My Birthday Episode: Year 31
The American The Office came out while I was living up in Canada attending the Vancouver Film School. As I’ve pointed out in the past, by this time, I was already pretty much over with scripted television due to too much disappointment cause by serialized shows getting canceled before they were allowed to get to the point where they could find their groove. Because of this, I had never heard of the British The Office but base on the feedback from the international students, it really looked like the American version wouldn’t last.
Since I was in Film School for writing, was intrigued to watch both shows to first had the difference between a hit show and a flop while both putting out practically the same exact content. I think that was the biggest problem with the first season of the American The Office, which I continued to watch for a couple of years. Between this connection with the show that made our host famous and my love of his movies like The Rocker and Super, I had no concerns about this episode.
That is, of course, until I started the pre-viewing legwork for the night. Not only did I instantly see something that I despise when seeing only thirteen segments to make up the night but this was another night where I wasn’t a huge fan of the reference material and can’t stand a couple of the reoccurring characters who made up half of the show. With that said, I probably wouldn’t have had one issue back when this episode originally aired.
First off, the show got me feeling sad when the first fifteen minutes were devoted to making fun of Anna Nicole Smith who had recently died from an overdose. Though the joke’s true target was the news for focusing on this tabloid inspiring story instead of cover what really matters to the world as someone who’s suffered from substance abused, the shrapnel that hit Smith killed any humor in the jokes that I probably would have made myself at the time.
As for the characters who killed my interest, both the Nunis and the Introverts can be fun during nights with fifteen or more segments to keep their airtime really short, but I can’t stand when they're on nights like tonight, eating up time with their one-note jokes. Other than these three segments, the rest of the night left me with very little to complain about, especially since, as I said, my disinterest in the content mentioned above is a pretty new development and could see even these three segments being for me back in the good old days when everything was fair game.
Other than that, I don’t have all that much to say about tonight’s episode, so, I’ll now wrap this one up by sharing what I saw, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with another parody of The Situation Room where once again, Darrell Hammond played Wolf Blitzer, this time to try and maintain CNN’s integrity as a news leader in spite of the endless bottom of the screen crawl that is heavily focused on the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Even Wolf’s correspondent, as played by Rainn Wilson traded in his integrity to follow and report on false leads on the Smith story as if the crawl wasn’t enough. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from NewYork…”
Rainn Wilson then officially opened the show with a monolog about his role on the show The Office before going on to insist that there were no similarities between the two shows. To him, the big difference was that the last thing he expected was to make it as an actor only to land an office-themed gig. This led him to take us backstage to show what I real television show was supposed to look like only to land in a parallel existence with each SNL cast member syncing up perfectly with the characters from our host’s show.
Danny's Song took place in a bar where the sounds of the titular song playing on the jukebox, spurned memories of unusual life-changing events for four buddies played by Rainn Wilson, Bill Hader, Will Forte, and Jason Sudeikis, who all got darker and more twisted as the enthusiasm for singing continually grew. By the end of the song, after a bit of a touching moment, it was revealed that the men were really there to rob the establishment.
This was followed by another SNL Digital Short. This one had Rainn Wilson as a corporate head who leaned on his collection of bizarre staff members for suggestions on how to cut cost within the organization. The staffers started out normal with Will Forte’s red hair being the strangest look of the bunch but as the sketch went on we learned that Rainn also employed a mountain man, a crazy man, and a giant talking turkey sub which may have led to the financial hemorrhaging that inspired the meeting in the first place.
The Nunis then returned after a long hiatus to show Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph as the two Nunis have an interview with Rainn Wilson that was supposed to land them a profile piece in Architectural Digest, only to once again have the central joke of the sketch be the weird things that the Nunis used for chairs.
Peeping Tom had Rainn Wilson as the titular peeping creep who turned out to be the only witness to a homicide. The problem then became, how he could identify the killer from a police line-up without recreating the peeping point-of-view which led Rainn to have to hide behind one of the detective’s jacket to feel a little more at home.
Arcade Fire then took to the stage to perform Intervention.
Once again, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Fred Armisen dropped by as Judge Larry Seidlin in order to comment on his loony sense of logic in the Anna Nicole Smith custody trial. Kristen Wiig returned as Amy Poehler crazy aunt to give more of her one-word movie reviews, this time with the theme being, movies nominated for this years Oscars. Andy Samberg also stopped in as Prince Henry to share his sudden disgust at the thought of witnessing the Iraqi death toll firsthand now that he’s a recruit and could technically be sent off to war.
Will Forte and Kristen Wiig returned as the Introverts. This time, instead of going to the bar for the first time once again, only to get hypersexual after a drink or two, they stayed in the office to get a bit violent and twisted with their plans while training Rainn Wilson as the new guy who was also introverted and one-hundred-percent on board.
White Possum Scream was a trailer that parodied Black Snake Moan, only this version had Kenan Thompson in the Samuel L. Jackson role while Rainn Wilson played the part that was initially performed by Brittany Murphy.
Arcade Fire then returned to the stage to perform Keep The Car Running.
Finally, Rainn Wilson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
I know I complained about the long sketch format but thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night, I actually didn’t mind this format that I usually dread. First, I loved the Danny's Song because as it played out, I also got so into it that I too started to sing along. Next, I really liked the White Possum Scream parody trailer because, to this day, I will still randomly make fun of the title Black Snake Moan. Finally, I was a fan of the opening monolog because it was impressive to see how little effort the show had to make to turn the SNL cast into a collection of The Office doppelgangers.