SNL: S17E04... HOST: CHRISTIAN SLATER... DATE: OCTOBER 26, 1991

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or...

Growing To Cope With Run Of The Mill

"Just Good"

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I really need to figure out how to write a review for episodes like this that are really good while not being good enough to consider to be great. I mentioned an extremely similar writing hurdle just a couple of days ago when I pointed out how often I compare episodes to the one that I watched the night before instead of judging each episode on their own merits. 

In that example, the episode in question followed the season opener that also happened to qualify as a best of all times episode. Tonight's episode featuring Christian Slater was almost the opposite situation only, in this case, we had a pretty good show following an episode that was slightly better than average, but at the same time it just not good enough to qualify as a classic.

I also mentioned this in the past, but these shows that are not good enough to hype while also not bad enough to trash make it hard to tap into the enthusiasm that comes with focusing on either extreme. On top of that, by definition, a majority of the episodes I will end up watching will have to be average or else there will be a two thousand way tie for first place.

Though it's been a blast to watch all of these episodes that run the entire gamut as far as quality levels go, it can be difficult to report on okay show after okay show without sound a bit repetitive. I guess this is why I tend to turn to knit-picking and/or going negative, which I promised to work on in the above mentioned extremely similar post. 

I think the fact that I've ended up with to posts like this so close together is a sign that the show was good enough that I didn't latch on to any major or minor flaw in order to fill the page highlighting how much I need to work on expressing my views on things that I find to be just good.

If I could actually figure this out, I'd be willing to bet that I'd see an improvement in not just my writing but I could see it helping my personal life as well because I look at the world with the same hierarchy of focus, starting with the extremes both good and bad, next comes the negative knit-picking, then moving on the mediocrity of the mundane and finishing my focus on the things that are just okay. If I were to reverse those last three areas of focus, I could see myself living a much happier life.

We'll see if I ever manage to pull this off but until then, it's now time to shift gears and move on to share what I saw, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of The McLaughlin Group where as always, Dana Carvey played the titular crotchety old talk show host who aggressively questioned his panel of guests about their political views, only this week it was Halloween themed being that this episode originally aired around that time of the year. Then as a Halloween treat Dana dropped dead and the real John McLaughlin stepped in to continue the questioning for a bit before announcing, "Live from New York..." 
  2. Christian Slater then officially opened the show with a monolog about the fact that he's tired of people accusing him of doing a Jack Nicholson throughout his acting career. To prove that his acting skill is his own and not stolen he called for a clip of the diner scene from Five Easy Pieces to compare their work only to find that no one was listening. When no clip played our host went back to the production booth to find that everyone is too caught up in watching the final game of The World Series which caused him to give up on the bit and throw to the start of the show.  
  3. This was followed by a fake ad for Coldcock Malt Liquor that is a parody of the old Schlitz ads where a bull would bust through a wall, only in this ad, the beer can has a fist that coldcocks the person drinking which knocks them out for the night.
  4. Super Fire Hot Chicken Wings was a sketch where Christian Slater was on a date with Victoria Jackson at a Wings And Things restaurant. When Slater orders the extra special super fire wings, the waiter gets concerned and tried to talk him out of the meal. Slater stuck to his guns and order even after the manager got involved. When the wings finally did arrive, Slater took a bite and didn't see why everyone was making such a big deal until it's revealed that he only got the medium. It turned out the medium was a test and after passing it, the manager let Slater upgrade to the super fire hot plate that he actually ordered. This dance keeps going until eventually they make him sign a release before finally giving him the real deal meal. The screen froze the moment he sank his teeth in for his first bite and then we learn through a text scroll and voice over the horrific events that followed while also learning that this was still only a hot wing and not the super fire hot wing that he wanted.
  5. Dysfunctional Family Feud was, as the title suggests, a parody of the Family Feud only one of the families feuding is in desperate need of some counseling as there are outbursts after every question while the competing team is absolutely pleasant. 
  6. Club Banana was a sketch that took place at a bar and we see the world through Julia Sweeney's eye to get her literal point of view. We start with her having a conversation with Victoria Jackson where Jackson complained about how horrible these meat markets are. Julia's character was much less jaded so she ignored Victoria's advice and took to the dance floor where we got to see every single guy that she passed try to make their move until the unwanted attention became so overwhelming that it led her to pass out on the floor.  She then awoke to find two male EMTs standing above her and the moment she said she was fine, they attempted to put on moves of their own.
  7. Bonnie Raitt then took to the stage to perform Something To Talk About. 
  8. Once again, Kevin Nealon gave us the news. This week, Ellen Cleghorne's Queen Shenequa made her news debut to share her two cents on the Clarence Thomas scandal only she's more upset by the fact that he's married to a white woman over the fact that he was sexually harassing Anita Hill then goes on to share her take on mixed relationships and how/why they're no good highlighting how in most cases it successful black men that take on white wives while black women are overlooked. Adam Sandler also stopped by for his classic segment where he shared a bunch of tips on how to do Halloween on a budget by doing things like putting a plant on your hear then calling yourself names like Crazy Plant Head before demanding candy. 
  9. We then got a parody of The Curse Of The Wolf Man where we witnessed Christian Slater transition into a Wolf Man while watching himself in the mirror. Every time he felt a change coming on he ducked out of view, explained what was going on and then popped up wearing a new piece of his costume. At first, it looked like we were supposed to think this was really going on but after a while, we caught a few shots of Slater applying his disguise. We also got to see this all play out in reverse after a pair of cops kicked down his door and shot him dead which led him to transition back into a human by ripping off the costume one spot at a time. 
  10. Young Actors Forum was a talk show sketch hosted by Christian Slater who interviewed a panel of famous young actors from the time about all their latest gigs only to announce who they all slept with whenever a female costar's name is brought up.
  11. Bonnie Raitt then returned to the stage to perform I Can't Make You Love Me. 
  12. Pumping Up With Hans And Franz then returned to do pretty much more of the same song and dance that I still find funny even though it's extremely repetitive. That said, they did share a clip where they teamed up with the real Arnold Schwarzenegger to talk to the kids during their school's Presidential Fitness week which concluded with the three doing an epic pose down.
  13. We then got another fake ad, this one was for the Nich-Aid Hair Dryers which was a hair dryer that you strapped to your head to blow back your hair while attempting a Jack Nicholson impression.  
  14. Finally, Christian Slater closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

This may not be a best of episode but it was still pretty fun thank to these three of my favorite moments from the night. First, I loved The Curse Of The Wolf Man sketch because, at the time that this episode aired, movies still struggled to make the transitional scenes from man to beast look real so this was a hilarious take on the subject. Next, I really liked the Dysfunctional Family Feud sketch because as I've said in the past, I had a chaotic upbringing so these dysfunctional jokes fall right into my wheelhouse. Finally, I was a fan of the Coldcocked Malt Liquor ad because I was and still am a huge fan of the real malt liquor ad genre to this very day. 

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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.