SNL: S27E04... HOST: JOHN GOODMAN... DATE: NOVEMBER 3, 2001

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Welcome To The Thirteen-Timers Club,

Mr. Goodman

Last time John Goodman was on I pointed out how I liked that he no longer felt like a desperate fan of the show, hosting in order to quench his need to feel like a true player in the history of SNL. Now, with this second visit as a more subdued host, I’m beginning to miss the enthusiasm that came with his super fan status because tonight, he was barely even on this episode.

For one, Dan Aykroyd was in enough sketches as a special guest that he could have been the co-host. If these special guest visits weren’t enough to limit our host’s time in the spotlight, there were also multiple prerecorded parody ads and what seemed to be a fifteen minute sketch that only featured Darrell Hammond as Dan Rather who just list off a string of people in the media noting whether or not they have anthrax.

Again, I get it, this was a rough time for comedy especially for a show based out of New York City and I’m sure I was much more lenient at the time since I would have been in the same frame of mind. That said, with this awkward season that bounces back and forth between testing waters and avoiding jokes about the elephant in the room, is kind of tough to enjoy considering that it followed such a so-so year that had no excuse for its subpar quality.

The good news is, even though I still have many issues and there has yet to be an episode or even a sketch to top any list, I do like how I’m seeing continual improvement. Though I feel 9/11 plays a big part in this quality issues, as the show seems to be avoiding any “too soon” content, I also feel another factor is that there are so many new cast members this year which always leads to seasons that take several episodes for the new talent’s skill to stand out.

Not only that, but the featured players from the last few years are also starting to take control, changing the overall style of the show as the old timers wild down their final few years. Since I do like this collection of Not Ready For Prime Time Players and understand the uncertain circumstances, I’m willing to give this season much more time before I give us and write it off.

Either way, I’ll sit through it all while continuing to share my thoughts. With that, it’s now time to move on and share what I saw during tonight’s viewing, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of Ashcroft's Press Conference where Darrell Hammond as John Ashcroft gave the U.S. citizens sketchy details of a potential terrorist threat, making fun of how, around that time, they seemed to change the threat levels as a fear-mongering tool since nothing ever came to fruition and how they bounced back and forth between telling us to go on with our lives and telling us that another attack was inevitable. This must have been right before they started to color code the level of fear they were trying to promote since there wasn’t one joke referencing the current threat color. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. John Goodman then officially opened the show with a monolog that he attempted to “wing” just like the Yankees did during the recent World Series in an effort to pay tribute to the city following 9/11. Though he was confident in sharing his plan, the moment he attempted to make an impromptu joke, he got so nervous that he almost had a heart attack. Chris Kattan joined him on stage as a player from the Arizona Diamondbacks but the reference went over my head because, by this time in my life, I was completely done with following sports.
  3. This was followed by a parody ad for Herbal Essence For Men that made fun of the marketing campaign that was used to market the real product around that time that show women having orgasms while washing their hair, implying that the shampoo was just that good.
  4. Hudson Valley Community Circuit was a local interview show hosted by special guest, Dan Aykroyd who interviewed locals businesses with unfortunate names like Al Kyda’s Persian Rug Emporium that led these businesses to suffer following the attacks of 9/11.
  5. This was followed by a parody ad for Liberty Medical Insurance where John Goodman portrayed Wilfred Brimley who pitched the home health product for his diabetes even though he openly admits that he hadn’t been taking very good care of himself, almost as if, even he was confused by why they made him their spokesman.
  6. She's The Girl With No Gaydar!!! introduced Rachel Dratch’s clueless character who keep falling for men who are clearly gay since, as the title suggests, she has absolutely no gaydar.
  7. This was followed by a parody ad for e.p.t. Home Pregnancy Test where, after a one night stand, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyer to check and see if they’re pregnant with this new pregnancy test. This ad made fun of the confessional style of the real commercial where the two discussed how they met, that it was an affair, and how they played to work together to get through this no matter the results. Then, the second the test came back negative the two instantly parted ways. 
  8. This was followed by parody coverage of CBS Evening Anthrax Update where Darrell Hammond as Dan Rather projected which newscasters might have anthrax with the same type of guessing that’s made during election coverage.
  9. Ja Rule then took to the stage to perform Always On Time.
  10. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Seth Meyers dropped by to predict that New York was sure to win The World Series as long as Boston fans don’t jinx the team by rooting for them. Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman then came out as The New Blues Brothers so that they could sing The Letter in response to all of the anthrax attack through the mail.
  11. We then got a parody of America Undercover where John Goodman and Dean Edwards played cops who were on the scene where they questioned the circumstances surrounding a dispute between a white trash Chris Kattan and his white trash wife, Amy Poehler who was hiding in the stove following a white trash argument while they were hopped up on meth.
  12. Ja Rule then returned to the stage to perform Givin' It Up.
  13. Bad Conceptual Theater had Dan Aykroyd as a PBS show presenter who presented a play that was written by an infinite number of monkeys in order to test out the old saying.
  14. Little Sleuths had John Goodman as a disgruntled detective who gets partnered up with Seth Meyers and his little sister Amy Poehler who play little sleuths as if they were part of a kid’s show.
  15. Finally, John Goodman closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Once again, I have yet to be won over by this season but this episode was still pretty fun thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved She's The Girl With No Gaydar!!! because this oblivious Rachel Dratch character has always cracked me up. Next, I really liked the America Undercover parody because Chris Kattan and Amy Poehler were pretty funny as white trash meth-heads in the middle of a whacky fight. Finally, I was a fan of Bad Conceptual Theater because I’ve always been a fan of The Infinite Monkey Theory.

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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.