SNL: S35E04... HOST: GERARD BUTLER... DATE: OCTOBER 17, 2009

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So Many Segments, So Much Fun!!!

 

Gerard Butler is another host who I barely know, but I do have one story that relates to him that I’ve always found to be pretty funny from when the movie 300 was released, which is the only film from his resume that I’ve seen other than Movie 43. Even though I prefer to do pre-viewing legwork when it comes to writing these reviews, in general, I prefer to go into watching content blind to avoid spoilers of any kind.

When the movie 300 was set to release, I had no initial interest in watching it at all, but then I saw a documentary about the real events that the movie was based on back when the History Channel actually had content that focused on history. The documentary triggered memories of learning of the story back when I was in school which then piqued my interest in watching the film. This is where my lack of research into what I watch turned fun.

Going into the theater to watch 300 on the big screen, I was under the impression that this was going to be a docudrama more like Gladiator or Braveheart, where the stories are fudged to be more cinematic but in the world of the story, we’re dealing with a reality that’s, at least, supposed be real. Even during the first half of the movie where our hero would wander off to talk with witches and gods, I was still under the impression that the movie was sharing the culture’s mythology and that was all.

Once the actual battle started, and all of the more blatant comic book elements began to appear, I was flummoxed, but fascinated by what I saw. It wasn’t until after I left the theater and looked up more details that I learned that the movie was based on a comic book that was based on this moment of history. I loved the film while watching it with this confusion but would have probably avoided it altogether if I would have known this comic book connection going in to watch the film.

Aside from that, I barely remember member Movie 43 let alone the plethora of actors and actresses it starred, and the only other thing I know about Butler is that many jokes were made when he attempted to transition from action to being the love interest in some rom-com film. Though I’m not familiar with tonight’s host, and around a third of the sketches that make up this episode with the highest segment count in years are actually Budweiser ads, I’m more intrigued than scared about what I’m about to watch after I click play.

With that, let's get into how I felt during tonight’s SNL viewing. Once again, this season is winning me back to where, like in the past, I don’t mind the political sketch opening because they’ve become silly again and don’t feel as dry and real. Also, how could I not like any sketch that has The Rock dropping by as The Rock Obama, how I wish was how the great promiser of hope took charge as the President. I loved Gerard’s monolog because I forgot that he was full blown Scottish and not just Scottish-American, which opened me up even more to the idea that this would be fun.

The fake ad for the “urban champagne” meant to pour down “hoochies” asses, was a bit dated and lame but I have to admit, it did lead to a chuckle here and there. I then felt the first real ad for Budweiser that shared behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage from the classic Riding My Donkey Political Talk Show was brilliant because just like how I felt when they tried this with MacGruber, I have no problem with ads sharing content, my issue is with content that sneaks in ads.

I didn’t get the first round of Game Time With Randy And Greg for round one, and I still didn’t get the virtual repeat for round two. Not that there’s anything to get, other than why it returned to the show. I even had to look it up to see if it was a parody of a real show, which might be why I wasn’t into the humor, but even that wasn’t the case. What made round two worse was it was clearly resolved that Hader’s character was an alien, which is almost more fun to write about than watch. Thankfully, this was followed by behind-the-scenes footage with Chris Rock on the set of Perspective, with was a classic sketch that I love and is the reason I will always refer to any time as “In the AM, or in the PM.”

With two younger sisters who watch the Beauty And The Beast cartoon all the time, I was cracking up at the sketch where Butler as The Beast kept waiting for Kristen Wiig as Belle to transform because he was certain that he was the beauty. It then cracked me up further when all the talking inanimate objects joined in on arguing over who was who of the two. I was a little put off by the Native American impersonation from the next behind-the-scenes ad for Budweiser, but the laughter of everyone involved was infectious.

I wasn’t all that impressed with Shakira’s first song, but there were a few times where she performs some pretty impressive contortionist moves, and no I don’t mean the rapid-fire shaking of her butt cheeks. Bill Hader’s laughter during the news Budweiser behind-the-scenes commercial was funny but the least interesting blast from the past, mainly because it was so new. Speaking of new, the news was fun once again as I continue to regain my focus and stop halfheartedly paying attention to Weekend Update now that Seth has found his solo news legs. It was also fun to see the Bud Light behind-the-scenes commercial the featured highlights of Seth and Amy Poehler laughing at several mistakes while rehearsing for Weekend Update.

The 300 parody about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell being lifted in Sparta, might have been more fun back when both the movie and political issue were more topic, and probably would have made me laugh more if they spray painted on abs instead of wearing ab sculpted chest plates but it still kept me entertained. I was a fan of the next behind-the-scenes spot because Will Ferrell’s fashion store manager character was funny enough on the actual show to always break the scene so it was fun to see how bad it could get during a rehearsal.

A couple of old friends and I used to love to randomly break into the song, What’s Up With That, whenever we got the chance, so I was over the moon about finally seeing this series of sketches get its debut. Though I’m a bit burnt out about writing about these behind the scenes sketches, I love them being a part of the show, and this one with a robot trying to crash through a wall only to fail terribly, was the funniest from these series of special segments with might be why they set it to be last.

Considering these behind-the-scenes segments were in addition to the show, the episode ran an extra ten minutes, and by this point I was starting to feel it, especially since I had something come up during the viewing where I had to take a bit of a break, making this viewing experience really start to feel like it was dragging on. Because of this, I blame myself for not being as open to enjoying the next sketch where Kristen Wiig just said Thomas over and over again in an annoying voice, then again, I also remember not liking this character the last time she was on.

Since the prior sketch bored me, I kind of zoned out during Shakira’s second song but, from the most part, I felt the same way about this performance as I did about her first song. I do see the talent and stage presence, but this music just isn’t for me. I was won back by Daveheart, Braveheart coward of a younger brother, so I was back to being in a better mood by the time Gerard Butler said good night.

When all was said and done, even though I love the idea of the fact that there were twenty segments to make up the night, but considering the fact that seven of these segments were commercials, this was actually a thirteen segment episode with ten minutes of bonus content. This meant that though I liked most of the show many of the sketches still felt long, making the extra ten minutes get a little exhausting. Now, if those seven segments counted as actual show time, I think I would have liked this episode even more, even though it was pretty solid as it is, and is the third episode in a row to boost my confidence for this season.

With all that said, let dig into some details so that I can finally wrap this one up, and in order to do so, I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with The Rock Obama’s Return with had Fred Armisen as Barack Obama who discussed health care reform with members of the Republican Senate. At one point one of the Republican’s said something that made Obama angry which caused Armisen to once again morph into The Rock Obama, with the real The Rock making a surprise visit. As always, since this was the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Gerard Butler then officially opened the show with a monolog about how Drew Barrymore wasn’t the only person to break a hosting record this year based on the fact that this one hosting appearance made his the Scotsman to host the most shows of Saturday Night Live. He then shared how he acts in two types of movies, movies where he wears and shirt and movies where he doesn’t. He then used 300 as an example of one of his shirtless movies and Phantom Of The Opera as his shirt on example. This is when, to show off his talent, he sang a Some Enchanted Evening from Phantom Of The Opera. Before he could get too deep into the song, he was accosted by several warriors, ninjas, and a dagger-wielding Christine from Phantom as played by Kristen Wiig.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Fuquay Satin's Grand Hoochie Skank Rose which featured Kenan Thompson as the titular pitchman who was pushing his brand of champagne as the “ideal urban champagne for pouring down women’s asses.”

  4. SNL Backstage With Bud Light Golden Wheat was the first in a series of Bud Light Golden Wheat ads that shared clips of dressed rehearsals for classic sketches while at the same time promoting their product. The sketch in question for this mashup of marketing and content was the rehearsal for the Riding My Donkey Political Talk Show that aired back in ’98.

  5. Game Time With Randy And Greg returned for another installment of the sports talk show where all the callers insisted that Bill Hader’s sidekick character was an alien, which we learned during the first installment of this sketch, turned out to be true. Since the question of Hader’s alien status was made clear during round one, this pretty much felt like a rerun.

  6. SNL Backstage With Bud Light Golden Wheat then returned for round two that took us back to ’96 with Chris Rock cracking up during the rehearsal of the Tim Meadow’s classic Perspective sketch from the first time Rock came back to the show as the host.

  7. Beauty And The Beast had Gerard Butler and Kristen Wiig as The Beast and Belle who started to sing a duet of the theme song, only to stop to express their confusion over which one was actually The Beast. Though the obvious answer from a humans perspective was our host in monster makeup, he argued that it was Belle do to his preference for women with much bigger asses, making her The Beast in the end. This then led to an argument that had several cast members dressed as the talking inanimate objects to add their two cents to the debate.

  8. SNL Backstage With Bud Light Golden Wheat then gave us round three with Harvey Keitel cracking up during a rehearsal for an Indian Casino sketch that he starred in while he was the host in ‘93.

  9. Shakira then took to the stage to perform She Wolf.

  10. SNL Backstage With Bud Light Golden Wheat then returned for round four where Bill Hader kept cracking during a Scared Straight parody back in ’08 with Shia LaBeouf laughing beside him as that week’s show host.

  11. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen as the Two Gay Guy From New Jersey, who are now married and in the military, returned to comment on the newly-defunct Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, policy. The famous balloon from the Colorado kid who snuck into before it blew away, which turned out to be a planned publicity stunt from the father, floated by just to say hi to Seth. Gerard Butler also got a segment to speak directly to his family back in Scotland where he spoke using Scottish slang with Seth then had to interpret. Kristen Wiig then played a PGAD Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder suffer who kept getting hit with involuntary orgasms while discussing her medical malady. (Clip 2) (Clip 3) (Clip 4)

  12. SNL Backstage With Bud Light Golden Wheat the returned for round five where we saw Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers cracking up while rehearsing the news from several installments of their time working together on Weekend Update.

  13. This was followed by a parody of 300 where Gerard Butler reprised his role as King Leonidas in order to announce to his men that he just agreed to lift the Spartan’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Moments after sharing this new ruling, he was surprised to discover that each and every one of his gladiators have been hiding the fact that they’re gay, well, except for Bobby Moynihan who was the only one not wearing a chest plate and the only one who wasn’t aware of his actual gayness.

  14. SNL Backstage With Bud Light Golden Wheat then returned for their sixth installment that showed the entire cast involved with a Jeffery’s sketch from ’01, including host, Sean Hayes, kept cracking up after because of Will Ferrell’s fashion character who I’m sure his Mugatu character from Zoolander was, at least partially, based on.

  15. After a long, long wait, Kenan Thompson debuted his D’Andre Cole character who has his own talk show and interrupts his guest every word by jumping into the theme for his show titled, What Up With That?

  16. SNL Backstage With Bud Light Golden Wheat returned for one last installment where we got to see a robot struggling to crash through a breakaway wall from the rehearsal of a sketch called Robot Dinner from ’95.

  17. Cottage Cheese Pitch had Gerard Butler at a pitch meeting for a new line of cottage cheese that he was having with a client played by Jason Sudeikis. Meanwhile, throughout the entire session, Butler’s secretary, as played by Kristen Wiig, kept annoying everyone in the room by continually interrupting and calling out Butler’s character’s name.

  18. Shakira then returned to the stage to perform Did It Again.

  19. Daveheart was a parody of Braveheart where Gerard Butler played the younger brother of the Scottish hero, who was no hero at all, in fact, he was a complete coward.

  20. Finally, Gerard Butler closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Now, this is what I like to see, three out of four great episode to start off this new year, tonight being my second favorite so far thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Beauty And The Beast: Belle Is The Beast because as a big ugly guy, it was nice/funny to see the roles reversed on perspective. Next, I really liked the debut of What Up With That? which I would have made my favorite for the night but I know this series will land in the top spot of my favorites soon enough. Finally, I was a fan of the 300 parody because of my above-mentioned connection with that movie.

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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.