SNL: S28E14... HOST: QUEEN LATIFAH... DATE: MARCH 8, 2003

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or...

R.I.P. Mr. Rogers

It’s too bad that this episode aired in the order that it did. Considering the fact that this has been a season filled with nothing but non-comedic hosts and a fifty/fifty hit to miss ratio, I would have probably liked this episode a lot more if I saw it as more of a slight stumble between two solid show as opposed to it feeling more like a continuation of the hit or miss trend.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to like Queen Latifah way back when she was featured on Boogie Down Production albums rapping alongside KRS-One. I also love the fact that she not only rapped on the closing theme song to I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and also had a cameo in the film, but I never really followed her as an actress. That’s not to say that I think she is bad, I’ve just never seen her in anything that really stood out to me.

I think part of my issues, at least in the past, is that her acting style is very sit-com/family-friendly/mainstream when I used to see her as someone with a lot more of an edge. This might explain why even throughout the viewing, I kept finding myself confused because the Queen actually did have a great energy that is usually enough to win me over but for some reason tonight it didn’t work. Now that I’ve mentioned the sit-com/family-friendly/mainstream vibe, it may have been the right energy but it felt like it was aimed at little kids with her delivering lines like a playful mom.

It didn’t help that this was another show where many of the current events being referenced were either stories that I didn’t care about even back then or topics that are no longer relevant with the passing of time, so I didn’t even have that to hang on to. This was too bad because even though I just complained that Queen Latifah’s energy was mom-toned, the fact that still equals enthusiasm still normally equals a higher quality show. Because of this, I’m looking forward to the Queen’s next visit, which I’m sure will someday come when she needs to promote her Taxi Cab movie with Jimmy Fallon.

With all of that said, I’m lucky that this is such a solid season to where even the so-so shows like this one are better than a bulk of the show from many other years, enough so that I’m still really enjoying this challenge, no matter how much I may gripe. I think that’s all I’ve got for this one so now it’s time to shift gears and share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of 60 Minutes where Dan Aykroyd made a special appearance as Bob Dole in order to have a point/counterpoint debate with Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton over the impending war in Iraq. Clinton’s main point was how he was such a great President that he should be allowed to rule again while tip-toeing around the actual topic which led Dole to share his counterpoint by calling Bill Clinton an ignorant slut before going on to promote the war in a tradition republican war-mongering fashion. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Queen Latifah then officially opened the show with a monolog about how excited she is with her new acting career before giving a shout out to her hometown. This shout out led to the sound of horns as Seth Myers, Horatio Sanz, and May Rudolph joined the Queen on stage dressed as her royal subjects to give our host and the crowd an update on the state of the Kingdom Of Latifah.
  3. 106 And Park Top 10 Live was the parody of a B.E.T. show that had Jeff Richards revise his baby rapper character Baby K along with his new manager/nanny Queen Latifah at a radio show where Baby K debuted his new music video for his latest rap song.
  4. This was followed by a parody of Live! With Regis & Kelly where Queen Latifah played Frenchie Davis from American Idol in order to yuk it up with Darrell Hammond and Amy Poehler as Regis and Kelly.
  5. Who Farted? was a parody of a game show where contestants were all packed into a cramped room where they have to seek the answer to the titular question, Who Farted?
  6. Where Are They Now? was a parody of a profile show that shared the rise and of a ‘60s-style woman’s singing group called The Cherylettes who sang a song called The Wiggle, that brought them to the top only to follow that song with a bunch of knock-off flops with other songs named after simple dance moves that just didn’t go over well with their fans.
  7. This was followed by the parody game show I'm A Celebrity: Who Farted? which was just the celebrity version of the regular Who Farted? show.
  8. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Horatio Sanz dropped in as terrorist leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in order to share that he didn’t like the new photo of him, where he looked like Ron Jeremy, that was being shared by the news. Jeff Richards then stopped by as Dustin Hoffman to some convoluted logic to explain how he didn’t host the Grammy’s because New York City hosted the show and then rambled on with some more rambling thoughts. Chris Parnell also introduced a character named Trevor The Broadway Guy who shared his sadness over the fact that the eighteen Broadway shows were closing due to a strike.
  9. Ms. Dynamite then took to the stage to perform Dy-na-mi-tee. 
  10. Give Up The Ham took place in a grocery store where Queen Latifah and Amy Poehler were interested in buy the same piece of ham and fought with one another over who deserved it more. Rachel Dratch eventually joined in with Amy Poehler as her and the Queen continued to have a meat-based tug-a-war which added a racial angle to the message of the sketch as Maya Rudolph joined Latifah. Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan also chose obvious sides based on racial lines as each one felt their race’s representative deserved the ham. Eventual, Chris Parnell joined the scene as an announce who explained that the writer of the sketch was wasted off of free beer when he wrote this bizarre scene that may or may not have been intended to be a world peace analogy because he was blacked out by the time he sent it in.
  11. TV Funhouse then gave us another installment of The X-Presidents where this time the former leaders attempted to cast SpongeBob Squarepants in a role for a new piece of pro-war propaganda that attempted to convince the citizens that the Iraq War was warranted after show samples of propaganda filled cartoons from the past.
  12. This was followed by a parody Profiles In Jazz that shared the history of Queen Latifah as Alberta Jones who was a singer in the forties who was outwardly-obvious with the suggestive lyrics that made up her popular tunes. There were also many side interviews where people would attempt to explain her lyrics as if they were subtle even though each tune was blatantly pornographic.
  13. We then went to a local pharmacy where Horatio Sanz and Queen Latifah played typical drug store employees who had no problem openly talking about the medicines and products that their customers could barely admit that they need. In the end, we found out that the service was so bad because it was actually a fake commercial for Walgreens who were attempting to make themselves look better by throwing the competition under the bus.
  14. This was followed by a Mr. Rogers Tribute where Horatio Sanz sand You Are My Friend in remembrance of the late and legendary children’s show host.
  15. Finally, Queen Latifah closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As with many shows from this year, this one may not be a favorite but it was still pretty fun especially thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the sketch called Give Up The Ham not only because I loved the convoluted tale within the sketch itself, I liked that there was an even more convoluted tale about how the sketch came to be. Next, I really liked the Profiles In Jazz sketch because I liked how no one involved in the sketch was subtle about the blatantly filthy lyrics used in Queen Latifah’s character’s songs even if they seemed to be starting that way. Finally, I was a fan of the fake Walgreens ad simply because I used to work for the company so it was just a little extra funny to me.

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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.