SNL: S28E09... HOST: JEFF GORDON... DATE: JANUARY 11, 2003

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or...

The Dating Show Episode

I’m not a fan of NASCAR or Blue Collar Comedy Tour-style humor, so I wasn’t all that interested going into tonight’s viewing of the show since it was hosted by Jeff Gordon, who I only know as a race car driver. I just assumed the Blue Collar Comedy connection with the night since it’s the only thing that comes to mind when I mentally mix NASCAR with humor. The only saving grace was how the rest of the season has been so strong, I’ve enjoyed every episode so far, other than the two political host, but even those shows were good if you factor out the political exhaustion that I’ve been feeling lately.

Surprisingly, this episode ended up focusing on reality dating show parodies over the redneck jokes that I was expecting. Yes, there was one joke during the monolog where Jeff Gordon corrected Chris Parnell and Rachel Dratch in thinking NASCAR fans were more than a bunch of rowdy white trash drunks but other than that, the NASCAR culture was barely referenced at all.

In fact, it almost felt like this episode was written for an entirely different host considering the above-mentioned dating reality show focus. Half the time Gordon seemed almost like a background extra if he was even in the sketch at all. This is too bad because, even though my expectations were low based on the NASCAR connection, there also the fact that at least ninety percent of the sports figure hosts have been really good so I did actually have some hope for the night.

Even though I’d say that the sketches were still okay, I find that I lose interest when there is very limited host involvement since that’s the main thing that separates one episode from the next. I think this is because when the hosts are barely involved in the night the writing staff uses it as an opportunity to clear out some of their evergreen material that often feels like filler since these sketches are neither host nor time specific and can fit in anywhere. This content is fine here and there but when most of the night is made up of this style of sketch it doesn’t feel special at all.

I think this might be my least favorite, non-politician hosted show from this year but even the best of season slip up here and there. I’m still very impressed by what I’ve seen from this year and the current collection of the cast and can’t wait to keep watching more.

With that, it’s time to stop rambling about my thoughts and move on to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From Kim Jong Il where Horatio Sanz as Kim Jong Il warned America to leave him alone by sharing the darkness that’s in his head that makes him unafraid to fight back against the military giant after George W. Bush linked North Korea in with the Axis Of Evil. Of course, with this being the opening sketch this eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Jeff Gordon then officially opened the show with a monolog about a day in the life of a NASCAR driver only to be interrupted by Chris Parnell and Rachel Dratch as two wanna-be NASCAR fans who were being extra white trash and rowdy in an effort to win over our host. Though the effort was there, Jeff Gordon caught on right away that they were not true fans because they were playing off of too many redneck clichés claiming true fans are actually that rowdy at all. He turned out to be correct as it was then revealed that Parnell and Dratch were actually an upper crust couple who got their hands on SNL tickets and felt it would be more fun to pretend that they were familiar with the host’s work which was why they put on this trashy performance during the show’s intro.
  3. We then got a parody ad for a reality show from the time called Average Joe which was a dating show where wealth people would act average in order to meet a mate while hiding their wealth from all of their female admirers. Seth Meyers played a gay character named Joe Hetero who tried to hide his homosexual tendencies from his female admirers.
  4. We then got another installment of Brian Fellow's Safari Planet where this time Tracy Morgan as Fellows was too hung up on thinking that snakes actually had arms hidden behind their backs to be able to focus on his guests during their interviews.
  5. This was followed by a parody of Access Hollywood for parody coverage of Maya Rudolph as Diani Ross from an incident when she was caught driving under the influence. In the world of the sketch Diani Ross was such a drunken diva that she could not grasp the severity of her crime and kept acting like the field sobriety test was a performance.
  6. Joe Caucasian was a follow up to Joe Hetero where this time Tracy Morgan was the Joe in question who was hiding the fact that he was actually black from all of his female admirers.
  7. We then went to a Career Day where Seth Meyers played a carpet salesman who struggled to compete with Jeff Gordon, who played a fighter pilot when trying to win over the kids.
  8. This was followed by a parody of a show called Star Dates that match regular people up with celebrities for a date. For this fake episode, we followed Rachel Dratch who was paired up with Jeff Richards as an extra rowdy Gary Busey who rambled on throughout the entire date in that signature Gary Busey way. At one point Busey threatened Jeff Gordon who was playing a waiter who was taking orders for the date, only to get his ass kicked with ease by our host/food server.
  9. We then got a third installment of the Average Joe series of parodies that’s been playing out throughout the night. This time we met Joe Not-A-Rapist as played by Chris Parnell who was hiding his dark sexual craving from all of his female admirers.
  10. Avril Lavigne then took to the stage to perform I'm With You. 
  11. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Chris Kattan and Amy Poehler played two founding members of the Raelian cult who claimed to have been the first to successfully clone a human baby. They then introduced up to Rachel Dratch as the baby Eve who drooled uncontrollably and had an arm growing out of the side of her head. Jimmy Fallon praised himself for being nominated for a Grammy Award and Chris Kattan as Gay Hitler finished things up by claiming that he has now gone Hollywood to Tina and Jimmy.
  12. Gary's Fish Tanks had Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz as two slacker fish tank repairmen who kept cracking up even though their repair techniques kept killing the otherwise healthy fish in the tanks they were there to repair.
  13. This was followed by a parody of Charlie Rose where Jeff Richards as Rose kept confusing Darrell Hammond as Donald Rumsfeld for Dick Cheney and other villainous figures both fictional and real based on his aggressive attitude.
  14. We then got the fourth installment of the Joe segment that’s been running throughout the night where this time Tina Fey portrayed Joe Dude who was hiding her gender from all of her female admirers.
  15. Avril Lavigne then returned to the stage to perform Complicated. 
  16. The Terrye Funck Show was a parody of a public access show with Chris Parnell as the host and Jeff Gordon as his cousin/cameraman who shot their show from Parnell’s mother’s basement.
  17. We then got a fake ad for a Stripper Pole that claimed an in-house stripper pole can liven up any dull party, complete with before and after examples.
  18. Finally, Jeff Gordon closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, this was my least favorite of the non-politician hosted shows from this year so far but it was still at least a little fun thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved meeting Baby Eve From The Raelian Cult because I was a fan of all Raelian news from the time and loved being reminded that Rachel Dratch’s Baby Eve character started out as the Raelian’s claimed first ever cloned human baby. Next, I really liked this week’s Brian Fellow's Safari Planet: Snakes Have Arms Hidden Behind Their Backs Edition because it was the only sketch of the night that I genuinely liked since I love Brian Fellows whenever he is on. Finally, I was a fan of The Terrye Funck Show because the imagery was somewhat funny.

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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.