A So-So Second Visit, But I Blame The Year


Where last season around this time, I was super impressed as the season continued a pretty impressive comeback from the first half of this year, this season I'm impressed by how the last four or five shows have seemed like they should have been funnier to me even as I watched but for some reason they all felt rather flat. Once again, it's not a case where I hated the episode but, at the same time, the night left me completely uninspired to write because it felt so average.

I still think the biggest problem is that this was the year that I was living up in Canada going to film school and was so busy with the immersive course that I completely lost track of what was going on. Yes, I'm aware of real content that these sketches reference but since I can't tie these events to other areas in my own life I don't have the connection to the material for years where I was more familiar with pop-culture and the news.

At least that seems to have been the case throughout most of the year but tonight, they don't even have that as an excuse considered a majority of the night could have been done no matter the time it was made. In fact, the opening Hardball sketch and the Oprah parody where the only sketches to the night that used these references at all. So I'm guessing it's just the year.

It might also be due to the fact that there is a lot of cast member from the Upright Citizens Brigade school of sketch comedy who may have been trying to create a hybrid blend of their alt-comedy brand of humor with what the network would want for their mainstream audience. This would explain why I've loved so many of the concepts but felt that the delivery was just a tad bit off.

And for my usual final complaint for this year, the fact that there were only fourteen segments to make up the night some of the sketches dragged on for way too long, but then again, tonight those sketches that dragged on tapped into a brand of convoluted storytelling that I'm really into. We'll see if the last few episodes can save the season, but I have to say, I really doubt it even though I like most of the remaining host.

Until then, it's now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I saw, so with that, 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 berated his guests Horatio Sanz as Jose Canseco, Rob Riggle as Mark McGwire and Kenan Thompson as Sammy Sosa while attempt to tackle the subject of steroids in Major League Baseball. Parody Hardball favorite Will Forte as Zell Miller also got a moment to yell like a maniac about the topic as this opening sketch built to the announcement of, “Live from New York...”

  2. Ashton Kutcher then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he couldn't understand that big deal about the fact that he was dating Demi Moore during the time. He then brought his famous girlfriend to the stage to help him explain why how this is normal, even though Demi was made up to look like she was ancient.

  3. We then got a repeat of the Me-Harmony commercial from earlier in the season which was a dating site that promised to match their clients with opposite-sex versions of themselves to help satisfy Narcissistic dreams.

  4. This was followed by a parody of Oprah where Maya Rudolph play Oprah to host a show about human tragedy. Her first guest was Rachel Dratch who lost all of her belonging to a fire. At first, Dratch got a lot of sympathy at first only to have her story fall through the cracks when Oprah brought out Darrell Hammond as John Travolta and Ashton Kutcher as Julia Roberts who was supposed to there to help out Rachel's cause but ended up promoting their own projects instead.

  5. Push-Ups was a bit of a convoluted sketch that had Ashton Kutcher as an office nerd who still felt humiliated by an incident where he struggled to change the bottle on the water cooler, two years prior to the sketch's present day. Determined to save face, he ended up tricking his coworkers into a push-up challenge, claiming it was the new trendy thing to do. This scheme works, only Ashton ended up getting outperformed by everyone in the office who all got up into the hundreds while Kutcher maxed out at 16.

  6. Federline had Ashton Kutcher as Kevin Federline who was attempting to promote his own new line of underwear behind Britney Spear's back since she was his wife at the time.

  7. Gays In Space then returned for round two where this time the spaceship filled with a gay crew crashed into a strange planet where they had a run in with a bunch of space lumberjack to flirt with while acting extremely stereotypically gay.

  8. Gwen Stefani then took to the stage with Eve to performs Rich Girl.

  9. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Kenan Thompson dropped in as a consumer advocate to show us a video of him beating down Ashton Kutcher, who played a store clerk of a mom and pop shop, with a baseball bat for selling an old woman a defective television set. Chris Parnell also stopped by to do another one of his lecherous raps where he started out focused on his love for Demi Moore only the song eventually evolved to be a tale about his real desire to have sex with our host instead.

  10. Southern Baptist Church had Ashton Kutcher as a white minister who wasn't received all that well when showed up as a guest speaker and all that he did was read the scripture without any spirit to his tone. Finesse Mitchell who played the church's preacher then had to coach Ashton through what it takes to preach to the black masses.

  11. Action 13 News had Ashton Kutcher as a new news anchor who caught the eye of his co-anchor, Amy Poehler, who made the weatherman, Seth Meyers, jealous when he caught her flirting with the new guy.

  12. Gwen Stefani then took to the stage alone to perform Hollaback Girl.

  13. We then got a fake ad for Nebulzitol where we watch Amy Poehler use a product to keep her husband, Will Forte's attention on her instead of March Madness.

  14. Finally, Ashton Kutcher closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Another, “meh” night that was still fun enough to watch without wanting to rip out my hair thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Push-Up Challenge even though it was one of the longer ones because of how convoluted the joke was, I wish I could have been in the room when it came to the writer's mind to hear him explain it to others. Next, I really liked Action 13 News for many of the same reason because it had me cracking up when the simple dumb joke that I thought it would be evolved into an epic tale. Finally, I was a fan of the Southern Baptist Church because it was fun to see Ashton get taught how to preach to black folks in a way got me to laugh.


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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.