SNL: S36E16... HOST: MILEY CYRUS... DATE: MARCH 5, 2011

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My Post Birthday Episode: Year 35

 

Though I was always aware of the show Hannah Montana, I never saw the show, and Miley Cyrus was completely off my radar until she cut her hair. Seeing her wacky personality, part of me feels like I would have been a fan if I was a bit younger to where her show would have been on when I got home from school, the way I became of fan of Save By The Bell, The Facts Of Life, and even Mr. Belvedere. Granted these were also prime time shows, but they remain in my heart due to their years in syndication where these were the only shows to watch after cartoon time was over.

Then again, I’ve always hated country music so much, I probably would have turned the channel the second I saw her mullet headed achy-breaky dad. Though I didn’t become a fan of her show for even novelty reasons her hair cut came at just the right time for me to become a novel fan of her music, well, at least a couple of her songs. For one, I’ve always had a thing for girls with short hair because it of how it highlights the face, neck, and head shape, which is apparently what does it for me. Her pixyish transition also took place during a period where I was getting into pop music from needing another break from the music I legitimately love since I’m naturally drawn to music that brings me down.

During this break from my favorite music genre, I was driving an old truck from the ‘70s that still had the factory installed radio, so I only had AM and FM, and just locked it on whatever station it was that played all of the mainstream hits of the time. Miley wasn’t anywhere close to being a novelty favorite like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, but I still got a kick out of her attempts to mix things up. I think my main issue with Miley was, the fact that I’m a bit of a prude, as you may be picking up from some of my reviews. Where I found Perry and Gaga using their sexuality in fun cheeky ways, I wasn’t a huge fan of Cyrus’s antic bordering on pornography. Not that I think she shouldn’t have gone this route, it just wasn’t for me.

Since moving home, I’ve grown to know Miley a little more while watching The Voice with my family. I like her as an individual much more, but I still take some issues with her approach to getting attention. I was a blue-haired punk all the way up into my mid-thirties, which was when I started to switch back and forth from having black hair to blonde, so I know first hand what it’s like to wear my quirkiness on my sleeve. I’ve always hated people who were on this same page yet felt the need to not only dress and look like an attention seeking asshole but continuously point out how weird they are, which is my main issue with our chair turning host.

Every time a contestant performs with an off-color shirt, Miley Loves to point out how they’re similar, pointing out every single eccentricity whether or not their styles are close enough to be worth mentioning. It would be one thing if The Voice were an audio-only show where listeners might need this help, but with television being a visual medium, this approach just comes off as her being braggadocious. I also hate how she seems to be more focused on styling her artists over honing their skills.

At this point, I like her enough that I wouldn’t mind seeing the modern Miley host the show, but I’m not sure what to expect from this pre-short haired pop star. I have no idea how this era of Miley Cyrus acted, so I have no idea what to expect. I am, however, going into this viewing with some pretty high expectations especially since I think this episode aired right before she cut her hair, meaning she might be a bit more experimental, plus, her energy alone has the potential to make this viewing either super fun or a complete nightmare.

With all that said, it’s now time to hit play in order to share my real-time viewing experience. Though I was pleased as punch to see the show start with a non-political sketch, the fact that I’m still crawling out from the rock bottom following my mid-life meltdown, I’m no longer as entertained by jokes about celebrities and their meltdown moments. I’m pretty sure all of the Charlie Sheen jokes to come will only add to the things that I used to love that now just bums me out. Not because I can now relate ONLY because it also happened to me, I’m just at a point where I’m currently starting to see everyone as an individual each with different wants, needs, and pasts that helped develop any peculiar response that others might deem unacceptable. That, and all of the Sheen references from this period have been done to death over the years.

Miley’s monolog was interesting since she was still sticking to the innocent Disney kid persona, while just referencing the fact that she might have a bit of a wild side. Even the examples she used for her less than innocent behavior was child’s play compared to her normal state for the first couple of years after she cut her hair. This kind of makes it seem like the haircut was the exact turning point in Cyrus as a brand.

Of course, you know how I feel about the fact that they resorted to a repeat first ad during this age of the internet, I hate it for those who aren’t aware. I did however like the sketch that featured Taboo and Apl.De.Ap from the Black Eyed Peas because I love references to the lesser know people from bands. For example, the entire reason I like Huey Lewis is because he allows me to reference The News. This is also why I think Garfunkel and Oates is such a brilliant name for a band.  

I’ve been loving these TCM behind-the-scene parody series that started this season because I miss the old days when parody was more of a go-to genre for SNL. The more modern episodes may parody commercials for real products, or trailers for old movies, but they rarely parody an entire scene. So, I like how this series is bringing parody back to the show. The fake ad for the Disney acting class was fun but, I’m too old and childless to get the Disney Channel-specific references because I was raised on Disney films since the Disney Channel was a cable premium which we couldn’t afford back when I was young and just played Disney Cartoons either way.

I usual, I like Vanessa Bayer as Miley Cyrus more than I like the actual The Miley Cyrus Show series of sketches. However, tonight’s installment was pretty fun because it’s always great to see a Not Ready For Prime Time Player impersonate a host to their face. It was also funny to see Miley Cyrus as Justin Bieber which left me wondering if this impersonation had anything to do with her decision to cut her hair.

I was so happy to see The Strokes as the musical guest, not that I’m a huge fan of their music, but I don’t think I could handle a night of Miley doing double duty as the host and musical guest. Back to the actual band and their performance, though I’ve never owned any of their albums, I do like their sound and could see myself getting into them, even now, if I were to just stumble onto their music at just the right time.

I love Jason Sudeikis’s first visit to Weekend Update as The Devil, so I was happy to see his return and was once again entertained by his take on the Westborough Baptist Church and how they wouldn’t be accepted in hell. I was also happy to see Bobby Moynihan as Anthony Crispino to tell more second-hand news stories because both Booby and this character have always cracked me up. The rest of the news was the news as usual. Speaking of loving things to return, I loved the fact that they brought back the French café dance off sketch because I loved it the first time it was on with Emma Stone. Though I still prefer round one, I really enjoyed this second round. I also still think that if they bring back this series again, they should save it for the last sketch of the night because that just seems to be a better fit for sketches like this that are more quirky and cute than hilarious.

The fact trailer for the movie Beastly was pretty impressive to the point where it not only felt like an official trailer, but I’m surprised that nobody attempted to turn this into an actual film because it seems like it has real potential. I got a kick out of the Rock-A-Billy sketch because as a punk, I hated the Rock-A-Billy scene, so it was fun to see the genre get goofed on. I think my issue with this brand of music was it was the first genre where I saw just how phony hipster culture is as everyone jumped ship for this new flavor of the month seemingly all at once, and that other’s tastes were as gradual of an evolution as mine. Not that my taste is any better, I just always took pride in being a loyal fan even when I’m not actively enjoying something that I used to love. This is part of the reason why I’ve been wanting to do this SNL challenge ever since I stopped regularly watching the show.

I wasn’t as big of a fan of the second song from The Strokes to the point where I don’t think I would have been as complementary to them if this were their first performance. The cruise ship/lounge singing sketch was sort of funny, but I’m starting to find that the lounge show sketches have a bit of a cut and paste format, which is okay for watching but only so-so when it comes to description time.

The gurney sketch that ended the night was great, but at the same time it was only a minute long and would have been much better at the top of the show instead of the Baby Spanx ad. They could have then extended each sketch a couple of seconds, maybe added a story or two to the news, and finish the night on the French Café dance-off, and this would have been a perfect night. Not that it was horrible with this arrangement but the order of the sketches can be as important as the quality of each piece, and tonight I don’t think that they got the order correct.

To be clear, it was a perfectly fine episode that I was delighted with the viewing by the time Miley Cyrus took to the stage to say her good nights, I’m just saying I would have liked the show a lot more in this order. As is, I’m happy enough that tonight’s show makes six solid showings in a row, which has been great because I’m more proud of my work when I either love or hate the show, and the last couple seasons have been right in the middle of the road leading to very limited inspiration.

With all of that said, it’s now time to shift gears and dig into the details, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a talk show sketch called Duh! Winning! With Charlie Sheen that had Bill Hader as meltdown era Charlie Sheen to host a talk show where he interviews other delusional celebrities to discuss their wacky ways. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”

  2. Miley Cyrus then officially opened the show with a monolog about how Hannah Montana explored the duality of her character and how for the most part, she as Miley is an angel for the most part but does slip up from time to time in reference recent low-key scandal after she was caught smoking salvia. She then apologized for her mistake before being joined by Bobby Moynihan and Kristen Wiig who assisted her in singing, I’m Sorry But I’m Not Perfect.

  3. We then got a repeat of the Baby Spanx commercial from earlier in the season which was a slimming spandex bodysuit for infants.

  4. Our Time! With Taboo And Apl.De.Ap! was another talk show hosted by Kenan Thompson and Andy Samberg portraying the titular members from the Black Eyed Peas. The two host this show specifically to try to gain as much recognition in the music industry as will.i.am and Fergie.

  5. The Essentials With Robert Osborne returned to share another TCM presentation this time by showing deleted scenes from The Sound Of Music where Fred Armisen played a Hispanic comedian who kept stealing each scene with his comedy that was performed in the style of an Off-Broadway One-Man-Show.

  6. The Disney Channel Acting School had Miley Cyrus as herself and Kenan Thompson as Raven-Symone hold a masterclass where they demonstrated the terrible acting techniques used while performing in Disney teen sitcoms.

  7. The Miley Cyrus Show was another sketch to return for another installment with Vanessa Bayer as Miley Cyrus who thinks she’s cool with her impersonation of Charlie Sean while attempting to interview the real Miley Cyrus as Justin Bieber.

  8. The Strokes then took to the stage to perform Under Cover Of Darkness.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week Jason Sudeikis returned as The Devil to share that he didn’t support the Westborough Baptist Church’s protesting of gay military funerals. Bobby Moynihan also returned as his character who shares second-hand stories even though he’s always wrong. (Clip 2) (Clip 3) (Clip 4)

  10. Les Jeunes De Paris was another reoccurring sketch to return where for this installment the dance-off in the French café was between Miley Cyrus and Taran Killam.

  11. Beastly was a fake trailer for a parody of the movie Thinner, in a way where Andy Samberg played a man who was so vain that when he disrespected a which she turned him into Beastly, an ugly guy who had one year to try to find love with his out appearance matching the ugliness of his insides.

  12. Rock-A-Billy Lady Party Moisturizing Facial Cream was a bit of a parody of an Avon type deal where Miley Cyrus and Kristen Wiig pitched free Rock-A-Billy CD to anyone who would buy any of their moisturizing products.

  13. The Strokes then returned to the stage to perform Life Is Simple In The Moonlight.

  14. We then went to a Cruise Ship where Miley Cyrus played the ships performer who sang not so subtle songs about how gross she finds everyone on the boat to be.

  15. CBS Gurney Promos was a fake commercial to promote the fact that March is Gurney Month on CBS which means their shows will feature lots and lots of dead bodies since every show was some form of a CSI-style program.

  16. Finally, Miley Cyrus closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Knowing the new Miley Cyrus more than the old, I was expecting something a little different from this episode but at the same time, thanks to sketches like these three that contained my favorite moments of the night, and was still extremely pleased by tonight’s viewing experience. First, I loved the Beastly fake trailer because even though it was a fake ad, I still think that I would really enjoy this if it were to become a real movie since it is my brand of fun. Next, I really liked The Miley Cyrus Show because as I said up above, I always love seeing a cast member impersonate the host right in front of their face. Finally, I was a fan of the second installment of Les Jeunes De Paris even though it didn’t run at the end of the show, it’s one of those more adorable than funny, end of the night sketches that I love.

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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.