SNL: S17E03... HOST: KIRSTIE ALLEY... DATE: OCTOBER 12, 1991

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or...

A Night Of Questionable Sexual Attention

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I don't know if there is a sketch in this episode that could be made today since they all had a bit of a sexist twist. Sure, one could argue that this happens all of the time, especially when it comes to comedy, but tonight's episode, hosted by Kirstie Alley seemed blatantly more sexist than I've seen with any of the recent leading ladies.

I'm sure part of this had to do with the writers attempting to play up Kirstie's own sexualized persona, after all, she is the one who thanked her husband's penis while receiving an award. That's not to say that I'm blaming the victim because I don't really feel that there was actually a victim involved. No, these were just jokes that would be considered to be in poor taste to the point where Twitter would go nuts if they were to air this episode today.

I have the same mixed feeling about this episode as I do with satire in general. Where I do think that these satirical jokes do actually highlight the issue, I also see how people use satire as a shield to go as offensive as possible which doesn't really work with the new way the world seems to think.

For example, the Clarence Thomas sketch does highlight the fact that our government's mainly an all-boys club filled with perverts and creeps but, at the same time, once the pointed is noted the bigger issue is simply laughed off. For the Il Cantore Restaurant, I'm not even sure if that was satire since the point seemed to be that Italians have free reign to sexually harass whoever they want as long as they speak with the sexy accent while doing so. Then finally, in the sketch with the alien women with eyes on their breast, yes, it highlighted how men are boob obsessed but at the same time, it allowed for the sketch feature boobs as the star of the scene.

To top off this confusion, who am I to say women don't find this form of commentary as a useful tool to get their point across, or if it's just something they find funny themselves. Part of me feels that it really sucks that when it comes to the world of fiction we now tend to be too protective over content instead of sticking to the old adage, "If you don't like it then turn it off," that used to be the call from the people who now want to shut everything down, and again, I'm just talking about fiction.

Sorry to turn this into an issue-driven review but I was filled with a crazy blend of thoughts while watching this episode that I know that I used to like and am not sure if I'm just taking issue with it now because I'm supposed to or because it is genuinely offensive since there was also the whole, "It was a different time," argument that was involved because if this was modern I might be more offended by the writers not knowing the modern temperament of the mainstream comedy audience they are writing for.

Either way, it wasn't that bad of a show, just a little weird especially with so many sex scandals going on in the news at this time. So, now that I've gotten all of that off of my chest, it's now time to move on and share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with parody coverage of the Clarence Thomas Hearings where the members of the Senate seemed to get a kick out of questioning Clarence Thomas when questioning him about Anita Hill's claims of sexual harassment. At times they seem like they are seeking advice over evidence, being that most of the political figures involved had sex scandals of their own. After they finished with Clarence Thomas, they brought in Chris Rock who played a pornstar name Long Dong Silver who was featured in one of the porno movies linked to the Thomas case. When as to make his statement, Long Dong leaned into the microphone to announce, "Live from New York..."
  2. Kirstie Alley then officially opened the show with a monolog about how much she missed her TV family from Cheers which led her to sing the theme song and acted surprised when all of her fellow cast mates joined in for a quick reunion even though this was while Cheers was still on the air. Kirstie then pointed out how cool this was because it meant that everyone from her show has now hosted SNL while she ignored Kelsey Grammer who kept trying to point out that he had yet to host but everyone was too caught up in themselves to even notice. 
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Lonely Choice Dinners, the miserable meal for the lonely professional types. I was surprised because I thought this ad was going to be aimed at pathetic slobs
  4. Il Cantore Restaurant was a sketch about a restaurant where that pretty much just sexually assaults their female patrons while simply playing it off as a cultural thing since the staff is made up of a bunch of first generation Italians. I guess the saving grace is that the women don't seem to mind even if their dates think it's weird.
  5. It's Pat then returned for another segment to celebrate Pat's birthday while having a lunchtime party at work. It turns out that not only is Pat secretive about his/her gender she's also pretty secretive about her age which is what started the line of overall questioning this week. Kirstie Alley also dropped in as Pat's mom or dad and also gets the third degree.
  6. We then got a Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack defended his use of the word puke when describing a recent dinner.
  7. Tom Petty then took to the stage to perform Into The Great Wide Open.
  8. Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, Chris Rock chimed in with his thoughts on the Clearance Thomas hearing where he has a very blame the victim tone in explaining why this is no big deal, making fun of her looks while saying, no harm no foul, because no actual sex was involved. Victoria Jackson also dropped by for an editorial on the term limits argument that was going on at the time, claiming all of the recent scandals were just a cry for help from politicians that wanted a way out. Sticking with the sexist theme, they then broke the scene to get Victoria to admit that she was only reading what was written for her and she had no idea what was going on. Rob Schneider then gave us some sports where he provided an extremely annoying play by play account during the highlights of a baseball game. 
  9. Their Eyes Were On Their Breasts! was a sketch where a UFO landed at a military base and the soldiers are surprised to find that not only are all of the aliens but their eyes are where their nipples should be, allowing the men to glare without being called out for their staring. These women aliens went on to offer solutions to all of the world's problems only the men in charge are too filled with questions about their breast.
  10. Coffee Talk also returned for another installment this time Linda Richmond took over for Paul Baldwin to host pretty much the same exact show only the accents are more extreme now that there's a lady host. In this installment, Linda and Kirstie Alley discuss their love of Barbara Streisand.
  11. Tom Petty then returned to the stage to perform Into the Great Wide Open.
  12. Psycho Divorced Mother was a sketch where Kirstie Alley played a single mother of two children and all of the pressure of not having a man to take care of things was driving her out of her mind.
  13. This was followed by another Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack muses on how we would treat a tree if it talked and then ponders further or how we would treat them if all they ever did was scream.
  14. Look Who Else Is Talking Also was a parody of a Look Who's Talking sequel where now we hear the voice of every single item in Kirstie Alley's apartment. From the kid to the dog, to the steaks that they eat, literally, everything in the apartment now speaks in this parody sequel. 
  15. We then got yet another installment of Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey where Jack discussed how to make a child look like a deer.
  16. Finally, Kirstie Alley closed the show by thanking the audience and saying her goodnights.

I struggle to call these sketches favorites for the reasons mentioned above but these are the three moments that I remember most from when I was a child and why I liked them back in the day. First, I loved the opening sketch about the Clarence Thomas Hearings because this is back in the day when I discovered porn and was blown away by the fact that they were openly joking about it on TV. Next, I really liked Their Eyes Were On Their Breasts! because I was fifteen and boob obsess when this episode originally aired. Finally, I was a fan of this week's installment of Coffee Talk because this was the week that Linda Richmond took over for Paul Baldwin and I always loved how they swapped out the characters even though they were both played Mike Myers and not someone who went away.

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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.