SNL: S35E05... HOST: TAYLOR SWIFT... DATE: NOVEMBER 7, 2009

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Solid Sketch Work For A Pop Singer

 

As someone who is six foot four, I often joke that I have a Napoleon Complex, but it just doesn’t come out that often because I am so tall and it’s not often that I meet people who are noticeably taller than me. Though I barely notice the height difference in people who are just a couple inches taller than me, I find I size up people over six foot six for some reason. I couldn’t imagine a world where this was my view of a majority of the population which is why I’m obsessed with height differences, which is also why I’ve recently become obsessed with looking up tonight’s host.

Though I don’t really know much from Taylor Swift’s music, she a big enough name that I’ve always been aware of her huge fan base and successful career. It’s too bad that none of her songs got to me during the phase where I was into pop performers like Katie Perry and Lady Gaga as a novel way to cheer myself up while the actual music genre that I actually loved got too depressing for me to handle. The songs I actually liked were tied to so many emotional memories that every few years I’d have to take a serious break.

Based on Swift’s last visit as the musical guest, I’m willing to bet she would have fit right into that time period’s playlist. Between this brand new obsession with our host's height, and liking the two songs from her last visit, I was interested to see Taylor as our host, especially considering how good the last few episodes have been. If this appearance would have landed in the middle of last season, I would be, pun intended, singing a whole different tune.

With that said, let's see how she did. Again, the opening sketch was silly enough that I didn’t mind that it was political, at the same time it wasn’t as fun as the past few, but you can’t win them all. Taylor Swift’s opening joke about how her favorite sketches as a kid starred Bill Hader and Andy Samberg almost had me laughing right out of my chair, but I wasn’t so hot on her “comedic” song that followed. The fake ad for the Swine Fever ad was funny to me because I’m willing to bet this was around the time that the internet rediscovered the old commercial for the diet aid called Ayds that came out just as AIDS became a household fear.

The next four sketches were fine but typical, but once again, I liked Taylor Swift’s first song and still think her writing style reminds me of Bowling For Soup, which is a band that I like for novelty response and not an example of a group that bums me out. I think since I was only half interested in the first half of the show, I was back to being a bit zoned out through the news and stayed zoned out throw the Penelope sketch that followed, but it didn’t help this Penelope is a character I never liked.

I loved the Scared Straight sketch that had a scrawny Taylor Swift acting like a badass, looking like Ryan Phillippe, but, unlike Penelope, it probably helped that I’ve always liked the sketches from this series no matter what. The roomies segment took us back to content that was acceptable but didn’t trigger a laugh and Taylor Swift’s second song was great but still not something I’d actively seek out. The Bunny Business had me intrigued since I saw it during my pre-viewing legwork process because I thought it was going to be an animated sketch, but then it turned out to be just another fake ad for a soundtrack with cast members impersonating popular singers from those days.

Finally, Taylor Swift said her goodnights. Though I was a huge fan of this episode, I didn’t dislike it either. Part of that might be because I’m still running on a high from the last few shows, and I did see and appreciate everybody's efforts. It’s not like Swift is some dramatic actress trying to show her comedic chops, which is a brand of hosts who I’d cut the same slack, and why I still thought this episode was still watchable. It’s also why I still see this as a sign that the season’s on the right track. They did a perfect job at both writing and performing to meet the abilities of the host, unlike other years where they could tend to hide their non-acting host in the background or just use them as props. I’m also going easy because she was good enough that I’m willing to bet she’ll be great if she ever gets a second hosting appearance.

I think that’s all that I’ve got for this one, so let’s move on to dig into the details as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a sketch called End Of An Era that parodied FOX News coverage that had Kristen Wiig as Greta Van Susteren and other cast member as other news anchors discussed the end of President Obama’s era following the ’09 Special Election where the Democrats lost control of their majority. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Taylor Swift then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she grew up loving the show, only to go on to describe the Bill Hader and Andy Samberg sketches that were her favorites as a kid. After this, she switched gears to sing a song about the topics she won’t be bringing up in her monolog since she opts to keep certain beliefs to herself. The final thing that she wasn’t going to talk about was the Kanye West microphone grabbing incident that must have just happened.

  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Carter N' Sons BBQ where, in a commercial “filmed years ago,” Bobby Moynihan portrayed a pitchman named Ronnie Carter who along with country western fam promoted Swine Fever as something you’ll get from their all you can eat pork special. This was around the time of the swine flu scare, making fun of the old diet chocolate aid called Ayds that came out just a couple years before AIDS started to make headlines, so there were on-screen text and voiceovers to explain the crazy mistake.

  4. We then got another parody of The View which was pretty much the same as all the other The View segments only with Taylor Swift playing Kate Gosselin and Andy Samberg also dropped in as Nicholas Cage.

  5. This week’s SNL Digital Short was called Firelight which was a fake trailer a parody of Twilight, only instead of werewolves and vampires, it was teenage Frankensteins and Mummies.

  6. Hollywood Dish was a new fictional entertainment talk show that had Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as the show’s host to feign their interest in Taylor Swift while interviewing her as herself.

  7. Teens Raising Awareness About Awful Parent Drivers was a PSA that featured Taylor Swift as a teen who rallied against thoughtless parental driving habit in response to the growing new trend of the complaints about teens texting while they drive.

  8. Taylor Swift then switched to musical guest mode to perform You Belong With Me.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Fred Armisen returned as his comedian character who always attempts to rip new jokes from the newspaper headlines but always fails to make a point. Abby Elliot then stopped in as Sarah McLachlan, claiming she was there to promote the Lilith Fair only to bamboozle us all and turn the segment into a depressing one about neglected dogs. Amy Poehler then dropped in for a surprise visit for another round of Really!?! with Seth about how Goldman Sach’s was caught hoarding swine flu vaccines despite there being a massive shortage. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  10. Kristen Wiig’s one-uping character Penelope then returned after a long absence in order to ruin the marriage between Bill Hader and Abby Elliot with her one-uping ways. Meanwhile, Penelope’s actions infuriated Taylor Swift who was a guest that couldn’t believe Penelope was ruining this special day.

  11. Scared Straight also returned for another parody where this time Kenan Thompson’s inmate sidekick was Taylor Swift who helped him scare kids out of jail, only to be called out for always using horror stories of prison that they both stole from films.

  12. Roomies had Andy Samberg hanging out with Nasim Pedrad at her home. As much as Samberg wanted alone time with his date, she was too physically attached to her roommate Taylor Swift for there to be any chance for this new couple to make out.

  13. Taylor Swift then switched back to musical guest mode to perform Untouchable.

  14. Bunny Business was a fake trailer for the soundtrack for a movie that had a bunch of animated bunnies in business suits going through the motions at their cubicle farm day jobs while Taylor Swift and several members of the cast impersonated several singers to perform their Bunny Business themed songs.

  15. Finally, Taylor Swift closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

If this were a host known for her acting, I would probably consider this a so-so throw-way episode but considering this was a show from a singer, sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments it earns an upgrade to pretty good. First, I loved Scared Straight: Featuring Taylor Swift because I usually like this sketch, but tonight it cracked me up how scrawny Taylor Swift looked while trying to play a badass man. Next, I really liked this week’s SNL Digital Short: Firelight because I was a fan of seeing multiple Frankensteins in a gang since I do relate to this movie monster, who seemed to be made only to be misunderstood. Finally, I was a fan of the fake ad for Carter N' Sons BBQ because it brought back memories of when the internet rediscovered the Ayds diet bill debacle.

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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.