SNL: S29E09... HOST: JENNIFER ANISTON... DATE: JANUARY 10, 2004

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or...

A Less Successful Second Visit,

And I Personally Blame The Year

Considering that Jennifer Aniston's first visit also took place during a season that was just so-so at best up until her visit, I was hoping for more of the same from this around of her as host. I mean, that last visit was so strong in comparison to what I was seeing at the time that I may have got a little overexcited, to the point where I put her episode on the top of my all-time favorites list where it sat for quite some time.

I say that I was over excited not because I regret my choice to have her at number one, it's just that said list is a bit of a mess from me overreacting to what's new while many older list entries would be much higher on the list if I just watch the shows in a different order. Like how I'm sure if I were to go back and watch the first five seasons, all of those shows would probably dominate the list again. 

I think when I'm done I'm going to have to create a bracket system to truly determine the actual order of the areas of SNL that I judge. Not only does the content get bonus points just for being new, I also feel that I need to keep seeing the show as improving in order to keep my enthusiasm up to complete all three years of watching the show daily in order to watch every single episode.

However, no matter what happens, the first visit from Aniston will remain somewhere near the top because that was such a memorable appearance but this episode will land somewhere in the middle along with most of this so-so season that seems to follow the pattern of having one show that seems like the year has gotten it's act together followed by two episodes that lead me to wonder what the hell they were thinking this year.

The most frustrating part about all of this is that, aside from Jeff Richards, I still love everyone from the cast from this year and am still entertained by many of them in their movies, shows, or when they are guest on podcasts that I listen to as I write. I thought for sure that the combination of Aniston doing so good during round one, and the fact that the season is due for another great night, considering Elijah Wood's episode was so solidly average, but, unfortunately, that just wasn't the case at all.

Well, at all might be a little strong, considering it was still probably the third best episode so far this year, I guess I just keep hoping that any night this year will get its act together and start to be good. Though there are years that are good all the way through, it's rare for an entire year to be bad. Usually, these softer seasons either start out strong and then fall apart as people seem to settle, or start out weak only to come back from the winter break with some sort of change up that make the second half extra strong, which would be what this season needs.

Sorry again if I'm rambling, I'm still bedridden from sciatica and a little loopy from my meds. Hopefully, tomorrow's show will be the turning point, but based on the line up of hosts, it really seems like it could go either way. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Until then, it's now time for me to wrap this thing up by shifting gears to share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with An Address By Donald Trump where Darrell Hammond as Trump discussed his new reality show The Apprentice that had contestants where he talked up the show as it was going to be the best show in the world in that Donald Trump way. Jimy Fallon also chimed in as new CEO, Jeff Zucker, to talk up himself as well before the two battle over who would announce, "Live from New York..."
  2. Jennifer Aniston then officially opened the show with a monolog about how this was the last year of Friends before sharing a fake clip from "the final episode" that had Horatio Sanz as a dejected Joey who finished the series by taking his own life.
  3. Paparazzi Photographers hand Jennifer Aniston, and Amy Poehler as two obnoxious paparazzi photographers who harassed and photoed the cast as a bunch of celebrities entering a big event. This seemed like a chance for Aniston to take a couple of jabs at the dumb questions asked of her, or that she's overheard while at this sort of event.
  4. Britney Spears Wedding had Jennifer Aniston as Britney Spears to marry and divorce her buddy, the non-Seinfeld Jason Alexander, multiple times, while on a weekend trip to Las Vegas that was supposed to be just for fun.
  5. We then got a repeat of the fake Gaystrogen commercial from earlier in the season which as a fake pill to treat the homosexual version of menopause.
  6. Democratic National Committee had several members of the cast as the Democratic hopefuls for this year's Presidential Election where they all doubted their capabilities in a campaign ad that tried to promote the Democratic Party in general in the effort to just beat Bush since there was no front-runner in the bunch.
  7. Black Eyed Peas then took to the stage to perform Where Is The Love?
  8. Once again, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey gave us the news. This week, Jeff Richards played the Steve Irwin and mixed up his baby with a chicken making fun of a photo with the Crocodile Hunter heading a croc with one of his babies under his arm that was making the rounds at the time. Finesse Mitchelle dropped in as O.J. and almost admitted to murdering Nicole after Pete Rose admitted to gambling in an effort to get in the hall-of-fame, only to have Jimmy ruin it by informing O.J. he was already in the hall-of-fame for football. This led Phil Spector and Robert Blake to join the scene to double check their hall-of-fame status and Jimmy to thank the "potential murders" for their visit. Al Frankin also returned as his One Man Reporting Unit to give a special report from Iraq where of course the feed kept cutting out every time Al gave a soldier an opportunity to send a message to their families.
  9. We then got another installment of Saddam Calls Osama where once again, Horatio Sanz as Saddam attempted to prank Jimmy Fallon as Osama and the two went on to bitch about the current issues with America after the prank totally failed. This was right after Saddam was found hiding in his spider hole which led to the go-to jokes for bin Laden as the two traded playful insults. This sketch felt completely unscripted and like a real call with both Jimmy and Horatio sitting in silence looking confused from time to time unsure who's supposed to go. This might have been funnier at the time when the two terrorist leaders were alive and were still a source of laughs, but watching it now it felt really flat.
  10. This was followed by a fake ad for Country Roses that had Jennifer Aniston and all of the female members of the cast as country singers pining over and complaining about the same guy and the women he was having an affair with on a compilation album even though they didn't know this was the case at the time of the recording.
  11. Coco And Matsui Super Show was a parody of a Japanese talk show with Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen as hosts Coco and Matsui who had on Jennifer Aniston as herself and asked her questions that they themselves barely understood and reacted to answer by bawling their eyes out for reasons that were never fully made clear. This led Aniston to take over as she went on to ask and answer her own questions throughout the rest of the show.
  12. Black Eyed Peas then returned to the stage to perform Hey Mama.
  13. Our next sketch took place in an Appalachian Emergency Room where country bumpkin after country bumpkin entered the scene with injuries that grew stranger and stranger while Seth Meyers played the E.R. nurse who had to continue to sort everything out. 
  14. Phone Sex had Jeniffer Aniston as a nerdy phone sex operator who had no idea how to talk dirty to her clients but that didn't stop her from trying. Even though her boss kept yelling at her to be sexier she eventually got Kenan Thompson as a caller who was totally into her inexperienced/nerdy ways.
  15. Finally, Jennifer Aniston closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Again, I think this is a case where my griping makes it seem like this was a horrible episode but to be clear, it was still pretty good, thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments, I was just hoping for so much more because Aniston's last visit was so good. First, I love the Appalachian Emergency Room because, even though many of the hillbilly jokes were played out, there were still a couple of moments that got me to laugh out loud. Next, I really liked Coco And Matsui Super because I liked Aniston's answer to things getting lost in translation was to both ask and answer all the question while being interviewed for a foreign market and how the Japanese host didn't see a problem with this at all. Finally, I was a fan of   Nerdy Jennifer Aniston As A Phone Sex Operator especially in the end when Kenan called and found her nerdy ways to be perfect.

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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.