SNL: S30E05... HOST: LIAM NEESON... DATE: NOVEMBER 13, 2004

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Not Half Bad… But… About That Other Half

 

I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me ramble on about the fewer but longer sketch format but here we are again with another thirteen segment night. Thirteen seems to be the number for this season which really sucks because, in general, a fewer but longer formatted night will have at least fourteen segments to the night. This means that we’re losing one more chance at a laugh while adding more of a chance that a sketch will end up dragging on.

I’d say of the hundred or so of the fewer but longer episodes that I’ve watched since the start of this challenge, at most, only ninety percent of these nights have actually been good and not just a little above average. Tonight would have been one of those nights if the second half to all of the more extended sketches didn’t peter out and start to drag.

I even started the night pleased as punch that the first sketch was long and tedious but was based on the fact that this year’s Presidential Election was over. This opened me up for the night because Liam Neeson is another one of those great actors that don’t come to mind when I think of comedy. I don’t think I would have been able to handle another talented actor/actress bore me to tears while mocking Bush and Kerry like the rest of the start to this year.

I was also a bit worried when the first sketch was focused on Star Jones who I didn’t care about then so thought for sure the sketch wouldn’t be funny now. It turned out that I was wrong and the Star Jones sketch kept cracking me up but only until the sketch was about halfway done. After that, it struggled from an old-school issue that I haven’t seen for a while where they try to cram two sketches into one, and the transition makes these long sketches come across as convoluted and awkward while the momentum ends up dead.

It also didn’t help that Liam Neeson’s acted his ass off as if all of his characters were in serious/dramatic roles and it was just the situation that was goofy. This great acting really did help to add to the scene until, just like above, the halfway point hit and when the sketch started to shift gears the genre could get a little confusing to where it could feel like I was watching a drama with funny moments and not the other way around.

I bet if they were to have added three sketches and cut down even just two, this would have been an excellent episode because all of the parts were there. Oh well, it is what it is, and aside from my complaints this episode was actually pretty good and least it was a good sign for the rest of the year to come because I have faith in this cast, especially now that the election nonsense is over with.

With that, it’s now 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 Kerry’s Call To Bush where, after losing the election, Seth Meyers as John Kerry, called Will Forte as George W. to congratulate him on his victory. While on the call, we learned that Bush was in just as much dismay as he shared that he wished he could change places with Kerry because he was over being the President. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Liam Neeson then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was slightly hesitant about hosting SNL at first because when he showed up a majority of first draft sketches had him as a stereotypical drunken Irishman. He went on to explain that he told Lorne that he’d only host if they banned ALL stereotypes from the night’s episode. This led him to be confronted by every member of the cast who thanked him for his efforts before explaining how without all of the stereotypes there would be no parts for them on the show, leading the bit to end up having even more racial stereotypes than usual.
  3. Star Jones' Wedding Night had Kenan Thompson as Star Jones and Finesse Mitchell as her fiancé, Al Reynolds, so that we could see the crazy antics that took place the night before her wedding as she got calls from her quirkiest celebrity guests.
  4. This was followed by a parody of a home makeover show called, You Call This A House, Do Ya? In the sketch, Seth Meyers played a contractor named “Buildin’” Finn McQuinn who led his home repair crew to give the homeowners an “Irish home makeover” which mainly meant “making a garbage looking how look a little less like crap,” between all the bickering between the drunk father and his family that grew bigger as the sketch went on. Of course, it also wouldn’t be Irish if it didn’t end with a big drunken fight.
  5. We then got a repeat of the Dr. Porkenheimer's Boner Juice commercial from earlier in the season which was a fake ad for a male enhancing beverage that could keep men sexually-active for up to four hours at a time.
  6. Jasper the Parrot had Rachel Dratch, and Liam Neeson returned to Rachel’s apartment after a date. This meant that she had to introduce her potential new mate to Fred Armisen who played a gigantic talking parrot named Jasper that ruined the rest of the night as the man-sized bird kept pestering our host the same way an average sized bird would.
  7. Wake Up San Diego was the parody of a morning talk show that had Liam Neeson and Maya Rudolph as a pair of hosts who kept wasting time by repeatedly dancing to the morning show’s theme music that played after every single topic of the day. Looking at it now, it reminded me a lot of the start to Ellen where she is always dancing at the slightest sounds of music.
  8. Modest Mouse then took to the stage to perform Float On.
  9. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Darrell Hammond dropped by as John Ashcroft to comment on his resignation from the Bush cabinet. Seth Meyers also played a college student who had a lot to say about the election even though he didn’t realize that it was too late and he had accidentally missed his chance to vote. Fred Armisen then wrapped things up as a dead comedian who kept insulting his interpreter, Kenan Thompson, by telling nothing but black jokes.
  10. Appalachian Emergency Room then returned for more making fun of rednecks and their redneck injuries.
  11. Drug-Sniffing Dog had Liam Neeson and Amy Poehler as two potheads who asked policeman, Chris Parnell, to borrow his drug-sniffing dog to help them find their stash of pot that they had accidentally misplaced.
  12. Modest Mouse then returned to the stage to perform Ocean Breathes Salty.
  13. Finally, Liam Neeson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

This episode was so close to being really good but instead was just pretty good, thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Jasper the Parrot because I once named a squirrel Jasper that we had a Viking funeral for, plus, Fred Armisen as a human-sized parrot had me laughing and not thinking about the length of the sketch. Next, I really liked Drug-Sniffing Dog because this was a case where Liam’s serious acting actually added to the humor of an otherwise silly premise. Finally, I was a fan of Star Jones' Wedding Night because, I can’t even remember what it was, but the start of this sketch kept cracking me up.

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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.