SNL: S34E22... HOST: WILL FERRELL... DATE: MAY 16, 2009

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The Night I Got My Finale Filled With

Cameos And Recycled Content!!!

 

I finally got my wish to have a more eventful finale, too bad the curse of this so-so season still filled it with nothing but average content. I just don’t understand how this season was so bad, considering the cast was solid, as side from a couple featured players, but they were barely in any of the show. Even more surprising is the line up of hosts for this season was the least questionable to me in years since it was filled with comedic stars and not just a bunch of dramatic actors who were giving comedy a shot.

It’s weird how just like in the early years of the show, I’m growing to be more concerned with the host who I know over hosts who are new to me. In those early days I felt that this was because these were the episodes that I’ve seen a billion times before, but now I’m starting to think that there may be something more. Something subtle, something I’m in denial about, possibly the reason I no longer like many things that I used to. I think the true reason that I’m changing my tune is that these were the funny people who inspired my sense of humor that now feels like a crime to share.

Meanwhile, these people are pushing the newest P.C. trend while acting like they didn’t just have a crass phase, they’re the ones that pushed it out into the world of comedy. I’m still on the fence as to just how much this thought is affecting my taste because I still enjoy the new content that these comedic heroes of my put out, I just can’t put my finger on why I’m so often turned off when I see names like Will Ferrell on the list of host. I mean, Will’s not even one of the preacher people that I’m speaking of.

It doesn’t help that when these comedic legends host, they do stuff like have only twelve segments to make up the night and have the nerve to include a rerun of a fake commercial. It’s as if the show knows the audience will tune in no matter what so rather than spend the time and effort to make a bunch of brilliant shorter sketches they drag out a handful as long as they can while distracting us with special guests. I guess this is what I get for constantly wishing for the finale to be treated more like a special event than a typical show.

Oh well, it is what it is, and I can’t wait to see how next season goes. Before that, let me share how I felt as I watched tonight’s episode. First off, I loved the opening sketch because even though it was a political sketch. It took place in a setting other than The Oval Office, in front of Congress, or during some news show where we see nothing but a bunch of talking heads speaking in tones that are so realistically dry that it doesn’t feel like a parody at all. Instead, this was like the old days where they used to take these politicians out into the world.

The monolog was great with Will being Will in his brilliantly weird ways. I was then outraged but the rerun of a fake ad, that’s only saving grace was the fact that it was from when Ferrell was still on the show. Other than that, I find it offensive to repeat an ad on a night that already has so few segments to make up the night. The Lawrence Welk sketch was fun because it’s always funny to see Kristen Wiig’s tiny handed character, but at the same time. Both the sketch and the song was almost an exact repeat of the first time this character was introduced to us, making it feel like a rerun as well, just like the Celebrity Jeopardy sketch that followed.

Though I was annoyed by the rerun feel to the last couple of sketches, at least I was still entertained, just like I was for the next sketch because I love when Kenan plays Charles Barkley. It cracked me up when he kept trying to talk to the in-show promos that kept popping up on the corner of the screen. I was a huge fan of Green Day when they first hit the scene, so it was fun to see this later song that I’m only sort of familiar with.

This week, I actually had mixed feelings about the news, though I loved the spot that brought back Will Ferrell as Harry Carey, I was annoyed by Amy and Seth bashing ASU for not just automatically giving Obama an honorary degree because he was still new to the office and had yet to live up to a promise. I by no means, mean this as a bash since I voted for the guy but by this time, all he did was win the election which is great and tough but didn’t make him eligible for every acclamation in the world. I guess I’m just still confused how he earned a peace prize before he made a single effort to stick to his promise and end any of our war, only to go on to start a few more, which disappointed me as a left-leaning independent voter.

The next sketch was pretty much a repeat of the Wedding Toast sketch from a couple of weeks ago where Jason Sudeikis played the man in charge of the microphone who kept getting interrupted by the guest who insisted they share a quick speech. The only difference between the two was that this one took place at a funeral home. Hell, it even brought back several of the same characters. Like with the rest of the recycle material to make up the night, the sketch was funny, but I just watched the original a couple of days ago.

Speaking of days, Green Day then returned to perform a song that I already knew I enjoyed. The final sketch of the night was one of the few that felt non-derivative which might explain why this was by far my favorite sketch of the night. It also helped that I loved Will Ferrell’s cover of Billy Joel’s Goodnight, Saigon. In fact, it actually gave me chills when not only everyone involved in the night but several past hosts from the season as well as a random Artie Lange (who was there as a friend of Norm), joined in for this farewell to the season that was followed by Ferrell’s goodnights.

I’ve pointed this out several times before, but I definitely have enjoyed a whole lot more than these reviews may make it sound, and if I were just watching them to have fun and move on, I wouldn’t complain an ounce. That said, as I’ve also always followed-up this first point, it’s having to write about them that brings out the frustration as I really think about what went into the night.

Speaking of which, 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 sketch called Cheney In Makeup took place in the makeup department of Meet The Press just prior to an interview with Darrell Hammond as Dick Cheney. After a bit, Will Ferrell reprised his role as George W. Bush in order to sneak into the room to confront Cheney and demand answers, “NOW” since he was no longer afraid of the Vice Monster being that the two were no longer in office. Dick Cheney pretty much just blew the ex-President off while sticking to his statement, “I have no regrets,” but Bush refused to back down. Unfortunately, this was just a sketch so either way, we wouldn’t have gotten an answer, but we did get the typical opening announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Will Ferrell then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was happy to host the season finale. He then shared how his new one-man show where he played President Bush was a huge hit and even nominated for several awards. This got him talking about his rise to fame and how he started out doing dramas on stage and wasn’t even known as a funny guy. After a rundown of a couple of his early roles, he performed a piece from a play that he wrote called The Wishful Dreams Of Danny O’Neil.

  3. We then got a repeat of the Wade Blasingame: Attorney-At-Law ad that originally aired multiple time back when Will Ferrell was still on the show and featured him as an attorney who was in favor of suing dogs in cases where they may break human laws. Throughout the ad, Chris Parnell acted out what it would look like if a human committed the many crimes that our pooches do on the regular.

  4. The Lawrence Welk Show had Will Ferrell on as Ted Netter who was an old-timey singer who enjoyed singing and dancing with his musical sisters as played by Casey Wilson, Michaela Watkin, and Abby Elliott but was a bit freaked out by their fourth sister Denise, which is the actual name of Kristen Wiig’s tiny-handed, high-foreheaded, singing character.

  5. Celebrity Jeopardy then returned for more fun and games with Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek, where this time his annoying celebrity guests where Kristen Wiig as Kathie Lee Gifford, Tom Hanks as himself, and what Celebrity Jeopardy would be complete without Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery. Toward the end of the sketch, Norm MacDonald crashed the game show as Burt Reynolds to add to Trebek’s stress.

  6. Inside The NBA showed us parody coverage of a basketball game where Kenan Thompson portrayed Charles Barkley who kept getting caught up by Will Ferrell who kept popping up in the corner of the screen as a marketing ploy to promote a fictional show called Mark.

  7. Green Day then took to the stage to perform Know Your Enemy.

  8. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Amy Poehler returned to play a game of Really!?! with Seth about the fact that Barack Obama was denied an honorary degree from Arizona State University because he had accomplished enough to earn it. Will Ferrell also returned as Harry Caray’s ghost to offer his comments on Manny Ramirez who recently busted for steroids.

  9. Funeral Remembrances had Jason Sudeikis as a priest who was flummoxed by all the interruptions made by family members during a funeral service. This seemed to be connected to the sketch from earlier in the year where Sudeikis played a wedding emcee who kept getting interrupted by guests who kept wanting to give toasts.

  10. Green Day then took to the stage to perform 21 Guns.

  11. Goodnight, Saigon had Will Ferrell out having drinks with friends when he got struck by an unexplained flashback to the Vietnam War despite the fact that he was way too young to have been able to serve at the time. That didn’t stop him from breaking into the titular Billy Joel song that he seemed to think was about his wartime experience.

  12. Finally, Will Ferrell closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said toward the end of the review above, though I did hate how most of the sketches felt recycled and ran too long, this episode wasn’t nearly as bad as I may have made it sound because sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night actually made it pretty fun. First I loved the Goodnight, Saigon sketch because, so far, this sketch has been the best farewell for a season, in fact, I loved it so much, I was half tempted to change the subtitle to this review to make it less critical. Next, I really liked The Return Of Celebrity Jeopardy because it was fun to see the gang back together, including Tom Hanks and Norm MacDonald. Finally, I was a fan of Will Ferrell’s One Man Performance during his monolog because it tapped into that quirkiness from Ferrell that I love.

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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.