A Quarter Of A Century Down,
Over A Decade And A Half To Go!!!
Once again, this to be another fun episode of Saturday Night Live but it still surprises me that the show has yet to get to the point where the season finale is more of a special event. At first, I thought this was going to be the year to finally make the crossover considering that the opening sketch had three special guests making cameos.
I also felt that Jackie Chan’s silliness, and willingness to play along had the potential to lead to a very wild night of comedy. Though the night did turn out to be pretty fun, specifically for these reasons, it still felt more like a midseason show than a finale. In fact, if I hadn’t grown used to SNL modern approach to wrapping up a year, this wouldn’t be worth mentioning but with that, here we are.
As for the actual show, this was another one that went pretty much as I expected. Even if he’s just being a character of himself, I’ve always found Jackie Chan’s child-like enthusiasm to be charming and fun to watch. With that said, I’ve never been a huge fan of the action genre so I haven’t seen many of Jackie’s films but always found him to be adorable while being interviewed.
This charm alone was enough to carry the entire night because the actual content as a whole was just slightly better than so-so. I think this is why I prefer more of a big bash of a finale because this old-school style of treating the episode like an average night always leaves me feeling like the writers use the show to clear the shelves of sketches that didn’t work out earlier in the year, while crowbarring in the night’s guest.
If that is the case, I didn’t mind it as much this time because the fact that the way Jackie Chan plays up his foreignness makes it so that you don’t really watch for a good performance, at least not in a traditional way. Instead of getting lost in the characters, I found myself cheering our host on for getting through the scene as well as he did.
I was going to say that I wouldn’t give any other host the same break for having the same smile plastered on his face as if the host himself was just having fun but then I realized that I always love when host seem more focused on having fun than putting in a top-notch performance as long as they stick at least somewhat inside of the lines.
An example of this would be the sketch where Jackie Chan teamed up with Jimmy Fallon’s Nick Burn’s IT guy, where they were both supposed to be arrogant IT jerks who bash their coworkers for being computer-illiterate. Where it seems that Chan should have been a jerk as well, his constant smile made him seem more like a goofball who was just along to make jokes. This might not have been the tone the creator of the sketch was going for but I found it just as fun.
Hopefully, this clears up why I may not have found this a fitting finale while still being an entertaining end of the year. Once again, I can’t wait to see what next season has to offer but until then, it’s now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I saw in this episode, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with another installment of The Ladies Man where Leon Phelps attempted to introduce his new game show, Who Wants To Be My Skank? The game that had more of a Dating Game setup that had special guests, Sarah Michelle Geller, Gina Gershon and Florence Henderson answer kinky questions as they vied to be The Ladies Man summer fling for the year. Eventually, Florence Henderson won after a joke about liking anal penetration which then led to a group announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Jackie Chan then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was excited to be there because it was the first time he’d ever been asked to host anything which also made him a bit nervous. He then went on to claim that he was the first action star to host SNL. Before he could get much further Will Ferrell as Steven Seagal interrupted to point out how he hosted the show close to a decade before Mr. Chan. Jackie then told Seagal that his movies are all jokes making him more of a comedian than an action star. Seagal then whimpered off only to be replaced by Chris Kattan as Jean-Claude Van Damme and then Horatio Sanz as some obscure Asian action hero who both just wanted to intimidate this week’s host. Finally, a guy from the audience stood, claiming to be Ralph Macchio’s makeup guy during The Karate Kid who then rushed the stage to get in a quick kung-fu fight.
Nick Burns, Your Company Computer Guy then returned with Jimmy Fallon as the arrogant IT guy informed the idiots from his work that Jackie Chan would be filling in for him while he was out on vacation. Where Nick Burns was more of an arrogant jerk, Jackie was more of a jokester who was just as full of himself but delivered all of his insults with a smile and a laugh.
The Culps also returned with Ana Gasteyer and Will Ferrell as the singing instructors who sing pop hits from the time in their unique Culps’ style, this time while attending a junior high school’s Renaissance Festival.
TV Funhouse then gave us an animation behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Madonna’s recent American Pie music video, which kept getting interrupted by fans who got exponentially more explicit with their request for celebrity interaction starting with an autograph seeker and ending with a hillbilly couple trying to kickstart a three-way.
The Zimmermanns also got another installment with Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan as the annoying couple who can’t control their public displays of affection. As usual, this really confused the couple they ended up on an impromptu a double date with who just wanted to play mini-golf. Jackie Chan and Molly Shannon played the second couple and of course, as always, everything eventually went awry when Jackie Chan misread Cheri Oteri’s blatant but unintended highly sexual flirting.
Legends In Concert was a sketch that brought us to a concert filled with rock legend impersonators which included Jackie Chan’s horrible attempt to imitate Elvis. Musical guest, Kid Rock wrapped up the event as Jerry Lee Lewis after announcing that he had just married his fourteen-year-old cousin with Joe C. playing the little girl.
Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, Darrell Hammond dropped in as basketball coach Bobby Knight who was there to defend his latest anger induced incident where he attempted to coach one of his players and was barely able to keep his composure while sharing how he had changed.
Kid Rock then took to the stage to perform American Bad Ass.
Pretty Living was another sketch to return for another installment and as always, Ana Gasteyer’s first guest was Molly Shannon’s joyologist character, who then brought on Jackie Chan as her new lover/aerobics instructor, while repeatedly saying her catchphrase, “I love it, I love it, I love it,” as she described how they met.
We then went to a laundromat for a fake ad where Jackie Chan played the owner who went a little overboard in his efforts to protect the ancient Chinese secret of Calgon from his nosy customers and kicks Chris Parnell’s ass when he caught on to the secret ingredient.
The Men At The Center Of The Earth had various men from all over the world whose tunnels all met in the middle of Earth after they all tried to dig straight through to the other side.
Kid Rock then returned to the stage to perform Only God Knows Why.
Finally, Jackie Chan closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Another season down, another weak finale that would have made a much better mid-year show since it was actually good with the help from sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Men At The Center Of The Earth because I’ve always had a fantasy to dig a giant hole, mine wouldn’t go to the middle of the Earth but I still relate to these characters. Next, I really liked the fake Calgon ad because I liked Jackie’s take on the old, ad that brought of the “Ancient Chinese Secret,” catchphrase. Finally, I was a fan of Legends In Concert because even though I never felt one way or the other about Kid Rock, I did like the way he always had the late Joe C. as a part of his band so I liked seeing the pair wrap up this bit.