SNL: S31E03... HOST: CATHERINE ZETA-JONES... DATE: OCTOBER 22, 2005

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or...

A Three In A Row Solid Start To A Season

 

Catherine Zeta-Jones is another one of these hosts who I could have sworn I was more familiar with her work considering how familiar I am with her name, only to find when perusing her resume, that I've only seen two of her films. To make things worse, I didn't even realize that she was in the two movies in question. High Fidelity being one and The Terminal being the other. These are both films that I liked but only watched once, so for all I know she could have just dropped for some cameo work.

That said, I trust her as an actress and am also trusting this season, so I went into this viewing expecting another fun one. Though my expectation were correct, this episode was “good for a non-comedic actress” that will land somewhere in the middle on my lists. I can't think of any issues other than some of the sketches referenced Zeta-Jones's work which, as I just pointed out, is content I'm unfamiliar with leaving me only the surface level joke to laugh out.

Other than that, I was impressed by tonight's host because, thanks to my unfamiliarity, I was always under the impression that she was more stuffy and uptight than the silly goofball that I witnessed tonight. Granted, I'm not talking Jim Carrey's bouncing off the walls brand of goofiness but she definitely was more fun than I thought.

Even as I expected a pretty good I was also expecting a lot more parodies of melodramatic content like soap opera spoofs or other sketch-styles that, aside from a joke or two, barely qualify as comedy. I also liked how, other than the singing wedding vow sketch where Will Forte really got in there while spanking our host's ass, they avoided giving Zeta-Jones the hot host treatment where good-looking hosts can be treated like props so that the “loser comedians” can cop a feel.

Even in this spanking scene, Zeta-Jones seemed more into than Will as she held her pose past the director yelled cut, causing a confused looking Forte to continue spanking all the way into the commercial. In this case, at least to me, based on both adults actions it came across as more of a shoulder-shrugging “why not” reaction than the move of a lecherous perv.

I hope this doesn't lead to a repeat of last season where I liked each of the first three episodes better than the last one which got me excited for the rest of the year only to have the wheels for off at episode number four... wait... I just double checked, last season, the wheels fell off after episode number two, I just liked the host of episode number three. With that said, I think this season is safe from falling into the same trap.

Oh well, we'll have to wait and see, and in order to do so, I most wrap this review up by shifting gears to share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with another parody of Special Report where Darrell Hammond as Brit Hume through to a segment that had Will Forte as President George W. Bush for another Q&A session only this time the people asking the questions were a selection of soldiers who were connected via satellite for Iraq. Unlike last time, however, Bush was way less timid with his answers because the questions being as were so obviously scripted that clear to see that they were reading every word that came out of their mouths. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York...”

  2. Catherine Zeta-Jones then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she was nervous to host because she didn't feel quite ready to make herself look like a fool on live television. These nerves didn't last long as our host transitioned into a song called They Can't Take My Oscar Away while performing a tap routine that proved the last thing she had to worry about was a lack of confidence.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for The Butt Cancer Treatment Center where Jason Sudeikis played a patient who used gross euphemisms to describe his latest treatment.

  4. We then got a parody of Newsnight With Aaron Brown where Darrell Hammond played the titular host to do a satellite interview with Catherine Zeta-Jones as a reporter who was stuck in the ruins of Pashwan and thanks to all of the destruction, personal hygiene issues were clearly starting to take its toll as the sketch ran through several days using somewhat of a montage technique.

  5. Dancer Party took place in a fancy apartment where Seth Meyers played Catherine Zeta-Jones's boyfriend who felt very uncomfortable for being the only straight-laced person in the room that was filled with Bob Fosse-style dancers who all fought for the spotlight with their quirky dancer ways.

  6. Franz Ferdinand then took to the stage to perform Do You Want To.

  7. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Jason Sudeikis played a high school football coach who was oblivious to the fact that his school no longer had a team to coach after pulling themselves from the league after an extremely embarrassing defeat. The voice of Don Pardo then hit on Amy and Tina, before Fred Armisen introduced a blind prop-comic who stubble through his set while struggling to find his props. The news then wrapped up with a quick note that former Not Ready For Prime Time Player, Charles Rocket had just passed away.

  8. Italian Hotel had Bill Hader as the hotel owner who along with his staff, made up of Catherine Zeta-Jones and a couple cast members who only knew how to say American pop culture references while interacting with their American guests while clearing making fun of them whenever they spoke Italian.

  9. This was followed by a parody of Access Hollywood where Sharon Stone attempted to share her Farm Aid-style song for the victims of Hurricane Katrina called Feed The Wet Once, only the celebrity turnout to get involved was absolutely pathetic.

  10. Creighton Boys School took place in the teacher's lounge where Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch played language teachers who were jealous about the popularity of Catherine Zeta-Jones who played the school's new French teacher that stole all the boys in the school after they swap classes just because of her looks.

  11. Franz Ferdinand the returned to the stage to perform Take Me Out.

  12. Musical Vows had Catherine Zeta-Jones and Will Forte and a bride and groom who opted to sing their vows with lyrics that got rather raunchy as they shared the tale of their love through a song that ended with them spanking one another as the song hit its crescendo.

  13. This was followed by a repeat of the Morgan Stanley commercial from earlier in the season where Will Forte played the CEO stockbroker who yelled at Amy Poehler about the money she was wasting while not doing well in school because her dad, Fred Armisen, was too passive to deal with the issue himself.

  14. Schatzki's Deli brought back Rachel Dratch and Seth Meyers as the Grandfather/Grandson team of producers who met with Amy Poehler and Catherine Zeta-Jones at a deli to pitch the movies each man wanted to produce that both had themes and story-lines that were polar opposites of one another.

  15. Finally, Catherine Zeta-Jones closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

There nothing better than a three solid shows in a row start to a year, which is what we have right here, with this episode being really fun thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Butt Cancer Treatment Center because as serious as cancer may be, every single time anyone said: “Butt Cancer” I could stop myself from laughing out loud. Next, I really liked the Schatzki's Deli sketch because even though I've yet to be a fan of this series of sketches as a whole, Rachel Dratch as the grandfather never fails to crack me up. Finally, I was a fan of Newsnight With Aaron Brown because it was fun to see Catherine Zeta-Jones ugly herself up in an effort to get some laugh highlighting her silly side that I mentioned up above.

 
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Watch More From Catherine Zeta-Jones:

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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.