Again, I'm Surprised By My Surprise
That A Non-Actor Turned Out To Be So Fun
First off, I went into this viewing with expectations that were all over the place. For one, I don't follow sports, but I've seen enough Super Bowls to know that I am no fan of Tom Brady both on and off the field. That said, for the most part, the sportsmen who have hosted the show in the past have more often than not been pretty fun, and with this episode jumping back up to be a sixteen segment night, I was open to the idea that this could be another surprising good one. Then again, I've also lost faith in this season.
Part of me hates the fact that for the past couple of season, about ninety-five percent of the opening sketches start out each episode with a political joke that creates a bit of a hole for the show to have to climb out of. This means for nights like tonight, which are questionable to start with, kick off each viewing by putting me in a negative mood. If the host doesn't win me back over with their monolog, that usually sets the evening's tone.
This led to a tough start to tonight because what followed the sad reminder that the nonsense that we're experiencing politically is nothing new, we got to witness our host blatantly read every single line which only added to the evidence that this would be an underwhelming show. It didn't help that the next sketch that followed the official kick off to the night, was a rerun of a fake ad that's already played a few times this season.
Thankfully, the first official sketch to feature the host was fun enough to win me over. Sure, Tom Brady's acting was still bad, but the material was much lighter and more silly than the content that made up the past couple of episode. I think tonight's show benefited from the same reason that made the Paris Hilton episode so fun which, I believe, was the fact that writing for non-actors opens up options for the writing staff.
Where a trained actor/actress like Paul Giamatti or Cameron Diaz could be harder to work with as they push for standard story structure and/or character development instead of just focusing on what gets laughs, these non-actors/actresses provide a blank slate for the creatives to write what they please. By this point, I should be more surprised that I'm still surprised by just how much and how often I like hosts who can't act their way out of a paper bag.
I'm just happy that this was a fun one because I wasn't all that excited about the potential of watching this as a seventh mediocre show in a row. Hopefully, with Johnny Knoxville and Will Ferrell being the next in the line up I shouldn't have to worry about the next two episodes, but we'll have to wait to see how that goes. Until then, it's now time to wrap this one up by sharing what I saw, as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
- This week's show started with A Message From Congressman Tom Delay where Chris Parnell as the House Majority Leader attempted to explain how he'd use any means necessary, and included violent clips from movies to highlight how far he has to ensure the full backing of President George W.'s presidential agenda even if said agenda goes against his own beliefs. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York...”
- Tom Brady then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he may not be an actor but, as an athlete, he was fully aware of what was required to perform for a live audience. He then started to sing a song only to quickly be joined by about half the cast who attempted to stop our host from embarrassing himself. This didn't stop Brady who continued to sing his playful song and was good enough that the cast on stage eventually gave in and started to sing along.
- This was followed by another repeat of the Dr. Porkenheimer's Boner Juice commercial from earlier in the season which was pretty much just a liquid Viagra with a silly name.
- Touchdown took us to a carnival where Tom Brady played an average guy on the midway who tried time after time to win a teddy bear for his wife, Maya Rudolph, by playing a carnie game where he had to throw a football through a small hole. As he grew more and more frustrated with each missed throw, we got to witness the most uncoordinated carnival visitors accomplish the challenge with ease.
- This was followed by a parody of Dr. Phil where Darrell Hammond as the titular show host set out to discuss the topic of Emotional Intelligence, only to be blown away by just how clueless Tom Brady was when trying to read the on-the-sleeve emotions being shared by Rachel Dratch, who play the meatheads depressed wife.
- The Falconer then returned for another installment that this time, led to a Vice-Versa situation where, after arguing to his bird about who has a better life, while The Falconer was stuck once again, the trapped man and his pet were struck by lightning, causing them to switch who was who. At first, it seemed like The Falconer would get his moment to shine as a free bird, until Tom Brady came along with a backpack full of Snickers which our hero couldn't enjoy while stuck in the bird form but the bird as a human had a field day while eating his favorite treat.
- TV Funhouse then gave us a parody of a Sexual Harassment And You, employee training tape that pretty much highlighted how sexual harassment is fine as long as you're good looking enough to pull it off. This was shown through Fred Armisen who kept getting accused of being a creep even though he wasn't even being offensive while Tom Brady was able to get away with murder and the girl all just let it go.
- We then got a fake ad for Tom Brady's Falafel City which was the quarterback's attempt to join the ranks of Derek Jeter, Al Sharpton, and Donald Trump who also had their own self-titled, SNL fake restaurants.
- Beck then took to the stage to perform E-Pro.
- Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Martin Short dropped in as his character Jiminy Glick to announce the latest volume of Best Of Jiminy Glick DVDs that seemed to be scraping the bottom of the barrel just to get a buck. We also got to see a clip that featured a fake interview of Will Forte as Lorne Michaels from 1975, since this fictional Jiminy character claimed to be have had a show that went back over thirty years.
- Amy Poehler's spastic Kaitlin character returned with Horatio Sanz as her step-dad Rick. This week, the two were at home getting ready to attend Uncle Tom Brady's wedding where we learned during a surprise visit that he was having second thoughts about giving up his single life, only to have Kaitlin win him back with her enthusiastic childish views on the subject.
- This was followed by a parody of Behind The Music: The Super Bowl Shuffle where we got to see the downward spiral of the one-hit-wonder collection of Chicago Bears as they attempted to create a follow-up hit to their novelty Super Bowl song.
- Beck then returned to the stage to perform Girl.
- The Oak Room had Maya Rudolph as an alcoholic old-timey singer who kept experiencing pratfalls while drunkenly trying to pull off an awkward performance on the stage.
- Why Brady? took place backstage and had Tom Brady have a run in with Seth Meyers as Peyton Manning, Finesse Mitchell as Donovan McNabb, and Kenan as McNabb's mom who all wanted to know why Brady was chosen to host over them.
- Finally, Tom Brady closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Again, I hate Tom Brady and sports in general, but I won't deny that none of that matters because thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night, this was the best episode in quite some time. First, I loved the parody of Behind The Music: The Super Bowl Shuffle because I was at just the right age when the real song came out that I thought it was extra hilarious because I wasn't able to tell whether or not it was supposed to be taken seriously or if it was supposed to be a joke. Next, I really liked the Touchdown sketch because it's one of those sketches that was good enough to remind me that I actually have watched this season before, which is kind of sad since there have only been a handful of sketches from this year that have been good enough to remain in my head. Finally, I was a fan of this week's The Falconer because I always love me a Vice-Versa reference.