SNL: S22E18... HOST: PAMELA ANDERSON... DATE: APRIL 19, 1997

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Evidence Of A Slump Proof Season

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Last night, after watching Rob Lowe’s episode, I was a bit disappointed to see Pamela next on the list of hosts. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing her any other time, the fact that this meant two hot host episodes playing back to back left me feeling a touch of dread. As I’ve pointed out in the past, my issue with these hot host, especially the ones from the past is how often they are treated as props with most of the jokes being about their looks, or an excuse for the uglier cast members of the opposite sex to cop a feel or make out.

Thankfully, as time passes they seem to limit these looks based sketches to one or two in a night, but I’m still not a fan of the hot host. That’s not to say I don’t like hosts who are attractive and has nothing to do with gender at all, my biggest issue is how, as the last sketch points out, these hot people develop an awkwardly unfunny sense of humor that they perform with confidence since they are always humored with laughs that aren’t actually earned.

I get it because I’m guilty of it. In real life when I’m interacting with someone I find attractive, I’ll often laugh more at their jokes to get them to hang around more. Plus, these people also like to laugh back. That’s said, I’ve always felt that Pam Anderson had potential to be really funny, I’m just not entertained by her choice in topics since she is so sexual, and I’m a bit of a prude when it comes to comedy, or at least, I prefer the humor of those who get no action at all.

Another reason I had lower expectations for the night is that it used to seem consistent that slump shows would pop up between episodes fourteen and eighteen of every year. These are shows where the writers’ and casts’ energy seemed to drop from all the work put into the first half of the year. This seemed like a perfect show for this to happen with but the slump show phenomena just didn’t happen this year.

Then, as I started to do my prep-work and glanced through the list of sketches from the night, I easily recalled most of the bits from the night. Who knows, I was still living in the motel on hooker road at this time having just randomly moved to Seattle at a time before cell phones and high-speed internet, so I might have been pretty excited to see the episode on the night this originally aired.

Either way, this ended up to be a pretty fun show. Pam seemed genuinely excited to be there and as always, this year, the cast all did a really good job. I wouldn’t even just write this one off as average like I did with Rob Lowe and some of the earlier hosts. Tonight’s episode was genuinely good which I once again credit to the fact that the cast is so talented and still mostly new that they have yet to settle into their comfort zone which I fear might change next year.

It just seems that when a collection of Not Ready For Prime Time Players work together for a long time, the first season is just okay while they figure it out, then the second year is their best, year three is that settling year that I fear where they start to feel like their phoning it in, which then get corrected for year four after a few tweaks that address the season three criticisms.

We’ll see if this happens with this bunch but until then, it’s now time to shift gears and share what I watched as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a sketch called Reno-Time! This was a sketch where Will Ferrell as Janet Reno hijacked a press conference being held by Darrell Hammond as Clinton as he tried to defend another fundraising scam. Her reason for hijacking the show was to defend her role in the Wacko incident after a question was asked by the press. With this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Pamela Lee then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she was nervous about tonight’s venture into comedy considering her current career as a serious dramatic actress on the show Baywatch. She then confused the advice of picturing the audience naked in order to cope with these nerves and instead got naked herself.
  3. This was followed by a repeat of the Darnette Disposable Toilets commercial from earlier in the season which was pretty much just a usual toilet that you wastefully replace after using.
  4. The Spartan Cheerleaders then returned to the show where the cheerleading duo took their usual spirit pushing fun and games down to Florida in order to hype up the kids at Spring Break. Being beach themed, this sketch also had Pamela Lee Anderson revise her character C.J. from Baywatch which lead to an incident where the two unofficial cheer team of two had to help her with a rescue attempt of the bully who mocked them for being uninvited.
  5. We then got a parody of A&E Biography that profiled Tracy Morgan as Earl Woods who is better known for being Tiger Woods’s dad. Tim Meadows played Tiger in the sketch as we witnessed his father’s desperate effort to mold his son into a money making golf pro.
  6. Roxbury Guys then returned to bob their heads to What Is Love while chasing Pam Anderson all over town.
  7. We then went to a Movie Set where Norm MacDonald played Tommy Lee who kept interrupting the scene because he confused acting with reality while Will Ferrell was shooting a scene with Norm as Tommy’s fictional wife. Meanwhile, the real Tommy Lee broke the scene after thinking that Norm was just trying to make out with his real-life wife from the time.
  8. TV Funhouse then returned with another installment of The Ambiguously Gay Duo, where this week, the two unquestionably gay superheroes shared safety tips that land them in positions that wouldn’t help their case if they were actually straight.
  9. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week made two weeks in a row where Norm had no guest and just delivered the news.
  10. Rollins Band then took to the stage to perform Starve. 
  11. Jim Breuer then returned as Goat Boy for another installment of Hey, Remember the 80's? In this installment, Goat Boy fell in love with Pam who performed a cutting impersonation of Jenny McCarthy.
  12. Oprah's Book Club took us to the Oprah show with Tim Meadows acting as the Oscar-winning host to share this month’s book, Ruth Is Alright. This featured book turned out to be a book about a black woman whose life ran parallel to Oprah’s career so when the book club met up anything flattering said about the story was directed at Oprah as well to where the meeting became more about Oprah than the actual author or the book. There were also a lot of jokes about Oprah overeating as the meeting took place over dinner.
  13. Larry King's News & Views was a sketch where Norm MacDonald played Larry King to make fun of his Andy Rooney-style ramblings that offer no real insights at all.
  14. Pamela Lee's Invitational NASCAR Rally was a sketch where Pam hosted a race but the sight of her breast made it hard for the drivers to stay on the road.
  15. Larry King's News & Views then returned for another installment where Norm as King continued to ramble on while saying nothing worth listening to.
  16. The Twilight Zone was a sketch that took us to a world filled with pig-faced people where a plastic surgeon made Pam look like herself. Where the irony should be that looking so different she should now be the ugly one, but she still ended up the most desirable in this fictional world.
  17. First Date was a sketch the referenced my issue with most hot host by having Pam Anderson go on a blind date with Chris Kattan who was so lost in her looks that he laughed at all of her jokes even though they weren’t funny at all.
  18. Finally, Pamela Anderson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Again, this was an unexpected fun hot host episode that won me over with the help of sketches like these that contained by three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Twilight Zone: Pig People And Pam sketch because I love The Twilight Zone. I loved even more how they intentionally missed the mark when it comes to Twilight Zone irony by having Pam as herself on a planet of pig-people and rather than her be the outcast, the pig-people still think that she’s hot. Next, I really liked this week’s installment of Ambiguously Gay Duo because these two characters never cease to make me laugh. Finally, I was a fan of the A&E sketch with Tracy Morgan as Tiger Woods’s dad because the way Tracy played this opportunistic character really cracked me up.

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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.