Welcome To The Seven-Timers Club,
Now, this is the Walken I miss. Then again, as I’ve also pointed out during almost every other Christopher Walken review, there’s a large part of me that wasn’t a fan of his past performances because I’ve seen them so many times before. Tonight, other than the Laser Cats sketch, that I watched as a clip on YouTube, back when I was obsessed with this series of sketches, I haven’t seen anything from this episode until this viewing. The unfamiliarity, allowed me to enjoy our host with fresh eyes and reminded me why I used to love his visits so much.
Not only was this episode new to me, but it was also nice to have a several season break between his appearances. These X-Timer hosts can really wear you down when they show up for several seasons in a row. In real-time it’s no big deal since even when hosts show up every year, it's not compressed to where you see some of the same faces a couple of times each month. During this challenge, I found the frequent visits from Walken were the worst because each of his earlier episodes were all pretty much the same.
His early visits would always have the lowest segment count of each season, sometimes with multiple music guests, and even then he was still only in some of the sketches. On top of this, the sketches that he did get involved with were almost always the same with every visit. He wouldn’t be in the opening, which is fine because it’s rare for a host to show up in the intro. Next, he’d sing a song for his monolog and then take a break for the fake commercial. Again, I don’t mind these because at least the songs are fun and it’s even more rare for the host to be featured in this first fake commercial.
After these three segments, there are two musical performances and the news, usually leaving five or six segments left, two of which would be cast only sketches, leaving three of four segments that feature Walken when he hosts. One of these three sketches is always The Continental, and his episodes are also usually good for at least one where Walken makes fun of himself as himself. This episode broke the mold with fifteen segments featuring our host in almost every sketch with nothing but new material.
Thanks to all of the factors mentioned above, I have to say that this was by far my favorite episodes from this year. For one, it was the only episode so far where I felt like I was giving more than just courtesy laugh. More importantly, the second reason is it reminded me why I loved Christopher Walken’s past visits, back before I burnt myself from watching his episodes so much. It’s not that I change my tune on the man as an actor, which was an actual fear as I’m growing to become a grumpy old man who’s changing his views on the world.
Hopefully, he’ll be back to join the nine-timers club. Only time, or just a little bit of research, will tell. Until I find out, it’s now time for me to wrap this one up and share what I saw, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with Hillary For President was the parody of an address from Hillary Clinton that had Amy Poehler, and Darrell Hammond portrayed to political power couple, who both sounded a bit shady while outlining their income tax returns. Of course, with this being the Clinton’s the joke was about how they made tons of money from very little work as if it were just another benefit of being an ex-President who’s in high demand. Also, with this being the opening sketch, it inevitably ended with the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Christopher Walken then officially opened the show with a monolog that started with the usual host pleasantries before he asked for questions from the audience after clearly pointing out that he had handed out index cards to several “audience members,” to ensure their questions were any good. Even with this being the case, he was very confrontational with his answers almost as if he instantly forgot that the questions were actually coming from himself. At one point he made fun of one of the “audience members” ability to read and sound natural while giving his signature Walken’s reading of the cue cards.
We then got a repeat of the annuale commercial from earlier in the season which was a woman product that made it so that they would have only one gigantic period each year as opposed to the natural monthly cycle.
Grease Rehearsals was as the title suggests, a sketch that took place during rehearsals for a high school production of Grease. In this world, Christopher Walken played the school’s music director who attempted to clean up the lyrics to Grease Lightning in an effort to make the play appropriate for a high school crowd. Instead of the song being about the mythical hot rod and its effect on the “chicks,” Walken wrote rambling lyrics about seeing dragons with Match Game host Gene Rayburn, which was a reference that none of the “kids” understood.
Eric's Farewell took place at a company’s celebration of Jason Sudeikis’s character’s last day. All was going well until Christopher Walken joined in as the titular Eric who had a stalkerish fondness for Sudeikis which led to a very awkward farewell.
Surprise Party was a sketch where Christopher Walken attempted to recruit a few friends to help him plan a surprise party for his daughter who was played by Casey Wilson. This went smoothly at first, until Walken attempted to recruit Kristen Wiig, who played a character who couldn’t handle the excitement of this party, even though was not for her. In fact, she was so excited that she ruined the surprise the second that Casey walked through the door.
Panic At The Disco then took to the stage to perform Nine In The Afternoon.
Indoor Gardening Tips from a Man Who's Very Scared Of Plants was as the title suggests, as sketch where Christopher Walken played a garden expert/TV host who was terrified of his own plant. In order to calm his nerves, he had to glue googly eyes on the plants that he was providing tips for in order to distract himself from seeing them how they really are.
This was followed by a parody of Top Chef had Christopher Walken as an inexperienced chef who struggled to keep up with the rest of the cooking show contestants when it was revealed that the challenge involved cooking with couscous, stale Peeps, and other crazy ingredients.
Panic At The Disco then returned to the stage to perform I Write Sins, Not Tragedies'.
We then got a parody of Larry King Live where Fred Armisen as Larry King who interviewed Darrell Hammond as Jimmy Carter who was there to promote his plethora of books with Larry pointing out that Carter puts out too much content for anyone to read and at times, even Carter agreed.
Finally, Christopher Walken closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
I’m going to commit to what I said up above and repeat, this was by far the best show so far this season with the help of these three sketches that contained my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Grease Rehearsals because having an older sister, I saw Grease more time than any straight male child should but it actually did win me over as a fan but also made this sketch extra funny to me. Next, I really liked Indoor Gardening Tips from a Man Who's Very Scared Of Plants not just because I like extra-long titles but every time they cut to a static shot of a plant with googly eyes, I couldn’t help but crack up. Finally, I was a fan of the Walken Family Reunion because I couldn’t imagine how weird it would be to have an entire room full of people impersonating me to my face and think that Walken is brilliant for playing along to the point where he actually added to the entertaining awkwardness.