Yet Another Host Who Made Me Feel Old
First off, I’d like to thank the handful of people who reacted to yesterday’s review. Granted, I’m only talking about a dozen interaction when adding up all the likes, the one retweet, the comment and the person who liked said comment, but that’s a lot considering I’m used to only receiving random likes from the podcast That Week In SNL, who I really appreciate. The timing for this tiny boost in acknowledgment came at just the right time considering it was the first day following getting fired from my day job, so, delusional or not, I’m going to take this as a sign to put more focus into making this blog the replacement for my part-time income.
I usually save this type of update for my Daily Breaker posts, which is more of a daily journal that not many read, especially considering how little I promote the page, so, I figured I’d share my appreciation in the segment of my site that generated the positive feedback. So again, thank you all very much for the encouragement whether it was intended to be taken this way, now let's get on to today's review.
As I said in the subtitle, this is another one of those shows that makes me feel old because not only is Blake Lively off my radar, other than being Ryan Reynold’s wife, even though I was a fan of the movie Accepted, but this episode aired almost a decade ago. This just highlights how long I’ve been out of the loop when it comes to the world of pop culture and entertainment. Keeping in mind, this was when I was just starting to work in the film industry doing lighting, which led me to learn the tricks of the trade and I began to see all the strings instead of the magic in cinema.
This was also around the time where my interest started to shift from mainstream sources like radio and cable and started to listen to more podcasts while watching amateur entertainers on YouTube who brought back some magic by showing that you can still put out compelling content on a shoestring budget, while at the same time breaking the traditional mold.
Sorry, this intro wasn’t more Blake Lively centric, but I’m just that unfamiliar with tonight’s host. I do have to admit that I am having concerned by the fact that I did see our host in Accepted but don’t remember anything from her role. This is causing flashbacks to my only connection with January Jones who I watch for weeks on The Last Man On Earth but barely remember and found out why during her SNL episode. That said, I saw Accepted once in the theaters twelve years ago, leading the unfamiliarity to make much more sense.
Oh well, we’ll see what happens as we jump into the real-time viewing. I’m back to not minding the political sketch to open the show because it was silly while Fred Armisen as Obama gave a generic speech about the economy and wasn’t specific to an issue that we’re still dealing with. The things actually being said were quite dull, which was fine since all of the humor came from what was happening behind our hope promising leader the entire time.
Seeing Blake Lively live did nothing to help me place her face but her interaction with the cast as The Muppets was entertaining enough that my concerns about my unfamiliarity were gone, at least for the moment. The fake Swine Fever ad annoyed me because, again, by this point, we were in the age of the internet, so there is no need to re-air any content, especially this soon. Then again, it gave me time to sort out a couple of notes.
As I pointed out during the debut of Jason Sudeikis’s and Will Forte’s late ‘80s ESPN hosts characters who cover the more obscure women’s sports, I love this series since it takes me back to a time where I would watch this type of content because channel surfing didn’t have the digital delays or on-screen guides making most nonplanned television viewing a total surprise and this series totally nails that feeling. I didn’t really care for the Tiger Woods sketch because even though it was Tiger getting beaten for his own fuck up, it was still a joke about domestic violence, which, growing up in a chaotic household, was never quite funny to me. Even though I’m sure, I may have been way more open to the joke at the time.
Once again, whether or not I’m a fan of the musical performer for the night, I love when they get involved with the show, so I liked the SNL Digital Short where Rihanna got to play along. I’ve never seen Gossip Girls, and I’m not a huge fan of New York Neighborhood-based humor, so I wasn’t too into the Gossip Girls: Staten Island sketch. I was then won back by the fake ad for the Under-Underground festivals because I’m a fan of these characters from a similar fake ad that makes fun of Juggalos, which is another genre of music that I find novel and am humored by.
Rihanna’s another performer who I do not deny her talent but it’s just not music that I actively seek out, so I kind of zoned out during her first performance since she didn’t sing one of her hits that even a non-fan would know. The news was the news, but the Brittany Murphy segment bummed me out, because as someone who’s had a couple of meltdowns that could have landed me in the same spot, cheering on trainwrecks in no longer funny to me. Again, around this time I may have had a different opinion because I was more open to looking at absolutely anything as a joke as long as it got the right laugh.
I’m not a huge fan of Kenan Thompson’s stepmother character, because it’s always the same note where the humor stems from making fun of the “urban” personality and is not that funny on its own. Also it kind of adds to yesterday’s blackface complaint where the “wigger” became the workaround for creating Amos And Andy type roles. The UPS fake ad was sort of funny because I used to work for the company, so their real commercials always stood out to me.
Though there are many aspects to To Catch A Predator that shouldn’t be funny at all, the real Chris Hansen’s delivery on the show is so ripe for parody I can see why it’s, even now, still popular to be the actual butt of the joke. So, I didn’t mind the mashup that showed Hansen as a light night talk show host. I was also surprised that they kept the jokes to Hansen’s tone and the surprise swarm-in from cops without making a single pedophile joke.
Once again, the second installment of the fake ads for UPS was fun because I used to work there. Also once again, I can totally see the talent, but I wasn’t familiar with the second Rihanna song making it okay to watch by I’d prefer if she picked a more mainstream hit so that I could sing along. As someone who’s upset with NASA and astronauts, from feeling like just a visitor to this Earth, I loved the final sketch where Jason Sudeikis wasn’t fired as a NASA scientist after stealing one of his obsessive interviewer’s carefully-counted potato chips. Not only was the sketch funny in general, I like how all the characters involved seemed for fit to work in a Southern gas station than working toward sending men to the moon.
There were a few downs during this viewing but, unlike the last couple of episodes, but the time Blake Lively said her goodnights, there was a much more significant portion of ups, making this a successful viewing in my book. With that said, let’s now dig into the actual details of the night as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with a sketch called White House Crashers that took during a speech from Fred Armisen as Barack Obama about the economy where Bobby Moynihan and Kristen Wiig played Tareq and Michaela Salahi who photo-bombed the President in the background throughout his entire address. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
Blake Lively then officially opened the show with a monolog about excited she was to be in New York for Christmas and then shared a story from a party with The Muppets following the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. Seconds later, the cast joined our host, reprising their impersonation of The Muppets they played last year to help Lively sing several Christmas carols.
We then got a repeat of the Carter N' Sons BBQ commercial from just a couple of weeks ago where, in the world of the sketch, Bobby Moynihan’s BBQ restaurant owning pitchman kept claiming that his pork would give you “Swine Fever,” that came out just before the fears from the recent outbreak of swine flu.
Vagisil Superstars Of Bowling Tournament 1989 was a follow up to the woman’s billiards sketch from a couple of weeks ago, only this time Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte played the same sports reporters who were too hung up on the feminine product sponsor to fully pay attention to the bowling event that they were supposed to call.
We then got a parody of The Situation Room where Darrell Hammond as Wolf Blitzer attempted to interview Kenan Thompson and Blake Lively as Kenan Thompson and his wife about the Ambien incident that led Tiger to crash his car into a tree. This incident also involved Tiger’s cheat which caused Lively to beat Tiger whenever the cameras weren’t on.
This was followed by another SNL Digital Short where, musical guest, Rihanna performed a duet of the song about education to a classroom of children with Andy Samberg’s character, Shy Ronnie, who looked silently tormented as he mumbled through his part of the song. Ronnie dropped the shy routine and burst into a hardcore rap, the second Rihanna left the room but was back to his shy quite self when she returned to grab her purse.
Gossip Girl: Staten Island was a parody of Blake Lively’s show only instead of taking place in the privileged Upper East Side of New York City setting, this version of the show took place in the Staten Island slums.
Kickspit Underground Rock Festival was a fake ad where Jason Sudeikis and Nasim Pedrad portrayed their characters/pitchpeople D.J. Super Soak and Lil’ Pump in order to promote an under-underground rock festival. This event not only featured crazy unheard of bands but also viruses, pitchforks, and the late Ass Dan, who I remember from their future Juggalo themed commercial from this same series.
Rihanna then took to the stage to perform Russian Roulette.
Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kenan Thompson stopped by as Bill Cosby to give a mumbled-jumbledly explanation of his first attempt at a hip-hop album. Abby Elliot also wandered behind the desk as Brittany Murphy because she was so out of it she thought that she was this week’s host. Unfortunately, this joke was made just weeks before Murphy’s unexpected death making it not all that fun to rewatch.
Skirt Shopping brought back Kenan Thompson’s character who used to always plays the stepmother to many of the white female hosts who hasn’t been on for, what feels like, years. This time, it was more of the same, only Blake Lively was the stepdaughter, and the two were out looking for skirts in a shop that was way too upscale for Lively’s hoochie style.
UPS made fun of the brand new style whiteboard commercials that UPS introduced to the world, that is now unavoidable on the internet. Only these old ads actually had a human drawing, and this sketch had Bill Hader in that role as he declared that he was a man in a lady’s wig who was also UPS’s gift to the world.
Late Night With Chris Hansen showed up what the world would be like if there was a late night talk show version of To Catch A Predator only with celebrity guest who had no intentions of harming any children, making the swarming cops even more of a surprise.
UPS then returned for round two where this time Bill Hader shared his plans to make more commercials for UPS and that his stick figure guy was going to have sex with the stick figure women that he draws.
Rihanna then took to the stage with Young Jeezy to perform Hard.
Potato Chip Thief had Jason Sudeikis as a scientist who was applying for a job at NASA and then blows his chances when he steals one of Will Forte’s, carefully-counted, thirty-five potato during their interview and then had the nerve to lie about it.
Finally, Blake Lively closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.
This is another case that proves a higher segment count can help almost any episode because I could see this night having the same issues as the past two episode if four fewer segments would have caused the longer sketches to drag on and grow old. Instead, these three sketches that contained my favorite moments made this a pretty good show. First, I loved this week’s SNL Digital Short: Rihanna Featuring Shy Ronnie, because, as I said, I like when the musical guest gets involved, plus I actually liked Rihanna’s parts to the song. Next, I really liked Vagisil Superstars Of Bowling Tournament 1989 because it made me miss the days of watching weird sports back when there was legitimate channel surfing. Finally, I was a fan of the sketch Potato Chip Thief because I enjoyed the surreal argument between two potential astronauts fighting over the specific count of chips in a bowl, especially since they didn’t even seem like good chips.