SNL: S35E02... HOST: RYAN REYNOLDS... DATE: OCTOBER 3, 2009

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A Solid Second Show Into The Unknown

 

As I pointed out in last night’s review, this is the first year that I know for sure that I’m unfamiliar with a majority of the episodes. Last season, my familiarity was around fifty/fifty since this was around the time that I started to work in independent film and television full time. With more project filming over the weekend with twelve(plus) hour days, I didn’t have much time for any long format entertainment longer than a YouTube clip.

That said, last night could have been misguiding since I that I know about Megan Fox is that she has weird thumbs, the episode wasn’t all that memorable even if I was a Fox fan. Ryan Reynolds, on the other hand, is an actor I became a fan of back when I first saw him on Two Guys, And A Girl back before And A Pizza Shop was fired. My fanship grew with National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and all of his comedic work that followed.

I think what I like the most about Reynolds is that he seems likable to most that he can get pretty crass and even in this modern day when it comes from him it’s understandably acceptable. Because of him, and actors like him, many rom-coms we beyond bearable to the point that there were actually films that I loved. The fact that the only thing that I already knew from this show while I was viewing it was the On The Ground sketch, is substantial evidence that I’ve never seen this episode before. Especially since I know for sure that I first saw On The Ground on a laptop or phone while on set since it was heavily quoted that night.

Tonight’s episode really eased my concerns for this season considering I wasn’t a huge fan of last season and episode one was setting up more of the same. Even if there are more sucky shows, at least I know they have it in them to put out content as high quality as this. Now let’s see why I liked it so much.

First off, I loved the opening sketch even though it was a talking head political segment, and no not because it highlights late nights TV’s early negative view of Obama that was served with a smile and got nothing but laughs and it wasn’t always just conservative news… okay… I did like it for that but again, I voted for the guy, and this sketch is the perfect example of what I was witnessing and why I felt let down and not that I was won over by FOX or even have anything to do was most conservative views. That said, the real reason that I liked this show opener was that there was enough silliness to beat you over the head as opposed to the trend from the past several years where, more often than not, it feels like you’re watching real political coverage.

Though I love the tone of the opening sketch, the reality of the content bummed me out, but not enough to really affect my mood since I didn’t zone out and get bored. This allowed me to enjoy Ryan Reynolds’s brilliant monolog where he compared and contrasted working on rom-coms vs. working on action hero films. The fake ad that followed was meh, but I wasn’t that humored by the neglecting pet them since I recently lost my little dog.

I was fully ready to like the Family Feud sketch that followed by between Jason Sudeikis being a terrible Dick Dawson, and the fact that most of the jokes were about MacKenzie Philips’s incestuous affair with her dad, I was more bummed out than I was by the reminder of my dead dog. The On The Ground video was fine but left me unimpressed because I found it to be too much like Like A Boss. This would have been fine back in the day when it was almost a full year between these two videos, and if I didn’t already know both songs, but the fact that this show that started out so strong lost me with the last two sketches, I was hesitant to join in and enjoy the song.

I was also hesitant to enjoy the sketch that followed because it was a new installment of a sketch that’s been gone for what seemed to be years, even with this abridged viewing schedule where a season last a little less long than a month. That is until I was genuinely surprised by Scarlett Johannson as a surprise guest. This was just icing on the cake because I actually liked this series from way back.

The other surprise was that I also like this week’s Deep House Dish sketch which is another one that seemed to have vanished over the years. I liked the way the musical guest, Lady Gaga, and surprise guest Madonna joined in on the fun. I didn’t even mind the groping session with Kenan Thompson because it genuinely felt like it was the two women who use their sexuality with pride to promote themselves, and not just a good-looking non-comedic actress or actor giving into a gropey joke for a cheap laugh. It may still have been cheap, but Kenan seemed like the most uncomfortable one of the bunch. Which now that I write, shouldn’t be okay either but we’re still dealing with humor from the past.

Usually, I don’t really care for the musical performances even if I really like the band. I’ve always appreciated the show having them because it provided enough time to use the bathroom and mix a new drink. Tonight was a fun one because it was the first one in years, with a dancing singer who barely turned up her background vocal track. Instead of having the mix to have her sound pre-recorded and perfect you could hear every out of breath missed line or unintentional stutter caused by an explosive dance move. I was kind of surprised by how much I liked this aspect of her performance.

I was also surprised by how much I liked this week’s news. Just earlier in the day, when I was updating my favorites list to complete season thirty-four’s blog end of the season blog work, I was wondering why my opinion of Seth Meyers on the news was so low. First, I was utterly shocked to find that I wasn’t a bigger fan of he and Amy, but then I also wasn’t a huge fan of him on his own. Then tonight, Seth seemed to find his news legs because not only was I entertained by the guest, I really liked Seth’s energy when delivering the jokes which made me understand the earlier confusion about the lack of Seth love.

The So You Committed A Crime… And You Think You Can Dance sketch was extra fun to me because since moving home with my crime show love mom if she’s not watching some true murder mystery, she’s watching a dance reality show which I then watch with her, making this sketch funny to me. By this point, the last several segments were good enough to negate the earlier disappointments from this episode.

The next sketch was a bit of a step back because it was nothing but accent humor that had no humor other than the funny way that the people would speak with their Norwegian accents. Again, I’ve gone to hate accent based humor unless, either the accent leads to funny confusion, so there’s actually a point, or the non-accent humor is good enough to stand on its own.

Lady Gaga then won me back again with some of the funniest moments of tonight's episode. She was wearing this costume made up of rings that look like an attempt at a solar system made for a science fair. These rings all moved but not on their own, so she kept having to sneak in fights with the thing to keep it moving around. The other funny thing was the inner rings weren’t big enough to clear her head, so she kept getting whacked from time to time. The best part came when she went to sit down at the piano, and it took moments of silence for her to figure it out. All this and it was still a pretty good performance in spite of the flaws.

The quick closing sketch of the night was more groping based humor, but in this case, both Andy Samberg’s, and Lady Gaga’s quirky costumes were too for it to just be a cheap joke just for Andy to cop a feel. Then again, Andy seems to find more humor in groping men, which may allow me to see that he’s into this type of physical stuff purely for the joke which is another case where, when everyone involved seems clearly on the same page, I don’t mind some of the realistic sexualizing jokes.

By the time the Ryan Reynolds said his goodnights I forgot about the above describe bummer moments. Now I can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode, but first, I must now dig into the details as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From The President Of The United States which had Fred Armisen as Barack Obama to brag about the fact that “he hasn’t accomplished a damn thing” since taking office in January. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Ryan Reynolds then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was in both the movies Wolverine and The Proposal within the same year. This led him to outline the difference between a superhero movie and a romantic comedy with a brilliant list of similarities and differences.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Mostly Garbage which a dog food for these hard economic times. The ad featured Jason Sudeikis as a dog lover who set his priorities straight by serving bagged garbage to his pet so that he could afford to feed himself.

  4. Family Feud took us back in time to a Richard Dawson hosted episode, with Jason Sudeikis as Dick Dawson. The families feuding for this fictional installment of the classic game show were The Osmond Family again the Phillips family following the news that John and MacKenzie Philips had an incestuous affair which, of course, was the basis for most of the jokes. Well, the incest for the Philips family at least, the Osmond Family kept getting jabbed for their extremely wholesomeness.

  5. We then got another classic SNL Digital Short which was pretty much just a music video for the song On The Ground and was pretty much just Like A Boss, only with different words. That’s not to say that it’s still wasn’t fun to see again.

  6. Porcelain Fountains brought back a very old segment were Fred Armisen plays a pitchman who pushes things like chandeliers and marble columns to gussy up even the filthiest dump. This week, Armisen had the real Scarlett Johansson, and Ryan Reynolds help him pitch porcelain fountains as this week classy product.

  7. Deep House Dish also returned after a long time off, with Kenan Thompson and Andy Samberg playing two club kid hosts of an MTV-4 show where they introduce new house and hip-hop bands. Even though it was mostly the same, it was at least interesting that both musical guest Lady Gaga and surprise guest Madonna also got involved.

  8. Lady Gaga then took to the stage to perform Paparazzi.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Darrell Hammond dropped by as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to comment of Roman Polanski who was back in the news after the controversial director released a film that was getting nominated for multiple awards. Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley stopped by to comment on the 69th anniversary of Red China for some random reason, but it was funny no matter why. Just as I wrote this Seth asked the same thing, and it turned out he lost a bet, and this was part of his payment. Fred Armisen and Nasim Pedrad were the last of the guest as they portrayed Mr. and Mrs. Ahmadinejad where Fred sat idly by as Nasim rambled on about the excitement of her visit to New York and her joys from being married to a “pussy dictator.” (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  10. So You Committed A Crime... And You Think You Can Dance? was a parody mashup of a TruTV show with the popular network dance show. In this competitive reality show spoof, convicts were teamed up with pro-dancer, and the dancers danced, and the criminals acted in ways that highlight why they were in prison, or kept trying to escape, except for Kenan Thompson who played the most badass of them all took it seriously and danced great. The judges were made up of celebrity criminals, and Ryan Reynolds was the choreographer for each dance.

  11. International Masterworks had Ryan Reynolds, Fred Armisen, and Andy Samberg played a group of Norwegian actors who performed a scene from an American cop drama without making an effort to lose their, over-the-top, accents.

  12. Lady Gaga then returned to the stage to perform a medley of her songs. This performance was good, but it also may have had me laughing the hardest throughout the night the way she kept having to fight with her costume, she even got whacked in the head by it a couple of times.

  13. Fashion took backstage where we saw Andy Samberg grow to be terribly embarrassed when he discovered both he and Lady Gaga both planned to wear the same exact Avant-garde clear bubble outfit to the SNL after party. At first, Andy thinks he should change to avoid any potentially embarrassing situation that could arise, but then the mood change and the two attempted to make out. The only problem was that their dumb outfits were so bulky they could barely even reach each other for a hug, but that did not stop them from trying.

  14. Finally, Ryan Reynolds closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Now that I’ve both watch the show and worked through my review, this wasn’t a perfect episode but thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night, I’ll take it because I’ve laughed more tonight than I have in a while. First, I loved Ryan Reynolds Compares Working On Rom-Coms Vs. Superhero films because it was a comparing and contrasting of these to genres of cinema. Next, I really liked the opening Obama Sketch, because I like how it proves the point of how it wasn’t just the conservatives who were let down by the failed promises of this guy. Finally, I was a fan of So You Committed A Crime... And You Think You Can Dance? because of that moving back home with mom connection to the sketch that I mentioned above.

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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.