SNL: S35E09... HOST: TAYLOR LAUTNER... DATE: DECEMBER 12, 2009

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or...

If Only This Episode Were Hosted By

A Different Werewolf

 

When I first saw the name Taylor Lautner on the list of hosts, all that I knew was that he played one of the werewolves in the Twilight series of films. Being that I’ve only seen a Rifftrax version of the first installment, which was hilarious, but I wouldn’t consider this watching our host’s actual work. There was a part of me that hope he was the werewolf that I worked with on the first movie I was a grip for that had a multi-million-dollar budget, but that werewolf turned out to be one of Lautner’s Twilight underlings.

See, that’s just how bad I am at placing famous faces and names past the year of 2006 or ’07. I also barely remember which werewolf it was that I was working for because I was fired after just a couple of days. I learned on a day off while driving around the crew for Bizarre Foods, and eating all kinds of crazy treats. This was planned time off to allow me to fulfill prior obligations but when the movie saw just how much of a rookie I was, they used this as an excuse to let me go.

I don’t blame that at all, because, up to that point, I was entirely self-taught when it came to filmmaking. Though I went to film school for writing, I knew nothing about how the sausage was made and wanted to keep it that way, until I fell in love with the craft while on the set of my first non-school-produced short film. I was a complete impostor on the set, and minus mentor who was helping to train me in the indie world, I was utterly lost. It didn’t help that this was a joint venture between Hollywood, investors from Australia, and a team from the Pacific Northwest, and the Hollywood crew had no time for the local talent.

I’m fine with how things went down because thanks to my decision to stick with the Bizarre Foods gig, I got to taste geoduck seven different ways as part of one of our lunch breaks. I also got to sample all the weird food that was part of the Seattle episode. I wish this had more to do with the actual host but being that this challenge is pretty much an autobiography disguised as a television program review, this was as close as I could get to making any form of connection with Taylor Lautner.

With all that, let’s switch gears and dig into today’s real-time viewing experience. As always, I’m back and forth with my interest in the opening political sketch. Though I didn’t mind this case because it was silly enough to not feel like I was watching genuine C-SPAN coverage, I’ve never been a real fan of frivolous jokes about people having affairs. This is probably because I came from a broken home which led me to be a hopeless romantic in my views of commitment when it comes to relationships and why I’ve never liked these types of jokes.

Though I’m entirely unfamiliar with Taylor Lautner, I’m open to the idea that he can be fun. His delivery of the first few jokes was a little sloppy, it felt more like it was coming from the fact that he was young and not known for acting live on-stage and not that he was incapable of the hosting task. It cracked me up when they brought back black Reba McEntire, and Lautner’s stunt where he attempted a spinning heel kick on a Kanye West dummy, only to miss several times before having to punch the dummy’s head off also got me to laugh. Especially following the serious build up where he showed off all of his kung-fu moves.

I loved the first official sketch of the night, not just because it wasn’t a repeat of an old fake commercial, but thanks to my filmmaking experience, mentioned above, the behind-the-scenes look at the making of broadcasting promo material had me cracking up, since I’ve seen this type of behavior first hand, making it more than just a simple joke. I’m on the fence about how I feel about Kristen Wiig’s Aunt Sue character. In general, I’m about fifty/fifty on where I stand on repetitive reoccurring characters, and this Aunt Sue person who ruins every surprise is right there on that fine line between hit or miss. I could see myself liking this sketch more back when I was actually social and had a group of friends, back when I could say Aunt Sue is just like so-and-so but now, I just get kind of bored.

Over the past few days, I shared how I used to love watching sports like billiards, bowling, and darts, other than the show where the guy attempted to correct Charles Barkley’s swing, I’ve never really watched anything to do with golf. Because of this, I was indifferent to the first installment of the series of sketches about how the PGA planned to handle their loss of Tiger Woods. The school assembly sketch with Andy Samberg as a heckler was fine, but nothing to write home about. See the start of this paragraph to see how I feel about round two of the PGA sketch series, which I will probably feel the same for round three, but I do really like these quick “rule of three” fulfilling series, in general.

Though I LOVE Jon Bovi, I’ve never been a Bon Jovi fan because to me, it’s definitive mainstream “rock” music with no edge, so I zoned out during their performance and wasn’t won back by the news where the guests made more jokes about Tiger’s cheating and had Fred Armisen in redface as a Native American. Though I get the humor of the Team Edward versus Team Jacob sketch that followed, I’m so out of the look about Twilight that the only joke seemed to be the fact that Taylor Lautner was in drag and rooting debating on the side against his Twilight character.

I like round three of the PGA series of sketches because I could relate to commissioner getting bombed on booze as the final solution to his problem. The sketch that followed at the Fro-Yo shop seemed like it was a funny idea, and I liked Kenan’s smooth-talking character, but the business in between his interjection left me feeling rather bored, and that boredom stuck around throughout the second Bon Jovi performance.

The final fake ad for doorbells was fun but by the time it was over, I was happy to hear Lautner say his goodnights. Not that it was a horrible episode, I’m sure I would have liked it much more if I was a bigger fan of our host and his work, but based on the connection that I do, or don’t have, this was just an average episode.

Now that I’ve shared all the info above, it’s now time to dig deeper into the details as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody C-SPAN coverage for a sketch called The Other Affairs that took place at a press conference where Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, and Will Forte played politicians who were recently caught up in extramarital affairs who were all annoyed with Tiger Woods for his current affair superseding their own in the headlines. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Taylor Lautner then officially opened the show with a monolog about his Twilight career and relationship with Taylor Swift. This led Lautner to attempt to perform a spinning heel kick to a cardboard cutout of Kanye West for his mic stealing stunt at the recent VMAs. He missed the kick two or three times before finally giving up and punching the dummy’s head off.

  3. This was followed by behind the scenes footage from a fake Rose Bowl Promo where Taylor Lautner portrayed the backup-backup-quarterback who was a bundle of nerves while posing for the Rose Bowl broadcast promo material.

  4. Surprise had Taylor Lautner and Abby Elliott as a couple who wanted to surprise Abby’s parents, Jason Sudeikis and Nasim Pedrad, with news of their first pregnancy, only Kristen Wiig as her Aunt Sue character struggled to keep herself from spoiling the surprise, as usual.

  5. PGA Tour was the first in a series of three where Jason Sudeikis played the golf commissioner who struggled to make the PGA organization relevant now that Tiger Woods was taking an indefinite break from golf.

  6. The Sparkle Players Choir Assembly had Andy Samberg as a student/heckler who ruined a forced performance by the Northeast Middle School’s Sparkle Players who were already nervous enough to perform for the entire school at an assembly.

  7. PGA Tour then returned for round two where this time Jason Sudeikis tried to apply a quick fix solution to Tiger Woods’s absence from the sport by announcing new sexy caddies for the upcoming PGA Tour.

  8. Bon Jovi then took to the stage to perform Superman Tonight.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Nasim Pedrad dropped by as Tiger Woods’ Mistress Number 15 to justify her participation in his infidelity streak. Fred Armisen also returned as his Native American comedian character who tells nothing but jokes that going over the non-Native audience members’ heads because of his cultural references. (Clip 2)

  10. Twilight Debate took place at a school where Bill Hader played a science teacher who forced Taylor Lautner as a girl and Abby Elliot into a debate to settle their Twilight-based Team Edward/Team Jacob bickering so that he can finally get back to teaching the class.

  11. PGA Tour then returned for round three where a drunken Sudeikis was on suicide watch over his fears that he had no more stars to draw viewers in to watch golf.

  12. Eternal Spark Of Love had Kenan Thompson monitor the budding romance between Taylor Lautner and Abby Elliott, as a smooth-talking Barry White-type at a Fro-Yo shop.

  13. Bon Jovi then returned to the stage to perform When We Were Beautiful.

  14. Doorbells And More was as the title suggests a fake ad with Jenny Slate as the pitchwoman who pitch a variety of talking doorbells and more.

  15. Finally, Taylor Lautner closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

I’m sure I would have liked tonight’s episode much more if only I were more familiar with our host, but, as it is, thanks to these three sketches that contained my favorite moments, the viewing was still pretty fun. First, I loved Taylor Lautner’s Failed Attempt To Kick Kanye In The Head during his monolog because the unintentional failure following the grandiose build up was funnier than any sketch from the evening. Next, I really liked the Doorbells And More sketch because it was sort of funny and I’m desperate to find content that I did genuinely enjoy. Finally, I was a fan of the Rose Bowl Promo because of how it reminded me of back in the day when I used to work in film and television.

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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.