SNL: S21E10... HOST: CHRISTOPHER WALKEN... DATE: JANUARY 13, 1996

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Walken On Thin Ice

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Let me be clear that I’ve always loved when Christopher Walken hosted Saturday Night Live. His dry sense of humor and awkwardness makes it exciting to see how he will interpret a scene in a way that’s unclear whether or not he knows he’s actually funny. The fact that he’s hilarious while at the same time seeming like a disconnected psychopath makes each and every one of his visits a compelling sight to see.

That said, I don’t think his last two appearances held up to the passage of time and this visit fell a little flat as well. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I’m older and more jaded to where Walken is feeling a bit like a one trick pony who’s great for round one but doesn’t maintain the re-watchable value that I felt he had in my youth. Keep in mind that, though this sounds harsh, I still think his visit a brilliant during the first go-round.

This episode was especially rough because it started with the disclaimer that the show wouldn’t be as good this week due thanks to the fact that a horrible blizzard left the cast and crew ill-prepared. Even though it was delivered as a joke, this type of announcement always ends up making me focus on the negative over the things that the show got right.

It didn’t help that there were only eleven segments, which made even the funnier sketches feel like they played past the jokes to where they all felt like they were dragging on. That said, I do feel if they were to cut some of the longer sketches in half for even a Fuzzy Memory or a fake commercial or two, I might not have come to the conclusion that Walken’s visits are only good for one-time viewing, which may not actually be right.

Oh well, it is what it is and as negative as I might sound, I still really look forward to the next visit from the quirkiest host of all time. With that said, 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 one of my biggest pet peeves as Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Governor George Pataki opened the show by apologizing for the low quality of tonight’s episode. They went on to explain how the cast was too busy helping the city’s efforts to remove snow following The Blizzard Of '96 instead of using their time to rehearse. It’s bad enough that there are only eleven segments to the night but more often than not, these joke warnings about bad shows turn out to be accurate. As usual, this being the opening sketch it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”  
  2. Christopher Walken then officially opened the show with a quick monolog about being stuck with his family due to the blizzard and how that meant they had nothing to do but sit and watch his old movies. He then went on to sing Let It Snow with Molly Shannon, Cheri Oteri, and Nancy Walls who were dubbed The Snowdiggers and danced alongside Walken as he sang.
  3. Rita Delvecchio then returned for another installment where this time she yelled, “I keep it now,” at the neighborhood kids who threw their winter-themed toys onto her porch. In between her interaction with the kids, Rita kept trying to get Christopher Walken to clear her walkway while he was clearing his own property with his brand new snow-blower.
  4. The Continental also returned where once again, Walken played the lecherous creep who was trying to trap an unexpected female visitor into his high-rise bachelor bad.
  5. Joan Osborne then took to the stage to perform One Of Us.
  6. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Jim Breuer dropped in to do his stand-up routine where he shared how his stomach reacted to different types of liquor while giving each of his drinks a voice. Darrell Hammond also stopped by as Jesse Jackson to compare civil rights with laughter.
  7. Connie Stinson Talks was a talk show sketch hosted by Christopher Walken who had on a bunch of men on to complain about their girlfriends only to twists his guest's words to make them seem way harsher than they actually were. For example, when Will Ferrell claimed that he was concerned about his girlfriend’s weight because of health issues Walken turned it around and quoted him as saying that he hated that she’d grown to be a fat hog. He not only twisted the men’s words but he would rework the women’s claims of being body image positive into them saying that they were proud to be big fat hogs. Though the sketch mainly focused on weight, he twisted the intentions of other topics of conversation as well.
  8. Mary Katherine Gallagher also got another segment where this time she was her quirky/annoying self while daydreaming about dancing with Christopher Walken who was playing her guidance counselor from school.
  9. Spade In America was another return segment where this week, David Spade reported live from the street during the blizzard while Christopher Walken manned the Spade In America desk. Due to technical difficulties, Spade never realized when he went live which led to him getting caught talking trash about the show, the cast, and the host while everyone was watching on.
  10. The Execution was a sketch where Christopher Walken was sent to the electric chair only to be tortured by David Koechner who was in charge of the switch and was too busy goofing around to commit to putting Walken down.
  11. Finally, Christopher Walken closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though I felt that most of the sketches of the night went on for too long, the funniest parts were still funny enough to make this a mostly fun episode to watch. With that, here are my three favorite moments of the night. First, I loved The Execution sketch because David Koechner as a prank-pulling executioner really cracked me up. Next, I really liked this week’s Rita Delvecchio sketch because it was fun to see this crazy lady interact with our crazy host. Finally, I was a fan of Connie Stinson Talks because I really found it funny how Walken would take a statement that was only slightly offensive and twist the words to really take it over-the-top.

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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.