SNL: S28E18... HOST: ASHTON KUTCHER... DATE: MAY 3, 2003

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Forced Fun On A Saturday Night

I often point out how a host energy alone can be the determining factor in whether or not an episode is good. Many times I really enjoy an otherwise terrible show simply because I find the host having fun to be infectious. I was fully expecting that to be the case tonight because, in general, I’m not a mega fan but I don’t mind Ashton Kutcher’s high energy antics, especially when it comes to shows like this.

Unfortunately, I just wasn’t feeling it today because it almost felt like the show was counting on Ashton’s goofiness to get through the night instead of writing good jokes. Kutcher’s performance reminded me of every class clown that I’ve ever met who are more annoying with their attention-seeking antics than funny, like the person who usually sits next to them that feeds them funny lines to be repeated in a loud obnoxious way that gets the normals to laugh.

It didn’t help that this was another long sketch formatted show, which is the last thing you want when the host has the energy of an A.D.H.D. teen. I feel if tonight's show used the same short sketch format, that made the first half of the season so good, to compliment Ashton’s hyperactivity, this would have been a really fun show to watch instead of just watching our guest sit there with his goofy smile waiting to hear the cue for his next line as sketches with funny concepts dragged on to the point where they bored me.

This really bums me out because I have been lumping Ashton Kutcher in with the comedic hosts whenever I would complain about the lineup of non-comedic hosts who made up the first three-quarters of the season. Since the host do contribute to the writing process, part of me wonders if the writers were burnt out from the non-comedic contributors that started out the year because I’d say that the first half of the year was on track to be my favorite season that I’ve seen in a while, only to be continually let down with almost every single show of the second half.

As always, this is more of an issue when it comes to writing these reviews because I’ve been entertained enough throughout each viewing that I have zero regrets about any aspect of this challenge and look forward to watching the upcoming shows whether or not their actually fun to write about. Now time to move on so I can get through my day in order to watch tomorrow’s show, and with that, I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started on The U.S.S. Lincoln where Chris Parnell as George W. Bush to parody Bush’s premature claims that the war in Iraq was over before lying to the Navy members aboard the boat with claims that they’ll soon be heading home. Of course, with this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Ashton Kutcher then officially opened the show with a monolog about how hosting Saturday Night live was a dream come true with the bigger joke being that Ashton is so absent-minded that he forgot to put on pants before heading out to the main stage.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Count Chocula Silver which was an attempt to rebrand the classic coco cereal as the newly recommended the fiber filled morning meal for the elderly considering the Count was so old and started each day with his own cereal.
  4. Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz then gave us another installment of their dorm room webcast called Jarret's Room where this week the two interviewed Ashton Kutcher who played their sole Icelandic viewer who was staying with Jarret in his dorm during a U.S. visit. The main joke of the sketch being that Kutcher kept mixing up words due to his poor grasp of the English language.
  5. Madonna: An American Life was a parody of an interview special where Seth Meyers as Matt Lauer interviewed Amy Poehler as Madonna where all of Lauer’s questions focused on Madonna’s age and what it was like to be so old while still being a pop star.  
  6. Plagiarism had Chris Parnell as a teacher who was fully aware of his student attempts to cheat on their final assignment with the help of the internet. Though some students used professional cheating sights that sell papers from other students, a majority used more blatant schemes like asking a friend what they thought of a book via email and then printing up their response and considering the assignment done, or simply printing out an already established web review as their own report.
  7. 50 Cent then took to the stage to perform In Da Club. 
  8. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Maya Rudolph and Chris Kattan returned as Liza Minelli and David Gest in order to celebrate David’s birthday. Tracy Morgan also got a segment where he shared the fact that he ate Saddam Hussein’s birthday cake that the Weekend Update team bought for the dictator because they felt he needed some cheering up after losing the war. Will Forte and Fred Armisen also returned as Patrick and Gunther Kelly to sing a new PSA of a song this one was about SARS prevention.
  9. The Falconer then returned for another installment where this time Will Forte as the titular The Falconer had competition in Ashton Kutcher who was better known as The Muskrateer.
  10. After the sketch, we went behind the scenes as Ashton made his way back to his dressing room where Tracy Morgan confronted out host and warned him of the ass-kicking he’d receive if he were to try to Punk Tracy at any point during the episode. Dean Edwards added to the threat after overhearing the conversation while walking to where ever he needed to be. This had Ashton terrified until Lorne Michaels stepped in to sort everything out ending with both Morgan and Edwards demanding Michaels to go and get them their drinks.
  11. Politics Today was a talk show hosted by Fred Armisen who had on Ashton Kutcher as a high school dropout that attempted to discuss the big topics of the day only to ramble on about a bunch of nonsense. Amy Poehler, Tracy Morgan, and Darrell Hammond also played derelict guests who all chimed in with terrible insights based on their limited knowledge of current events.
  12. 50 Cent then took the stage to with G Unit and Nate Dogg to perform 21 Questions. 
  13. ‘50s Ent. took place in a prison where the prisoners incite a riot after the prison warden introduced a the titular ‘50s Ent. (AKA ‘50s Entertainment) which led the prisoners to expect 50 Cent as entertainment for the night.
  14. We then got a repeat of the Global Investments ad from earlier in the season where Chris Parnell played an investment expert who blatantly admitted that the stock market just isn’t fair and how he and the people with power take advantage of all the world’s crises.
  15. Finally, Ashton Kutcher closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though this was another show that was far from a favorite, it was still pretty fun to watch thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Falconer Meets The Muskrateer because the concept or The Falconer is funny enough so it cracked me up when he found a foe in the Muskrateet. Next, I really liked Politics Today because I like the idea of a collection of know nothing guests giving the news of the day. Finally, I was a fan of the ‘50s Ent. sketch especially with 50 Cent being the musical guest, creating a funny play on words.

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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.