Wednesday On A Saturday Night
Between my extra-large size and the dysfunction situation that I had to deal with at home, I became an early fan of shows like The Munsters and The Adam’s Family because I always related as an outcast. Because of that, I saw Christina Ricci as Wednesday very soon after the first Adam’s Family movie came out and her ability to pull off the part so well turned me into an instant fan.
Then she grew older and I fell in love, not just because I always found her to be adorable but because she hit the indie scene as an actress right at the peak of my interest in the genre. I mean, based on the year that this show originally aired she was hosting to promote either 200 Cigarettes, No Vacancy, or Sleepy Hollow. Sure Sleepy Hollow had a big budget but the fact that it was directed by Tim Burton gave it some indie points. Plus she already had The Opposite Of Sex, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, and Pecker under her belt by the time of this visit with Pumpkin just a few years away.
Based on this resume I had no fears about her ability to host, but I was a bit nervous that the might be a little rough considering she was following such a strong visit by Jennifer Aniston. I’m still blown away by how much Aniston’s episode felt like it was years ahead of every episode that I’ve seen so far. Again, the main thing that made her show seem so futuristic is that the repartee was quick more like a sit-com so it felt less like it was just character delivering lines which even the best of sketch can seem.
I fully understand why it can often seem this way considering how quick the turnaround is between a sketch being just a thought to being a piece being performed on the stage. Also, I’m by no means saying that these lines being delivered aren’t delivered well, they just seem to be delivered at a bit of a slower pace, which was sort of the case tonight, especially following such a rapid-fire night.
I feel this would have been the case with whoever tonight’s host would have been and has nothing to do with Christina Ricci. If I were to compare this episode with the non-Aniston shows from this year, she’s up near the top of the list because this was a fun evening to watch. My only complaint that has nothing to do with the Aniston Anomaly is that this episode fell into the fewer but longer sketch format which almost always leads to at least a few sketches to feel like their dragging on.
I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m just dumping on this episode because overall, it really was pretty fun. I’m going to switch gears right here because I feel like I’m either going to just dig a hole, end up repeating myself, or some combination of both.
With that, I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States where Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton addressed the nation in order to rate the Republican frontrunners for the 2000 Presidential election after sharing his concerns over several issues that he didn’t plan to deal with since he was so close to the end of his term. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Christina Ricci then officially opened the show with a monolog where she joked about how her parents used to let her watch SNL with the original cast when she was a kid and then went on claim that her favorite original cast members were David Spade and Adam Sandler. She then went on to explain that she started her career acting with her twin sister, playing off the fact that most roles for real young kids are acted out by twins in order to split the work to avoid breaking any child labor laws. This led our host to be joined by Petina Ricci as portrayed by Rachel Dratch and the two shared how Christina focused on the dialog while Petina was more of a body double for wide shots and stunts. Finally, we got to see a clip from a film where they attempted to steal from the Olson Twins and finally act together in a film called The Great Marmalade Caper, which was a complete disaster because of Petina’s inability to act.
This was followed by the Spartans Holiday Parade where the Spartan performed their cheers at a holiday parade even though they were not invited. Other their uninvited cheers, in this segment we learned that Cheri Oteri was dating Jimmy Fallon who was part of the marching band and the two attempted to set up a double date by trying to get Will Ferrell to ask Christina Ricci out who was a member of tall flag. This plan really backfired when Jimmy ended up hooking up Christina who pointed out that they were both too good for these two cheerleading spazzes.
We then got a fake ad for an upcoming NBC special called, And So This Is Chanukah where several cast members impersonated popular music performers from the time performed Chanukah-themed songs even though not a single one of them was actually Jewish.
Who Wants To Eat? was pretty much an offensive version of Slum Dog Millionaires from almost a decade before the movie was made that had a Middle Eastern version of Regis Philbin named Rajneesh Philbin who taunted the contestants who were playing for food instead of money. Christina Ricci played a Bosnian refugee who won the chance to play and had to answer questions that were mainly themed about how wasteful Americans are with food. With each question she got correct, she earned more food for her prize bank building up to the grand prize of a live goat, only to fail the final question about anorexia, since it was a concept she just couldn’t grasp and ended up walking away with nothing at all.
This was followed by a parody of Taxicab Confessions that had Tim Meadows as a cab driver who kept getting distracted by Christina Ricci as a sexy teenage passenger who kept talking about her job as an exotic dancer in a very flirtation tone. This pattern keeps going until Tim Meadows eventually gave up and stopped even trying to watch the road or even notice that he hit a pedestrian.
TV Funhouse then returned for another installment of Fun With Real Audio where this time, Robert Smigel animated a version of Friends that had the group of coffee drinking buddies continued on with their quirky sit-com ways as the Apocalypse struck New York City playing up the Y2K fears that I’m sort of surprised hasn’t been more of a reoccurring joke from this season considering that I remember it being a pretty big deal at the time.
Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Will Ferrell dropped by as a spokesman from the WTO who ended up talking louder than even he expected while trying to defend the controversial organization’s stance following the Seattle riots that broke out during the annual meeting from that year.
Beck then took to the stage to perform Mixed Bizness.
Goth Talk then returned after a long hiatus so that Molly Shannon’s Circe Nightshade character could give her sidekick Azrael Abyss a mock funeral, only Azrael was terrible at trying to play dead and kept interrupting Circe and her guest as played by Christina Ricci and Will Ferrell who tried to send him off to the afterworld through their mourning ritual. We also got to see home video footage of Azrael as a child which didn’t help at all in getting him to sit still.
We then got a parody of Sally where Ana Gasteyer as Sally Jesse Raphael enlisted the help of Tracy Morgan for a boot camp episode where he attempted to get, punk teen, Christina Ricci to clean up her act. When Tracy first took to the stage, he thought that he was there to whip Ricci’s mother into shape because he thought she was fat. After they corrected his mistake we got to see clips from the boot camp where Tracy and Ricci started out fighting only to end up making out. We then got to meet the “after” Ricci who was now a polite Asian girl that Tracy offered up since Ricci was too wild and managed to escape from the camp after blinding Morgan with her nails. The mom was happy with this swap out but the happiness didn’t last all that long before Ricci returned and a Battle Royal broke out on the stage.
Beck then returned to the stage to perform Sexx Laws.
The night ended with a Madeline Kahn Tribute where we got to see a clip from her classic sketch where she played The Bride Of Frankenstein in order to sing, I Feel Pretty.
Finally, Christina Ricci closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.
I hope that the review up above doesn’t make it sound like I was saying the opposite but no matter what I said, tonight's episode was still pretty good with the help of sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Who Wants To Eat? because even though it was super offensive, even at the time, I miss the days when shock value added to humor didn’t mean the end of the world. Next, I really liked the parody of Sally, because the relationship between Christina Ricci and Tracy Morgan almost felt like it could have inspired Black Snake Moan. Finally, I was a fan of this episode’s installment of Goth Talk because Christina Ricci was the perfect guest to bring back this reoccurring sketch.