Night Live.

Unfortunately, with this being right after the elections during a mid-term year, which isn’t even impressive when it’s current, most of the night focused on jokes that were very specific to the time. Though it was pretty interesting to get to revisit a time where a political loss was just a bit of a disappointment instead of the end of the world, the fact that we now live in the latter world made the subtle jabs from the disappointed Democrats feel flat and boring in comparison.

I miss these days where the polarizing effects of politics maxed out at being bummed out that the other party was going to be in charge for a bit. This was back when there was enough confidence in the country as a whole; there didn’t seem to be as much fear that the opposing political party could potentially destroy the entire world before the next round of election would come around.

Aside from the above political opinions the start of the show evoked, the rest of the night was a bit of a letdown where once again I find the passing of time to be at fault. It seemed that the sketches that didn’t involve political figures, who fell into obscurity after their mid-term losses, were sketches that appeared to attempt to satire sexism while spraying a lot of satirical shrapnel in the process. Sure, the men in these sketches come across as the jerks, but there’s a simple, “it is what it is,” with a shoulder shrug that comes along with the laughs.

To add to this last bit of sentiment, the show also ended with a tribute to Mr. Mike who was the late writer who wrote all of the child molestation sketches in the early years of the show. I’ll never forget just how uncomfortable Jodie Foster looked back when she hosted the show as a child and was forced to sit on this monster’s lap, which was often the type of thing that was written into a scene feature, Mr. Mike.

As usual, I don’t blame the host for any of these flaws, but I do have to say this was my least favorite episode that I’ve seen in quite some time. It still wasn’t worse than the Jason Patric episode which is the one rare occasion where I did actually blame the host. I find this to be sad because I really wanted to like this night.

Oh well, now that I’ve shared my disappointment, 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 a parody of Decision '94 that made fun of the mid-term election coverage from that year. The “coverage” in question was a concession speech held by Chris Elliott, who played, what I’m guessing was, a well-liked Democratic candidate who the sketch seemed to suggest lost due to the fact that he didn’t follow the trend of using negative attack ads during his campaign. Instead, he resorted to print media and celebrity endorsement which just seemed to go unnoticed. I’m sure that this made much more sense during this time before the internet but when compared to the chaos of modern politics this opening came across really dry, but it did stick to the tradition when it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”   
  2. Sarah Jessica Parker then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she grew up in New York and how great it was to host. She then broke character to admit that it actually wasn’t that great of a week since she put in a lot of effort into the Mario Cuomo campaign that lost. She then went on to sing the song Tomorrow from Annie while shouting out encouragements to all of the losing Democrats from that year. She eventually got cut off by Mike Myers and David Spade who informed her that the entire cast and crew are actually Republicans who are happy about the backlash at Clinton Republican wins.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Eterna Rest which was a fancy mattress for coffins that provided comfort to love ones lost throughout their entire afterlife underground.
  4. Good Morning Brooklyn was a parody of a local Good Morning America-style show that’s based out of Brooklyn. This sketch mainly made fun of the Brooklyn accent and style from that time which just felt super cliché when watched through modern eyes. Thankfully, Chris Farley saved the last bit of the sketch with a bit on non-accent-based physical comedy.
  5. Sarah Jessica Parker then teamed up with Michael McKean for a sketch called Nice And Naughty Guitarists where the two sang a duet of a pleasant sounding song with McKean on guitar. About halfway through the song, it changed to have a harder edge as Adam Sandler joined is as the naughty guitarist for some rock ‘n’ roll interludes as it turns out that the song is about her having an affair on the nice guy.
  6. R.E.M. then took to the stage to perform What's The Frequency, Kenneth? 
  7. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week Adam Sandler’s Gil Graham dropped by again, this time to share his experience of winning V.I.P. tickets to see several shows where once again he spent more time getting beat up and bullied to see a single song being performed.
  8. We then went to a fortune cookie writing room filled with a staff who really take their work seriously while Mike Myers plays a horrible Asian stereotype of a boss who wants quantity over quality from his cookie scribes. One by one the staff quit over the hypercritical feedback until Mike Myers was left to do all the work on his own. This was when Chris Farley entered the scene as Confucius and even he wasn’t deemed to do a fortune cookie right.
  9. The Casting Couch was a talk show sketch that took place on a casting couch with Michael McKean playing a host called Robert Evans who interviewed Sarah Jessica Parker’s young aspiring actress, where he offered her gigs while trying to get her into bed. This was another sketch from the night that fell flat while watching through modern eyes especially during this era where all of these sleazy Hollywood antics aren’t just jokes to be ignored.
  10. R.E.M. then returned to the stage to perform Bang And Blame. 
  11. We then went to OZ to meet The Munchkins. In the sketch, Janeane Garofalo played Dorothy with Sarah Jessica as the good witch who claims that said Munchkins would love to thank the person who killed the evil witch. It turned out that the Munchkins were all grumpy and didn't want to get involved in this war of the witches and want nothing more than for Dorothy and her dog to leave.
  12. R.E.M. then returned to the stage yet again to perform the song I Don't Sleep, I Dream.
  13. Bill Murray then took to the stage for Michael O'Donaghue Tribute after the passing of Mr. Mike, who was probably the creepiest writer to date who was obsessed with sketches of molestation with women of various ages getting groped.
  14. Finally, Sarah Jessica Parker closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Usually, I at least try to back-pedal by this point and claim that the episode might not have been great, but at least it was sort of fun to watch. Not this time, this might be one of the hardest I’ve had to try to come up with these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Munchkins sketch because there’s nothing more fun than a grumpy Munchkin, especially when juxtaposed with the lighthearted Wizard Of OZ scene. Next, I really like the Confucius sketch, not because of Mike Myers’s Asian impression but because I loved how the fortune cookie writers took the job as if it were a serious gig. Finally, I was a fan of Norm MacDonald doing the news in general because I’m a huge Norm fan and always love his bizarre delivery choice that always seems to polarize the tone of the audience response.

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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.