SNL: S36E10... HOST: JEFF BRIDGES... DATE: DECEMBER 18, 2010

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All I Want For Christmas Is A Good Episode

 

As much as I love Jeff Bridges as The Dude from The Big Lewbowski, I liked him even more in the movie Tidelands… well… I liked his involvement in the movie considering a majority of the film used a dummy likeness of him as a corpse. I also am a fan of many of his movies from my youth, like Tron, Starman, and Tucker: The Man And His Dream. Not only did I like Jeff, but I also loved the entire Bridges family, especially when Lloyd Bridges started to be known for his comedy.

Though I wouldn’t really consider Jeff to be a full-on comedic actor, I don’t feel that he is talented enough to carry the weight of a comedic role which is why I had minimal concerns about this evening’s episode. I figured, unlike Robert De Niro who can be funny in films but dull in any personal appearances, Jeff Bridges can be fun and outgoing as either himself or his characters so I felt he’d make a good host. I wouldn’t say that he didn’t do a good job, but I would say that the show underutilized his talent.

This seemed to be another night where the show played it too safe, featuring too much filler content that featured the cast over the host making the overall viewing experience to end up just seeming average. It didn’t help that this was the second average show that I watched in one night in my effort to take the next couple of days off while still keeping my one post a day average. This was another case where my biggest problem was the show was okay, but I wanted to like it much more.

Since tonight’s viewing left me uninspired to write more, I’m just going to jump right into sharing my real-time viewing experience and travel back in time to the moment where I hit play. Even though, as you know, I’ve come to hat the typical political opening sketch, but tonight I was happy to finally see another opening political sketch that actually tells a bit of a story and isn’t just a talking political head addressing the nation. I think it’s this talking head aspect that has me more annoyed with all of the political nonsense that then actual content, though, I’m still not a fan of the direction all of our leaders where steering us around this time period.

Jeff Bridges opening was pretty fun because he was the first host in a while who spoke like a human and not a performer delivering lines, even though he did seem a bit out of it, but then again he was also referencing The Dude. That, and of course, it was awesome to see the real Cookie Monster join our host for a song.

Though I don’t think the sketches are all that hilarious, I’m really liking these WikiLeaks themed sketches. As I keep pointing out, though I was aware of both the site and it’s founder back then but not as much as I know about them now, so it’s interesting to see the comedic take on the organization from this time. Too bad nothing really stood out this time, but I’m looking forward to seeing more.

As usual, I was a fan Vanessa Bayer performance more than I liked that actual Miley Cyrus Show sketch. Then again, I did think it was fun when she joked about her experience on salvia because that is a crazy drug. It was good to see another classic hit from Lonely Island for this week’s SNL Digital Short because the last several season’s worth of Digital Short music videos have been entertaining, but not many have had a legitimate catchy tune.

Though I used to love Larry King based material because I’m a Howard Stern fan and he used to go off on the old guy all of the time, but it’s been so long since Larry’s been out of the spotlight I don’t find as much humor in the jokes about the old host anymore. I’m pretty bummed that I don’t find as much humor in so many things anymore and I’m not just talking the changes due to this current rise of P.C. culture. I just don’t have the same sense of humor anymore, and my shift in interest seems to sync up with this time period. I do still find humor in Juggalo culture though so I liked the fake ad for the Crunkmas Karnival under-underground holiday music festival.

I liked Eminem when he was more of a novelty rapper. I also do enjoy a few of his more recent songs, but I wouldn’t say that I know anything past his first few albums to consider myself a true fan, and I know very little from Lil Wayne but was open liking their first song, unfortunately, I just wasn’t feeling it. I did, however, really get a kick out of the old white guy on the synthesize was dancing his ass off throughout the entire song, so at least it was entertaining to watch. I also think I would have liked the version of the song from the album because it’s not uncommon for me to only like live rap that I know since it can be hard to make out the lyrics, especially with songs like this one that has a lot going on.

The news was the news where this time I wasn’t that into the guests. As I said when talking about the opening sketch, I’ve grown to be disinterested in current events from this time period. I think it just feels too close to the present and we’re still dealing with many of these issues while at the same time not far enough away to where the nostalgia for these jokes is enough to outweigh the frustration each reminder causes. I am a fan of It’s A Wonderful Life but don’t know how I feel about this Jewish parody’s play of Jewish stereotypes as a comedy source. Whether or not it’s tasteful, most of the jokes stem from the sketch came from the cliché Jewish accents, and I’m just no longer a fan of accent humor.

The Jeff’d sketch made me laugh because it reminded me of Todd Glass’s Terrible Prank Show from Tosh.0. I’m a person who likes the narrative to songs more than the sound of the instruments and actual music so, like with the first song, I might have enjoyed this second performance from Eminem better if I heard it on the album. I could only pick up words here and there from this live performance, so I don’t know whether or not I actually liked this song. Considering I just got done watching yesterday’s show that ended with a concert from Paul McCartney, I was kind of annoyed that this was a three musical performance night, even though Lil Wayne’s song was probably the best performance of the three songs.

As with most of the sketches from this evening, the sketch where Jeff Bridges played a gay gift wrapper from the Old West days was okay but most of the humor came from outdated clichés with most of the laughs coming from our host speaking with a stereotypically gay affect, making exaggerated gay faces with no real humor from the rest of the scene. I’m realizing that I’ve grown to where I no longer mind offensive material, but the rest of the content has to be as funny, if not more, than the offensive stuff for it to actually work.

And, to wind down the night, I know nothing about the Kardashians other than they are always in the news, for some reason, so I didn’t really care about the fake Kardashians’ Christmas wish to end the night. I do think tonight was a little better than the last couple of episode, but I was still ready for it to be over then Jeff Bridges took to the stage to say his goodnights to the crowd.

Though tonight was one of the better of the so-so episodes of late, it was still so-so nonetheless. Like with De Niro, I feel like the show might have been a bit slower and tamer due to the age of the host and the fact that he’s got such a well-respected career. I could just be feeling this way because it was another night where the host was barely utilized, and when he was, more often than not, he wasn’t the featured character, which, to me, is an approach that makes the show feel like it’s a night filled with mainly filler material.

Hopefully, since the next episode takes place after the winter break, the show will switch things up enough to get back to the high-quality level of shows like the quick run of episodes that I loved toward the start of the year. This should be the case because tonight’s viewing was on the cusp of being that good, it was just a little bit off. Plus, the line up of host to come seems like it should be impossible for this season to stay so-so until the rest of the year plays out.

We’ll see how things go, but until then, it’s now time for me to dig deeper into the details of each sketch, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of a holiday special called Christmas Eve In Washington, D.C. where Kenan Thompson played Frosty The Snow Man envisioned several cast members as various Democratic leader’s dreams about better headlines for their party in the upcoming year. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Jeff Bridges then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he is not The Dude from Big Lebowski and is actually a real human being while sounding exactly like The Dude character while sharing his complaint. He then retrieved a guitar to play and sing the song Silver Bells with the real Cookie Monster.

  3. We then got an update from Julian Assange who was just out of prison for the rape charges that were just referenced last week. This time Hader as Assange interrupted Andy Samberg as Mark Zuckerberg so that he could state that he was the one who should have been chosen as Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year because he was doing more for the world than Facebook.

  4. The Miley Cyrus Show then returned for another installment of Vanessa Bayer acting like the Disney era Miley to act wacky while interviewing Jeff Bridges as Nick Nolte who was all whacked out on drugs.

  5. We then got another SNL Digital Short/music video for the Lonely Island song, I Just Had Sex.

  6. This was followed by another parody of Larry King Live where Fred Armisen portrayed Mr. King for his final broadcast that he shared with a panel of weirdo celebrity guests.

  7. Crunkmas Karnival brought back Jason Sudeikis’s and Nasim Pedrad’s Juggalo characters who were now pitching an under-underground Christmas Rock Festival that was filled with bands that all had names that were crazier than the last.

  8. Eminem then took to the stage with Lil' Wayne to perform No Love.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kenan Thompson dropped by as Michael Steele to share that he was hip to running for a second term. Taram Killam stopped by as Brad Pitt to deliver the weather while Abby Elliott as Angelina Jolie delivered another adopted baby. Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Bobby Moynihan the joined Seth as David Paterson, Stefon, and Snooki to perform the Christmas classic Oh, Christmas Tree. (Clip 2) (Clip 3) (Clip 4)

  10. TCM: This, You Call A Wonderful Life?! was a parody of the Jewish version of It’s A Wonderful Life that, in the word of the sketch, preceded the classic Christmas film.

  11. Jeff'd was a parody of punk where Jeff Bridges performed super lame pranks on other celebrities.

  12. Eminem then returned to the stage with Lil' Wayne to perform the songs Won't Back Down and 6'7 back to back.

  13. Tunstall General Store took place as an Old West general store where Bill Hader played the shopkeeper who reluctantly allowed his cousin, Kristen Wiig, and Jeff Bridges as her “special” effeminate friend to wrap customer’s gifts in flamboyant packaging that he felt was too much for the holidays.

  14. A Holiday Message from The Kardashians had Nasim Pedrad, Vanessa Bayer, and Abby Elliott as the Kardashians who wished all their viewers happy holidays in their signature vapid way.

  15. Finally, Jeff Bridges closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Let me start with my usual reminder that to me, the word average means good but just not good enough to write home about so, especially when it comes to the actual viewing experience and not the reviewing process. Thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night, this was a fun one to watch even if I struggle to come up with something to write. First, I loved this week’s SNL Digital Short: I Just Had Sex because it was nice to see another classic music video from Lonely Island. Next, I really liked seeing the real Cookie Monster singing with Jeff Bridges because Cookie Monster was a favorite character of mine as a kid. Finally, I was a fan of the Jeff’d sketch because of how it seemed that our host was having a blast during this segment.  

 
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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.