SNL: S22E01... HOST: TOM HANKS... DATE: SEPTEMBER 28, 1996

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Welcome To The Seven-Timers Club, Mr. Hanks

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Where I feel Alec Baldwin is the best of the X-Timer Club host because he feels like an actual member of the cast, I would have to say that Tom Hanks is my favorite of the X-Timer Club hosts who still feels like a special guest with every one of his visits. As opposed to other X-Timer Club host, like John Goodman who seem a bit desperate to be a part of the show, Hanks falls somewhere in the middle where he seems to really like hosting and have a lot of fun but still feels like a star dropping by for a special evening.

I feel this sense of Hanks feeling like a special guest made this one of the best season openers that I’ve seen in a while as opposed to the past several seasons which started out weak as if the cast and writers were still working out the bugs from coming off of their summer vacation. It also helped that the mostly new cast from last season now seem much more confident in their sophomore season with the added excitement of the new cast members as they slowly got introduced in the background.

Where I was a big fan of last season, I’m really looking forward to this new one, especially after tonight’s episode because it was so good. It also helped that I just noticed that this was the year that Tracy Morgan joined the show. A couple years before this season originally aired, Jim Breuer and Tracy Morgan were on a show together called Uptown Comedy Club which was an urban sketch comedy show that aired after SNL for a couple of years. I was so excited to see the two reunited and now that excitement is rekindled.

I can’t wait to see how the rest of this season plays out because based on the lineup of hosts, this looks like it’s going to be a really good one but only time will tell. Until then, it’s now time for me to shift gears from sharing my thoughts and move on to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of an ABC News Election Report where Tom Hanks as Peter Jennings moderated an unofficial satellite debate between Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton, Norm MacDonald as Bob Dole and Cheri Oteri as Ross Perot who all showed their crazy sides while pitching themselves to be the next president. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it built to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Tom Hanks then officially opened the show with a monolog how he was happy to be back now that the cast is good again. He walked a fine line of bashing the show in a way that I hate but at least he was positive about this visit. He then started to complain that he didn’t win an Oscar for Apollo 13 which would have made three Oscars in a row and then went on to read the acceptance speech that he would have given if he actually won where he wished better luck to Nicolas Cage who actually did win for Leaving Las Vegas, which is one of my favorite movies of all time.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Big Brawn Feminine Napkins which was pretty much the Brawny of the feminine hygiene world with Will Ferrell as their lumberjack mascot.
  4. The Roxbury Guys then returned for more of their fun and games with Tom Hanks playing the role of the Butabi brother’s new sidekick to join in on their aggressive approach to get women to dance with them while at the club.
  5. Goat Boy returned to host his new MTV show called Hey, Remember The 80's where he discussed pop culture trends from the ‘80s with a handful of special guests.
  6. Tom Hanks then played the Spartan Spirit to visit the Spartan Cheerleaders at a high school ping pong tournament to let them know that even though they didn’t make the official Spartan cheer squad they still have more spirit than the rest of the squad which led to the performance of “The Perfect Cheer.”
  7. TV Funhouse then made its debut to SNL which also introduced Ace and Gary also known as The Ambiguously Gay Duo who battled their nemesis, Big Head, who was trying to dominate the world while also trying to out the unquestionably queer superheroes at the same time.
  8. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Ana Gasteyer made her news debut as an airhead named Kincaid who used to be part of MTV news and was there to make a commentary on the presidential election while vapidly referencing old TV shows to make her point. Kerry Strug and “her brother” Kippy, played by Chris Kattan dropped by to discuss Kerry’s experience at the Summer Olympic since it was a big year for the squeaky-voiced gymnast.
  9. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers then took to the stage to perform Walls.
  10. We then got a parody of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno where Chris Kattan introduced his monkey boy character named Mr. Peepers who eats apples like a crazy man and then went on to attack “Andie MacDowell” who was “Jay’s” first guest.
  11. Creativity Test was a sketch where Tom Hanks played a computer programmer who struggled to come up with an original idea during a creativity test that his job put him through in order to assess his value.
  12. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers then returned to the stage to perform Angel Dream.
  13. Classic Sing-along with the Drunken Asses was another fake ad for an album filled with people who love to sing but are too drunk to remember the songs.
  14. Brief Histories made its debut with a mini-documentary-style sketch that shared the tale of how cannibalism came to be the survival plan during the Donner Party incident.
  15. Finally, Tom Hanks closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

This turned out to be a super fun season opener especially thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Debut Of The Ambiguously Gay Duo because this whole routine still cracks me up just like it did when I watched it the first go around. Next, I really liked Hey, Remember The 80's because I love that they turned the Goat Boy sketch into a nostalgia show, plus, I loved Tracy Morgan as William “The Refrigerator” Perry. Finally, I was a fan of the Kerry Strug segment on Weekend Update because as a Leap Year Baby, I always loved the Summer Olympics because it falls on Leap Years and both the incident being referenced as well as this segment with her “brother” Kippy always stood out to me because of the imagery.

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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.