SNL: S22E17... HOST: ROB LOWE... DATE: APRIL 12, 1997

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or...

The Start To My Seattle Times

As I said in my last review, I moved up to Seattle on April 1rst, 1997 which landed between this episode and the last. The two things that I will always remember about this time period is that I moved days after the Heaven’s Gate cult killed themselves in one of the fancy areas of my hometown San Diego. The other thing I remember was the day that I arrived in Seattle a crazy homeless guy held a bunch of cops at bay by swinging around a samurai sword like a madman.

Though the homeless guy didn’t really play into this viewing at all, the Heaven’s Gate cult was the butt of many jokes which brought me back to that time. I know for sure that I originally watched this episode from the comfort of the Thunderbird Motel which was a sleazy motel that I’m pretty sure offered an hourly rate since it was right in the middle of Seattle’s street where one goes to get hookers.

I had never been to Seattle before I moved there, so I had no idea where I was. I also had no friend, no job, and nothing to do for the first couple of weeks, so I guarantee that unless I was blacked out, I was watching this original air from that room. Then again, back then, I didn’t hit my blackout point until around two or three in the morning, so, I’m sure I was drunk but clear-headed enough to make it through the entire show.

Either way, I always remembered this episode because it replayed a lot thanks to the surprise drop in to The Joe Pesci Show by the real Pesci and De Niro. It’s weird that this is probably the most memorable episodes from this season from how often it was replayed because it’s not even close to being the best episode of this amazing season. That’s not to say that it was a bad show but I don’t think there’s any arguing multiple episodes deserved the re-airings over thing one.

I’d say that this episode was another one that was average for this year, while still being better than some of the best shows from other seasons. It was fun, but I’ve never really found myself rooting for Rob Lowe since his comeback and connection to comedy was as the bad guy in many SNL films. I also can’t fully get behind him because I always found it strange that after he served his time, he never seemed to have real regret for his scandal where he had sex with a minor. In fact, during his last visit in the ‘80s, he almost seemed to brag about the ordeal.

Though I can get over the first issue mentioned about, I don’t think that I can ever look past the latter, especially when, even to this day, he’s sold to the world as a sex symbol and people are buying it. Thankfully, he is a weaker host so more of the focus was on the cast which I think was the saving grace to keep this an average episode.

That’s all I’ve really got to say on the subject, so, I’m going to shift gears 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 Nightline where Darrell Hammond, as Ted Koppel, interviewed Will Ferrell as the cult leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult who recently committed to a suicide pact where they all killed themselves in order to catch a ride on a UFO that was supposedly trailing the Hale Bopp Comet. Considering that this was post-suicide, the premise was the cult was actually right which was why Ferrell was checking in via satellite amongst his fellow cult-mates and a bunch of big-headed blue aliens. As always, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Rob Lowe then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he found a diary that he left behind after the first time he hosted the show back in the ‘80s. He then went on to read a few entries that made many pop culture references to Rob’s involvement with things that were trending a decade before this visit.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Keds where they were marketed as a shoe made for level-headed Christians on their journey into their next life, unlike the evil black Nikes wore by the Heavens Gate folks who were referenced in the opening sketch.
  4. The Joe Pesci Show returned for the classic installment where Jim Breuer as Pesci and Collin Quinn as Di Niro received a surprise visit from the real Pesci and De Niro who took issue with their impersonation after interrupting another average Joe Pesci Show sketch.
  5. Food, Sex, Or Cars?! was a game show sketch where host Rob Lowe spun a wheel to create a random list of items that fall into one of the three titular categories. The contestants then had to choose which of the three they wanted more.
  6. Goth Talk then made its debut to the show with Molly Shannon as Circe Nightshade and Chris Kattan as Azrael Abyss who had a public access show where they interviewed people from school from Azrael’s gothed-out bedroom. Their first guest was Rob Lowe as one of their gothic filmmaker friend from school only to be continually interrupted by Azrael’s jock of a brother named Glenn.
  7. TV Funhouse the returned with another installment of the short cartoon The X-Presidents who were Ex-Presidents with X-Men powers. This week, the superhero presidents summoned the ghost of Richard Nixon in order to help them rescue Al Gore from a group of evil aliens.
  8. NBC Lesbian Programming was a sketch where Cheri Oteri’s Mickey The Dyke character took on an important role at the network to develop new lesbian-themed shows to compete with ABC after the success from Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet.
  9. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week was another week where Norm went at it alone, simply delivering the news without any guest and accidentally dropped an F-bomb, which some speculate was one of the reasons he got fired.
  10. Spice Girls then took to the stage to perform Wannabe.
  11. It then became 4:45 in the AM which meant it was time for another installment of Perspectives where host, Lionel Osbourne interviewed Tracy Morgan as a baseball player and couldn’t seem to grasp the significance of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier after the topic was brought up during their low energy, middle of the night conversation.
  12. La Politica Non-Correcto was a parody of a Mexican version of the show Politically Incorrect where a panel of Mexican comedians, actors, and pundits chimed in with their thoughts on the day’s events while only speaking in Spanish.
  13. Spice Girls then returned to the stage to perform Say You'll Be There.
  14. Janet Blaum's Rant was a sketch where Ana Gasteyer played the titular role who was a waitress who tried to tell off her boss, played by Rob Lowe, but is ineffective because she’s so frustrated that her ranting made no sense at all.
  15. Finally, Rob Lowe Closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though I’m openly not a huge fan of tonight’s host, it was still pretty fun thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the La Politica Non-Correcto because growing up in San Diego, I used to watch Telemundo from time to time which leads me to often enjoy this brand of Mexican television parody. Next, I really liked the opening Heaven’s Gate sketch because just hearing the name Hale Bopp brings me back to the week that built up to my big move to Seattle. Finally, I was a fan of the Goth Talk debut because I was a punk at the time and this sketch became great fodder for making fun of the goths, keeping in mind both I as a punch and the goths in question were all adults at the time.

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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.