SNL: S25E02... HOST: HEATHER GRAHAM... DATE: OCTOBER 16, 1999

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or...

Another Use Of The Hot Host Template

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Granted, I probably would have been disappointed by this episode either way, but tonight I feel extra annoyed considering that I just made these complaints two days ago when reviewing the season finale that was hosted by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Once again, just like with Gellar, I don’t blame this week’s host Heather Graham for the upcoming ramblings because I feel that she had a great energy and could have really been fun if the show wasn’t being lazy.

I mean, if you were to take the two shows and compare them, for one, they both start out almost the exact same way with a stand-alone opening sketch leading to our host being sexually harassed by the cast while trying to do their monologs, only with Heather Graham she was only harassed by the male members of the cast since Gellar made out with Molly Shannon. Both monologs were then followed by fake ads, as usual for everyone, and then went on to a night filled with sketches mainly based on the host’s looks.

It would be one thing if these looks-based sketches were more personalized, like tonight’s effort when they had Graham revise her Rollergirl role to hang out with The Ladies’ Man, but for the most part these, these hot host shows are so generic you can swap out any hot host from any year and you would barely see a difference even going as far as to say you could swap out these hot host whether they are a female or a male.

I always fear that when I share this opinion that I come across a Jerry Lewis type who thinks that there’s no place for women in comedy. This is far from the case and you can look through my list of favorites to find that there is no trend of women being ranked lower than men, in fact, I’m just as disappointed when the hot host is a man, since it’s the lazy writing I take issue with over any of the hosts involved, except for the few hot host who are on another level and can’t even pull off these generic jokes but still think they can do no wrong, which happened more often back when Soap Operas were still popular enough for their stars to come on as hosts.

Tonight, with Heather Graham, between the fact that she can actually act and she seemed very enthusiastic to play along, I feel that she could pull off an Alec Baldwin move where he was treated like a hot host during his first visit but from visit two on he seemed to put down his foot as an individual and his sketches stopped focusing on his looks. I’m willing to bet that Heather Graham’s next appearance, after she’s gotten a few more comedic films under her belt, that is, if they have her back again.

The weird thing is how there are also plenty of beautiful host who don’t seem to deal with this issue, which makes me wonder what makes the writers decide to rely on the hot host template instead of making a more customized night, because, to me, the hot host is more of a type that doesn’t fully depend on the persons looks.

Oh well, I’m sure I’ll explore this topic in the future when it happens again, for now, it’s time to move on and share what made up the night, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with and sketch that had Darrell Hammond as Al Gore who sounded like a robot as he tried to remind us who he was and why he would be a good President while Darrell Hammond also played Clinton to cheer him on from time to time. After a while, Clinton left and Will Ferrell as George W. Bush entered the scene with a bunch of his friends since he was certain that he would win the race. After the friends left, Bush and Gore started talking only to find very few differences between the platforms they were running on. This led Gore to come up with an idea that led the two to join forces in order to make a Genetically Created Candidate that was a hybrid of the two of them only to end up creating Horatio Sanz as a candidate who was split down the middle just like the villain Two-Face from Batman. Of course, with this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Heather Graham then officially opened the show with a monolog that followed the popular trend of last season where Heather tried to get through her routine only to instantly be interrupted and of course, since she’s a good-looking host, the show dusted off the played out bit where all of the male cast members lined up in order to hit on her while she acted like a blonde idiot who fell for all of their tricks. Again, this joke always feels like it’s just an excuse to allow at least one cast member get a little handsy with someone out of the league. This intro also introduced putting your dick in a box as a gift, at least when it comes to SNL when Chris Parnell rounded out the lecherous line-up.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Litter Critters for a new kitty litter that turned the cat’s waste into a Play-Doh-like consistency to make cleaning up the litter box a fun activity that gets the kids involved.
  4. Of course, with there being a good looking host, Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan returned as The Zimmermans and this time Heather Graham and Will Ferrell played the couple to get confused by their aggressive public displays of affection. I’m a huge fan of this sketch in general but this time it was pretty funny because of how aggressive Heather Graham got with Will Ferrell when all he wanted to do was enjoy his seat in first class. I also liked how instead of Will Ferrell coming off as a jerk by mistaking a sign leading him to want to join in, this time he ended up accidentally making out with Chris Kattan which led to more confusion than anger, so it was nice to see that the show finally switched it up.
  5. The Ladies' Man also made an unsurprising return considering Heather Graham’s looks but Leon Phelps doesn’t bother me that much because his whole joke is that he’s a misguided ladies’ man after all. Also, he usually teams up with the hot host to where they are more like a sidekick than a prop meant to be groped like this week how Graham revised her Rollergirl character from Boogie Nights to review dirty movies with Phelps.
  6. Where Are They Now? was a parody profile sketch that brought us the reunion of Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey as Hans and Franz who shared what they did while they were apart which consisted of the two pumped up friends trying to make it as Home Shopping Network Pitchmen, and even trying an off-Broadway play but minus the success of Pumping Up the two ended up parting ways to then finally reunite as grey-haired versions of themselves.  This sketch was prerecorded to be from a 25th Anniversary Special that aired before the season opener but the special ran out of time.
  7. NetAid was another parody of FarmAid only this time the collection of impersonated popular singers sang their own hit song from the time in an effort to raise awareness of global poverty. Not only was there not a group song, the main source of humor came from this sketch came from how insignificant VH1 had grown to become even though they were picking up the slack that came from the fact that there was no longer music on MTV.
  8. Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Collin Quinn eviscerated a real six-year-old in a debate over the education crisis in America. Horatio Sanz also dropped by to comment on the recent Latin explosion that was taking place in pop-culture during this time.
  9. Marc Anthony then took to the stage to perform I Need To Know.
  10. We then got another installment of Dog Show which is a series of sketches that I have mixed feelings about because I like how quirky the characters are but it often feels like the sketches success depends on whether or not the live dogs act up to create unexpected obstacles for the cast. Unluckily, for this installment, the dogs behaved well once again making the sketch feel more like it was trying too hard to be weird.
  11. No Blair Witch Parody was a sketch that evolved into a Blair Witch parody despite the fact that everyone involved in the sketch promised that there would be no parody of the sleeper hit of the year. The sketch started with Tim Meadows and Lorne Michaels discussing why they wouldn’t stoop so low, claiming instead that they would promote an ad to save starving children in Africa which led the parody to start through what appeared to be a documentary that followed a kid they adopted and then continued on from there.
  12. Marc Anthony then returned to the stage to perform That's Okay.
  13. Three-Way Couple showed us the aftermath of a successful attempt at a three-way between Chris Parnell and Ana Gasteyer who tried to make things seem normal after having their way with their babysitter who was played by Heather Graham.
  14. Finally, Heather Graham closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Though I did feel a bit let down by the hot host aspect of the show, Heather Graham still made things pretty fun with the help of sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Rollergirl On The Ladies’ Man because, even though it may sound like it goes against my hot host issues, I don’t mind Leon Phelps because he seems to team up with these girls genuinely and not like a creepy letch. Next, I really liked the fake ad for Litter Critters because just the other day I witnessed my four-year-old nephew get in trouble for playing where the cats poo. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s installment of The Zimmermans because this was the first time installment where they switched things up enough to where I actually found the sketch to be pretty funny, especially how Heather Graham kept manhandling Will Ferrell, again, going against my usual hot host complaints.

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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.