SNL: S23E11... HOST: SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR... DATE: JANUARY 17, 1998

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I really liked the Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie but never really got into the show. I’m also not a fan of horror films in general so I never saw our host in movies like, I Know What You Did Last Summer or Cruel Intentions. In fact, other than the fact that I knew her as the TV Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar never really stood out to me until a few years ago when I did my Southland Tales challenge where once a week for an entire year, I would watch her and the Rock act together in the Richard Kelly film about the end of the world and then write a brand new review about it.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a very bizarre film with Sarah Michelle Gellar as a pornstar/pop-singer/love interest to the Rock. It’s too hard to go too deep into the details considering I watched reviewed the movie fifty-two times and still struggle to explain the story. I can confidently state that it was a surreal satire where Sarah Michelle was silly enough that I could see her as a good host.

I was half right because I wouldn’t say that this episode was bad, but there was a bit of a drop in quality when compared up against the last couple of shows that I watched. It’s not that the performances were bad and the sketches had funny concepts but some of the sketches either didn’t seem to pay off or the jokes were too on the nose.

For example, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s opening monolog there was a set up to a joke where she stated how people only knew her from Buffy. She then went on to share more about herself only to be interrupted before she could get a single fact in. At first, I thought these interruptions were leading somewhere like the cast keeping her on the topic of Buffy when she really wanted to share something else but instead they just kept giving her great presents which put her on the spot to find an impromptu gift to give in return. Yeah, this kept her from sharing more than about herself, but I didn’t feel that the gift gag ever really paid out as well as if could have or should have.

It didn’t help that right away, there was a parody of The View which was a series of sketches that, other than Tracy Morgan’s random proclamations as Starr Jones, I never found to be all that funny in the first place. The worst part is how these two sketches played almost back to back at the start of the show which put me in a bit of a negative mood that didn’t end up lasting throughout the viewing.

In fact, the rest of the show was great. First, I was excited to see that Norm MacDonald was still on the show, he was just no longer doing the news. I forgot about this fact since he wasn’t a part of the last episode at all. It made me happy that he was featured throughout most of the night which contributed to this episode ending up more fun than it started.

That’s not to say that Norm saved the day but he did play into why the night was successful. There was also the classic, “I drive a Dodge Stratus,” sketch, Will acting as a crazy Ted Kaczynski, and a Buffy The Vampire version of Seinfeld. This just goes to show how important it is to start the show strong because I spent the first half thinking that it was the funny moments that were the fluke when actually it was the other way around.

So, there are the thoughts on this episode. With that, it’s now time to shift gears to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a sketch called the Unabomber Defense Plan with Will Ferrell as Ted Kaczynski who decided to forego legal help in order to defend himself. The sketch showed the meeting between the Unabomber and a psychiatrist to gauge whether or not he was sane enough to actually represent himself. Of course, he came across as crazy as a loon while at the same time he continued to insist he was competent to lead his own trial until he eventually gave in and announced of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Sarah Michelle Gellar then officially opened the show with a monolog about how most people only knew her from Buffy. She then went on to share more about herself and career only to be interrupted by Cheri Oteri who bought her a gift for being such a good host. Gellar then gave Oteri the earring from her ears and acted as if it was a well thought out gift. Gellar then went on to try to share more about herself until Norm interrupted with another well thought out gift, only to have Gellar lie to returned another impromptu gift again. This went on again with Darrell Hammond which led Gellar to steal a purse from the crowd and give him the pot that was within it. Tim Meadows was the last to arrive with his gift being his kidney and the gift he got in return was the leftover contents of the purse. The sketch then ended right after that so Gellar never got to share anything about herself, which I guess was the point of the joke?
  3. We then got a fake PSA of the Spice Girls On Smallpox where, as the title suggests, the “Spice Girls” share a few tips on how to avoid Smallpox.
  4. This was followed by another parody of The View where once again, the gaggle of female host discussed the topics of the day with each member having such a clear point of view that it’s easy to guess their opinion on anything. They also did more of the routine where everyone would start to talk over one another to where it’s impossible to make heads or tails out of what is being said except for the final blurting out of some proclamation by Tracy Morgan as Starr Jones, something like, “And I’m a lawyer.”
  5. Dr. John Gray was a fake infomercial-style ad where Norm MacDonald played the titular doctor who kept mixing up the gender roles while trying to pitch his latest edition Men Are From Mars, Women Are Venus book. If he wasn’t mixing thing up, the samples he used to explain gender-specific interest were either extreme or completely bizarre in a way that seemed to only strengthen the divide instead of solving anything.
  6. The was followed by another fake PSA called Spice Girls On Rheumatoid Arthritis where again, the “Spice Girls” share a few facts about Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  7. Family Dinner was a sketch that showed a family break out into random dysfunctional brawls throughout their attempt to enjoy a meal. Things started out calm and seemed normal until their casual conversation would touch on a topic to set everyone off and start to yell. They’d then calm for a bit and start the process over again. This was the classic sketch where Will Ferrell would finish his rage-filled rants by pointing out that he drove a Dodge Stratus.  
  8. Eye On Nagano was a sketch where Sarah Michelle Gellar played Tara Lipinsky who demonstrated her new bad-girl image going into the upcoming Winter Olympics of 1998.
  9. Go-Lords then returned for another installment where this week the two holy superheroes were at the Super Bowl where they thwarted Saddam Hussein’s plot to spread anthrax all over the crowd by dropping it from the Goodyear blimp.
  10. Goth Talk also got another segment where this week, the two black-clad public access hosts tried to interview Sarah Michelle Gellar who played their special guest who was there to promote her own goth-themed cable access show while trying to not wake Azrael Abyss’s brother who was hiding from their parents because he was drunk following a beach party from earlier in the day. At one point, Gellar’s character attempted to show a clip from her show only Circe Nightshade swapped out the tape with Sarah Michelle singing and dancing to a pop tune.
  11. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Tim Meadows dropped in as O.J. in order to share his views on the Unabomber’s decision to defend himself when his case went to trial which of course led to many O.J. jokes about how he would handle the defense.
  12. Portishead then took to the stage to perform Only You
  13. The Robin Byrd Show also returned for another installment where this week the parody of the porn-themed public access show had Cheri Oteri as Robin Byrd interview Tim Meadows as a male stripper named Istanbul and Sarah Michelle as a stripper named Nikki Monroe.
  14. We then got a parody of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where the Seinfeld show got a reboot that had a new Buffy-style format where Seinfeld and friends are now a group of Draculas and Sarah Michelle as Elaine who was a vampire slayer who still had the Seinfeld group as her friends.
  15. Teen Talk was a parody of a talk show that was hosted by a panel of teens who talked about pop culture and other things interesting to teens. There special guest for the day was an old guy who directed a Jonathan Taylor Thomas film because he was the closest thing to the teen of their dreams that these girls could actually get. The best part of the entire sketch was when Norm, as said director, lost his fake mustache during the sketch and he had to explain to the girls that it wasn’t real while completely staying in character.
  16. The Lost Deep Thoughts the returned for another installment where this week Jack Handey shared the worst thing that can happen to an actor who forgets their lines.
  17. Finally, Sarah Michelle Gellar closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

As I said up above, this episode started out slow but ended really strong with the help of these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I love the I Drive A Dodge Stratus sketch because even though Will Ferrell making random proclamations at the end of chaotic arguments is a bit of a rip off of Tracy Morgan’s Starr Jones impersonation, this style of just still cracks me up no matter who is pulling it off. Next, I really liked the Buffy The Seinfeld Slayer parody because I thought it was a pretty funny mash-up. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s The Robin Byrd Show parody because Tim Meadows’s stripping routine reminded me of a dance that an old roommate used to do and I’m willing to bet this was his reference.

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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.