SNL: S34E17... HOST: DWAYNE JOHNSON... DATE: MARCH 7, 2009

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or...

I Do Smell What The Rock Is Cooking,

And This Time I Sensed A Hint Of Poop

 

First off, let me remind you that I make no claims to be an SNL expert, like many of the other archive sites that are out there. I’m just a lifelong fan of this show that is only six months older than I am. Any review where I talk about anything that has to do with any of the behind-the-scenes efforts is purely my own guesswork based on what I’ve seen on the screen and not what I know through research. I mention this because this season seems to be turning into a weak one filled with hosts who seem to lack some of the enthusiasm from having to reschedule to this year thanks to last years strike.

I mentioned earlier how this might be the case when I saw that there were twenty-two episodes instead of the standard twenty. Tonight’s episode just solidified this as a theory since The Rock was supposed to host the very first show that was canceled by the strike. This leads me to believe that he wasn’t in the same headspace as he may have been during the promotional tour for whatever movie he was hawking at the time of the canceled show.

The other clues that this might be the case is how The Rock was only featured in half of the segments throughout the night, and half of those sketches didn’t feel all that host specific, as if the writers just dusted off some evergreen content to consider it a night. It would be one thing if this were just an off episode with some unknown host but last night show, hosted by a rebooked Alec Baldwin suffered from the same exact issues, with The Jonas Brothers staring in as many segments as the host, and even then Baldwin was still in only half of the sketches after that.

This is too bad because I thought for sure that it would be impossible for me to not like an episode hosted by The Rock, yet here we are. With all that said, lets looking into my viewing experience to see if we can find where the show went wrong.

Though the first sketch was more political based humor that I’m generally not a huge fan of, tonight’s show opener was funny enough that I didn’t mind which made me even more excited about what was to follow in the episode that I’ve never seen featuring one of my favorite hosts. The opening monolog added more positive signs as well while also providing evidence why they thought The Rock could sing when they cast in in Moana. So we’re now at two for two for the night.

The MacGruber sketch that followed was fun but had no host involvement making me feel that this would be a better fit for another night with a weaker guest since this sketch series, by default, always takes up three segments of the night. The Rock Obama was great and was when I knew for sure that I’ve never seen this episode before because I always thought The Rock Obama would have been a brilliant sketch only to just now find out that it was already done just weeks after Obama moved into The White House.

MacGruber then returned which again was fun but took time away from The Rock with is a huge mistake to me, especially when they followed it up with a sequel to fake behind-the-scenes footage of an Activia ad where everyone shits themselves that wasn’t all that funny during round one. The sketch that followed had The Rock singing again in a sketch that was more interesting than funny as he and Fred Armisen shared through their musical words several sad truths about living in Hawaii. Granted, I’ve only been there once, but I have family from Kauai, and I remember them talking about this stuff when they would visit the mainland.

We then got more MacGruber where again, I was entertained but missing this week’s host especially since this was followed by a musical guest who didn’t catch my attention and the news which was the news as usual. Actually, this week’s Weekend Update was sort of fun because it was filled with cameo visits, but aside from the surprise from seeing unexpected stars, most of the actual content was insignificant thanks to the passing of time.

The Game Time sketch played with a theme that I love with Bill Hader playing an obvious alien trying to pass himself off as a human, but since I don’t follow sports it seemed too vague to be a direct parody of a real sports show and not funny enough to not be based off referential material. The Apprentice parody just bored me, because I think I’m over any jokes about Trump because I’m burnt out on the man in general, and once again, I wasn’t all that impressed with the second song from the band. I think the Lighthouse Date sketch that ended the night might have been the best one, but even this sketch felt like it was missing something. Then again, that something that it was missing may have been content support from the rest of the night.

By the time The Rock said his good nights, I was not only fully ready for the episode to be over but I was starting to fear tomorrow’s show that will be hosted by another favorite of mine, Tracy Morgan. I have no idea how they could mess Tracy up, but that’s the same way I felt about The Rock, so we’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

Until then, it’s now time for me to wrap this one up and in order to do so I’ll now delve into more details as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The Secretary Of The Treasury where Will Forte played Timothy Geithner who started out passing the blame of the economic crisis on the Bush administration. He then shared that the banks were to blame with a brief explanation why. He then went on to share his solution to set aside four-hundred-twenty-billion-dollars to give to the first person to contact him with a solution. After that, he broke down what would happen in case of a tie which even included a chart. Several citizens then called in, each seeming to have ideas that Geithner has never thought of and some even swindled him out of a few bucks. Even the Nigerian prince got involved which then led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Dwayne Johnson then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was excited to host for the third time, which wasn’t impressive as joining The Five-Timers club but he was still happy with the honor. He then went on to share how he started out hosting as a wrestler and is now hosting as an actor before he attempted to prove he was still tough with a well-choreographed song and dance about just how tough he was. This song had a bit of a Broadway/Disney sound that made The Rock seem extra effeminate compared to the words being sung.

  3. MacGruber then returned for another three-segment series, that wasn’t a Pepsi commercial this time, but this first one installment was almost an exact repeat of the first of the Pepsi MacGruber ads where we learned that Richard Dean Anderson as the actual MacGyver was the new sidekick alongside Kristen Wiig. Only this time there was a flashback scene where we learned that MacGyver was MacGruber’s dad, right before the signature explosion ended the sketch.

  4. The Rock Obama was as the title suggest a sketch where The Rock played a hybrid of himself and newly elected President Barack Obama in kind of a parody of The Incredible Hulk. This happened as Seth Meyers as Rahm Emanuel imagined Obama having this power during a White House meeting between our President and several Republicans form the Senate. The Rock Obama was the President we wanted to see, almost the Democratic version of Trump, strong-arming his policies into effect even if nobody agreed.

  5. MacGruber then returned for round two where this time our fake TV hero and MacGyver were working together like happily reunited father and son team until we learned that MacGyver was “a dick” who abandoned son when he was really young. MacGyver tried to explain himself, only to be cut off by the exploding bomb.

  6. This was followed by another parody of another Activia Commercial Shoot where once again Kristen Wiig played Jamie Lee Curtis who was embarrassed by her original commercial at first but then didn’t seem to mind the fact that Activia made her poop her pants yet again. In fact, it turned out that she actually enjoyed it, just like last time. This version also featured Abbey Elliott who wasn’t as thrill about the mess she was leaving in her own pants. That, and Jason Sudeikis, as the yogurt eating director also kept pooping himself.

  7. We then went to a Hawaiian Bar where The Rock and Fred Armisen played two Hawaiian musicians who mocked tourist in search of an authentic island experience. If they didn’t offend their guest, they bummed them out with depressing truths about living on an “island paradise.

  8. MacGruber then returned for round number three where this time our fake TV hero refused to talk to his dad and vice versa in an argument that built to MacGruber swearing that he’d take a dump on his MacGyver’s ashes once he’s dead, but once again they all die due to an explosion. After the explosion, we got to see the future where MacGruber made his threat come true, only to blow up once again.

  9. Ray LaMontagne then took to the stage to perform You Are The Best Thing.

  10. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kenan Thompson played the Republican Party President, Michael Steele so that he could make excuses for his apology to Rush Limbaugh for referring to the radio host as an “entertainer” whose show can be “incendiary.” Throughout his segment, Steele kept getting shocked if he acted too black or said anything out of line as if the Republicans now had him entirely under control. Andy Samberg also returned as the comic strip character Cathy to discuss losing the sexiest cartoon character of all time to Jessica Rabbit. While making dumb comic books jokes, her husband Irving, played by Justin Timberlake, joined the scene only to run off with Jessica Rabbit, as portrayed by Jessica Biel. Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte then revised their characters from the fake Jon Bovi band to share that they feel no shame for being a Bon Jovi Opposite Band before sharing a couple of their opposite songs. (Clip 2)

  11. Game Time With Dave And Greg was the parody of a sports talk show where The Rock played Dave and rather than talk about sports had to spend most of the show trying to convince the callers that his sidekick Greg, played by Bill Hader wasn’t an alien. Greg didn’t help at all because he kept staring at the camera like a crazy person, and had an alien sound to his voice whenever he’d say a wacky collection of words which didn’t help his case. Along with other blatant evidence, it was clear that Greg was from space when he started to melt when a glass of water was spilled into his lap, which for some reason, also trigger Greg’s growing of unhuman wings.

  12. We then got a parody of an Apprentice Commercial Shoot where Darrell Hammond played Donald Trump to promote his latest celebrity version of the show, allowing the cast to impersonate the various celebrity contestants.

  13. Ray LaMontagne then returned to the stage to perform Trouble.

  14. Lighthouse Date had The Rock as a guy who lives in a lighthouse who had Kristen Wiig over for a date. At one point, in an effort to set the mood The Rock dimmed down the lights leading to a disaster out at sea.

  15. Finally, Dwayne Johnson closed the show by thanking the audience and saying their goodnights.

Two bummer shows in a row featuring hosts who I usually love, but at least tonight was sort of okay thanks to these sketches that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Rock Obama because I always felt that The Rock would make an excellent Obama, so it was fun to see that SNL beat me to the punch. Next, I really liked the Lighthouse Date sketch not only because the idea of The Rock living in a lighthouse was funny to me, but I also like the idea that he lived up with the actual light and not down in the lighthouse home. Next, I really liked the Hawaiian Bar sketch because I found it to be an interesting way to share the dark truth about living on a tropical island even though it didn’t really lead to many laughs.

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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.