Finally, Another Episode With Both
Energy And An Edge!!!
First off, tonight felt like almost the exact episode that I was expecting to see last season when Johnny Knoxville was the host of the show. It was the first show that I've seen in quite a while that actually felt like it had some edge instead of just handing out close to the line not to cross. Sure, there have been a few moments where two guys would make out in order to get the audience to gasp but they never seemed to go any deeper than surface level shock value-based jokes.
When I say that tonight's episode went deeper, keep in mind, I don't mean in an intellectual way, no, it went deeper in the way they kept piling on and continued past points that were starting to feel like the shows new limit. In a couple of reviews from the past year, I wondered if the heavy UBC cast was to blame with their quirky/surreal/intellectual/alt-comedy style not meshing well with the mainstream dumbed-down network needs. I felt this might be why I loved so many concepts and characters but still found there was a lack of laughs.
This episode left me to wonder if it marks the night that the networks no longer feared the backlash of the Janet Jackson nipple incident that I completely forget was still influential during this time period. I think I get confused because where “Nipplegate” had network TV shaking in their boots, the cable channels that I usually watched, like Comedy Central, seemed to double down on their efforts to offend since they didn't live by the same FCC rules. This would explain why most of last year felt like it missed the mark while being very close the entire time.
Tonight just felt like the shackles had dropped, I mean, at one point, Jason Lee clearly receives oral sex from a bird, after hosting a show where the entire cast was hopped up on meth. As I said, I was expecting the no fucks given jokes from Johnny Knoxville if he wasn't trying to appease the mainstream.
This is interesting because with both having a background in the skateboarding world, it's interesting how their humor and comedic styles seem to be on the same exact page. The major difference being that Jason Lee had just landed a mainstream success with My Name Is Earl, which might be why he was able to have such a fuck-it attitude towards any who might complain about the increase in outrageousness that almost seemed to come out of nowhere.
Hopefully, this is a sign of a real change, and not just because I want to see more offensive material but because I find that when funny people have to restrict themselves in any way it can ruin the creative process. It makes it so that people avoid interesting ideas altogether, rather than find a compelling way to tackle a touchy subject why both making a point and generating laughter at the same time, even if it also means an increase in fart and dick jokes as well.
We'll see if the rest of the season follows suit but until then, it's time to wrap this one up by sharing what I saw, as I give you...
The Wicker Breakdown:
- This week's show started with yet another parody of Hardball where once again Darrell Hammond played Chris Matthews this time to berate several of his usual guest over the Republican Party's disarray over several Republican scandals that were going on at this time. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York...”
- Jason Lee then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was a pro-skateboarder before he entered the world of acting before sharing a pre-recorded video of him and the male cast member from the show while out on an afternoon skateboarding excursion, where even Lorne Michaels got involved.
- This was followed by a fake ad for J.J. Casuals where Andy Samberg played, singer, Jack Johnson to pitch a pair of shoes that looked like real feet for the casual customer who preferred to walk around barefoot but needed some extra protection.
- We then got to watch the debut of the cable access sketch called Good Morning Meth! For this show, Jason Lee played the show's host with Amy Poehler as his sidekick for this 24/7 talk show marathon where they and their guest quickly started to freak out as they tried to stay cool while all hopped up on meth.
- The Falconer then returned to make a very old reference when they had Jason Lee as a wealthy land developer who made an Indecent Proposal with the Falconer by offering him one-million dollars for one night with his flying pet. This was a tempting deal because it meant that the Falconer and his bird would be able to afford a huge chunk of the forest where the two could continue to live. When all was said and done The Falconer gives in to Lee's plan... well... the Falcon left with Lee before the Falconer had a chance to respond. This was followed by a crazy sex scene between Lee and the Falcon
- We then got a fake ad for Thomas And Dobbins, an investment firm where Finesse Mitchell played a broker who offered investment advice for our society's less-than-fortunate investors where, rather than suggest his clients invest wisely, he suggests things like playing the lottery or investing in collectible plates.
- The Soaking Wet Killer was the parody of a generic horror film where Jason Sudeikis and Kristin Wiig played a couple who seem oblivious to the fact that the hitchhiker they picked up with the titular serial killer, even though, Jason Lee, the hitchhiking killer in question, was soaking wet while stories of his crimes played out on the car's radio. They never ended up catching on as they shared way too much information to Jason who asked them to drop him off after he learned their house, being watched by their niece was the perfect match to his murderous MO. At first, it felt a little too dark to end of this note but then we learned that this niece had her monster of a boyfriend with her along with the pack of Pit Bulls.
- Refurbishments was a parody of an old school PBS-style home repair show where Chris Parnell and Rachel Dratch played a pair of hosts who dropped by Jason Lee's workshop to get a few pointers on some home repair work. It turned out that Lee's area of expertise involved working with caulk which of course led to nothing but caulk talk between both hosts and their guest.
- Foo Fighters then took to the stage to perform DOA.
- Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Fred Armisen played the French Ministry Of The Interior to check in via satellite and announce that France was ready to surrender to the youth of the country who had been rioting over the past couple weeks. Finesse Michelle and Kenan Thompson then returned as Donovan McNabb and his mother, Wilma in order to discuss a recent controversy involving Terrell Owens where he bashed his own team over a disagreement that led to a loss. Tina and Amy then used Barbies to re-enact the Carolina Panthers cheerleader scandal. Andy Samberg then wrapped things up by playing an eighteen-year-old who was recently elected the mayor of a small town in Michigan and shared his plans for a bunch of new laws that mainly focused on things that would benefit him personally like how girls can not reject the mayor's invitation to the prom.
- Butt Pregnancy took place at a baby shower where the guests of a pregnant Amy Poehler were caught off guard when she entered the room with no baby bump on her belly which we quickly found out was because she was going to give birth to a butt baby.
- 'Stachin' was a panel talk show sketch where the host and the guest discussed the mustache lifestyle, keeping in mind that this was at a time before mustaches were looked at as being hip, or at least this was the point where more people started to wear them for what seemed to be novelty purposes until the look actually caught on..
- Foo Fighters then returned to the stage to perform Best Of You.
- We then got a fake ad for American Taser where our host, along with several members of the cast tased each other one after another, switching to be the next pitch person to highlight the company's claim that there's a taser for everyone and also for every occasion.
- Finally, Jason Lee closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Not only does this show make five solid episodes in a row, thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments, this was my favorite episode in quite some time. First, I loved the Indecent Proposal II: The Falconer parody because, though it was an old reference even for the time, it was still crazy to see how far they got with the Jason Lee sex scene with the falcon. Next, I really like the Refurbishments sketch because as immature as it is, if we're talking pure laughs, all of the caulk jokes had me laughing harder than I have in a while. Finally, I was a fan of the Butt Pregnancy sketch because I recently listened to a podcast that made a butt baby joke which had me laughing because I haven't heard that word pairing in such a long time making the silliness of the concept still fresh in my mind making it easier for me to laugh out loud.