SNL: S30E13... HOST: HILARY SWANK... DATE: FEBRUARY 19, 2005

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My Birthday Episode: Year 29

Damn it, I seem to be stuck in a string of episodes that are only just fine. I don’t know it the shock of liking Paris Hilton’s episode so still has me dumbstruck, or maybe rethink my views on comedy, but the last to episodes since have been so “just fine” that I’ve been completely uninspired to write about them. I know I’ve mentioned this during other runs of averageness, but I’d almost prefer a terrible show than one that is just so-so, well, at least when it comes to writing these reviews.

I saw The Next Karate Kid while it was still in the theaters, so I’m fully aware of Hilary Swank’s acting ability. All jokes aside, I wasn’t at all concerned about her technical ability to pull it off, but she is one of the many hosts over the past two years who may be able to act their asses off, is not know for her comedic skill. That said, the ability to perform is often good enough to cause very few viewing complaints.

That was precisely the case with tonight’s show, especially with the help from the fact that there were fifteen segments to make up the episode, making the sketches short and sweet. Just like last night with Jason Bateman, who I’m also a fan of, I feel if there were only thirteen segments like with the first half of this year, this show would have been a mess. Not a terrible mess but these sketches managed to “just fine” because they ended at the right time. Most of them wouldn’t have taken much more before they would have started to drag on, like the cry coach sketch with a hilarious concept but dragged on even though it was short.

I think I’m going to make this a quick one before I start to drag on myself because I’ve already had to stretch my words to manage to get this far. With that, I’m going 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 Amy Poehler as Michael Jackson In Neverland Ranch where the bizarro pop was in his sickbed from the time when he fell ill just before his child molestation trial. Not only did Michael seem to be faking it but Rachel Dratch as Elizabeth Taylor along with several other cast members impersonating other of Jackson’s celebrity friends dropped by for a visit to reassure The King Of Pop that they felt he was innocent even as he responded to all of their encouragements with even more damning evidence. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Hilary Swank then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she decided to host to help ease her nerves so that this live performance would create enough stress to distract her from next week’s academy award since she was nominated for her role in Million Dollar Baby. This got her talking about the movie for a bit and how she prepared for the part before taking us backstage to observe the odd ways the Not Ready For Prime Time Players prepared for SNL only to show them all up by trying their prep techniques herself. Chris Parnell liked to jump rope, Maya Rudolph and Will Forte did weird actors things to warm up their vocals, Horatio drank a pitcher full of mayonnaise, Kenan napped with his eyes open while in drag, Dratch drank and throw whiskey bottles at a poster of Tina Fey and Amy and Seth made out a little too aggressively while rehearsing their scene.
  3. We then got a follow-up ad from a series of fake commercials from nine years ago called Grayson-Moorhead Securities where, writer at the time, Jim Downey demonstrated how his financial company lost their clients’ money with pride but was even more proud of the fake that he still had the ever important list location. Well, they didn’t mention the list, but they really should have because that was the most memorable part of the original series.
  4. Sheila Choad's Los Angeles Face had Maya Rudolph in the titular role to host a talk show devoted to Botox and the Botox lifestyle, mainly this was the females of the cast and our host talking like rich snobs with exaggerated lip make up.
  5. The was followed by a second installment of the Grayson-Moorhead Securities fake ads where, this time, Jim Downey shared how his clients may have lost all their money, but they did gain the knowledge of failure. We did also get to see their before picture to highlight the horrible change.
  6. Hot Plates took place in a restaurant where despite waiter, Horatio Sanz’s warning that the plates were too hot to touch, every single person from a group of friends had to feel the thing to see for themselves only to end up with significant burns. I’m mean, we’re talking a plate so hot that it was literally on fire while at the table.
  7. Debbie Downer then returned for another segment where once again, Rachel Dratch as Debbie brought down the room with her depressing facts, this time while acting as Hilary Swank’s childhood nanny who, for some reason, was Swank’s guest to the Academy Award Ceremonies.  
  8. 50 Cent then took to the stage with Olivia to perform Candy Shop.
  9. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Fred Armisen took to the streets in a prerecorded segment to interview the people on the street about the temporary art installment called the Central Park Gates. It turned out ***. Finesse Mitchell also dropped by as Morgan Freeman in order to announce that he wanted more lovemaking scenes in the future roles that he takes.
  10. Seasons Of Love had Hilary Swank as an actress who’s cry style was so horrific that they had to bring in Rachel Dratch who played Hollywood’s number one cry coach.
  11. City Court With Aaron Neville was the first time we got to see Horatio Sanz and the pumped up singer played the new ratings stunt judge for a daytime court show. This show’s spin was that Neville didn’t know a single thing about the law but, boy, could he croon his ass off.
  12. After the Grammys had Maya Rudolph as Jennifer Lopez and Fred Armisen as Marc Anthony to continue singing late into the night long after the award show was over as they put on a show of their own when they got home from the event.
  13. 50 Cent then took to the stage alone to perform Disco Inferno.
  14. We then got a parody of Project Runway where Hilary Swank played Heidi Klum to host a design challenge where the contestants had to create a line of clothing for KFC’s Colonel Sanders.
  15. Finally, Hilary Swank closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Sorry for such a short review but as I said above this show left feeling very uninspired because it was good enough to be average with some funny scenes like the ones from these three sketches that contained my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved City Court With Aaron Neville because it made me realize why I always found Aaron Neville impersonation to be so funny, even though I was barely aware of the real man. I now think that I’m old enough to where there was no Mike Tyson when I was a kid, so Aaron Neville was the first big tough looking guy that I ever witnessed who had such a high voice and wasn’t just joking around. I know, duh, I get why people did his impersonation, I'm just now realizing that he was the first for me. Next, I really liked the Hot Plates sketch because who hasn’t been burnt by grabbing a hot plate after a waiter’s warning. Finally, I was a fan of the Project Runway parody but more because I like the real version of the show, so it was fun to see it lampooned.

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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.