SNL: S26E01... HOST: ROB LOWE... DATE: OCTOBER 7, 2000

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Smugness On A Saturday Night

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Once again, my main issue with tonight’s episode of SNL was that it didn’t seem special at all for a season opener. For some reason, I didn’t realize that it was a more recent development to have the opening night be more of a special event and not just an average episode. I know I keep saying this year after year but I’m genuinely more and more confused with every passing year.

Aside from tonight’s show not feeling all that special, I’m also still not fully sure how I feel about Rob Lowe. I know that Saturday Night Live is partially to credit for his Hollywood comeback after his scandal where he recorded himself having sex with a minor but I still think it was a pretty big deal so find it hard to laugh at his jokes.

At the time, I didn’t mind him as a bad guy in an SNL movie because he actually does play a really good jerk and it’s fun to watch him constantly get his comeuppance. Even then he always kind of annoyed me buy the way that his smugness seems so genuine and not in a funny way. I think that whether or not there was a controversial history with Lowe, I’d probably still find him to be one of my least favorite hosts, especially now that enough time has passed that he no longer seems humble or thankful for his second chance.

With that, it’s safe to say that I’m bias, so I find it hard to use this opening show to gauge my excitement for the upcoming year, but I was happy to see Tina Fey, Jerry Minor and Maya Rudolph and kind of wish that this season brought more than just three new members to the cast. Even though I love this current collection of Not Ready For Prime Time Players they could use a little more new blood, but then again, with new cast members comes new writers so I’m interested to see how a non-Rob Lowe hosted episode will play out.

We’ll see what happens but until then, it’s now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of the First Presidential Debate where Chris Parnell moderated the first debate between Will Ferrell and George W. Bush and Darrell Hammond as Al Gore, with Gore dominating all of the answers before Bush could spit out a single coherent word. It seems that the Republicans were prepared for this trampling which is why the sketch started out with an announcement that there would be free Pay-Per-View in key Republican states in hopes that they’d switch over and watch movies instead so that they wouldn’t end up getting won over. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it all built up to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Rob Lowe then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he feels he knows a lot more about politics after working on The West Wing for a while which led the audience to chime in with questions from the audience about what he actually knows, rather than focus on anything important dealing with the upcoming presidential election, they were more focused on things like the size of Hilary Clinton’s booty and who was the hottest of Al Gore’s daughters.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Corn Chip Nail Tips which was marketed as the perfect food snack for hip-hop nail biters.
  4. We then got a parody of Monday Night Football that had Darrell Hammond as Al Michaels who found it hard to talk due to the lack of professionalism from his new sidekick commentators, Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon as Dan Fouts and Dennis Miller. If his sidekicks weren’t bad enough, Al also kept getting interrupted by rating stunt sideline commentators and an endless stream of ads for upcoming ABC shows to the point where he missed working with Boomer Esiason.  
  5. Ralph Nader Backstage had special guest Ralph Nader steal the Tracy Morgan role as he hijacked our host on the way to the dressing room in order to pitch his political ideals as if Rob Lowe had any real pull now that he’s on The West Wing. All the while, we got to hear the voice inside of Rob Lowes’ head get an insight into his vapid thoughts.
  6. Pros & Cons was a parody of a CourtTV show with Ana Gasteyer as Nancy Grace who questioned Rob Lowe as Shaggy and Scooby Doo about their self-involved detective work in a gruesome murder case she was covering.
  7. Eminem and Dido then took to the stage to perform Stan.
  8. This week Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey took over as the new team in charge of the news with their first special guest being Tim Meadows as The Ladies Man who returned to the show to promote his new film. Tina Fey also got a segment where she ranted about how great Britney Spears looked following complaints that she was dressing too sexy at her shows. The news then ended with Jerry Minor and Horatio Sanz dropped in as aging rappers, Grand Master Rap and Kid Shazaam who complained about the direction rap had headed over the years only to be lauded by Eminem as the best old-school rappers out on the scene which got him to think maybe he should tone down his new-school style before the trio did almost a parody of Rapper’s Delight why Jimmy and Tina signed off.  
  9. Airport Blind Date had Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell on a blind date at the airport. The date started awkward but not all that unusual considering they never met, that is until Molly asked Will why he decided to meet at the airport. Ferrell simply admitted that he chose the place because he thought that Shannon lived nearby which led to a bit of a confrontational conversation about her not wanting to talk about where she lives. The rest of the date was a tennis match between typical blind date awkwardness mixed in with random awkward aggressions being expressed until the date came to an uneventful end.  
  10. Dateline Pre-Tapes showed us a parody of a behind-the-scenes look at Rob Lowe as Stone Philips as he warmed up before for going live in order to nail down the perfect delivery for the promo he was about to cut about a story that involved a trampoline, showing the serious side of journalism.
  11. Eminem took to the stage alone to perform The Real Slim Shady.
  12. Chris Kattan Profile gave us an Olympics-style breakdown of Chris Kattan as he got ready for his next sketch with Brendan Fraser acting as his coach. He also learned that Kattan’s mother was a drag queen and his father was a monkey which explained his unique comedic style.
  13. We then got a fake ad for a Dream Team 2000 VHS that used stock footage of America’s Basketball Dream Team that continued to dominate the Summer Olympics while highlighting how arrogant this new Dream Team was. It wasn’t just the professional ball players where were under attack because there was a bonus take that highlighted American athletes from other sports acting just as arrogant.
  14. Finally, Rob Lowe closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of this episode, it was still at least a little fun with the help of these sketches that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The First Presidential Debate Between Bush And Gore because I miss the pre-911 days when people still saw Bush as the idiot that he is while also showing the mistake of putting him up against a robot. Next, I really liked the Pros & Cons/Nancy Grace sketch because it featured a pretty impressive Scooby-Doo. Finally, I was a fan of Ralph Nader Backstage because as time has passed I wish I hadn’t fallen for the fears and stuck to my third-party guns so that I would’ve voted for him instead of Gore for president.

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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.