SNL: S22E02... HOST: LISA KUDROW... DATE: OCTOBER 5, 1996

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or...

A Solid Second Episode With Phoebe Buffay

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I think I was born at just the right time for me to become a fan of Friends. If I were any younger, and I wouldn’t have been interested in this adult take on friendship and might have avoided the show all together thinking it was an abridged version of Thirty-Something. If I were any older, I might have already been jaded by the genre having experienced adult friendships of my own that didn’t come close to the Friends experience where everything always worked out in the end.  

 Then again, it would have had to have been a pretty big shift because, as a kid, I always liked shows that were above my age, and I didn’t lose interest in sit-coms until I was at least thirty-years-old so my window for liking the show was actually pretty wide and not the close call that I made it seem to be in the opening paragraph. I was mainly just looking for an interesting start to this review since I think I already covered my interest in Friends back when Ross was the host.

Either way, this was a fun episode with Lisa Kudrow who always seemed to be the most underrated of the actors/actresses from Friends. In fact, I was a bit surprised to find her hosting before most of her fellow cast members. That said, it was a pretty good choice because between her fun-loving approach to hosting and the continuing growth or the cast there wasn’t a moment of the night where the show seemed to drag on.

I think my favorite part was the parody of Singled Out which was a show that I almost completely forgot existed. It reminded me of how I used to be able to work while going to school and partying every night while still keeping on top of everything that was going on with television. I really miss those days of endless TV watching as opposed to nowadays where it feels like a chore to relax enough to sit through and follow a scripted show which is how I now feel all of the time with so many technical distractions.

Other than the fact that this episode was fun and brought up nostalgic memories of watching TV in general, I don’t have any more specifics to share so it’s time for me to move on and share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with Dole's Preparation which was a sketch where Norm MacDonald played Bob Dole and took questions from his assistants in order to prepare for his next debate with President Clinton. Rather than focus on the task at hand Bob Dole take the hypothetical practice to the next level by forcing his assistants to entertain him with a bunch of crazy impersonation playing up his borderline senile ways. We then got a quick glimpse at “the actual debate” that played out closer to the craziness that Dole was suggesting instead of the standard event that the assistants were prepping him for. Of course, with this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Lisa Kudrow then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she just started her third year on Friends but has always fantasized about hosting SNL and then went on to share how these fantasies played out where she treated the show like a person who was exciting at first but turned into nothing more than a one-night-stand who ate all of her food and left her alone in the morning.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Caribbean Essence Bath Oil with Tracy Morgan as the Jamaican face of the product who shows up in the bathtub in order to characterize the soothing powers of the bathing product.
  4. We then got a parody of the MTV dating show Singled Out with Mark McKinney as host, Chris Hardwick, and Lisa Kudrow as co-host, Jenny McCarthy. Mary Katherine Gallagher was then introduced as the nervous constant who tried to find her soulmate through this elimination style dating show.
  5. Chris Kattan’s mumble-mouthed character then returned for a sketch called Air Traffic Controller Suel Forrester where said character attempted to talk, flight attendant, Lisa Kudrow, through landing the plane after the pilots were knocked out of commission due to an unexpected illness.
  6. TV Funhouse then returned for a segment called Fun With Real Audio where they took a Larry King interview with Ross Perot and animated it to highlight the overall insanity of the interview.
  7. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Darrell Hammond dropped by as Bill Clinton to review the movie Independence Day.
  8. Sheryl Crow then took to the stage to perform If It Makes You Happy.
  9. Single And Loving It was an interview show where a panel of women claimed to be loving their single life even though their claims were obviously untrue.
  10. The Randolph Hotel was a sketch where Jim Breuer, Chris Kattan, and Will Ferrell played a group of hotel bellmen who were extremely rough with the visitor's luggage yet were still upset when they didn’t get the tips that they felt that they deserved.
  11. Wymins Poetry Night was a sketch that took place at an open mic night with a bunch of lesbians sharing their original poems.
  12. Sheryl Crow then returned to the stage to perform Love Is A Good Thing.
  13. Colin Quinn then played a character named Ex-Con Gene who is now a waiter and made his guest uncomfortable while sharing his past in an effort to show that he’s now a changed man only to grow aggressive when they showed a lack of interest in him as a human trying to change his life.
  14. Brief Histories then returned for another installment where this time we learned the events that led to the invention of the Ferris Wheel.
  15. Finally, Lisa Kudrow closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Again, I’m excited by the start to this season especially because of moments like these three favorites from the night that have me intrigued as to what the rest of the season will bring. First, I loved the fake ad for Caribbean Essence Bath Oil because the image of Tracy Morgan rising from the baths bubbles had me laughing out loud harder than I laugh throughout the rest of the night. Next, I really liked the Singled Out parody because I forgot how much the real singled out used to crack me up and how it was the start for both Chris Hardwick and Jenny McCarthy. Finally, I was a fan of The Randolph Hotel sketch because the bellmen’s treatment of the guest luggage reminded me of my days loading trucks for UPS around the time this episode originally aired.

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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.