SNL: S37E11... HOST: CHARLES BARKLEY... DATE: JANUARY 7, 2012

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Barkley And Me

 

Holy crap, it’s been crazy going back and forth between my old reviews and these new posts as I continue to clean up the old spellchecking issues where my web publishing software turned out to not be committing my third-party spellchecker’s changes. Keep in mind, I accept all of the blame since I should have been checking my work one more time after hitting publish since that is the actual finished product. The more that I think about it, I’m kind of happy this happened because it’s allowed me to look back and see just how far I’ve come.

It’s weird to see how in the earliest post, I was still writing as a screenwriter in the way that I was still trying to write what I would see on the screen, especially when writing the old Wicker Break-downs. I also used a lot more shorthand efforts in my storytelling as if either the reader was already well aware of the episode, or that I would inspire them to check it out for themselves to connect the dots on their own time. This was while I was still watching through Seeso and thought this mystery approach may lead to a couple bucks through their affiliate program, which I’m not sure if they ever had.

I was also still using my three line per paragraph rule since when I was writing scripts, I knew I was writing for people who didn’t actually like to read so white space on the page was more critical than paragraph structure. Plus as I’ve pointed out in the past, I would start a new paragraph whenever I wanted the camera set up to change, in my effort to have at least some control of the vision if the thing were ever to go into production.

Finally, everything was short, and though I might ramble off topic, I was too nervous to allow my thoughts to wonder as I continue to try and find my non-screenwriter writer’s voice. Within the next couple of days, I’m going to keep this as the My Saturday Night Life challenge, but I’m getting rid of the “Formerly Known As Seeso Many Saturday Nights” tagline and switch it to “An Autobiography Disguised As A Marathon Watching TV Review,” or something like that. I just need to decide on the final subtitle. So that people don’t get as confused by reviews that start out like this, since I’m here to report on the challenge itself as much as the show, and sometimes more.

There are a couple other sites out there for you if you’re more interest in me strictly sticking to the show. If you need help finding them, feel free to ask me on Twitter, because I’ve interacted with several of them and I’d be happy to promote their work that I even turn to when looking for pieces of show history. Sorry for this bout of rambling, next year I plan to get more active in promoting this site so I’ve been defending some of my choices in my mind and felt that I’d share a few thoughts.

That, and I’ve already shared how I’m a Charles Barkley fan during his past two hosting performances. Though I like the guy and have high hopes for tonight’s views, I’m also can stand sports, so I don’t have that deep of a history with tonight’s host that to come up with anything more. Minus the rambling above, this one paragraph was all that I had to say about tonight’s show. It also doesn’t help that, unlike Barkley’s last two visits, I’ve never seen this installment before, so I didn’t have that to talk about either.

Oh well, it’s a Saturday review, I really hope that it turns into a fun little send off into my weekend. With that, it’s now time to hit play and share how the real-time viewing portion of this day plays out. All I remember from Rick Santorum was that his name was synonymous with some form of fart huffing or some other weird sex act from Urban Dictionary. I was happy to have this guy out of my life following the 2012 election that I don’t even care to see an impersonation of guy come back to be made fun of real douche bag. I am, however, glad that this sketch didn’t reference his last name connection, and I didn’t have to look up and correct my fart huffing joke, but I know the day is right around the corner before I have to really look up the sex act that shares his last name.

Charles Barkley is looking pretty good for this visit. As I’ve pointed the last two times he’s a guy my height, and at his biggest, he’s at my current size, tonight, body shape wise, he looks like me when I’m considered small. I think that’s another thing that adds to the fun when he’s a host because I then get to gauge how tiny the cast would like against me if I would have been able to visit the studio to watch a taping of the show. I also related to his jokes about his size change since I’m a yo-yo dieter myself.

I was twenty-two by the time that I had my first cigarette and mainly smoked to force myself to take breaks back when I worked at Amazon.com. When I transferred to Delaware, I worked graveyard and had nowhere to go. I used to just work through my breaks or just goof off on the computer at my desk. I guess the company got busted for complaints about break time so there was a while where they would force us to leave. Having nothing to do for fifteen minutes, I took up smoking and fit in three cigarettes twice a night. I smoked a pack to two a day outside of work, but I think since I started so late, I wasn’t as hooked on the product and always gave it up whenever I wanted. I think I’ve smoked three or four in the past six years.

That said, I didn’t really relate to the fake ad for Chantix as far as its claims to help people give up smoking, but I don’t understand why it’s necessary or legal to promote prescription drugs to the public when that should be the doctor's job. At times, I would be able to go into a doctor’s appointment and just say I want to try something from an ad, and they’d figure out a way to make this happen. I wasn’t trying to be sly, and neither were they, so I’m not even talking about dealing with shady doctors. Because of my degenerate past, I did get a kick of the ad making fun of the fact that the side effect for most of the trash is even worse than the initial problem and think that the real ads should be criticized even more.

As I said in the intro, I’m not a watcher of sports, so I didn’t get some of the deep cuts from the Inside The NBA sketch. I do love both Barkley and Shaq, so I love all the jokes about their antics and the way that they interact, especially with Kenan playing Barkley, and Barkley playing Shaq. Though I’ve never liked sports, I did use to be a fan of racial humor, as I often work through in these reviews. One of my excuses as to how that it can be acceptable was that I found jokes like the one from White People Problems to be hilarious for the same exact reason and felt as long as everyone involved was on the same page that it can still be fun. Now I’m torn because I still find this white people humor to be funny but am not sure if it should be avoided as well if we’re really concerned with feelings. There will never be equality if the new line of thinking just shifts old targets while keeping the same point of view.

Again, not knowing sports, I was unaware of how crazy college bowl game sponsorship can be so the fake ad for all of the upcoming bowls was only funny on the surface level, but that’s fun because funny is good. Speaking of funny, again, relating to Barkley’s size, I found it hilarious to see him in drag towering over everyone in the room. I mean Paul Brittain’s head didn’t even reach the bottom of Barkley’s neck. Other than that, the sketch was just meh, probably because RuPaul’s Drag Race has shown me that it’s more of an art and not just guys slapping on a wig for a laugh, even if it still can still be funny if done right.

I just pointed out that I don’t watch or know much about sports, so the next sketch that focused on post-game interviews was even further from my wheelhouse than any of the sports-based content so far. Though I didn’t mind the quick fake ad, it didn’t even get a chuckle. Though I don’t know sports, I do know Kelly Clarkson from the phase when I listen to pop-singers that I shared more details about during the Katy Perry show, so I was excited to see her first performance. It’s been a bit since I’ve both known and already liked the song going into the performance, so this was a nice little change.

It was another fifteen minute Weekend Update night which annoys me even when I like all of the news’s guest. Thankfully tonight, I liked two out of three, but still zoned out mostly until Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle got involved. Now, I wasn’t a fan of Lord Wyndemere the character based on his debut, but I did love the sketch because Jason Sudeikis’s character’s energy had me laughing the hardest I have in a while. Tonight, the case was the same only with Charles Barkley adding to the fun, which I’ll take every time and never mind if Lord Wyndemere, himself, ever gets me to laugh at all.

I know how I often comment on how I’m a prude, but at the same time, I’ve haven’t missed an episode of Howard Stern’s morning radio show ever since it debuted in my hometown back in ‘94/95. Though I preferred when he talked with the staff and the callers, I didn’t tune away when the topic of porn came up, it just wasn’t my favorite subject. That said, I do know a lot about the industry from listening to the show, as well as some side researching of my own. To defend my prudeness argument, I also always thought that the dirtier humor was for private consumption since I always listened to morning talk all alone.

This stuff was meant for an immature club and not for the mainstream. This is another reason why I’m a bit conflicted with how the world is reacting. The type of stuff that’s now off limits was designed to strike a nerve. Either way, the sketch in question that made fun of the porn award In Memoriam montage wasn’t all that sexual at all. Well, outside of the setting of the event, and even if it was, the overall concept was hilarious enough that I wouldn’t have minded at all as long as it didn’t get lecherous or gropey which is actually more of my hang up.  

The SNL Digital Short was super quick, but as a fan of convoluted logic when it comes to humor, I was a fan of all of the random nonsense in each of Andy Samberg’s wacky songs. I also enjoyed Kelly Clarkson’s second performance, even though I wasn’t as familiar with the song, but how could you not be more familiar with Stronger being that it seemed to be the ubiquitous reality show winner theme song for a while.

The other day there was a sketch about the end of the world where I shared that I’ve been obsessed with the end of times ever since I first heard of Nostradamus as a child. Though I don’t believe in his prophecies, I do still tend to actively try to tap into those childhood fears from time to time and would still say I’m obsessed with the idea of the end, but as a self-destructive person, I have a peculiar connection with death. That said, I was a fan of the last sketch of the night that had to do with the Mayan Calendar.

This may have been the least favorite of the three appearances from Barkley, but by the time he returned to the stage to say his good nights, I was still extremely satisfied by what I just watch and it will rank high in the list of favorites from this season. With that, it’s now time for me to shift gears and dig deeper into the details of each sketch to wrap this one up, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with A Message From Rick Santorum where Andy Samberg as Rick Santorum to thank the voters for almost voting for him in New Hampshire before bragging about how close the race was, only the examples he used were absolutely pathetic. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York...”

  2. Charles Barkley then officially opened the show with a monolog about how this is his third time hosting which meant he won a seventy-five thousand dollar bet against Scottie Pippen. He then went on to defend his endorsement of Weight Watchers and an Ann Taylor fashion line because he was proud of the fact that he’s at his lowest weight even though the coaches kept riding him over his size back when he was active with sports every day.

  3. We then got a fake ad for Chantix where Kristen Wiig played the sample user/pitchwoman who desperately wanted to quit smoking, but the side effects of Chantix were far worse, making her afraid to consume this anti-smoking drug.

  4. This was followed by a parody of Inside The NBA where Bill Hader played Ernie Johnson Jr. who struggled to get through the sports news segment due to his panel of practical joker sidekicks including Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley, Jay Pharoah as Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley as Shaquille O’Neal.

  5. White People Problems had Charles Barkley in a bit of an investigative reporter role as he got a segment to investigate the minor dilemmas of white people by fact-checking their claims their the black service workers who they typically deal with throughout a standard day.

  6. We then got a fake ad for ESPN Bowl Madness where Andy Samberg played an over-the-top announcer who promoted the upcoming bowl games while introducing the zany and unexpected broadcast sponsorship.

  7. Joanne's Announcement had Charles Barkley in the titular female role to break things off with her boyfriend, Paul Brittain before announcing that she was leaving because she was a lesbian who needed to spread her wings a fly.

  8. Charles Barkley Post-Game Translator App was a fake ad for an app with our host as the namesake pitchman who attempted to sell this product that translated the coaches’ and players’ post-game mumbo-jumbo into layman’s terms.

  9. Kelly Clarkson then took to the stage to perform Stronger.

  10. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kristen Wiig returned as Michele Bachmann to comment on her recent withdrawal from the Republican nomination for President. Fred Armisen also returned as his comedian character, who feels like he’s been gone for years, to attempt to make more on-the-spot jokes based on newspaper headlines only to hopelessly fail. Bobby Moynihan also returned as his Drunk Uncle character to try to slur out his New Year’s Resolution. (Clip 2) (Clip 3) (Clip 4)

  11. We then got another visit from Paul Brittain’s Lord Wyndemere, and once again, Jason Sudeikis’s amusement over the little twerp was funnier than the costume-clad character, which seemed to be the primary source of humor in this sketch. To add to the fun, Charles Barkley was just as hilarious with his fascination with the little guy.

  12. The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards took us to a parody of the porno awards so that Bobby Moynihan and Abby Elliot could play presenters Ron Jeremy and Crystal Butt in order to introduce the In Memoriam segment for this year.

  13. This was followed by another SNL Digital Short called Convoluted Jerry: The Songs Album where Andy Samberg played a singer pitching an album filled with his convoluted songs.

  14. Kelly Clarkson then returned to the stage to perform Mr. Know It All.

  15. We then went back to the past for a sketch where Fred Armisen played the inventor of the Mayan Calendar and had to explain to Barkley and the tribe how the thing actually works, but they’re just as confused by the elaborate design as modern man. We also got to see how the Mayan end times legend came about simply because they ran out of space.

  16. Finally, Charles Barkley closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

As I said up above, though this was my least favorite visit from  Sir Charles, thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments, the episode will still end up pretty high on my list for this year. First, I loved The 17th Annual Adult Video Awards: In Memoriam parody because both the performances and overall concept were hilarious. Next, I really liked the week’s installment with Lord Wyndemere because even though I don’t really like the main character, this series is two for two when it comes to everyone else in the scene. Finally, I was a fan of the Mayan Calendar sketch because of my doomsday obsession.

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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.