SNL: S26E18... HOST: PIERCE BROSNAN... DATE: MAY 5, 2001

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Sit-Com And Sketch Just Don’t Mix

Now when I say sit-com and sketch don’t mix, I’m not talking at all about the actors, which would be weird considering Pierce Brosnan has nothing to do with the genre, along with the fact that most sit-com actors and actresses actual do make some of the best hosts. No, I’m talking about tone and style, and tonight’s episode reminded me that this was another issue that I’ve had with this season of SNL.

As I said in a past review, I find that a lot of the sketches from this year have the feel of a mini sit-com pilot episode. Take tonight’s opening sketch for example where George W. Bush confronts his daughter after she got caught drinking while underage. Everything from the style of jokes, to their delivery, and even the way that the audience laughed seemed sit-com schmaltzy and the timing of the laughter made it seemed sit-com canned even though the audience is live.

I could see this stemming from the fact that most of the cast members who also write have been on the show for so long that they’ve had sit-coms on their mind as their plan to escape the show in order to head out on their own. The sketches that didn’t have this sit-com feel were either parody sketches which I like more often than not or talk show sketches that have always felt like filler me, even when they are successful at being funny.

On top of that, Pierce Brosnan fell into the same trap that I was complaining about last night with Renee Zellweger, and throughout many other reviews from this year. Though Pierce has been in a few comedies, he’s never really been the source of any laughs. Like with Zellweger and these others, my views are by no means criticizing anyone’s ability to act but they may not be the best fit for the world of sketch.

Keep in mind, that when this brand of episode airs, I always point out that they are at least entertaining to watch, they’re just not all that inspiring to actually write about. So with that, I’m going to wrap this thing up and sketch gears to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States where Will Ferrell and George W. Bush reprimanded Julia Stiles and his daughter Jenna after a recent event where she was caught drinking while underage and it got out to the media. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Pierce Brosnan then officially opened the show with a monolog about being the latest James Bond before Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery joined him on stage to give him a little advice.
  3. We then got another repeat of the Homocil that has already aired a couple times this season which was the fake ad for a pill for parents to cope with raising a gay child with the tagline of, “Because, it’s not their problem, it’s yours.”
  4. Just Funnin' was a fictional new MTV show hosted by Gemini’s twin that started with their latest music video to introduce their first guest, Pierce Brosnan who played the video’s director. After a quick interview with Brosnan, musical guest of the night, Destiny Child acted as former members of the group joined in on the interview in order to promote their spin-off group and the two groups went on to perform a song.
  5. This was followed by a parody of The Weakest Link Rachel Dratch as host, Anne Robinson who brutally tore apart the collection of idiotic contestants.
  6. Jeffrey's then returned for another installment this time with Jimmy Fallon and Pierce Brosnan as the two clothes folders in an overpriced store who treat all of their customers like crap. Just like the first time this segment appeared, the cast couldn’t get through the scene without breaking into laughter.
  7. Destiny's Child then took to the stage to perform Survivor. 
  8. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Tracy Morgan dropped by to announce that he wanted to be a black spy named Lamont Bond.
  9. Angry Boss took place in an office where Will Ferrell was a complete bully of a boss with outbursts that totally reminded me of Ferrell’s character who would yell about owning a Dodge Stratus. To highlight how much this was a different time, at one point Ferrell threatened to rape Chris Kattan. At the end of the sketch, a coked-up Chris Parnell entered the scene with a trident to battle his boss only to end up dead.
  10. We then got a parody of The West Wing that showed what an episode would look like if Aaron Sorkin wrote it while high on mushrooms.
  11. We then got another short film from Adam McKay called Five Finger Discount where Molly Shannon played a shoplifter who stole dogs from the local pet store and due to the shopkeeper’s incompetence she always managed to get away with it.
  12. Destiny's Child then returned to the stage to perform Emotion. 
  13. Bravery And Unity was a History Channel retrospective that had a bunch of old jokes cycled throughout the show like telling the tale of the Polish submarine fleet that all died during WWII because of their use of screen doors along with several other Truly Tasteless Joke Book-style jokes.
  14. We then got a fake ad for Casino Daycare that offered babysitting services for parents who want to have a wild time while visiting Vegas. To keep the kids entertained, Horatio Sanz hosted a Vegas-style show that their parents could also watch through the hotel’s CC TV while they gambled and drank. This show was completely inappropriate for kids with the band leader joking about drugs and Tina Fey performing a sexy routine while tying a balloon into an animal. Pierce Brosnan finished things off as a comedian who shouldn’t have even been allowed to be around kids.
  15. Finally, Pierce Bronson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Again, this wasn’t the best show but it was still pretty fun thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Bravery And Unity because even though the jokes were totally offensive, they were classically bad and brought me back to reading Truly Tasteless Joke Books back when I was a child. Next, I really liked Five Finger Discount because it was fun to see Molly Shannon again, plus the idea of shoplifting live animals as a compulsion was a pretty interesting spin. Finally, I was a fan of The West Wing On Mushroom but mainly just because I’m a psychedelics fan.

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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.