SNL: S24E01... HOST: CAMERON DIAZ... DATE: SEPTEMBER 26, 1998

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There’s Something About Saturday Night Live

Though I never saw Cameron Diaz in her debut in the movie The Mask, I became a fan of her from her second film which was an indie flick that I loved called The Last Supper where her and her liberal friends held a weekly dinner to talk politics. During one dinner a stranger dropped in who turned out to be a conservative. This guest’s views were so extreme that no one seemed to mind when he had a heart attack that killed in the middle of the meal. This got the group thinking of making The Last Supper their thing and they would invite a new conservative over each week to then be the ones to determine whether they live or die based on their dinner conversation.

I was way more liberal at the time, at least, I felt more connected to the Democratic Party. That’s not to say that I’m more conservative now, I just no longer believe that a two-party system is the answer. My political views don’t really matter other than my views at the time made me love The Last Supper movie which helped lead me to fall in love with our host, especially after There’s Something About Mary came about.

Where I like Cameron Diaz in The Last Supper, after watching There’s Something About Mary I developed a full-blown celebrity crush not only because she reminded me of a real crush I had in high-school but because the movie was the perfect blend of crude comedy and rom-com. As a comedy nerd, I loved the crass comedy and as a boy with an older sister who often controlled the TV, I also grew to enjoy a certain brand of chick flick and There’s Something About Mary brought these two genres together in a perfect way.

Since There’s Something About Mary was the movie Diaz was there to promote, I had no concerns about this viewing and other than the fact that I did sense a little rust from this being the first show back from the summer break, I wouldn’t say that I was let down at all. What I really liked about it was how the episode felt the most like a modern season opener that I’ve seen in quite a while.

Just like with last year’s season finale, this episode was nice because there were enough cameos to make it feel like more than a typical mid-season show. Also, just like with last season’s finale, the first sign that the show was something special was John Goodman showing up in the opening sketch only to have Dan Aykroyd add to the fun later in the night, but this time Steve Martin also got involved. I think these cameos during both the season-opening and closing episodes really helps to distract from the pre and post vacation flaws that usually arise.

Other than my views about Cameron Diaz, There’s Some About Mary, and opening and closing episodes, this show was good enough that I’m now excited to see how the rest of the year pans out. With that, it’s now time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody called Oprah 2002 that took us to the, then, future where the first joke was that it seemed like Tracy Morgan was portraying a future fat Oprah but it turned out he was just a pork chop eating announcer who introduced Tim Meadows as the Oprah that we’re used to. As for the actual sketch they used this future motif to allow Oprah to interview the key players in the 1998 Bill Clinton sex scandal between our president and his intern Monica Lewinsky with the freedom of knowing Bill’s second term was already done so they could say whatever they want. It also allowed for enough time to pass for this gathering of controversial characters to be more of a happy reunion than the more cutting interactions that took place when the scandal was actually going on which is sad because it does highlight how even the worst of our political scandals become almost quaint with the passage of time allowing the people in charge to do what they want and simply ride out any backlash. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Cameron Diaz then officially opened the show with a monolog where she made a quick hair joke in reference to her role in There’s Something About Mary before she randomly confronted an innocent audience member who was played by one of my favorite lesser-known comedians turned SNL writer, Hugh Fink. Though this routine was pretty fun, the shift in attitude came from so far out of the blue that it felt forced and awkward the way it actually played out.
  3. This was followed by a parody ad for MasterCard that used the Clinton/Lewinski sex scandal to add to the “Priceless” MasterCard marketing campaign that was huge at the time.  
  4. We then got another parody of The View that played out as usual only this time they had on Will Ferrell as Mark McGwire to play their special guest in order to talk about his human growth hormone controversy from the time. Other than that, it was the same old parody of the real show and other than Tracy Morgan’s random outburst, I’ve never been a big fan of either.
  5. This was followed by the classic fake ad for Oops! I Crapped My Pants which was an adult diaper that could hold up to a gallon of fecal matter that was marketed to people who were too old to know what their bladders were up to.
  6. The Ladies Man the returned for another installment where this time Leon Phelps had on Cameron Diaz, who was playing a local actress, in order to act out the Kenneth Starr Report on Clinton as if it was a scene from a movie. 
  7. This was followed by a parody ad for The Best Of The First 20 Minutes that made fun of the bonus video collection that SNL put out the year before and marketed a series that offered tapes of the first twenty minutes of the show before the episode had finished its original airing.
  8. We then got a parody of The New Hollywood Squares which allowed the entire cast along with the host to practice their obscure impersonation in order to make fun of the original game show which was nothing more than a celebrity-filled version of tic-tac-toe. During the first question, the tic-tac-toe structure came crashing to the ground bringing all of the celebrities with it but this didn’t stop the host from continuing on with the show.
  9. TV Funhouse then returned with another installment of Fun With Real Audio. This week Robert Smigel featured a crazy animation over the real audio of Bill Clinton as he made an address on the issues that came up thanks to The Starr Report.
  10. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Tracy Morgan’s Dominican Lou character returned and attempted to sell Gary Gaetti’s baseball that he came across somehow, thinking that it would bring in as much money as the Sammy Sosa ball that sold for a million dollars, figuring it may not be the Sosa ball but it was used in the same game.
  11. Smashing Pumpkins then took to the stage to perform Perfect.
  12. The Roxbury Guys then returned for more of their usual head bobbing until they lost their woman of interest who was played by Cameron Diaz to Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin who made a special appearance as their “Two wild and crazy guys,” characters.
  13. Witches Brew was a sketch where a trio of witches used crazy metaphors in their efforts to describe the foul smell that was coming from their witch’s brew.
  14. This was followed by a Gap Ad parody where Bill Clinton pitched Gap products while playing his sax and lying about Lewinski.
  15. Jingleheimer Junction was a parody of a kids’ show where Will Ferrell played a newcomer named Fred Friendship. Being the Jingleheimer tradition was to have the kids of the show wearing shirts with the first letter of their name, Friendly Fred’s “F” led to a stick situation considering the other three kids’ names started with a “U,” a “C,” and a “K.”  
  16. We then got a second installment of the Gap Ad parody where this time Hillary Clinton pitch gap products while playing a guitar and defending her philandering husband and finding it to be a difficult task to do.
  17. This was followed by another A Message From The Spice Girls which was a PSA about teenage pregnancy and things to think of when you’re about to have a child.
  18. Maakies brought animated segment to Saturday Night Live that featured a crow with a dead-end job of loading acorns into a stump for his friend the squirrel. He kept working for the squirrel until he was able to save up to afford a gun and enough booze to give him the courage and ability to kill himself.
  19. This was followed by the third and final installment of tonight’s Gap Ad parody where this time Kenneth Starr was the star of the spot but he didn’t do much at all.
  20. Finally, Cameron Diaz closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, this was one of the best season openers that I’ve seen in quite a while especially because of these three of my favorite moments of the night. First I loved the Jingleheimer Junction sketch because it cracked me up how, even outside of the sketch and watching this with modern eyes, it still felt like a big deal when they almost spelled the word FUCK on TV. Next, I really liked the fake ad for Oops! I Crapped My Pants because this ad is such a classic that I once made a fake website to promote the fictional product. Finally, I was a fan of The Hollywood Squares parody because of how I was expecting a usual game show sketch and was genuinely surprised when the set came crashing to the ground.

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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.