Saved From The Slump I Was Starting To Fear
Between the fact that a modern day Ray Liotta can be a bit dry when being interviewed, and how the last three shows have been rather dry, I wasn’t really looking forward to this episode. It also didn’t help that I kind of burnt myself out by watching a reviewing five episode over the weekend in order to take the last couple of days off, since our house had another visitor this week and I needed to free up some time.
When I sat down to watch I notice more unsettling signs like how I’m not all that thrilled about the next couple hosts in the lineup, mainly because they’re not know for comedy, and not really that I dislike them, kind of like how I felt about tonight. I also wasn’t a fan of the fact that this episode dropped back down to the fourteen segment, fewer but longer sketch format that, more often than not, I do not like especially from a season that has been doing so well by sticking to a sixteen to eighteen segment count.
Thankfully, this was another case where all that it took was the monolog to remind me how different Ray Liotta was back in these days. Where I was expecting another Robert De Niro style appearance filled with awkward reading and poor character work from a host who doesn’t seem all that comfortable going live, I got the high energy madman who felt like he came right out of one of his own films.
This had me questioning if I was thinking of someone else who I really like as an actor but find to be a complete bore whenever they're being themselves because he kept up that high energy throughout the night which led to a pretty good show. Not only was I happy to end up enjoying this episode, I’m no longer as concerned about the mid-season non-comedic host that I’ll be watching over the next four or five days until the comedians return to wind down the final quarter of the year.
It’s also has me really excited about next season because, with Will Ferrell having just left, I now see this an official new era, and new eras of Not Ready For Prime Time Players are almost always the best in year two, where they seem to be more fully comfortable on their own but the success has yet to get to their heads, which usually leads to a drop in quality for year number three. The quality of years four and five all depend on how they handle the year three drop off and whether they stick to their guns or adjust and go back to what worked for them.
Alright, now I’m just rambling about the show, in general, it’s now time to move on and share what I saw, so with that, I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with a CNN News Alert where Darrell Hammond as Donald Rumsfeld sang These Boots Are Made For Walking after carrying on the lie that there were weapons of mass destruction and getting excited when he was asked if this could potentially lead to war. With this being the opening sketch, the song eventually ended with the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Ray Liotta then officially opened the show with a monolog about how excited he was to host and how much fun he had hanging out with the cast throughout the week in a very manic tone as if he were the life of the party. He said, in particular, he loved Jimmy Fallon who then joined our host on the stage only to act scared as if Liotta was too wild to get too close to as if he’s the time that would force you into “having fun” when actually you’re terrified. This led Liotta to sing the song, Getting To Know You for the audience, Jimmy Fallon, and the rest of the cast.
This was followed by a parody of Live With Regis And Kelly where Ray Liotta portrayed David Caruso as the show guest who struggled to focus on Darrell Hammond as Regis’s questions about how he handled working with difficult co-stars after a recent firing that Regis kept suggesting was Caruso’s fault, hinting that he wished he could do the same with Kelly Ripa. Meanwhile, Amy Poehler as Kelly Ripa gave birth while live on the air to wrap up the segment.
We then got introduced to The Fun Friends Club which was a Barney-like kid’s TV show with actual child actors along with Ray Liotta as the dinosaur and Rachel Dratch as one of the kids who recently started puberty and her new big boobs became a liability to the show with Liotta acting as a total creep whenever the dinosaur mask would come off.
The Falconer then returned for another installment where this time the bird celebrated its birthday while seeking help for The Falconer who was stuck under a log. As usual, the falcon eventually returned with a saw so that The Falconer could saw his leg off to escape rather than simply cut the log.
Global Century Investments had Chris Parnell as an investment expert who offered straight talk about investment queries, mainly by telling everyone to chill, since he used insider trading and he himself felt safe either way.
This was followed by a parody of Hannibal where Ray Liotta played his character from the film in order to make fun of the scene where Darrell Hammond as Hannibal Lecter forced Liotta to eat his own brain. Though Hannibal used this self-cannibalism as a technic to strike fear into his play toys, Liotta liked the meal so much that he suggested teaming up and marketing brains to eat as the next popular dish when hosting parties. We then broke from the movie parody to show the success of the trendy new Lecter Restaurant where all of the patrons ate straight from their own head with celebrity brains acting as gourmet hors d’oeuvre treats.
Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Will Forte’s Tim Calhoun/dry politician character announced that he was running for president in 2004. Tracy Morgan also stopped by to share his views on affirmative action by saying how he wanted more on SNL since he is barely on the show anymore, blaming affirmative action even though Tina and Jimmy hinted that he didn’t write any sketches for himself that week and it’s not that he was ignored.
The Donnas then took to the stage to perform Take It Off.
The Hangman had Ray Liotta as the titular Hangman who went to the prison cell to grab Will Forte as the next person to be hung for stealing a neighbor's cattle. After some wheeling and dealing Liotta let Forte go for the crime in trade for some sex with his grandma, as played by Rachel Dratch, with the joke being that at first when the deal was thrown out Forte thought he was the one who would have to put out, and then assumed he meant his wife only to end up shocked when he learned of the grandma aspect. The same process happened when Amy Poehler, the wife, learned of the deal and was offended when she wasn’t the woman in the deal. The sketch finally ended with us learning the Liotta finished the second the grandma unzipped his pants.
Top O' The Morning To You then returned for another installment of Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers as two, pub drinking, Irish talk show host who first complained about the movie Gangs Of New York and how the movie dealt with the Irish. After that, they praised the film for acknowledging the Irish which then led to an unrelated interview with Ray Liotta as a guy addicted to the popular barroom gold video game so much that he developed one massive arm from the way the game is played and then wanted to join the two hosts for a chorus of a drunken Irish song after he lost his game.
The Donnas then returned to the stage to perform Who Invited You.
The Rialto Grande had Ray Liotta and Chris Kattan as Buddy Mills and Little Tommy Wallace who yuk it up in Las Vegas while putting on a lounge show with Fred Armisen as a geriatric drummer who couldn’t hear all that well and was extremely delayed with his rim shots.
Finally, Ray Liotta closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
As I said up above, I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy the episode as much as I did, but thanks to these three sketched that contained my three favorite moments of the night, it turned out to be really fun. First, I loved the Hannibal Parody because I listened to the book on tape for the Hannibal book and loved it so I found this interpretation of the story to be even more fun than if I had just seen the film. Next, I really liked the Global Century Investments sketch, not because it was all that funny but because it highlighted how the market is unfair and the people in charge of the system couldn’t care less about their fellow man, but at the same time this sketch bums me out because the issue is still real. Finally, I was a fan of The Fun Friends Club sketch because I thought it may have inspired Death To Smoochy until after the viewing when I checked the dates to see that it was the other way around, keeping in mind, I’m fully aware they were both making fun of Barney.