SNL: S23E06... HOST: CLAIRE DANES... DATE: NOVEMBER 15, 1997

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or...

My So-Called, Live From New York…

I’ve actually never seen My So-Called Life but I’ve always been a fan of Claire Danes in whatever random movies that I’ve seen her in or when she’d end up on some random show because I thought she was cute and more importantly, she always seemed to have a fun side. Though her resume alone doesn’t provide much evidence that she had any business hosting this comedy show, actresses like her are usually pretty good so I was very open to this viewing.

Like with every other episode from this season, tonight’s show ended up being pretty fun but the energy levels felt a little low due to the comfort zone issues that seem to be my focus of this year. Every sketch was well performed and all had pretty good concepts, only once again, many of the references that were key to many of the jokes have become completely irrelevant over the years which is another repeating issue from this year.

As I said before, this reference issue happens every single year especially until I get to more current shows, but it’s slightly above average seasons like this where the reference issue becomes a problem. Like this week’s episode focused a lot on Barry Scheck and au pair, Louise Woodward who I completely forgot over time but both showed up a handful of times both as characters and as the key reference in a few major punchlines.

Normally, if jokes like these are good enough, I’ll just assume they’re in reference to a fictional character and move on but when it doesn’t work out and then have to pause the show in order to do a little research because I know that the reference will either be used again throughout the night or appear in upcoming weeks. This doesn’t really help out as far as entertainment value goes but this complaint is also one of my favorite aspects of this challenge and how the overall task became an unintentional history lesson.

This episode may be another case where it was more fun to watch than write about but I’m growing to like this season more and more with every passing week. This growing interest is not just because I’m growing used to this year’s tone but it’s also because I’m getting more distance from last season which might have been my favorite of all time and would be hard for any season to compete with.

With that, it’s now time to move on from sharing my thoughts on this viewing in order to share what I actually viewed, as I give you…  

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The First-Lady Of The United States where Hillary Clinton took over an address by her presidential husband to finally get to speak after silencing her during the reelection process. Hillary took the opportunity to talk about health care reform only the second that she started to talk Bill started to use dirty techniques in order to get her to think that her time to talk was over. He also kept chiming in after every one of her points because he feared that every word she spoke equaled a loss of a point in his approval ratings. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually ended with the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Clare Danes then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she was excited to host the show especially since SNL is five years old then she is. For some reason, someone from the audience randomly stood and asked about the fact that she was going to Yale. Though the transition was a bit sloppy this led to a round of questions from the audience by people who were all turned down from the Ivy League School to question the validity of how she came to be accepted which really put her on the spot.
  3. We then got a fake ad for The Weston Collection where Will Ferrell played a successful man who had it all but didn’t feel it until he bought the new “I’m #1” hat that was being sold which allowed him to finally enjoy his success.
  4. Barry Scheck's Clients was a sketch where Norm MacDonald played the titular defense lawyer who kept getting surprise-visits from some of his more controversial/not-so-innocent clients while his wife was gone. Throughout the sketch, everyone kept hinting at how guilty they were even though Scheck managed to win their case. This turned into an impromptu party until eventually learning the truth that this was all a part of Scheck’s daily nightmare/dream that he deals with from getting all of these monsters off.
  5. This was followed by a parody of The View where, just like the review, the gaggle of hosts talked about the news of the day with each character having such a clear point of view that their opinions on any story were obvious. Also, like the real show, they kept talking over one another to the point where it’s impossible to hear a clear thought, except for at the end of every babble-fest when Tracy Morgan as Star Jones would highlight the fact that she’s a lawyer or shared some other random fact.
  6. Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer then returned as their single instructor characters named The Culps where this time they embarrassed their daughter Clare Danes with an impromptu performance at a College Career Day event.
  7. TV Funhouse then returned with another installment of The Ambiguously Gay Duo where this time their Big Headed nemesis questioned our heroes’ sexuality while they fought with an ice monster that he created.
  8. We then got a parody of Peter Pan where Chris Kattan played the forever young, green-clad, tights-wearing hero while Clare Danes portrayed a drunken Tinkerbell who let her real thoughts fly about how much she hated being Pan’s sidekick through her booze-fueled talk.
  9. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Colin Quinn returned as Joe Blow to discuss more local news that’s so local that it only affects him and whoever else may have been involved.
  10. Mariah Carey then took to the stage to perform Butterfly.
  11. Mr. Peepers In The Wild was a sketch where Chris Kattan’s monkey man character got released into the wild in order to rejoin his family in a parody of a documentary about Will Ferrell and Claire Danes who played a father and daughter who rehabilitated animals. At first, it seemed that Mr. Peepers was too domesticated to go back until we met a clan of monkey people who he quickly ran off to be with.
  12. We then for a fake ad for a teen magazine called CEO Dreamboats which was business version of Teen Beat only instead of pop stars the magazine focused on CEOs.
  13. Mariah Carey then returned to the show to perform My All.
  14. The Southern Gals In Paris was a sketch where, as the title suggests followed a group of Southern girls on their visit to Paris where they American-ed it up without even thinking of their host country’s culture.
  15. The Lost Deep Thoughts then returned for another installment where this time Jack Handey shared his thoughts on what it must be like to attend a party thrown by a mad scientist.
  16. Finally, Claire Danes closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

As I said up above, this was another episode that didn’t inspire me to write more than an observational review about my issues but was still pretty fun to watch thanks to moments like these three of my favorites of the night. First, I loved the Drunken Tinkerbell sketch because I love how Claire Danes, as Tinkerbell would go off on drunken rants only to have Peter Pan and Wendy hear her traditional Tinkerbell sounds. Next, I really liked Mr. Peepers In The Wild because there was a moment when Chris Kattan started to hump the truck so aggressively that it almost got Claire to crack up. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s The Culps segment because it’s always fun to see the outdated music instructors sing the hit of the day and tying them in as Claire Danes parents made it extra fun.

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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.