SNL: S37E14... HOST: ZOOEY DESCHANEL... DATE: FEBRUARY 11, 2012

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or...

Queen Deschanel

 

I’ve admitted in the past to being almost a default fan of female hosts who often get cast in Manic Pixie Dream Girl roles. I’ve even gone as far as to defend the genre by sharing how I always felt that this fantasy fictional trope is the male equivalent to the female Prince Charming dream. Of course, with Zooey Deschanel being probably the queen of this brand of films, I figured I dig deeper into my thoughts on the subject, especially after I attempted to look up her first appearance only to find this was actually her first hosting spot and that I mixed her up with another Manic Pixie host.

It wasn’t hard to make this mistake because there have been at least three female hosts who have all had this exact same episode written for them based on the rough draft sketch summaries that I wrote during my pre-viewing legwork. This reminded me of how I’ve always agreed with the argument that these characters are often weak because they are so interchangeable. At the same time, I also always saw myself as the lovable loser of a guy who feels that life is pointless without being paired up with their true love.

I was probably too focused on the main character’s battle with his inner conflicts over the actual relationship because as you can see if you read this blog, I can easily get stuck in my head as I weigh out every possible angle. Since I’m big and ugly while being pretty friendly at the same time, I often fall into situations similar to these guys. I always saw these characters as strong but silly and have their shit together enough to both live their own life while trying to prop up a potential partner, because that is what I need in my life if I were to live it as a dream.

I also defend the genre because I use it myself, but I always thought that, successful or not, I was writing my Manic Pixies with a twist. No, they don’t always get a full identity, but that’s just because I tend to write from the perspective of a self-destructive guy who is caught up in the fantasy with sad endings where the reality of their actual relationship is revealed. In my Manic Pixie stories, until I went to film school and was pushed to write happier endings, the lesson always was how these over-idealized relationships are doomed to fail because they are so one-sided with the loser star hanging on to romantic interactions that weren’t even there.

So in a way, I’ve always been attacking the genre myself for the false hope that it’s given me that there is such a thing of magic when it comes to love. My dream has always been to team up with a female co-writer, to help me better flesh out my Manic Pixie characters while critically exploring the clichés, almost like a dark comedy/satire. In most of my tales, the Manic Pixies are also always out of reach, so we don’t see them much because they're always too busy with their own thing to fulfill our hero’s dream. The lead character’s love often comes from the time they spend together in his head. This is why it never works out in the end.

This co-writer would then dig into the reality of the Manic Pixie character and what’s going on in her world. She would show her side of the unbalanced relationship. Whether her character ever once thought of mine outside of their mutual interaction would entirely depend on her character’s needs, but I would provide the same assistance to keep my character consistent. There would be a third story where we would work together to create an all-seeing joint telling of how all of this would be seen by an outsider. That way both of their perspective would be covered pretty well.

Using the actual troubling aspect of an argument to explore solutions has always been an essential tool for me which I’m just now realizing might be why I’ve been so conflicted with this latest rise in a push to be one-percent PC, and not that I want to be crass and mean. I use this technique in a lot of my old work from when it was an acceptable option for proving a point, and I feel like some of my babies might be thrown out with the bathwater with many of the unwavering blanket statements about what is and isn’t acceptable in every aspect of existence.

Thankfully, at least these quirky cute hosts don’t get the Hot Host treatment that I was just complaining about yesterday and are allowed to have more innocent fun instead of just being there to be groped or hit on by the cast. Keeping in mind, the groping really hasn’t been as big of an issue in these latest seasons, but prior to the ‘00s it seemed like the entire reason they would have on a good looking host.

Oh well, I’m actually excited about tonight’s viewing because Manic Pixie or not, I’ll always be a Zooey Deschanel fan. With that, it’s now time for me to hit play and share all of my thoughts about this real-time viewing experience. Though I don’t typically enjoy the opening political content, I’ve been finding that recently they’ve been avoiding parody speeches about policies and have had the political idiots having to interact while dealing with entertain situations. This is also the season where I’ve been really growing to love Jason Sudeikis even more than I have since he first showed up in this challenge, so I don’t actually mind seeing him as Mitt. Finally, it helps that the joke is more about Mitt’s disconnect with the average citizen and not really about his policies.

Though I’m not always a fan of the host singing a song in place of a monolog, since singing is one of Zooey Deschanel's quirky things and not just a writer’s cheat, I enjoyed her opening performance. During her talking parts, she seemed playful enough that I’m more confident that this one will be a fun one. Keeping in mind, I’m coming off watching the two worst shows from the season back to back, so I’m a little gun shy.

The next three sketches were all in reference to things that took place during the Super Bowl. As I often point out, I’m not a fan of sports, so I don’t remember, or may have never been aware of these controversial moments, so I didn’t care about any of the jokes. I don’t even know if M.I.A. is still a performer or if she fulfilled what her stage name stands for. It didn’t help that I also don’t really like Piers Morgan and don’t know him well enough to care about the impersonation.

I was, however, slightly entertained by the impersonation of LMFAO though, and Zooey Deschanel was great as the outraged mom. Okay, I also liked Andy Samberg as the Richard Simmons looking guy bouncing around on a rope. I just saw three Super Bowl segments in a row in my sketch list and by default let out a defeated sigh, especially coming off of the last two episodes. The third sketch being round two of the fake Clint Eastwood ad that started the series.

As usual, I was a fan of this week’s installment of Les Jeunes De Paris but still feel it should be held off to be one of this end of the night/more quirky and cute than hilarious sketches that I love. I didn’t mind the third installment of the Clint Eastwood ad, but I really hate this new trend of running these rule of three commercial segments so close together. It almost feels like they’re too close together to be a running gag out of fear that the casual viewer won’t stick around to see how it all plays out. If they spread them out to air and the beginning, middle, and end like they used to, it feels more like they are righting for the actual fans of the show who will for sure be there all the way through the closing credits.

I probably would have hated the Daily Post sketch if everyone was playing the same old-timey characters, because I’ve kind of grown tired of jokes about the era, but with Zooey Deschanel in the sketch as a pair of modern eyes witnessing the differences, she had me cracking up a couple of times. I think our host’s ability to at least seem so effortless in her abilities to seem ever-playful is what makes her the Queen Manic Pixie, who I don’t think should be ignored but given the proper story where she shines, as that type of character. I don’t think it’s fair to attack a fantasy character type just like it’s not fair to attack types in real life. There are indeed people like this out in the world, and their not all only some pathetic author like mine’s dream girl/fantasy savior.

I’ve never heard of Karmin before, but her first performance was pretty fun. I could see myself looking her up if I were to go through another phase where I turn to the novelty powers of pop music to cheer me up when I’m depressed and the music I actually seek out just continues to bring me down. The news was the news as usual, and also, as usual, I zoned out throughout most of it due to the fact that most of the current event-based content is now irrelevant. That said, I did snap to for this week’s In The Cage segment because I’m always a fan of SNL cast member impersonating celebrities right in front of their face.

Though I don’t like the forced quirkiness being made fun on in the Bein' Quirky With Zooey Deschanel, I am fascinated by genuine weirdos, so I wasn’t as huge of fan of the sketch because it does highlight my issues with people who take on personality issues as if it’s just a trend. It’s the equivalent how back in the day I always hated the punks who used to literally point out when they were being weird. I know this may sound like I’m bragging about being a better weirdo, but I’m more hung up on people who aren’t genuine and feel no marketing is needed to promote a quirk as an asset if it’s actually real.

The fake ad the made fun of technical jargon was fine enough but, it was another sketch that, having not seen it when it initially aired, felt a little played out since this brand of joke has been played out over the years. I wanted to like the Crab Blast 2012 sketch because it sound sort of funny based on the pre-viewing legwork summary draft, but it turned out to be nothing but an ongoing joke about the southern accent, and I’m over the accent-based humor when the rest of the sketch doesn’t work.

I liked the second song and performance from Karmin better than the first because it tapped into my love of rap and thought it was a bit cheesy it was a least a brand of cheese I don’t mind. I also didn’t mind seeing Zooey Deschanel and Andy Samberg acting like grown-up kids while they made their technical gadgets have sex because it tapped into that playful/innocent sexual humor. I didn’t really care for the sketch that ended the night because even for sketches, I’m just not a fan of period pieces even in the realm of comedy.

That said, but the time that Zooey Deschanel returned to the stage to say her goodnights, I was happy for the show to be over because it was nice to get back to being entertained which wasn’t the case for the past couple of nights. That said, all three shows lived up to my expectations, I just expected tonight to be pretty good based on my pre-viewing legwork. With that, it’s now time to shift gears and dig deeper into the details of each sketch, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with another installment of Romney: Believe In America where this time Jason Sudeikis as Mitt discussed his recent dip in the primaries and how it was actually part of his plan to secure the Republican nomination to run against Barack because he didn’t want to peak too soon. Of course, with this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York...”

  2. Zooey Deschanel then officially opened the show with a monolog about how she was happy to be hosting the Valentine’s episode before she brought out a ukulele to sing, You Forgot It Was Valentine’s Day.

  3. This was followed by a fake Clint Eastwood Chrysler Ad where Bill Hader as Eastwood got sidetracked while promoting the new line of cars to clear up the media’s confusion as to the real intent of his message. This was in reference to a line he delivered about America reaching its halftime as part of an ad for the Super Bowl and wasn’t meant to be a political statement.

  4. We then got a parody of Piers Morgan Tonight where Taran Killam as Piers who interviewed Nasim Pedrad as rapper, M.I.A. over her controversial middle-finger salute while performing at the Super Bowl. Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, and Jason Sudeikis chimed in as Madonna and LMFAO who were also a part of the real halftime show.

  5. Clint Eastwood Chrysler Ad then returned for round two where this time Sudeikis as Eastwood chastised America for not being as hard-working as the people of China, then went on to promote Little Caesar’s Pizza.

  6. Les Jeunes De Paris then returned for more, should be, last segment adorable dancing at the French café. This time the scene was shot in black and white in somewhat of a parody of the movie The Artist. Jean Dujardin also played along, who I guess is involved in the real movie?

  7. We then went to the Daily Post for some Aaron Sorkin-style rapid-fire rambling between Jason Sudeikis as the newspaper’s editor and Kristen Wiig as a recently fired reporter who was angry about how things went down. The two old-timers were able to keep up with the crazy pace of the conversation while new girl Zooey Deschanel was entirely up to speed and spent the entire sketch completely lost.

  8. They then concluded the rule of three for the Clint Eastwood Chrysler Ad where this time Sudeikis as Eastwood shared how he was annoyed that Mexico was taking over America, only to go on to also promote the new Trojan vibrating massager and the movie The Dark Knight Rises.

  9. Karmin then took to the stage to perform Brokenhearted.

  10. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Nasim Pedrad dropped in as Arianna Huffington commented on recent women’s events in the news. We also got another installment of Get In The Cage where this time Andy Samberg as Nicolas Cage was joined by the real Nicolas who he claimed was created as a clone so that he could be cast in ever movie throughout the world. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  11. Bein' Quirky With Zooey Deschanel took place in our host’s kitchen with Abby Elliot acting as the titular host of this fake talk show where she discussed her quirky ways with the real Zooey as Mary Kate Olsen, Taran Killam as Michael Cera, and Kristen Wiig as Bjork who shared a few quirks of their own.

  12. This was followed by a fake ad for Verizon where Fred Armisen played an older man who just wanted to buy a simple phone but couldn’t comprehend the endless crazily-named packages being pushed onto him by Bill Hader as a young, energetic sales person.

  13. Crab Blast 2012 had Zooey Deschanel and Kristen Wiig who had grandiose ideas about hosting an event where they promised the world’s tastiest crab, only somehow they managed to forget to provide the featured item of the night.

  14. Karmin then returned to the stage to perform I Told You So.

  15. We're Gonna Make Technology Hump returned for another round where this time Zooey Deschanel teamed up with Andy Samberg to push modern gadgets together as if they were having sex.

  16. Victorian Ladies had Zooey Deschanel and Kristen Wiig as two Victorian-era spinsters who exchanged handwritten correspondences regarding their ill-fated romances with the creepy men who linger outside of their windows.

  17. Finally, Zooey Deschanel closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

Tonight’s episode was just what I needed following the last two episode because thanks to our host and sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments, this turned out to be a pretty fun night. First, I loved the Daily Post: New Girl sketch because seeing Zooey Deschanel as pretty much her modern self living in an old-timey world really cracked me up. Next, I really liked this week’s installment of Les Jeunes De Paris because I love this more adorable than hilarious series. Finally, I was a fan of the Piers Morgan Tonight because I wanted to hate it from the start, but after the first couple moments with the fake M.I.A., the rest of the segment kept cracking me up to where I’m chuckling now as I think back to the many mini-surprises.

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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.