SNL: S34E08... HOST: PAUL RUDD... DATE: NOVEMBER 15, 2008

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The Elections Are Over,

Back To The Fun And The Games!!!

 

With Clueless being one of my all-time favorite films, I became a fan of Paul Rudd as soon as I became aware of his career. Based on this role alone, I felt that he was going to be the love interest to every chick flick comedy for the rest of my life. This would have been fine because he’s got the look and seems genuinely nice enough that I find it impossible to root against him. Then when he started to show up in straight up comedies and he was able to hold his own he became an actor whose work I actively sought out.

The fact that I’m such a fan led me to be pretty confident about this viewing. My only concerns were that this has been a bit of a just barely better than average season and that he was a first-time host, which has led to fifty/fifty results from most hosts that I really like. More often than not, my hopes are too high for round one, but then I’m almost always blown away by their second appearance when they are more comfortable and familiar with the show.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait for round two to enjoy the performance from this funny host. Though I wouldn’t say that this was the most hilarious show that I’ve ever seen, the overall quality was good enough that there wasn’t a point during the program where I didn’t feel entertained. There wasn’t a single sketch that I just couldn’t wait to be over, no parody of shows that I never watched, no reoccurring characters that I never understood there popularity, and even the opening political sketch was quick and to the point, so I wasn’t zoned out for the start of the episode.

I seriously think that the quick intro and a solid first official sketch is a recipe that will get me to like an entire night as I look start to look for evidence that the show is actually good instead of proof as to why it took so many sketches for me to stop feeling zoned out and/or disappointed. This is why most of my reviews start out talking about how the show was pretty good and almost always have to follow my praise with a BUT before I explain my thoughts during the segments that left me bored. If said segments come during the middle of the show, more often than not I’ll glance past them, but when the show starts the show in a less impressive tone, I can’t help but get hung up on my first impression of the episode.

This episode also made me laugh during its several attempts to promise that the show would still be good minus all of the crazy content being generated by this year's insane election cycle that landed Obama in The White House. Personally, I feel, unless you're watching the show live, the shows are much better during non-election years, so I’m excited to see how the rest of this year plays out, especially since this appears to be the episode where the cast and the crew worked out any leftover summer vacation based bugs.

With that, I’m going to wrap this one up so that I can spend the rest of the day watching TV with my dying dog. In order to do so, I will now give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The Vice President-Elect Of The United States that featured Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden who made a promise to America that he will be just as entertaining as Sarah Palin would have been as VP because he’s got a wacky side to himself as well. Of course, with this being the opening sketch this promise built up to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Paul Rudd then officially opened the show with a monolog where he played off the promising theme of the opening sketch and promised that the show will still be just as good now that the elections are over as if the election-based content was actually a real treat.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Sproingo which was a new supplement for erectile dysfunction that makes a comedic springy sound to let users know that it’s working.

  4. We then got introduced to the extremely affectionate Vogelcheck Family as we watched Paul Rudd, Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader all greet one another with open arms and big sloppy wet kisses upon Rudd’s arrival home for the holidays. To make things more awkward, Rudd brought along his college roommate, Andy Samberg, who struggled to grasp the situation that he found himself in, but then found himself making out with the family as well by the time the sketch was done.

  5. Scared Straight then returned for another installment of this series of parodies with Kenan Thompson as a hardcore inmate who’s hired to scare kids out of getting in trouble because, theoretically, they’d end up too scared of ending up in jail. This time Kenan attempted to scare Paul Rudd, Andy Samberg, and Bill Hader who played this week’s batch of young punks. As usual, Kenan used movie description while trying to talk up his bad-ass self.

  6. The was followed by another SNL Digital Short called Everyone Is A Critic that had Paul Rudd and Andy Samberg as themselves talking in Paul Rudd’s dressing room when they came up with a random plan to paint one another in the nude. They then attempted to auction off their “masterpieces” thinking who wouldn’t want celebrity art featuring celebrity models, only to witness the bidder freak out so extremely over their disgust from the paintings that they started to kill themselves.

  7. Songwriters Showcase had Paul Rudd and Kristen Wiig as a husband and wife singer-songwriting team who gave a terrible performance of Choctaw Ridge for an open mic night event at a local redneck bar.

  8. Road Trip took us out to the bar for another round of our host along with Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, and Bill Hader sharing increasingly crazy stories in between group singing the chorus to the song Garden Party by Ricky Nelson while out on the open road. The song ended on a Pulp Fiction note when Sudeikis accidentally shoots Hader in the head after finding a gun in the glove box.

  9. Beyonce then took to the stage to perform If I Were a Boy.

  10. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news with Amy Poehler still out on pregnancy leave. This week, Bobby Moynihan dropped by as an extra effeminate Snagglepuss to express his outrage over the votes being cast against Proposition 8. At one point during the Snagglepuss segment, Will Forte took a moment to check in as the feminine feline’s gay lover, The Great Gazoo. Justin Timberlake also made a surprise visit to share that he wouldn’t be hosting next week like initially planned. He then gave a rundown of the “formulaic/unoriginal” content that would have made up the episode. Sadly, this breakdown was funny but spot on about how formulaic the show has grown to become, or at least the formula for this era. (Clip 2)

  11. This was followed by the classic Beyonce Video parody where Justin Timberlake, Bobby Moynihan, and Andy Samberg played the female background dancers for a shot by shot remake of Beyonce’s Single Ladies music video.

  12. Suicide Jumper had Will Forte and Bill Hader as two cops who do a terrible job at trying to talk Paul Rudd off the ledge that he was threatening to jump off of. All Forte did was say “don’t” over and over again to the point where Rudd started yelling that the monotoned “don’ts” were driving him to want to jump even more. This is when Hader stepped in and also fail with his pitiful attempt to make personalized small talk that led Rudd to jump by the end. This led to one more quick joke where the cops claimed that they did do their job considering there’s no longer a jumper on the ledge.

  13. Beyonce then returned to the stage to perform Single Ladies.

  14. Proposition 8 had Paul Rudd, and Bill Hader played a pair of mechanics who thought that the gay rights parade going on outside their establishment was lame. To prove that this opinion didn’t stem from them being homophobic the two jokingly decided to get married and move in together to highlight how silly it looked to them. The proposal came after a few examples that highlighted other gay activities that they often take part in even though they claim not to be gay.

  15. Clearing The Air had Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, and Fred Armisen as three buddies who all have a date with the same girl and make an attempt to clear the air of their predicament only to end up agreeing to secretly keep things the same exact way while making it sound like the issue has been solved.

  16. Finally, Paul Rudd closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I don’t know if you can tell from what I wrote up above, but this is my favorite episode so far this year with the help of sketched like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First I loved Beyonce And The Boys Performing Single Ladies because even though I’ve seen this sketch many times before, I still can’t help but laugh every time I look at these guys and their outfits inspired by the real music video. Next, I really liked this week’s SNL Digital Short: Everyone Is A Critic because I like how it went from being extremely silly and awkward to over the top and violent so quick and out of the blue that I was entertained by my jarred reaction to the fiction events. Finally, I was a fan of Songwriters Showcase because I found it to be funny but mainly I just liked the chemistry between Paul Rudd and Kristen Wiig.

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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.