My Birthday Episode: Year 24
Let me start this out by saying that I’ve always been a fan of Ben Affleck. Where some people complain about his genre-jumping, I think, other than Good Will Hunting, Armageddon, and Argo, I’ve mainly stuck to watching our host in sillier movies on his resume. I first discovered Affleck through Kevin Smith films and then grew to like him more when I discovered Glory Daze as well as the fact that he was the bully in Dazed And Confused. Since I mainly followed his comedies, I was never disappointed by his more serious roles.
So now that I’ve established my stance as a fan, I’m sad to say that tonight’s episode was a pretty big letdown since it was the rapiest show that I’ve seen in a while, especially when considering Affleck’s blind eye to Harvey Weinstein’s past that came to light during the recent #MeToo movement. As much as I’d like to chalk this up to the hot-host treatment that I often complain about, Affleck even joked at the start of the show how he was proud that he help to write this episode while joking with his girlfriend from the time, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Where most hot-hosts end up getting grouped by the cast in an effort to be funny, the host’s characters are usually ready and willing to play along or at least get their comeuppance in the end, in tonight’s episode, about a third of the sketches had Affleck making-out or groping someone in the scene without any sign of consent, including two very rapey sketches with Chris Kattan.
Normally, I would just write these off as jokes that didn’t age well, which I’m sure is still mainly to blame, but at the same time, this seems to be the trend of the two Miramax men who have hosted so far. I also pointed this out back when Quentin Tarantino the host and while acting as himself in a sketch he braggadociosly jokes that the whole reason he got into directing was to sleep with his female leads and how he would fire those who didn’t play along.
Again, minus the Weinstein accusations mixed with these two claiming they didn’t know about how their money manhandled women, I’d probably see these sketches as nothing more than an attempt to use shock value to get a laugh, considering that these were common crass jokes from the time. That said, I watched this episode through modern eyes and found it more disturbing than fun to watch.
Hopefully, Ben Affleck will have figured this out by his next appearance because I don’t really feel like sitting through an episode like this four more times. With that, I’ve run out of things to say so I will now shift gear and share what I saw, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
- This week's show started with a parody of Nightline where Darrell Hammond as Ted Koppel interviewed several members of the cast who were dressed up as Peanuts characters in order to mourn the passing of Peanuts creator, Charles Schultz. After a while one of the Peanuts’ teachers chimed in and spoke with the “wha wah wha,” horn created language that was completely foreign to Koppel which led the kids to inform the news anchor what she actually said was, “Live from New York…”
- Ben Affleck then officially opened the show with a monolog where he started out with a joke about how this was his second time on the show considering last year he was a part of Gwyneth Paltrow’s monolog since their relationship was still going strong at the time. Gwyneth Paltrow then joined Affleck on the stage and made fun of him while stealing his limelight since he stole a bit of her’s back when she was on as the host and he made fun of her for talking with a British accent.
- This was followed by a fake ad for Victoria's Secret where a talking set of breast had become the lingerie company’s latest spokesmodel.
- Ben Loves Mango started out like the usual Mango sketch where Ben Affleck fell under the strippers spell after seeing him at a celebrity event, only this time, Mango made it clear that he was only interested in meeting Matt Damon. This announcement led the sketch to evolve into a parody of The Talented Mr. Ripley where Affleck disguised himself as Damon in an effort to trick Mango into bed. The scene then got a little rapey before Mango broke things up and reminded Affleck and us the audience that he’s not gay.
- The Boston Teens then returned where this time, the always recorded Boston Couple had a bit of a falling out after Jimmy Fallon witnessed Rachel Dratch flirting with Ben Affleck while they were all hanging out at a party. Since everything with this couple is always being taped they then rewatched the footage to see if Dratch was actually innocent or if she was flirting back. Every time they replayed the scene Rachel looked more and more like the aggressor which led Fallon and Affleck to fight but then, with them being Boston boys, this fighting actually drew them closer together and everything was forgotten by the end of the sketch.
- TV Funhouse then returned for a segment where Robert Smigel presented his animated parody called The All New Adventures Of Mr. T that was animated like the real Mr. T cartoon with Tracy Morgan as T’s voice in order to let everyone know that Mr. T was back and ready to work. We then saw Mr. T with his team of kids hijack a role in a local play in Mr. T’s effort to force his way into the gig.
- Fretts Film Forum was a panel talk show where Ben Affleck and several members of the cast sat in director’s chairs to talk about the latest films. Though there were several funny references to movies from that era, the main source of humor throughout this sketch was how lispy they male critics were and how Cheri Oteri talked the most like a traditional man.
- This was followed by a parody of the show Fanatic where Ben Affleck portrayed a fan who was chosen to spend an entire day with the celebrity he was a fan of, which in this case was Molly Shannon as Anna Nicole Smith. This sketch was filled with quick MTV style cuts that showed how big of a loser Affleck’s character is while we also got to see Molly Shannon recreate a couple of Anna Nicole Smith’s scenes from her movie Skyscraper until the two met up. Once again, it got a little rapey when Anna Nicole beat up Ben for attempting to make-out without any sign of consent.
- Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Colin examined a bunch of “live press conferences” held by Will Ferrell as George W. Bush, Chris Parnell as John McCain, and Tim Meadows as Alan Keyes who were the three frontrunners to be the Republican Candidate for the upcoming presidential election.
- Fiona Apple then took to the stage to perform Limp.
- The Zimmermans then returned for more inappropriate public displays of affection only this time Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan kept talking dirty and making out while shopping for a car with Ben Affleck as a sleazy salesman who was an extra hairy Armenia for no reason that added anything to the scene, and of course ended up getting in trouble when he misreads a cue and attempts to join in on the action, adding another rapey scene to the night.
- Police Recruit Fitness Testing brought back Molly Shannon’s Sally O’Malley character who is as proud of the fact that she’s fifty as she is of her camel toe, and this week was attempting to join the police force while showing off how high she could kick. After impressing Ben Affleck, who played the test instructor, he had our hero, Sally O’Malley, attempt to take on some real cops from the force and she took them all down with a combination of high kicks and throws.
- We then got a fake ad for Trilocaine which was a medication designed to treat the symptoms of a simple head itch. This was one of those fake ads that made fun of the fake that the side effects seem far worse than the issue the drug’s meant to cure, only in this ad, those side effects include things like being sent to a dimension of the damned while being so sedated that you can’t even move.
- Who Wants To Be Groped By An Eleven-Thousandaire? was a sketch where Ben Affleck played a semi-rich redneck who was the prize of the titular game show which was a parody of a show called Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire that originally aired around that time. We then got to meet the finalists who were played by Ana Gasteyer, and Cheri Oteri who were excited to win the grand prize and be molested, along with Chris Kattan who played a confused man who was unsure how he got on the show. Of course, with this being comedy, Kattan was the contestant who was chosen to round out this rapey night.
- Finally, Ben Affleck closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Since this night was so rapey, it was a bit hard to come up with these three of my favorite moments of the night, but here’s what I managed to come up with. First, I loved the Police Recruit Fitness Testing sketch because I love Molly Shannon as Sally O’Malley and to this day will often blurt out, “I’m 50!!!” for no apparent reason. Next, I really liked the opening Nightline parody because the cast cracks me up when they are dressed as Peanuts characters. Finally, I was a fan of The TV Fun House sketch, The All New Adventures Of Mr. T because I like how spot on the animation was to the original Mr. T animated TV series.