SNL: S36E01... HOST: AMY POEHLER... DATE: SEPTEMBER 25, 2010

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So This Is When They Started

The Cameo Ladened Season Openers!!!

 

Throughout this challenge, I kept questioning when the season-opening shows and the finales would start to seem more like an event and not just seem like a typical episode. Sure, there have been several years that started or ended with cameos here and there, but no season starter has had as many cameos from alumni and stars than tonight’s show hosted by Amy Poehler. This seems to have actually started with the cavalcade of cameos from last season’s show hosted by Betty White. Though not the season finale, I’m willing to bet that looking back they wish it was instead of the typical visit from Alec Baldwin to close out the year.

Tonight did feel like they were trying to recapture the same energy from Betty White’s visit to start the season with a bang, as opposed to starting the year with a weaker host as a way to work out any summer break bugs allowing everyone to ease back into the hectic pace of this job. Though I do see how other can take issue with all the cameos because each special appearance generates excitement about the visitor over the content as a way to cover these vacation-based bugs, I’d prefer this technique over start with a yawner, like last season so-so opener hosted by Megan Fox.

That said, I was a little disappointed by Amy Poehler as a host since she was barely in any of the scenes. I thought for sure that with her Upright Citizens Brigade past and time with the show that she would already have her first hosted episode tightly planned out in her head, and would be heavily involved in every single sketch. Instead, even when she brought back her Bronx Beat character, Katy Perry turned out to be the star of the sketch. Then we got a bunch of commercials without any sign of our host, with sketches she was barely involved with in between. Though she did a lot for Weekend Update, she played herself more than her one-legged character and just barely checked in wear tiny hats for one other sketch and other than that she did nothing but say her goodnights. Still, this minor disappointment did detract from the fact that I really enjoyed tonight’s episode and am more genuinely excited about the rest of this season based on the initial episode.

With all of that, it’s now time to go back in time once again so that I can share with you my real-time viewing experience. Once again, I’m back to not minding the political opening sketch since it was more than just a talking head segment, and actually had some action along with the jokes. I also loved seeing Vanessa Bayer right out the gate because her showing up is a sign that we’re getting close to the season where I started to watch more regularly again. I’m not sure how I felt about the sit-com sounding sweetening of the audiences’ reactions, but I did love seeing the string attached to Kristen Wiig, while also sensing her nervousness for the upcoming stunt where she ended up flying through the air. I’m willing to bet that the thing was either super uncomfortable or was wacky to work with during rehearsal and that’s what caused the nervous look.

Amy Poehler is one of the alumni hosts who I truly believe always dreamed about hosting the show, even before she was on it, considering her start with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade. Her love of sketch comedy in general has me excited to see how this season starter will play out. I never liked the Bronx Beat sketch because I’m just not a fan of jokes about New York neighborhood specific stereotypes because it doesn’t mean much to me. That said, this one was fun because, as I always point out, I love when the musical guests get a chance to play along. It also helped that Katy Perry is another pop performer who I started to like for novelty reasons when the music that I actually enjoyed would get me too depressed and need a break from the norm. I also really liked how Amy Poehler worked in a couple of Baba Booeys!

I once had a friend whose name was similar to the name of the founder of the real Bosley Hair Restoration System, which is probably the main reason I knew that this was based on a real company. Remembering that friend was almost and fun as remembering the sketch, especially since he wasn’t a friend who wasn’t close enough to come up in memories all that often. Either way, it kept my attention and led me to enjoy the segment.

I’ve also never like this series of sketches where Fred Armisen plays the aggressive show producer who keeps showing up as a last minute replacement for shows that he’s entirely inappropriate to host, and I didn’t really like it this time either, because I just don’t like the character or the concept. I had mixed feelings about the Mosque sketch because part of me feels like this is another line of jokes where if it were remade today outside of the show, everyone involved in the original would gasp while saying, “How could anyone ever…,” as if they never had this type of sense of humor. Then again, it was also so over-the-top that it didn’t feel like a real criticism enough to be offensive, keeping in mind, this is coming from a non-believer who thinks that all religion is ridiculous and, does more harm than good. Plus, it was also more of an attack on the conservative’s line of thinking than an attack on the actual establishment itself.

As I already admitted, Katy Perry is a bit of a guilty pleasure, so I loved that she performed a hit that I know. Then again, I like the musical guests who perform songs that I’m familiar with even more than I like when my favorite bands who trying to dig deep in their content to find something obscure to share. I see the music as more of a break from the comedy and get a drink than a way to discover music. The news was fun as usual, but it bummed me out when they kept highlighting how we were in just two wars as if that were too many, meaning this was before we added five more and counting, and still think that either way, everyone would still laugh and cheer. I also liked seeing Jay Pharaoh’s debut, but I still don’t really like Fred Armisen making fun of the blind Governor, even if he did do this right to the real Governor’s face for this visit. That said, the real guy did seem to have a good sense of humor about the situation.

Amy Poehler’s foul-mouthed, one-legged character was one of her greatest hits that I was happy to see return. That said, the sketch had more Amy Poehler as herself, sitting in a chair talking about the character, than as the character herself. Either way, it was still okay. Though I wasn’t sure about this week’s SNL Digital Short, The Boogerman at first, by the end of the segment, I was entirely on board and loving it. I felt the same exact way about the sketch that followed with the female cast member’s who were all obsessed with Amy Poehler’s tiny hat which sent all of the girls into a tiny hat competition because it was so random and quirky.

I enjoyed Katy Perry’s second performance better than her first because it reminded me of the music video, which reminded me that it was her music video’s old school MTV style that made me a fan in the first place for novel reasons or not. I also really liked the Actor II Actor sketch, especially during the introduction where I learned that Andy Samberg was supposed to be playing himself, making the sketch even more silly and fun. I also loved the parody ad for The Even More Expendables, because the Expendables series is perfect for parody which endless combination of ensembles to joke about.

Tonight’s episode was so fun that it blew by and I was surprised to see Amy Poehler take to the stage to say her goodnights. That said, this quick seeming viewing has me very excited about this upcoming year. With that, I need to wrap this one up so that I can get on to the next episode, so let’s shift gears and dig into the details, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started at the RNC Headquarters where Kristen Wiig played Christine O’Donnell to rattle off more problematic digressions from her past following her controversial unsupported winning the primary to represent the Republican candidacy for the Delaware Senate. Not only was she controversial for winning this spot as an outsider but, she also claimed to be a former witch who tried to create mice with human brains, and also hosted a dogfight or two that would make Michael Vick look like a piker. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Amy Poehler then officially opened the show with a monolog about how her dream of actually hosting the show was coming true. She then shared what she had been up to since leaving the show, before introducing the new featured players that literally lasted a second. She then finished her opening routine by sharing a flashback where we got to see her reoccurring stress dream from when she was on the cast and feared being late for the show due to a slew of gratuitous alumni cameos and newer castmates who attempted to rip off her characters.

  3. Bronx Beat With Betty And Jodi brought back Maya Rudolph to join Amy Poehler in order to reprise that Bronx Beat talk show host characters to make fun of Bronx stereotypes. This week, the two reunited fake show hosts interviewed tonight’s musical guest Katy Perry for the infamous sketch where she wore a low cut Elmo shirt and giggle and jiggled while promoting the fact that her character read books to children at the local library.

  4. This was followed by a fake ad for the Bosley Hair Restoration System where Jason Sudeikis played a spokesman who shared how the company used clients pubic hair to replace the lost hair on their heads, whether the client is a man of a woman of any race.

  5. Maternity Matters was another in the series where Fred Armisen played an aggressive producer who stepped in as a last minute replacement to has a show where the topic is way too sensitive for his temperament. As the title of the sketch suggests, this time, he hosted a show geared toward pregnant women.

  6. Mosque At Ground Zero was another fake ad where Bill Hader played a pitchman who lauded a whirlwind of anti-Democratic activities that were taking place at the Mosque at Ground Zero. Some of the services being pitcher were things like how they hosted gay wedding, free naturalization for Mexican citizens, a pregnancy termination lounge as well as many other similar services that sounded more like things available at a mall than at any form of religious facility.

  7. Katy Perry then took to the stage to perform California Gurls

  8. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Amy Poehler joined Seth for another round of Really!?! in regards to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent speech where he predicted the defeat of Capitalism and that the US was actually involved in the 9/11 attacks. Jay Pharoah then made his news debut as Will Smith to explain how, even though he didn’t start in any summer blockbuster this year, he’s still thrilled that his spawn has been active on the screen in his place. The real David Paterson also stopped by to confront Fred Armisen about his impersonation that mainly made fun of him for being blind. (Clip 2)

  9. The Lean Years brought back Amy Poehler’s foul-mouthed, one-legged character as the focus of a new Showtime series devoted to her and her, not so secret, missing leg. I guess with was based on a bunch of Showtime series from this time the featured women with major secrets since the introduction was made up of rapid parodies of these other shows.

  10. This was followed by another SNL Digital Short called Boogerman that took place at the Academy Awards where Katy Perry sand the title track for a film called Boogerman that starred, special guest, Peter Sarsgaard as the hero and Andy Samberg as said Boogerman.

  11. Ladies Who Lunch took place at a luncheon where the women of the cast and our host were all super competitive and jealous over each other’s tiny hats that got tinier and tinier with each new character who was introduced to the scene.

  12. Katy Perry then returned to the stage to perform Teenage Dream.

  13. Actor II Actor had Andy Samberg as an acting enthusiast who questioned his special guest, Justin Timberlake when he would give up on his thespian ways and get back to making music.

  14. The Even More Expendables was a parody follow up to the Expendables that featured an ever-expanding collection of quasi-celebrities together into a bunches to create even more ensemble action films, even though most of these new characters, aren’t actors, let alone action heroes, at all.

  15. Finally, Amy Poehler closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Tonight’s episode turned out to be the shot to the arm that I needed to boost me out of my waning energy towards this project thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Ladies Who Lunch because it was the best of the night’s sketches that actually featured Amy Poehler. Next, I really liked this week’s SNL Digital Short: The Boogerman because I liked how they utilized Katy Perry, but more so because I liked how I went from just kind of liking the segment to loving it by the time it was through. Finally, I was a fan of The Even More Expendables trailer because I hate action films, so I love parodies that make fun of the Expendables franchise since I already see the series as a joke.

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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.