SNL: S20E11... HOST: DAVID HYDE PIERS... DATE: JANUARY 21, 1995

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Fun With Frasier’s Brother

On A Saturday Night

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David Hyde Piers is another one of these actors who I really like whenever he pops up in cameos or small roles while not being all that familiar with any of his work outside of the Niles Crane character that made him famous. Unfortunately, I only followed Frasier back when he was on Cheers and only watched the spin-off when someone else had it on.

I’m pretty sure that the only reason I wasn’t a bigger fan of Frasier as a spin-off show was that I felt it was marketed of being for a much more highbrow crowd which is a rough jump from watching a bunch of Boston drunks joking it up in a basement bar. I know this idea is actually not the case because, even though I only watched with someone else, said someone was a roommate, so I watched it quite a bit and actually enjoyed what I saw, I just wouldn’t consider it a show from my repertoire.

I also kind of really remember rooting for Niles to hook up with Daphne as much as I was rooting for David Hyde Piers tonight but only know for sure that he was successful with one. You see, by the time Frasier got to the last episode, I no longer had the same Frasier watching roommate, so I never learned what happened between the brother and the physiotherapist/maid, but I do know that this was a successful night of SNL.

This makes the fourth episode in a row that broke the “good but not great” mold that kept me entertained throughout the entire night. Once again, I feel a big part of it was Hyde Piers’s positive energy that made it feel like he was not just there to promote his show but was a genuine Saturday Night Live fan who was there to have some fun.

Not only that, but we are also now fully into the second half of the season, and the mostly new cast seems to be more comfortable with their roles. Also, knowing a lot of the cast member’s future careers, I can also see more of their personalities and idiosyncrasies showing up in the writing which is another area of improvement that I’ve noticed since the winter break.

Now, I really can’t wait for the rest of the season to play out because I now have faith that this year’s going to end pretty strong which, I have to say, was still about 50/50 until Alec Baldwin entered the Five-Timers Club just a couple of week ago.

We’ll see what happens, 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 more parody CourtTV coverage of the O.J. Trail where this week Judge Ito had to sort through the evidence and shared his rulings on what evidence was and wasn’t acceptable to use during the actual trail. It turns out all of the other O.J. sketches from last year were in reference to the pre-trial. In the sketch at hand, however, the evidence examples got crazier and crazier as the scene went on while building to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. David Hyde Piers then officially opened the show with a performance of a parody of the song The Very Model Of A Modern Major General. In this version, Hyde Piers, as the General, changed the lyrics to fit what he might have said as a monolog while several male members of the cast dropped in during the call and response portions of the song to sing backup.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for the Amazin' Laser where Chris Elliott played a pitchman to sell a laser that was powerful enough to get rid of the yard waste around your house with the squeeze of a trigger. Throughout the commercial, there were also many disclaimers that highlighted how dangerous this device could be if used for non-landscaping purposes.  
  4. We then went to a Poetry Class with David Hyde Peirce as a teacher who was tricked by Chris Farley who turned in the lyrics to the song Highway To Hell by AC/DC as his poetry assignment. Though the class made fun of Farley for his attempt to cheat, not only did Hyde Peirce buy it one hundred percent but it turned out that several other students used this cheating technique as well and Hyde Peirce was fooled by every single one of them. At the very end of the sketch, we found out that Hyde Peirce was onto them the entire time and was an aging hippie in disguise.
  5. Tales Of Little Women was a parody of Little Women where Hyde Peirce and several castmates played prim and proper children who were preparing to ice skate on the pond. Even though they’re super polite when they are nice and dry, the moment that they fell through the ice into the freezing water, they all instantly started to cuss and scream like a bunch of truck driving fishermen.
  6. Scottish Soccer Hooligan Weekly was a talk show sketch hosted by Mike Myer’s and, new cast member, Mark McKinney who played two aggressive soccer hooligans. At first, they discussed their favorite sport of soccer, then went on to invite their guest played by David Hyde Piers who played a tennis hooligan. Though Hyde Piers was just as fanatic of a fan of his favorite sport as the hosts were of soccer, he was extremely polite and appropriate when it came to audience participation. This didn’t go over well with the aggressive hosting pair and led them to headbutt him in the nose and kick him while he was down on the ground.
  7. Live then took to the show to perform I Alone. 
  8. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Tim Meadows returned for a follow-up segment about the hockey strike where he shared how excited he was for the whole ordeal to be over so that he could watch his favorite sport once again. Jay Mohr also dropped in for a sports report where he shared a parody of a blooper reel with bloopers that weren’t really bloopers at all but instead were just clips that had been altered through simple editing techniques like pausing the screen or playing the clip in reverse.
  9. Robot Spy was a sci-fi sketch that took place in the future filled with idiots who are so dumb that they think David Hyde Peirce was a robot merely because he was smart. We eventually learned that Chris Farley was the actual robot, but that didn’t help Hyde Piers’s standing with the crew who still ended up killing him simply because they thought he was an annoying nerd.
  10. Nervous Habits was a sketch that took place in a law firm where David Hyde Piers revealed that he had a nervous habit of shearing sheep whenever he felt overwhelmed by the pressures of his job.
  11. Foreigner And Jersey Kids was a sketch that took place on a train with David Hyde Peirce as a foreigner who kept getting goofed on by David Spade and Adam Sandler as the titular Jersey kids who kept suggesting crazy terms whenever Hyde Peirce was searching for the proper English words.
  12. Perspectives with host Lionel Osbourne, played by Tim Meadows, then made its show debut at 4:45 in the AM to interview Ellen Cleghorne for his fifteen-minute show that is only produced to fulfill the network’s requirements to diversify their television programming. That said, he doesn’t treat the gig like an affirmative action hand out but puts on a PBS-style show while he and Cleghorne had a very dull conversation about a current African-themed display at a local museum. (Note: the interview was boring and not the cultural museum piece.
  13. Live then returned to the stage to perform Selling The Drama. 
  14. This was followed by a sketch called The Internet that made fun of how most of the cybersex that took place back in the chat room days was usually between two guys with one participant being catfished. In this sketch, Mark McKinney played a nerdy computer nerd who got catfished by Chris Elliott who portrayed a sexually aggressive fourteen-year-old girl named Claire. Luckily, McKinney played an innocent who didn’t fall into the pedophile baiting trap because I’m sure this would have gotten super dark and creepy back with the original cast. If anything, McKinney became a bit of a victim in this sketch.
  15. Movie News was a sketch where David Hyde Piers played a Hollywood reporter who shared how many Disney movies were getting killed in the box office while the subtitles pointed out that every movie being referenced was actually a part of the Disney Family and that this fact is hidden by Disney’s use of subsidiary production companies.
  16. Finally, David Hyde Piers closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Not only did this episode break the “good but not great” mold but to sweeten the pot, it was also another night where it was super easy to find these three favorite moments unless you count the struggle to narrow it down to just three. First, I loved the Poetry Class sketch because I like how it highlighted that age in high school where kids are blown away by the fact that middle-aged adults can still be up-to-date on modern trends. Next, I really liked The Internet sketch, not only because the joke itself was pretty funny but it was also interesting to see 1995’s take on what it meant to be online. Finally, I was a fan of Tales Of Little Women because it always cracks me up when people go from calm and collected to chaotic and crazy at the slightest sense of danger, like in Young Frankenstein when Gene Wilder acted extra brave until he was locked in the room with the monster and instantly started to freak out.  

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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.