SNL: S30E08... HOST: ROBERT DE NIRO... DATE: DECEMBER 18, 2004

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Finally, A Legit Christmas Episode

Granted there have been plenty of Christmas sketches throughout the seasons of Saturday Night Live that I’ve seen so far, but in most cases, these sketches in question felt more like one-off bits inspired by the time of the year and not as a part of an actual holiday-themed show. I don’t know if this is an example of  The Mandela Effect, but I could have sworn that there were always four shows each year that had their own particular format.

Those four shows in question being:

  1. The season opener, filled with cameos and former cast member to get viewers amped up about the new season of the show even if there may be hit or miss content as they cast and crew settle in after the summer break.
  2. The Christmas episode not only celebrates the holiday season but was also a bigger show to make sure viewers come back after the winter break.
  3. On Mother’s Day, I expect to see the mothers of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players.
  4. The season finally, which is often like the season opener only better because the cast and crew have often worked all of the bugs.

It’s interesting to see that I’m now up to 2004 and aside from a handful of special episodes but for the most part all of the show have seemed pretty evergreen, which makes sense for syndication because who wants to watch a Christmas episode in the middle of the summer. Considering the fact that it’s now July as I write this, the show was still fun even though I was watching Christmas cheer while sweating my ass off with my shirt off, wearing nothing but my boxers.

I’m very delighted that this ended up to be the case because I wasn’t all that impressed with Robert De Niro’s first hosting visit, a couple of years ago (months ago if we’re talking real-time for this challenge.) As I pointed out then, I really like Robert De Niro on the screen and found that he could be funny in movies like The King Of Comedy we came out way before his crossover to be better known for working in the comedy genre.

Being that he was there to promote Meet The Fockers, it felt like he was now more rooted in the comedy world and was able to perform with much more comfort. Again, any criticism of De Niro’s acting is only in reference to the world of sketch and has nothing to do with the acting that he’s done for the big screen.

Where last time Robert De Niro hosted, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic to see him on the show again in anything other than a cameo role, after this visit, I’d be more than happy to see him host the show again. This episode also has me excited to see how 2005 starts out because I often find that seasons that start out weak, but with potential often come back from the winter break with the issues worked out to give us a home run.

We’ll see how that turns out, but in order to do so, I must now start to wrap this thing up by sharing what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of a Pentagon Press Briefing that was almost a repeat of an opening sketch from two years ago. For this round, Robert De Niro revised his impersonation of Craig Fenson to share the names of new terrorist threats that all sounded like raunchy names one would use while making a prank phone call like Apu Pibat that sounded like A Poopy Butt when said out loud. Of course, with this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Robert De Niro then officially opened the show with a monolog about it being his second time hosting and how this time he’s got it all figured out only to be interrupted by Kermit The Frog who guilted our host into singing a duet of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas to kick off this festive episode.
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Woomba which was a self-operating electronic feminine hygiene product from the makers of Roomba that claims to know best when a woman should be using the product because it can sense when they’re feeling not so fresh.
  4. We then got another parody of a show called Pranksters that started out playful and fun but then took a dark turn when a gross misunderstanding of the show’s concept led Robert De Niro’s character to prank his neighbor, Chris Parnell by attacking him with a chainsaw. This left Seth Meyers, who played the show's host to be absolutely terrified.
  5. Wedding Reception had Robert De Niro as the father of Amy Poehler who was his fifth and final daughter to get married. Meanwhile, our host kept wondering when his foppish son, as played by Seth Meyers, would ever get married, utterly oblivious to the fact that he was obviously gay with no interest in women at all.
  6. Prince Christmas Special was a holiday version of The Prince Show with Fred Armisen as Prince and Maya Rudolph still by his side as Beyoncé. This allowed our host and several members of the cast to impersonate a cavalcade of quirky celebrity guests.
  7. TV Funhouse then gave us a special Christmas cartoon where Santa flew over all of the Red States to punish them for their presidential picks from both the 2000 and 2004 US Election.
  8. We then got a parody Promo For The Apprentice where Darrell Hammond as Donald Trump to dress as Santa while he bragged about how high the ratings were for his magnificent reality show.
  9. Destiny's Child then took to the stage with Lil' Wayne to perform Soldier.
  10. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Rob Riggle played a street prophet who dropped in to attempt to save both Amy’s and Tina’s souls and is annoyed as all get out that this was his special mission. Seth Meyers and Rachel Dratch also dropped in as their characters Brad and Abe Scheinwald who left their family production company offices in order to argue on the news and not back at the studio where they usually perform their sketch.
  11. Undercover Gangster had Horatio Sanz as an undercover agent who butchered Italian stereotypes while trying to blend in with a gang in an effort to nab Robert De Niro who was a very playful gang leader.
  12. Destiny's Child took to the stage by themselves to perform Cater 2 U.
  13. Christmas With The Cat Lady had Robert De Niro as a crazy old cat lady who spent the holidays reading stories to her apartment filled with cats.
  14. Bear City then returned for another installment where this time we got to see Christian bears accidentally carol Christmas songs to a Jewish bear family’s house.
  15. Season's Greetings From "Saturday Night Live" had Horatio Sanz sans his I Wish It Were Christmas Today Band, but that didn’t stop him from singing the song with Kermit, Fozzie, Animal, and Gonzo taking the missing cast members’ places.
  16. Finally, Robert De Niro closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I mentioned above, I was surprised to find the Christmas episode to be so fun considering it’s now the end of July and I’m nowhere close to feeling festive, but this show was really good thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Santa Vs. The Red States because the fact that this sketch could easily be talking about Trump highlight just how repetitive history really is, plus it was really amusing. Next, I really liked the Pranksters parody because it always cracks me up when people take pranks to that much of an extreme, while still acting like it was just a bit of playful fun. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s installment of Horatio Sanz singing I Wish It Was Chrismas Today because I love how the actual Muppets took over the roles of the cast members who are no longer with the show.

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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.