SNL: S22E10... HOST: KEVIN SPACEY... DATE: JANUARY 11, 1997

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or...

Am I Allowed To Like This Episode???

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It’s hard to believe that after watching over twenty years’ worth of SNL episodes, most with a brand new celebrity host, this is the first episode that I’ve watched where the host is involved in a current career-threatening scandal. Yes, there have been several hosts who’ve been on to clear their names from a scandal at the time and a few hosts where a current scandal broke after my viewing, but this is the first time that I’ve come across a scandalous whose controversy was still on everyone’s mind.

At least I think that’s the case. Then again, the actual events that people are pissed about are from even before this episode aired and the news broke over a month ago which is a lifetime ago when considering how quickly we now cycle through the news. I’m not sure if people will be annoyed simply by the fact that I’m giving Kevin Spacey a break while watching this episode especially since it turned out to be a pretty good show.

Part of me wanted this episode to be more problematic so that I wouldn’t have to worry about complimenting the controversial star but if I’m being honest, this episode wasn’t the funniest, since Spacey was never really known for his humor, but he acts well enough that his characters never felt out of place or detracted from the fun.

I did think that the opening monolog was pretty interesting in how the captioning joked about how the real Kevin Spacey was a violent psychopath and it’s not just a trait of the characters that he seems to like to portray. It reminded me of how a couple of weeks before Uma Thurman started to openly complain about Quentin Tarantino where I saw an old sketch where the premise was how Tarantino got into the industry in order to sleep with his stars. Though the Harvey Weinstein stuff had already made the news the only talk from Tarantino was how he didn’t do more than he could have, before people were questioning his character as well.

I’m willing to be that this will happen more and more as I get closer to season hosted where the host of from a more current pool of celebrities who are more likely to be making new news. For example, it will be interesting to see the filter that I watch Louis C.K.’s episodes through now that he’s no longer the loveable loser that everyone used to root for.

I don’t know what’s worse, being disappointed by a host who I was once a fan of or how often I’ve watched a musical guest who has either just died or dies days after watching their performance. At least with these deaths, you still get to love the person and their music as opposed to having to weigh out the old issue of whether or not you can separate an artist from their work.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got on this topic, so with that, it’s now time to move on and share what I saw during my viewing, as I give you…   

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with the introduction of SNL's Sketch Ratings System where Michael Palin and John Cleese dropped in for a special appearance to explain the new sketch rating system, making fun of the fact that this was around the time where TV shows started to provide age-appropriate ratings after returning from every commercial. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it also eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Kevin Spacey then officially opened the show with a monolog about being happy to host the show to show a more silly side of his personality which then turned into a segment where he sang the song In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning while the captioning shared how Spacey was as big of a psycho in real life as he is as the characters he portrays.
  3. We then got a parody of Late Show With David Letterman with Norm MacDonald as Letterman in order to interview Kevin Spacey as William Hurt who struggles to cope with Letterman’s distracting style of interviewing.
  4. We then got a parody PSA called Prescriptions that joked about how easy it is to get a prescription for marijuana following the passing of a California initiative that made prescribed pot become legal before the whole medical marijuana thing was as omnipresent as it’s become since the airing of this episode.
  5. This was followed by parody behind the scenes footage of The Star Wars 20th Anniversary Re-Release where we got to see several impersonations of celebrities who failed their auditions for very famous Star Wars roles.
  6. Janet Reno's Dance Party was a sketch where Will Farrell as Janet Reno shared a dance with Kevin Spacey as Donna Shelala while hosting a basement dance party in an effort to take a break from her political career.
  7. We then got another installment of the fake auditions for The Star Wars 20th Anniversary Re-Release where we got to see some more funny impression of potential Star Wars actors.
  8. Beck then took to the stage to perform Where It's At?
  9. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Molly Shannon dropped in as Courtney Love to share how she was able to play such a good junkie for the move The People Versus Larry Flint.
  10. Chirs Kattan then returned as monkey-man, Mr. Peepers where this time he made Will Ferrell completely uncomfortable while trying to run tests in a lab.
  11. TV Funhouse then introduced a superhero parody cartoon called The X-Presidents where a collection of former Presidents set out to save the day with their newly found superpowers.
  12. The Joe Pesci Show also returned for another installment where this time Kevin Spacey played Al Pacino to be Breuer as Pesci’s co-host in order to put on the usual The Joe Pesci Show sketch which never really did much for me since I’ve never been a fan of the mobster genre of film.
  13. Michael Palin and John Cleese then returned to recreate their famous Dead Parrot Sketch from their Monty Python show.
  14. Beck then returned to the show to perform Devil's Haircut. 
  15. Ana Gasteyer then played her one percenter, Mrs. Attebury character who bored the hell out of Kevin Spacey with her monotonous stories while he tried to install a home burglar alarm.  
  16. Finally, Kevin Spacey closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though I’m confused about how I feel about watching Kevin Spacey as the host, I wasn’t all that confused while picking these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Star Wars 20th Anniversary Re-Release Auditions parody, because it’s such a classic sketch that’s super fun to watch impersonations of alternate options for actors from the Star Wars movie. Next, I really liked the Dead Parrot Sketch because it was fun to see the classic Monty Python sketch reenacted by the aged versions of the two people who originally created it. Finally, I Was a fan of the Prescription sketch because I was surprised to find that Medical Marijuana was already technically legal way back during this time which is interesting to me as a pothead.

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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.