Getting By With A Little Help From His Friends
I was born at just the right time to become a fan of Friends. If I were any younger with my same personality, I might have seen it as an adult rip off of Saved By The Bell which may have led me to pass on giving the show a chance. Meanwhile, if I were older, I might already have been over the sit-com genre in general.
Then again, it wasn’t until I was at least thirty when I started to lose interest in the primetime sit-com line-up and being that this episode originally aired when I was still nineteen, there was still plenty of time to fudge with. Either way, I really liked the show Friends so I was interested in seeing how Ross would handle hosting Saturday Night Live.
Though I’m a fan of David Schwimmer as Ross, I wasn’t sure how his Eeyore-esque brand of acting would translate to the realm of sketch comedy. Part of me feared that he would play it passive and do something like tap into one of my pet peeves by starting the show with a joke of a warning that this episode wouldn’t be all that good in order to play into his defeated persona.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case at all, and this episode turned out to be pretty fun. I’d even go as far as to say; this episode makes two in a row that would have made a better season opener than what this season decided to go with. Once again, the show started out fun with a bunch of cameos from NBC characters from the past alongside a couple of Schwimmer’s co-stars. This style of cross-promotion would have been a great way to kick off a new year.
Other than finding another way to bash episode one, this show was also really fun because it contained the introduction of a couple of the new cast member’s recurring characters. I hate to say it because I’m such a fan of both of these people’s work, but I also feel that another reason the start to this season seems a little slow is the fact that Tim Meadows and David Spade have been the driving force since they are the only two with seniority.
As I said, I’m a huge fan of both Meadows and Spade, but if I’m being honest, neither are really frontmen. The signs that this episode provided that the rookies are starting to step it up not only improved the season by at least twofold but it’s got me excited about the rest of the year. As I’ve said in the past, I give mostly-new-cast-seasons at least five episodes before I start to lose faith, which I don’t think will be the case this go-around.
With all of that said, it’s now that time where I move on to share what I saw, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
This week's show started with a parody ABC News Special Report to cover the response to Luis Farrakhan's Million Man March. In the world of the sketch, this meant another Million Man March only the men involved were made up of a bunch of frat boys who showed up to support Hootie And The Blowfish’s lead singer, Darius Rucker. Tim Meadows, as Hootie, himself, performed a quick parody song that led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
David Schwimmer then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he loved the show as a kid and used to imagine how cool it would be to host the show only to find out that it’s actually terrifying. He then started to talk/sing the theme song to Friends which led to the reveal that Nicole Aniston and Lisa Kudrow were there to sing along. Just when this seemed like a touching moment, Gary Coleman joined in and started to sing the theme song to Different Strokes, followed by Barry Williams who sang the theme song to The Brady Bunch and ended on Jimmy J.J. Walker who sang the theme song to Good Times.
This was followed by a fake ad for Grayson Moorhead Securities which was an investment firm whose CEO sounded like he was being very open while actually being very vague while he discussed the companies promise to the customer. One of the highlights of the sketch is his repeated reference to the list of clients and how much they’ve invested and how said list is in a very safe place.
Kids Vs. Grownups was a game show sketch hosted by David Schwimmer. This was a Nickelodeon style show that pitted a pair of children against two adults with questions that heavily favored the adult team to the point where it wasn’t close to being fair. Not only that, but Schwimmer also seemed to hate kids since he would intimidate them whenever they’d question the fairness of the show.
We then got a second installment of the fake ad for Grayson Moorhead Securities where this time the CEO explained the rules of Secret Santa, again with the primary focus being the list that was hidden in a safe place.
Rita DelVecchio the made her show debut. Rita was Cheri Oteri’s crazy old lady character who yelled, “I keep it now,” whenever one of the neighborhood kid’s toys would land on her porch either by accident or as an attempt to taunt her.
Fuzzy Memories returned for another installment. This time Jack Handey shared a tale of the best Thanksgiving from his childhood where his family was too poor to afford a turkey.
The Elevator was a sketch where David Schwimmer tried his hardest to use elevator etiquette by standing in the corner whenever a passenger joined him for the ride. Only these other passengers either don’t know or don’t care about the unspoken rule as they would all crowd the same corner even though there was plenty of room to spread out. Things got wackier as the sketch went along, but it was mainly about encroaching on Schwimmer’s personal space in the tiny elevator.
Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Jim Breuer made his news debut to tell the story of a recent visit to the bar where to his surprise, his buddy managed to piss everyone off before he arrived. He then reenacted the beating he received after trying to defend his pal. Will Ferrell also dropped by for his first time as a Native American Chief to discuss the offensive logos during the World Series between the Indians and the Braves where he was fine with the Indian’s mascot because that was the team he was rooting for. The segment ended with Will admitting that he wasn’t a Native at all but just some random white Indian’s fan from Cleveland.
Natalie Merchant then took to the stage to perform Wonder.
Secrets was a sketch that took place in Darrell Hammond’s apartment while his friends decorated his place for a surprise birthday party. During the decoration process, these friends continually find more and more items that he probably would have hidden if he knew they were there. These guilty unhidden pleasures start out innocent at first but get more and more disturbing as the discoveries continued on.
Spade In America also returned for another installment where this time David Spade had Nicole Aniston on as his sidekick to rip apart the current annoying trends in television, only she wanted to keep things nice. This installment was more like Hollywood Minute with more rapid-fire jokes with multiple subjects that stuck to the same topic as opposed to the single focused segment that the first two installments had been.
Slim Shannon was a sketch that took place in a plus-sized clothing store with Slim Shannon as the new cashier who’s not all that good at relating to her plus-sized customers and had no idea that her interactions were actually very offensive.
Natalie Merchant then returned to the stage to perform Carnival.
Triumph Performers was a talk show sketch hosted by Nancy Walls who interviewed entertainers who triumphed over extreme obstacles to continue to chase their dreams. Will Ferrell played a mime who was paralyzed from the neck down. David Koechner played a ventriloquist who had to speak using a voice box. Finally, Darrell Hammond played an impressionist who suffered from a terrible accident that burnt off most of his face.
Finally, David Schwimmer closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.
Once again, this was a pretty good episode that shows high potential for the rest of the year thanks to sketches like these that contained my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the debut of Rita DelVecchio because I used to quote her in saying, “I keep it now,” all of the time. Next, I really liked Kids Vs. Grownups because it was funny to see adults aggressively competitive with little kids especially now that modern kids seem to be taking over the world of competitive reality shows. Finally, I was a fan of The Elevator sketch because I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to elevator etiquette.