SNL: S29E08... HOST: ELIJAH WOOD... DATE: DECEMBER 13, 2003

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or...

The Host Of The Rings

Though I've only seen the first Lord Of The Rings under protest while watching all one hundred movies on the AFI List OF Best Movies Of All Time, I'm still a fan of Elijah Wood for movies like Everything Is Illuminated and Wonder Boys, so I was looking forward to seeing him host. Then again, the rest of this season up to this point has me a bit worried no matter who is at the wheel.

Last night's episode had me hopeful because the show was super good even with Al Sharpton as the host. But then, I got nervous again when I was doing my pre-viewing legwork and saw that there were only thirteen segments with two sketches devoted to Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean, a Donatella Versace sketch, which is a character I don't mind on an eighteen segment night when the segment is super short but never when it drags on, and my final fear were the LOTR references that I knew I would neither care about or get.

So those weren't good signs but, I still like the host so I did go into the viewing with more of an open mind than it might sound from the collection of words you just read. The opening sketch was one of the Gore ones and I was right and didn't care, especially since it was more Hillary bashing than anything to do with either Dean or Gore. Not that I don't like Clinton bashing, I just find it funny how, as a third party voter, I heard a lot how all of the Hillary hate came from the Republican party over so many years, meanwhile, SNL (Note: not conservative) made her out to be a monster even though they've always love Bill.

That was just a minor annoyance that comes every time the show hits a Presidential Election year. What really annoyed me was when the show tapped into two of my pet peeve when first Chris Kattan returned after leaving and went on to bash the current collection of the cast and then went on to highlight a show flaw only to then put on a show that suffered from the issue of the joke.

I was actually fine with the joke at the cast expense because he was acting as a bipolar Gollum who switched back and forth between saying positive and negative things. I wasn't as forgiving of the second Joke, where Kattan as Gollum complained that the show's sketches were too long and went nowhere. It would be one thing if he made this joke during an eight segment night where the sketches were quick and funny but felt like a genuine insult when it turned out to be true.

Though I was right on the sketches I didn't think I would like going into the viewing, the rest of the sketches that made up the night were good enough that I didn't mind. This kind of sucks because minus these jokes the highlighted my issues without any effort to resolve I would have been more focused on the funny side of the night instead of having this pet peeve stuck in my head.

With all of that said, as much as I may have hated the issues mentioned above, I still see this as a sign that the season is improving because I really haven't liked a bulk of the show from this year.

Now that all of that is off my chest, it's time for me to shift gears in order to share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with another parody of Hardball where once again, Darrell Hammond as Chris Matthews yelled at his political guest this time with the focus being that Al Gore announced that he supported Howard Dean's run for President because Dean was more of a grassroots candidate who went against many of the corporate Democrat's beliefs, which for some reason is a terrible thing. The other joke being that, with Al Gore losing to Bush, his endorsement may be a curse. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, "Live from New York..."
  2. Elijah Wood then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he's always wanted to host and credited the Lord Of The Rings for making said dream come true. He was then joined by, special guest, Chris Kattan who was dressed up like Gollum so that he and our host could show off clips from their Lord Of The Rings spin-off sit-com pilot that probably would have been a huge hit if it were actually real.
  3. Boys Choir had Elijah Wood, Will Forte, and Jimmy Fallon all as full grown men trying to compete for attention for their high pitched voices while they sang with the members of a boys school choir that was portrayed by an actual choir of kids.
  4. This was followed by a parody of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy where our host and a couple members of the cast portrayed the Queer Eye bunch to make over Horatio Sanz who played a very plain Santa Clause.
  5. TV Funhouse gave us another Fun With Real Audio that had an animation of George W. Bush dressed in whatever costume was needed in an effort to win over whichever group he was giving his speech to in an effort to win their votes.
  6. Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch then gave us another installment of the high school produced morning talk show, Wake Up Wakefield. This time we learned that Maya Rudolph's character Megan had a huge crush on the school jazz band, Jazz Times Ten's new lead trumpeter who was played by Elijah Woods.
  7. Jet then took to the stage to perform Are You Gonna Be My Girl.
  8. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Jimmy Fallon played double duty and snuck in for a segment as John Mayer to sing an unintelligible holiday song. Maya Rudolph and Horatio Sanz then played Whitney Houston and Whitney's daughter Bobbi Kristin to sing a duet.
  9. Versace Egg Nog was a holiday special where once again, Maya Rudolph played Donatella Versace where she celebrated the release of her new nog.
  10. Howard Dean For President 2004 had Darrell Hammond as Al Gore to robotically explain in extensive detail why he chose to support Jeff Richards as Howard Dean's run to be President. This sketch was frustrating because the big joke was Al Gore pointing out how progressive Howard Dean was and Jeff Richards as Dean was embarrassed because he felt that thing like his pro-gay marriage stance and other progressive views were seen as flaws that made him a person who was bound to lose.
  11. Rialto Grande returned with special guest, Chris Kattan who revised his Las Vegas lounge comedian with a deaf old Fred Armisen on drums who had on Elijah Woods as a young comedian who still had the old-timey Vegas lounge approach to his act.
  12. Jet then returned to the stage to perform Look What You've Done.
  13. Finally, Elijah Wood closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, I took issue with a couple angles of this episode, but it was still pretty fun thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy: Santa Clause Edition parody even though I didn't watch much of the original Queer Eye, I'm now a fan of several of the men and their new projects so it was fun to revisit their start, even in the form of a parody. Next, I really liked this week's TV Funhouse because it was a good political jab at power, that was deserved as opposed to adding to the effort to make a grassroots candidate look like as ass for pushing for real freedom. Finally, I was a fan of this week's Wake Up Wakefield sketch because I actually like this series but don't think that it's made any of my list yet, so I figure why not now.

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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.