A Night Of Many Mixed Feelings
First off, keep in mind that I still have mixed feeling about this season in general because I still love the entire cast and am still enjoying the challenge but this season seems to be weaker than last year, which was weaker than the year before. I think I stumbled on to part of the reason the other day when I pointed out how one of the episodes felt more like a collecting of mini-sit-com pilots than the sketch show that I love.
I think this might be because, by this time in the show’s history, most of the cast, especially the big players, had been around so long that they’ve already crossed over to be just as known for their big screen roles as they are known for this show. This might be why the performances are constantly improving as the sketch comedians really learn how to act but they are with that they bring more focus on story structure and other big screen techniques that aren’t really needed for sketch.
It doesn’t help that this year’s line-up of hosts consists mainly of actors who aren’t known for their comedic roles, causing me to double down on my above mention concerns. At first, I thought this non-comedic actor issue was the case with Val Kilmer because of how all of the thumbnails for the show either reminded me of his roles in The Doors or in Top Gun.
Then, to add to my concerns, while writing my rough-draft breakdown, where I get all of the sketch titles and brief summaries from an SNL reference site to then adjust as I watch, I saw that Kilmer’s main joke of his opening monolog was how he didn’t want to host as told through a parody of, It’s A Wonderful Life. As I’ve pointed out before, even when joking I hate when host act like they don’t want to be there.
It wasn’t until I actually started to watch the show that I remember, “Oh yeah, Val Kilmer was in the movie Top Secret, tonight should be pretty fun.” I was also a bit relieved to see that the It’s A Wonderful Life reference was crowbarred in which made me happy because it meant that Val didn’t make the, “I don’t want to be here,” joke, but then again the joke that they did go with was a bit of a dud.
This pretty much became the theme of the night, where I kept seeing a lot of potential but Val Kilmer never seemed to fully let down his guard and have fun like he did in the movie Top Secret or even Real Genius making the jokes feel a little flat. That said, the show was still entertaining enough to watch but once again I found myself uninspired to write more of a raving review.
We’ll have to wait to see if the show sticks to this trend as this season continues on. Until then, it’s now time to move on and share what I actually saw, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
- This week's show started with A Message From The Vice-President Of The United States where Darrell Hammond as Al Gore continued to gripe about losing the election and how he only lost the Electoral Vote and won when it came to the popular vote. He then went on to blame everyone else for his loss, possibly creating the playbook for when a Democrat doesn’t win. We also heard from Gore’s attorney since he was seeking to sue anyone that he blamed for his loss. Of course with this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
- Val Kilmer then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was asked to host several times in the past but he always turned the show down due to his nerves over acting live. Before he could say any more, he was then interrupted by Darrell Hammond as the guardian angel Clarence from It’s A Wonderful Life who showed our host how the night would go if he gave into his nerve. It turned out that the entire cast was sad for non-show related things that they missed out on due to the canceled event.
- This was followed by a fake ad for Wade Blasingame: Attorney-At-Law which featured Will Ferrell as the titular lawyer who was fully in favor of suing dogs in order to tap into a very niche market of the litigious viewer. To highlight why Ferrell was all for suing dogs, we saw Chris Parnell in a Speedo acting like a rambunctious dog while Will continued to point out that you would accept these activities from a human individual.
- Behind The Music: Rock & Roll Heaven had Val Kilmer revise his role as Jim Morrison for this VH1 parody. It turns out that while up in heaven, the former The Doors lead singer had formed The Great Frog Society which was a supergroup made up of Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, Buddy Holly, and Louis Armstrong. We then got to the Val and the cast impersonate these late performers so show what a The Great Frog Society show would look like and how their very first gig got them signed to a deal with Jesus, but then as usual with Behind The Music, everything eventual fell apart as their extreme personalities started to clash but then ultimately broke up when Buddy Holly was reincarnated as a lamb which was the start of the reincarnations. At the very end of the sketch, we saw the reincarnated band perform with Jim Morrison as a little girl, Janis Joplin as a sumo wrestler and everyone else in their new skin.
- Palm Beach took place in a soap opera setting that examined the voting confusion in Palm Beach, Florida with impersonations of all of the politicians involved doing their best, melodramatic, soap opera acting.
- Veronica & Co. had Molly Shannon as a runway model, Veronica in order to introduce her new talk show where she interviewed a panel of quirky guest who had nothing to do with fashion about their views on the industry but mainly this just allowed her to brag about her luxurious lifestyle.
- U2 then took to the stage to perform Beautiful Day.
- Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Jimmy Fallon got a segment called I Have An Opinion where he shared that he loved the voting chaos because of how it made politics exciting to watch which made him want to learn even more. Darrell Hammond and Jerry Minor dropped by as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to also share views on the voter confusion that gave us another President named George Bush, focusing how the black voters had it the worst having to still deal with issues at the polls which is still a problem we constantly hear about to this day.
- Iceman: The Later Years profiled Val Kilmer’s Iceman character from Top Gun who turned out to still be living in the past even though now he was just a commercial pilot who still acted like he was in the middle of a war even though when Top Gun came out the war was cold if not over and we had yet to start constantly bombing the Middle East making most of the action stem from practice from what I recall.
- Season’s Greetings From "Saturday Night Live" was the classic moment in show history where Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan performed an adorable/original Christmas song, I Wish It Was Christmas Today.
- U2 then returned to the stage to perform Elevation.
- Margaret Healey had Molly Shannon in the titular role in order to do strange voices in an effort to win over Val Kilmer while the two were out on a blind/double date with Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer. This approach seemed to work since Val was quick to play along which might have been great for the new couple and even Ana played along after a little time but Will was so annoyed by the whole he left early to head back home.
- Burt Bacharach had Val Kilmer as the old-timey singer who couldn’t stop raving about Will Ferrell and Chris Parnell as a duo called the Tyson Brothers who were session horn players that provided the tunes for Bacharach’s latest album and bounced back and forth between patiently waiting for their parts and playing their hearts out whenever a horn was needed. Though they seemed so pleasant and calm throughout the entire song, they had a sibling outburst the moment the song was done.
- We then got a repeat of the Corn Chips, Nail Chips ad from earlier in the season that pitched an edible fake set of nails marketed to a hip-hop audience.
- Finally, Val Kilmer closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Once again, we have another so-so episode that was sort of fun thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved I Wish It Was Christmas Today AKA Season’s Greetings From "Saturday Night Live" because I think it’s the most adorable Christmas song ever, and I love the fact that it’s an original. Next, I really liked Behind The Music: Rock & Roll Heaven because I love all of the impersonations that went into building the super-group The Great Frog Society. Finally, I was a fan of Wade Blasingame: Attorney-At-Law not only because I found Will Ferrell’s anti-dog rant to be pretty funny, it was funny to see those actions acted out by Chris Parnell who spent the whole sketch in a Speedo.