SNL: S34E21... HOST: JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE... DATE: MAY 9, 2009

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A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Of Mediocrity

 

I don’t really have to breakdown this episode since Justine Timberlake already pretty much did, back when he shared how tonight would play out when he was a guest on the news the week before he was forced to cancel his last visit due to a scheduling conflict. His summary may not have been one-hundred percent accurate, but if you want to take a look at this link, you’ll see that he was pretty damn close, which is disappointing considering the premise of the joke was that his episode wouldn’t have been missed since it was so formulaic and repetitive.

This joke from the past turned into a pet peeve when it at least seemed like it could be real based on my pre-viewing legwork, especially considering the fact that there are also so few segments to make up tonight’s episode. Again, I don’t mind this type of self-effacing joke when it actually is ironic, or humble, but there is nothing I hate more than a host making a joke about how the night’s not going to be that good that is then followed by a night filled with mediocre content.

With this being Justin’s third visit, I’ve already shared my connection with this host, but for those of you just discovering this site, allow me to sum it up real quick. Though I’ve never been a huge fan of our host’s music, thanks to his involvement with both SNL and the movie Southland Tales which I reviewed fifty-two times as part of another challenge, it turns out, I’m a fan of his acting work. Keep that in mind when thinking about the complaint that I made above since this wouldn’t be a typical episode for me to dread if it were to take place any other season.

Alright, at this point, I’ve yet to view the episode so let see whether or not all of my worrying was worth the effort. The opening sketch was another political one, but at least it was somewhat funny being that the jokes were funny enough to avoid having it feel like I was watching real political coverage and not a parody/sketch. That said, the topic was the bank bailout, which is fun in the way that it bashed the banks but depressing considering how our country’s leadership has still failed us in stopping the banks from committing fraud whenever they want with very few citizen protecting hurdles in their way.

Though I would have been extremely disappointed if Justin would have jumped into his song and dance if he was singing one of his own songs, the fact that the song was show-themed, about how much he loved to host, I felt it counteracted my pet peeve from Timberlake’s prediction of mediocrity from his news visit. This, at least temporarily, lightened my outlook of this episode.

While in a lighter mood, I liked the fake ad for the device that translated mother’s rambling descriptions of celebrities. That said, considering the fact that the first celebrity mentioned was Kiefer Sutherland, who would have already been famous by the time the “mom” would’ve been four, made the humor of the sketch feel more hackney than it might’ve with references to celebrities who an actual kid might’ve known and may have been more obscure to an adult viewers.

The Target sketch was as repetitive as Justin Warned during his news visit, but thankfully this is a character that I like enough that I don’t mind “more of the same” when it comes to this series of sketches. The next sketch with the Immigrants cute than funny with Justin playing his own great-great-grandfather describing Justin’s obscene success while using old-timey terms amongst all the other immigrants who sought freedom over fame.

I was disappointed by the follow-up to Dick In A Box because as I’ve pointed out, I’m not a huge fan of sketches that get too sexual, unless they get to the point were they’re preposterous. I don’t want to hear a song about two close friends fucking each other’s moms, even if I used to be more accepting of this brand of humor. I did however like the follow-up installment of Justin’s mascot themed sketches but that’s could just be my love or mascot based humor.

I wasn’t all that interested in Ciara which caused me to be extra zoned out during the news, but I have a feeling that I would have zoned out, either way, considering that this installment wasn’t good enough to win my attention back. This is too bad because other than the very first installment, I’ve yet to like any of the follow-ups to The Barry Gibb Show series of sketches. Since this installment failed to get my attention back, I was left in a zoned out state for the pirate sketch that followed that did at least seem like it was fun but a terrible way to end the night since all we had left was Ciara’s second song and Timberlake’s goodnights.

Now that I’ve seen the entire episode, I don’t think I would have liked it all that much with or without the pet peeve of a warning from Justin Timberlake’s news visit from earlier this year. That said, my issues with this episode are the same issues that plagued this entire season no matter how much I liked each host.

With that, it’s now time to dig deeper into the details, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Special Address From The Secretary Of The Treasury where once again Will Forte portrayed Timothy Geithner to outline the results of a 50-question bank stress test to make sure that they could responsibly handle the bailout money coming in from the government. The test in question seemed more like it was designed so that even the biggest idiot couldn’t fail yet we learned how most of the bigger banks still struggled to meet the fifty percentile target. We then heard a few sample questions which, of course, led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Justin Timberlake then officially opened the show by sharing his shock that this was his third time as a host. This sharing of shock triggered performance where our host sang about how much he loved being a regular as he danced around with the cast on a route that went backstage where the crew and other show personnel joined in as well.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for the Mom Celebrity Translator which was a handheld device that aided tech-savvy youth in their efforts to decipher which well-known celebrity it is who their mothers are trying to describe with their un-hip old people terms.

  4. Target Greatland then returned for another installment of Kristen Wiig as an extremely enthusiastic Target employee who will still drop what she’s doing mid-transaction whenever she sees a great deal. This time, Justin Timberlake joined the scene as Wiig’s annoying friend, Peg who just added to the customer’s frustration.

  5. Immigrants was a sketch that featured several cast members as an Irish immigrant family as they enter America. While waiting the family started to share how they are excited they were to begin their American Dreams to provide a better life for their great-great-grandchildren to come. Well, everyone but Justin Timberlake, whose character’s American Dream was to one day, raise his great-great-grandchild to live the American way as an unjustifiably popular, self-centered, arrogant little prick, while clearly describing his future self.

  6. We then got another SNL Digital Short called Mother Lovers which was a music video/follow up to the last Timberlake Samberg collaboration, Dick In A Box, where again, the song’s title says it all.

  7. Plasticville was another installment of Justin Timberlake’s mascot themed sketches where Will Forte played a guy dressed as a barbell, trying to persuade passersby into a gym. Justin Timberlake then arrived on the scene as a gigantic bag of silicone to promote the Plasticville Plastic Surgery Center which led to a mascot song and dance off.

  8. Ciara then took to the stage with Justin Timberlake to perform Love Sex Magic.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Bill Hader returned as Elliott Spitzer along with Fred Armisen as David Paterson in order to debate who was the better between these two at being the worst at their jobs. The real Chris Pine and Zachery Quinto also stopped by to promote their new Star Trek movie by defending the movie’s new direction to the old fans. As hard as they tried, the old school fans in the audience just could not be pleased, until Leonard Nimoy joined the scene to endorse the film. (Clip 2)

  10. The Barry Gibb Talk Show brought back Jimmy Fallon to reprise his role as Barry Gibb to have Justin Timberlake as his brother/sidekick and say nothing while Barry issued insane threats to his political guest, just like every other sketch from this series, especially after Fallon left the show and started to perform the role as a special guest.

  11. Pirates was a sketch that referenced the Somali pirates that were big in the news at the time, where the Somalian sea terrorists accidentally receive a shipment of Disney props in place of real weapons that they had ordered. Meanwhile, several pirate characters from Disney received the real guns which sent some on a killing spree in the process of discovering that their weapons were actually real.

  12. Ciara then returned to the stage alone to perform Never Ever.

  13. Finally, Justin Timberlake closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of this episode as a whole, thanks to these sketches that contained my three favorite moments of the night, I did not think the show wasn’t utterly terrible. First, I loved the sketch with Justin Timberlake’s Immigrant Great-Great-Grandfather because Timberlake’s approach to self-depreciation in this sketch reminded me why I enjoy his comedic efforts since he seems self-aware of why the jokes about himself were both truthful and funny. Next, I really liked the Pirates sketch because after rewatching it, to make up for the fact that I was zoned out during round one, from not enjoying most of the second half of the show, I found it to be really amusing. Finally, I was a fan of this week’s Target Greatland sketch because I’m just that big of a fan of the character from working with cuckoos like this every time I worked retail.

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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.