**MORWEENA BANKS GREATEST MOMENTS**
This season, I would like to honour a woman who I feel has been one of the
greatest SNL performers of all time. Morweena Banks left the cast in 1995,
and I feel that she may be the most versatile SNL castmember of all time.
She can walk, breathe, nod, say short bits of dialogue and even wear wigs
and costumes if asked to. Last year, in a poll of on-line SNL fans, 83% of
the voters could not name one particular sketch that Morweena Banks was in,
and 70% of voters didn't even remember she was on the show. It is a
testament to her chameleon-like acting skills that, even though she was on a
popular television show, that she can walk the streets today without a
single autograph request. With this review, I am including one of my
favourite Morweena Banks SNL moments.
"Violent Small-Town New Englanders"-- May 13, 1995
This sketch is about a small-town variety store where a local family (Chris
Elliot, Morweena, Chris Farley) want to sell their wares to the various
tourists that come passing by. Some of the big-city tourists, however,
aren't taken by the folksy charm and treat the small-towners like a bunch of
yokels. The small-towners respond by taking the city slickers into the back
room and mercilessly beating them with crowbars. Morweena plays Chris
Elliot's wife in this sketch, and it shows the Banks trademark of nodding,
not saying very much, and basically taking up space. Her role shows her
acting depth; the image of the "small-town wife" is that of a woman who is
subservient to her husband. She "knows her role" and "shuts her mouth"
(apparently being a small-town wife is not unlike being taunted by the
Rock). This hilariously stereotypical portrayal of the 'traditional' wife
shows how outdated the notion is. By using comedy to bring this social
condition to light, Banks again shows why she deservedly won that Nobel
Peace Prize in 1995. A truly classic Morweena Banks moment.
I got this idea a few weeks back to start a campaign to get my name
mentioned on SNL. If you support the idea of having myself (and by proxy,
the entire SNL on-line community), then be sure to either e-mail SNL via
their official website and demand to
hear Mark Polishuk's name on Saturday Night Live. If you are a reviewer
yourself, cut-and-paste the following line in each of your reviews
(preferably near the top): I WANT TO HEAR THE NAME 'MARK POLISHUK' ON
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, SO IF YOU ARE ASSOCIATED WITH NBC, MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Together, we can all make this happen! Go forth, my minions! E-mail,
e-mail! Make me famous!
Lara Flynn Boyle is best known for her role on The Practice as a
lawyer who frequently makes a mockery of the justice system by defending her
clients in the most unprofessional way possible (known in legal circles as
"the Kelley Method"). She also finished 9th in the Most Irish Name in
Hollywood contest; having both a 'Flynn' and a 'Boyle' helped, but winner
Regan Sean O'Brien-Macelwain, star of Mystery, Alaska was too tough
to beat. Better luck next time. Lara will have to console herself by
hosting SNL, and I am predicting at least one joke about her weight, since
she weighs about as much as the average bread stick. Where the rest of us
see 'sickenly anorexic,' Hollywood producers ignore the
i,c,k,e,n,l,a,n,o,r,i and c and just see 'sexy.' Slender is sexy; thin
inspires snarky jokes from SNL reviewers. The only funny role I've ever
seen Lara Flynn Boyle in is Wayne's psycho hosebeast ex-girlfriend in
Wayne's World, so who knows how she'll translate in live TV.
The musical guest is Bon Jovi, a band named after the lead
singer. I don't
know why more bands don't do this; wouldn't the Sex Pistols have been more
marketable (and given a more apt description of their talent) if they had
been called the Rottens? Anyway, Bon Jovi are one of those rock bands from
the 80's who are trying to wring a few more dollars out of their legacy.
When it comes to sappy, overblown rock ballads...
Bret Michaels, lead singer of Poison: My ears are burning!
Uh, no, I was talking about Bon Jovi. Between the bad ballads
and the Bryan
Adams-esque "rock," these guys are well over the hill. Plus, they're from
the stinking cesspool known as New Jersey, and besides the Boss, nothing
good has ever come out of New Jersey. Especially nothing involving hockey.
Voice of Reason: Aren't you just bitter about the Maple Leafs
eliminated by the Devils?
Shut up, Voice of Reason. You just wait until next year, when
the Leafs go
all the way! Of course, Ontarians have been saying this for over thirty
years now, so take it with a grain of salt.
[COLD OPENING] This Was Low Energy, So No Owen Hart Or Koko
Dick Cheney has done dull guys a great service. Instead of being mocked and
having rocks thrown at them for being listless, we...er, uh, they can claim
to be conserving energy. In the next election, the Miami Vice-President has
locked up the dull guy vote for the Republicans. The easily-disgusted vote,
however, may have been lost forever because of the mental picture of Dick
banging Mrs. Cheney. ~~~obvious punchline coming up~~~ Then again, people
who are easily- disgusted stopped voting for the Republican Party years ago!
HA HA HA! Anyway, this sketch was your average political opener, and
since this is the penultimate show of the year, it's too late to start
asking the writers to open the show with something different. Depending on
next week, of course, this may very well be the final LFNY ever uttered by
the fantastic Darrell Hammond. Interestingly enough, I have never actually
heard the real Cheney speak before, so I have no basis on which to rate
Darrell's impression. Since it's Darrell, though, I'll assume it's
well-done. I am shocked that the jaded American studio audience remembered
who Roberto Benigni is. B
[MONOLOGUE] Slim Pickens
I am beginning to loathe Adam McKay. Here is the problem with his audience
member character (named Keith, apparently after Braves infielder Keith
Lockhart): Keith is an asshole. I guess McKay could be applauded for really
getting into character as the know-it-all jackass audience member, but there
is nothing endearing about Keith at all. Adam Sandler's Audience McGee
character did basically the same schtick, but McGee was so over-the-top and
goofy that we laughed with him, not at him. Keith doesn't seem to be in on
the joke. For example, when Lara responded with an insult of her own, he
just shrugged it off by saying "Ooh, burn." Shouldn't the punchline here be
that this obnoxious, show-interrupting punk eventually gets told off by the
host? It should've been like that Simpsons episode where Homer asks the
nerds why grown men would be watching cartoons, and the nerd lowers his head
and says "I withdraw my question." Instead, on SNL, Keith just keeps on
going. I really hope this character isn't a warm-up for McKay to be added
to the cast next season, since from what we've seen of him with Keith, the
short films and that Tom Green-esque Update bit, the man has no screen
presence. Bob Barron's story about meeting McKay and having him be
overjoyed and being recognized speaks volumes about the man. Unlike, say,
Tina Fey, who has gone on
record saying that she is still a writer first and a performer second, McKay
seems to crave the spotlight. The last thing SNL needs, in the wake of
Molly Shannon, is somebody else who hams it up trying to be the star of the
show. At least Molly had some acting talent, whereas McKay seems to act
about as well as a dead whale. I realize I've spent a lot of space about
this, but I'm hoping that this little rant might act as a pre-emptive strike
against McKay ever getting on-screen again. Also, somebody tell Lara Flynn
Boyle to cover up her disgustingly bony legs with some pants. D-
[COMMERCIAL] Corn Chip Nail Tips, With New 'Overkill' Flavour!
Originally shown during the Rob Lowe/Eminem show (which happened SEVEN
MONTHS AGO), this is the fourth time this ad has been shown. This one four
times, Homocil thrice; is it so hard to film a couple of new ads? This is
the first time I've noticed Molly Shannon dancing in the background, though.
[SKETCH] Give Him A Hand, Ladies and Gentlemen!
I thought for a moment that this was going to be Will as Dr. Beaman, but
that did not turn out to be the case. That's probably a good thing, since
(Jack) Lord knows what Dr. Beaman would've done with testicles in his hand;
probably something involving Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Will Ferrell: I can't think of anything I'd rather do on a
night than curl up with a leathery, musky old Balsac.
Anyway, this was about as funny as a sketch about grabbing
testicles could possibly be. The true irony would be if Will, Rachel or
Lara FB caught a cold from Parnell's repeated coughs. Just because I'm
weird, I found it funny that Darrell's plastic glove was way too small for
his hand. I guess Darrell gets to be acquitted of a double murder. B
[SKETCH] Dancin' Days Are Here Again
Maybe the best DiMarco brothers sketch, for no other reason than Bon Jovi
and Richie Sambora completely busted up at the visual of the Chrises in the
80's wigs. Judging from the total break of character, I would guess that
the wigs were a last-minute thing, added for the sole purpose of trying to
make JBJ and Sambora laugh. My only complaint with the skit was that the
ending dragged; JBJ called back and kicked the DiMarcos out about two times
too many, and that flattened the joke. Perhaps having Lara Flynn Boyle host
the show has made me more perceptive of weight, but Kattan and Parnell are
two remarkably thin guys. Neither of them could possibly be over 130 pounds
(in a related note, I just joined a gym and discovered that after eight
months of doing nothing athletic, I somehow lost 15 pounds...this has
nothing to do with the sketch, really, but I like to brag). The sight of
the DiMarco "rocking out" was also eerily familar of what I do in my car
when a U2 song comes on the radio. I will rocking out in a similar fashion
when I see U2 live in Toronto on May 24th...but I digress. One of these
days SNL should let the DiMarcos dance during the musical performance. This
sketch could've been held until next week, and then the boys could've done
some wacky interpretive dance during one of Weezer's songs; Weezer wouldn't
mind, since their videos seem to indicate that they have a good sense of
[VERNE TROYER STYLE MINI-SKETCH] Jailhouse Rock
Starring in a remake of The Cell is...Robert Downey Jr.!
Unfortunately, the romantic lead will not be played by Jennifer Lopez, but
by a large swarthy man known as Icepick. On the one hand, I liked the idea
of having Robert Downey Jr quickly sum up the depths into which his life has
sunk, especially coming after the energetic MTV opening. On the other hand,
this was a funny enough idea that it could've been expanded by another
couple of minutes. It's ironic that SNL, a program notorious for stretching
sketches out, cuts a promising idea short. I could make a comment here
about how badly Downey has wasted his talent and fucked up his life, but at
this point it's just spitting in the wind. At least Calista Flockhart can
still visit him, and Downey is always cheered up by her cool trick of being
able to fit through the bars. B-
[SKETCH] Starvin' Marvin Is Rolling In His Remarkably Small
I've found something that irritates me about Lara Flynn Boyle. Like in the
monologue, she seems to speak in somewhat stuck-up, snarky sort of way. Her
tone of voice and body language has a real "I'm better than you" vibe.
David Duchovny: What, you think you're better than me?
In this sketch, for example, she mocks several other anorexic
wouldn't include Sarah Jessica Parker in this group, but oh well). Is this
not a massive case of the pot calling the kettle black? The desert calling
the moon arid? Joan Rivers saying other people are badly dressed? Then
again, Lara FB did poke some fun at herself as well, so I guess she at least
she recognizes that she's dangerously skinny. Not that she will actually do
anything about it, of course, but at least there is some acknowledgment of
the fact. On a night where mental pictures of Dick Cheney and his wife
having sex and Chris Parnell's testicles being fondled have already been
created, the thought of Jack Nicholson covered in dressing is VERY
unnecessary. I guess the actual image is not much removed from him in Joker
makeup, but still....ew. C-
[SKETCH] So She Plays For The Toronto Blue Jays...What's
A one-joke sketch, but the one joke was fairly clever. You've gotta love a
sketch that manages to combine classic literature and oral sex. Then again,
I've been combining the two in my reviews for years, and I have yet to have
a review made into a horrid film starring Demi Moore. I don't what role she
would play, exactly...perhaps an Aftershuk. Anyway, there were lots of
funny little moments in this skit, like Ana's indigence at the menfolk
welcoming Lara FB's character, Horatio's bowl-cut that made him look like a
giant My Buddy, and Parnell paying tribute to the late Ray Romano with
"sweet sassy molassy" (Disclaimer: Ray Romano or may not be dead at the
time of this writing). Will's bizarre character was a little on the
frightening side; he looked like weightlifter/wrestler/she-male Nicole Bass.
That is not a good thing. This sketch reminds me of a former classmate of
Art Vandelay: He's doing it again!
...whose nickname was BJ because she was famous for giving
more head than a
lettuce producer. She even put 'BJ' down as one of her nicknames in our
yearbook. It's rather an odd thing to be proud of, but I guess it's a
better choice than her other nickname: "that slut." B+
[MUSICAL GUEST] If This Is My Life, Where's Michael
I guess the music should be dealt with before the clothing. This tune is
called "It's My Life," and all you need to know is that the song was
co-written by the same guy that writes the Backstreet Boys music. Blargh.
Now, onto the clothes. These guys looked as if they just hopped out of a
time machine from 1986. Nothing says "bad-ass rock & roller" like a jean
jacket. The keyboard player even had the Curt Harnett hairdo going. Then
again, Justin Timberlake has the same haircut and he's a sex symbol to 14
year-old girls everywhere. We live on a strange planet. It's bands like
these, who are stuck in the past, that create unfair stereotypes about all
older bands, like U2 (whose conce...ah, you know already) or R.E.M. Whereas
those bands advance their music, chumps like Bon Jovi recycle the same
garbage over and over again. The only modern twist to this new music is
Richie Sambora making funny noises in the background. Whereas a guitarist
like Tom Morello or the Edge would've made those sounds on a guitar, Richie
feels the need to act like that guy from Police Academy. He ain't no
Michael Winslow. D
[WEEKEND UPDATE] Satellite of Love...In My Case, For Tina
One of the best parts about taping SNL is that I can actually rewind the
tape and transcribe the Update bits. On a night like tonight, where there
are several funny news items, the rewind button becomes especially useful.
Without it, such newsbits as the Giuliani/ferret bit, dogs getting ill
playing poker, and Spin City's hooker demographic could not have been fully
appreciated because I would've been too busy writing down the previously
funny items. Also, I can bask in the greatness of Tina Fey over and over
again. Let us all sacrifice a pig to our almighty lord and saviour, the
VCR. It's more stylish than any damn golden bull anyhow. Also involved in
this Update was Lou Reed, former lead singer of the Velvet Underground. Lou
Reed is one of those rock legends whom everyone has heard of and recognizes
as being influential, but nobody actually owns any of his albums (other
examples of such bands include Kraftwerk and the Pixies). My only exposure
to Lou Reed comes from the fact that U2 (whose concert I will be attending
in Toronto on May 24th...on second thought, it needs to be mentioned), used
to play a cover of one of his songs, called "Satellite of Love." With this
in mind, it was no real skin off my back if Lou Reed was dead or not. His
Update bit notwithstanding, it looks like Lou is not dead; he looks like a
little like Keith Richards, yes, but Lou is still technically alive. In
that case, good for him. A-
[SKETCH] The Red Mill?
What an odd translation for 'Moulin Rouge.' Both whorehouses and sawmills
deal with processing logs, however, so it does make some sense. Speaking of
making sense, using 70's music in a film set in the early 1900s isn't all
that unusual; A Knight's Tale is set in the 13th century and the
jousting fans sing along to "We Will Rock You." Plus, who better to dress
up as skanky old French whores than such fuglies as Pink and Christina
Aguilera? If you stretch the truth far enough, anything can make sense:
that's today's lesson in lying. Horatio had another odd outfit in this
sketch, as he looked like a deranged Orson Welles. Perhaps on that same
future show where SNL lets the DiMarcos dance during a musical performance,
the producers should just also let Ana and Maya actually get a chance to
sing something. Their terrific voices are always mucked up by comedic
exaggeration; let those pipes loose! The sketch was okay, maybe worth a B-
normally, but I'll give it a boost because "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"
was included in the medley. That song rules, plus Jimmy did a brief but
good vocal impression of Meat Loaf. B
[SKETCH] Olaf, Patron Saint of Miami Retirees
I had to tape SNL, as previously mentioned, since I was out at a bar with
some friends. I was wondering why one of the TVs was showing the Golden
Girls, but it turns out it was SNL, Austin! It was SNL all along! Since I
am a longtime Golden Girls fan, this sketch could do no wrong. Except for
Ana's bad impression of Bea Arthur, this was just about perfect. Kattan,
Tracy, Horatio and Jimmy dressed up at the table and telling stories about
St. Olaf completely busted me up. You'd figure that the only possible
medical problem stemming from a Golden Girl impersonation would be catching
an STD from sleeping around as much as Blanche. The moral learned from this
sketch is that Jackass should not be blamed for causing kids to hurt
themselves; if the kids are stupid enough to imitate a TV show, then they
deserve it. Jackass can be blamed, however, for being one truly
stupid fucking program. A
[SKETCH] Need A Little Time To Wake Up, Wake Up/We-ell.../What's
Stah-ry, Morning Glah-ry
The first time SNL did this sketch, during the Julia Stiles show, I severely
disliked it and spent most of the review writing a fantasy sketch about
Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield. I also begged Lorne "Lipowicz"
Michaels not to bring the characters back. Lo and behold, here they are
again, but something odd has happened. This time, I found the sketch was
funny. Perhaps it was hanging around with my middle school-age cousins that
have given me a better appreciation for zany early-teen behaviour. At any
rate, I have had a Mr. Burns-esque trademark change of heart, and a few more
of these Wake Up Wakefield sketches would not be the worst thing in the
world. Lara FB's teacher looked like Oates, as in Hull & Oates. Also, if
my high school experience has taught me anything, it's that NOBODY dances
the four-step anymore. If Lara had pressed herself up against Sheldon and
started grinding, that would've been much more accurate. Disgusting, but
accurate. The idea of a Sopranos-themed dance was pretty funny. Back in
Art Vandelay: He's doing it again!
...our 1998 school semi-formal dance was themed after 1997's
Titanic. The next year, when I was on student council, I naturally
suggested that the dance be themed after one of 1998's big movies, Saving
Private Ryan. The kids could crawl into the cafeteria under barbed
wire, everyone could've worn green and gray...I can't imagine why I was
voted down. B
[SKETCH] When He Orgasms, He Yells "Kazaam!"
The visual of Tracy crammed inside a small room made this entire sketch.
Shaq's constant baritone is yet another tragic case of voice immodulation
syndrome; Jacob Silg, continue your important work. In Shaq's defence,
perhaps it was his low voice that caused the confusion with his comments.
Like it said in Update last week, if this 7'2, 300+ pound behemoth had
actually bedded Cindy Crawford, the poor woman would've been broken in half.
The girls from The Facts Of Life, however, have the weight to stand
up to anything or anyone. That includes sea creatures, such as our friend
the sperm whale. Now that I've disgusted you all by including words 'sperm'
and 'the girls from The Facts of Life' in the same paragraph, I shall
move on. B
[MUSICAL GUEST] The Cutest Guys In Rock? Did Slipknot Die?
This is one of Bon Jovi's (ahem) classics, called "You Give Love A Bad
Name." I don't think anyone could sully Courtney Love's reputation any more
than she has done so hersel...what's that? Love, as in the emotion?
Oh...yeah, I guess that would make a lot more sense. Nothing interesting
here, so I guess we can move on. Good for Richie Sambora for actually
playing the guitar this time. D+
[SKETCH] How Do You Women Stand Getting Bloated Once A Month?
Dangnabit, I was hoping that the writers had forgotten about these guys.
There is such thing as being irritatingly funny (i.e. Spartan cheerleaders)
and just irritating (the Bloaters, Adam McKay). As long as the Bloaters are
restricted to end-of-the-show sketches once a year, they're not all that
bad. Doubling my annoyance is that Sex on the Beach, one of my favourite
alcoholic drinks, was insulted during this sketch; sure, it's technically a
chick drink, but it tastes good. Tripling my annoyance was the fact that
Lara FB was a fan of the hated Colorado Avalanche, who are hated because
they are not my beloved Maple Leafs. Wouldn't you think that a bartender at
(S)Hooters would have, y'know, breasts? Seeing that bony figure in shorts
and a tank top was not exactly flattering. C-
PERFORMERS OF THE NIGHT: Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, Chris
BEST SKETCHES OF THE NIGHT: When Golden Girls Attack, Weekend Update,
WORST SKETCHES OF THE NIGHT: Monologue, Save the Starving Actresses
BUSIEST ACTORS: Jimmy Fallon, Chris Parnell (6 sketches each)
ACTORS WITH ENOUGH TIME TO FORCE-FEED LARA FLYNN BOYLE A BOX OF TWINKIES:
Jerry Minor (0 sketches). Maybe the rumours about Jerry leaving the show
MISTAKES: Lara started to laugh at Will during the Scarlet Letter sketch. I
guess that's defensible.
"Profits from this tape do not go to me personally. They got to the big oil
companies."-- Dick Cheney (Darrell Hammond)
"Bed. Toilet. That's pretty much it."-- Robert
Downey Jr. (Chris Kattan)
giving a tour of his jail cell
"Experts say that a number of London's historic buildings
are being severely
eroded by people urinating on them. Meanwhile, experts have determined that
Manhattan was once the size of South America."-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend
"Research is being conducted on the world's first contraception
women. The patch is approximately three inches in diameter and reads 'GET
OFF ME.'"-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update
"An Arizona company is selling a scratch-and-sniff test
disease. Apparently if you scratch the card and forget to sniff if, you've
got Alzheimer's."-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update
"Cliff Hilgas, the creator of Cliff Notes, died Saturday
at his home in
Lincoln, Nebraska at the age of 83. Services will be held Sunday from 2:00
to 2:05."-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update
"When I said me and the girls from The Facts of Life
got freaky on a
trampoline, it was not true. Tootie was not there."-- Shaquille O'Neal
"Call Richard Roundtree, I think we just got the shaft."--
As if I would give a bad review to a show with a sketch about the freakin'
Golden Girls! Unlike last season, where there was only one truly good show
(Britney Spears) after February, SNL seems to be picking up steam as it
heads toward the finish. Except for the Julia Stiles show, there hasn't
been a poor program since February. That's the kind of quality programming
I like to see; it's like the Bizarro 1999-2000 season (cue Twilight
Zone music). Like Pierce Brosnan last week, Lara FB didn't really do
anything special as host, but she did her job and didn't bump into any
scenery. I would be remiss if I did not mention the ad bumpers in this
episode, which made Lara FB look absolutely hideous. Bon Jovi weren't any
good, but at least they provided good fodder for the DiMarcos.
Next week, if you can believe it, is the season finale. You know the old
saying "Time flies when you're having fun?" If you think this season went
by quickly, then, technically, that means you had fun watching SNL this
season. So, QUIT YER COMPLAINING! Let's hope that the final show means
that SNL will unleash some of the good recurring sketches that have been on
the bench for a while, like Nick Burns, Rap Street and definitely Celebrity
Jeopardy. The final host of this season is the eminently wacky Christopher
Walken, who has the rare gift of making anything funny simply by showing up.
The musical guest is Weezer, promoting their first album in five years.
They're not exactly a big-name act to close the season, but they're not bad.
Also next week is my Dave Coulier-level famous SNL Year in Review, so get
ready to laugh!
Finally, I would like to wish a happy belated Mother's Day to all of those
mothers out there.
John Shaft: Thanks.
It was about 20 years, two months ago that my mom gave birth
to me, and I
hope that I've been a good enough son to make up for having her belly sliced
open like a stuck pig. Happy Mother's Day Mom, even though you sometimes
remind me of Bobbi Mohan-Culp (though not quite as prenaturally spirited).
(Trade) Mark "Change of Heart" Polishuk
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