SNL: S31E13... HOST: NATALIE PORTMAN... DATE: MARCH 4, 2005

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My Post Birthday Episode: Year 30

 

Tonight’s episode turned out to be one of the better of the average shows from this year. Though I never felt like Natalie Portman could compete with the like of Alec Baldwin and Jason Lee when it comes to the world or comedy, she was notably better than Jon Heder, and Scarlett Johansson who I figured would all be on par with one another. I think the reason for this success is that this episode actually had a classic segment which most of these other shows lack.

I just realized that most of the times when I get wishy-washy when pointing out how I just kind of liked an episode without being able to commit to whether it was really good or bad, it’s because the night usually was genuinely fun but are never classic moments for me to sink my teeth into and laugh. I’m finding this happening more and more in these later episodes because, by this time in real time, I did watch the show but not over and over again to where I can quote every minute.

Every once in a while, a season will start, and I’ll think to my self, “Oh, this is the year that I lost track of the show,” only to then have three solid episodes in a row where I distinctly remember every sketch. What I always forget is, the fact that I always kept up with the show through Netflix and other streaming services even after I stopped watching the show with my friends as a weekly social event.

Around this time, I’d go years without watching and then marathon watch what I’ve missed during a weekend or mini-vacation. This style of watching makes it so that an episode has to do a lot more to stand out in the mind, which is why I get so excited over these newer episodes that have content that was good enough for me to remember. This episode was almost forgettable but fun until it got to the SNL Digital Short that had Natalie Portman rapping as if she were a badass behind the scene.

This, “Oh, yeah,” moment was enough to save the entire night, or at least boost the episode to be my favorite of the average show so far this year. Not only that, but I’m also excited to see Natalie’s next visit because I’m willing to be that it will be strong using this show as the momentum when coming up with the content for the night. I’m also just a fan in general and no that she eventually finds her comedic groove.

We’ll see if I’m right, but we’ll have to wait a season… or ten… damn… I didn’t realize how long it took her to come back. Oh well, we’ll still see, but until then, it’s now time to wrap this one up by switching gears to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States where Will Forte as George W. Bush addressed the public on issues of secret White House activities, mainly focusing on incidents where Bush knew more than he claimed. He also went on to discuss the incident where Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face as the result of a hunting accident. Of course with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Natalie Portman then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she’s worked a lot but is probably best known for her role in Star Wars in a bit of a disappointed tone, that may or may not have been intentional. It didn’t take long before she was interrupted by the audience and then have to tackle a bunch of questions being raised by a group of Star Wars. Chris Parnell also chimed in as his creep character in order in order to ask our host for the clothes that she wore in The Professional which was a movie she starred in as an 11-year-old kid. Once again, I was surprised because I totally forgot how often Parnell opted to joke as if he/his character was a child molester on top of being a standard creep.

  3. This was followed by a repeat of the Nelson Baby Toupees ad that has already aired a couple times this season that pitched mini hairpieces for kids.

  4. We then went to a Jamba Juice where Natalie Portman, Seth Meyers, and Horatio Sanz played amped up employees who were so hopped up on the store’s high-energy supplement that the couldn’t stop themselves from offering free booster energy shots to the customers so they too could enjoy the buzz.

  5. This was followed by a parody of Larry King Live where Fred Armisen played Larry in order to interview Kristen Wiig as Felicity Huffman who was there to promote her movie Transamerica. Following the interview, Larry had on a group of transgender people who were in the middle of their sex change procedures which was very hard for Larry King to grasp.

  6. We then got another installment of one of my least favorite series of sketches called, The Needlers where once again, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler played the couple that fights so much that it’s clear that they should get a divorce only it turns out that they just fight for the public makeup sex. This time their bickering took place at a fertility clinic with Natalie Portman as their doctor who second-guessed their choice to have kids, but by the end of the sketch they ended up naturally pregnant so that our host/their doctor end up having no say in the situation.

  7. TV Funhouse then gave us a belated Black History Month special where, actor, Dennis Haysbert showed clips from a cartoon called Token Blacks. This cartoon featured all of the “token black” cartoon characters from the ‘80s and “90s and turned out to be a complete failure but stilled earned a spot as the first Saturday morning cartoon to have the main cast made up of black people. Haysbert then went on to share the history of the Driving Daisy cartoon, and another one featured the musical group Lady Smith Black Mambazo.

  8. We then went back to the Artsy Apartment for more fun and games with the Nunis. This time Natalie Portman played the daughter Nuni who brought Jason Sudeikis home to meet her quirky Nuni parents.

  9. Fall Out Boy then took to the stage to perform Dance Dance.

  10. Once again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler gave us the news. This week, Darrell Hammond as Donald Trump disguised as Martha Stewart dropped by in order to pump his own ego while addressing his and Martha’s Apprentice-based feud after her version of the show failed. Natalie Portman also dropped by as Olympian Sasha Cohen and attempted to tell a few jokes out of the blue. Kenan Thompson wrapped things up as he introduced his new line of clothes that targeted black men in drag and came complete with ball pouch and all the other accouterments after the success of Big Mamma’s House II.

  11. Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch then revised their character from their high school produced morning talk show called Wake Up Wakefield for a sketch called, Sheldon's Bar Mitzvah. In this sketch, as the title suggests, it’s Rachel Dratch’s character Sheldon’s Bar Mitzvah where he had to watch his short-term girlfriend make out with his best friend Andy Samberg/debate partner, while Maya Rudolph did nothing but daydream about being the next Mrs. Adam Levine.

  12. This was followed by the classic SNL Digital Short that bounced back and forth between Natalie Portman having an average interview with Chris Parnell, intercut with her rapping about her real identity where she is a psychotic badass.

  13. Fall Out Boy then returned to the stage to perform Sugar, We're Going Down.

  14. We then got a repeat of the Totally Rad Smoke Detector 3000 ad from earlier in the season which was for a smoke detector that plays ‘80s hits instead of an alarm whenever a fire breaks out.

  15. Finally, Natalie Portman closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, tonight’s episode was the best of the average so far this year with the help of sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Natalie Portman’s SNL Digital Short Rap because it was a classic sketch that may have saved the entire episode from being another mundane show. Next, I really liked the Jamba Juice sketch because the extra high energy coming from everyone kept on cracking me up. Finally, I was a fan of Sheldon's Bar Mitzvah because I like when they take reoccurring characters out of their natural sketch world to show another aspect of their lives.

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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.