And thus beginneth the 26th season of Saturday Night Live,
bereft of any
prime-time special to guide us into the year. It's pretty much the same
cast that we've come to know and, in the case of Jimmy Fallon and hordes of
teenage girls, love over the past few years. No more Tim, Cheri or Colin,
but I'm sure they will go on like every other former SNLer does, to great
fame and fortune.
Joe Piscopo: That's...
Melanie Hutsell: ...not...
Ann Risley: ...always...
Gary Kroeger: ...true.
As well, this is my (Mark Polishuk's) third full season of
saturday-night-live.com It has been quite a ride, with the highs of seeing
my name in digitized print combined with the lows of throwing up in Sean
Bradley's toilet during his year-end kegger for all the reviewers. Man, was
that a bash. By the end of the night, Jordan Davidson was singing Elton
John songs with a lampshade on his head and Allison Lowe and Eli Krenik were
making out in the bathroom.
Eli Krenik: I went a bit long, but definitely one of the best
of the season.
Allison Lowe: LOL! It could've used more Jimmy Fallon. C-
For all of my stalkers out there who obsess about my personal
life, I had a
pretty fun summer. Read a few books (John Irving rules), saw a few movies
(Perfect Storm sucked), went to Montreal for a few days. I just
started my freshman year at the University of Western Ontario, in my
hometown of London, Canada. I'm still employed as a pizza delivery PERSON
('boy' sounds so demeaning) for Byron Pizza, so if you're ever in the London
area, give us a ring for the finest pizza this side of heaven. Future
reviews, by the way, will feature fewer cheap plugs.
To keep things fresh in these reviews, I am debuting a new
it's not that original, per se, but it is a mailbag. Send me an e-mail
asking an SNL question or whatnot, and I'll answer it here. As long as
there aren't, like, 529 e-mails a week, I'll post them all. Just for
"mark, I like your reviews, but how does your rating
My rating system for the past three years has been stars, out
of five, with
five being the highest and one being the usual Pretty Living sketch. Since
I get this question A WHOLE FRIGGIN' LOT, I'm changing over to the usual
alphabet grading style. Yes, I have succumbed to peer pressure; soon I'll
be smoking cigarettes and taking the drugs.
THE SHOW ITSELF
This is Rob Lowe's third time hosting SNL, which is pretty remarkable
considering his unremarkable showbiz career. But hey, he's on the West
Wing! When all else fails, PROMOTE THE NETWORK. Lowe has made a career
out of playing smug, smarmy, jackass characters such as in Wayne's
World, but the problem is, he seems to act like in real life as well.
The "musical" guest is Marshall Mathers, and with a name like that, who
wouldn't use a synonym? When my rap career gets going, I plan to call
myself Empee. My first single, "Straight Outta London," is due sometime
[COLD OPENING] Tweedledumb and Tweedledishonest
Perhaps the real debate is over who will play the president until 2004, and
thus get four more years on the show, Will Ferrell or Darrell Hammond?
Judging from their non-SNL movie roles, I'd say that Darrell is praying for
Al to pick up the win. The first cold opening of the year shows off the
fine skills of the SNL makeup and wig crew. Darrell and Will are now
spookily close to the real Gore and Bush, and Parnell was almost
unrecognizable as Jim Lehrer. I enjoyed the constant references to the
lockbox, where Gore apparently keeps his charisma, and the dependence on
strategery will surely lead Bush to victory in November. If Bush wins the
election, all of the intelligent Americans will throw up their hands and
move to Canada, so WE'RE JUST GETTING STRONGER. The old lady that Darrell
described reminded me of the slutty girl at my high school: lots of
Live from New York, it's...Chris Parnell
[OPENING CREDITS] It's A Party In My Mouth, And Everyone's
Because when you think rave on the streets of Manhattan, you think Saturday
Night Live! I think this is the third or fourth straight year with a
different set of credits, so somebody had better make up their minds. Lenny
Pickett finally got a credit as the musical director, so maybe now he'll
marry Laraine Newman or something. Who the hell is Jerry Minor? His bio
isn't even up on the official SNL site. With all the speculation about the
SNL cast, why is tonight the first time his name has been mentioned? I
expect Sean to be on top of things like this...'late breaking news' my ass.
[MONOLOGUE] Rob Lowe's Smugfest 2000
Ah, smutty SNL humour. It's been a long summer. Not only is Rob Lowe
smarmy, but he's physically turning into Kyle McLachlan by the minute. Look
at those jowls! The mention of the Gore daughters reminds me of the fact
that one of them is a writer for Futurama. The fact that the daughter of Al
"Clean Up Television" Gore works for the Fox Network is awfully funny. My
mother watched the monologue because she's a big West Wing fan, and
she couldn't hear one of the lines and asked me to repeat it for her. Of
course, the line in question was the one about blowing the president. For
making me being up Bill Clinton's oral fellation in front of my mother, this
monologue only gets a C+.
[COMMERCIAL] Why Does Your Breath Smell Like Glitter Polish?
Corn Chip Nail Tips is SNL's way of dealing with the mental trauma of biting
one's fingernails. I applaud Lorne Michaels for dealing with the relevant
issue of suppressed insecurity. If they create a Salsa Snot commercial to
deal with nose-picking, that might be a bit much. C
[SKETCH] It's Too Bad Howard Cosell Is Dead
Poor Dennis Miller. He was pushed so hard as the saviour of Monday Night
Football, and he is having a ton of trouble fitting in. The man says about
thirty words a broadcast and makes some of the most strained jokes you could
ever imagine. Speaking of strained, the long-awaited Fallon impression of
Miller was pretty weak. Aside from the constant flipping of hair, there is
nothing here that Dana Carvey didn't do better back in 1990. Darrell's Al
Michaels impression wasn't much better, since the voice went nowhere.
Combine that with the IRRITATING AS HELL voice that Maya used for Melissa
Stark, and this sketch pretty much went nowhere. As far as making fun of
the ABC fall lineup goes, on behalf of all of us who suffered through the
thousands of promos for Ed during the Summer Olympics, I have three
words for NBC: pot, kettle, black. Tracy and Will bring this one up to a C+
[INTERLUDE] The Candidate That Isn't Joan Allen
The world is unfair; that is why George "Whuh?" Bush is on nationally
televised debates while Ralph Nader is in a sketch with Rob Lowe on Saturday
Night Live. Nader is an awfully good sport for poking some fun at himself
like this, creating yet another reason why this man should be the President
of the United States. Has anyone ever actually heard Ralph Nader's views?
This is one smart man; if I was American, I'd vote for him. Plus, Eddie
Vedder endorses his candidacy, so that pretty much cinches it. B+
[SKETCH] Running Around, Robbing Banks, All Whacked On...
Sketches like this sometimes make me a little sad, since there are so many
good things in it, but it didn't have the one little extra push to make it a
classic. For example, Rob Lowe did a dead-on Shaggy impression, the
constant references to meddling, and I liked the attention to detail (the
fact that the criminal looked like every criminal ever on Scooby Doo, for
example). They could've gone all the way with it with just a few added
touches. For example, where the hell was the rest of the Scooby gang? You
could've had Will play Fred, Maya as Daphne, and you can't tell me that
Rachel Dratch wasn't BORN to play Velma. The Scooby Doo mouth movements
could have been coordinated a little better, and I can't believe the
criminal didn't burst out screaming "I would've gotten away with it, if it
wasn't for you pesky kids!" This could've been up there with the Charlie
Brown skits from the past two years, but it just petered out at the end.
Still, very funny. A
[MUSICAL GUEST] You Know, That Stan Guy Sounds Like He Has
A good performance by Dido, but I don't know why she brought along that
white guy to rap between verses. Speaking of Dido, did anyone else feel a
craving for a 7-Up during the song?
Maybe I'm being too hard, since this is one of the few Eminem songs that
actually has a point to it, and some semblance of a melody. This is my
highest ever rating for a rap song, but....C+
CENSOR WATCH: One missed 'shit,' the rest was fine.
[WEEKEND UPDATE] She Ain't No Gail Matthius
Now, the long-awaited (for about a week) debut of Tina Fey. First of all,
she's hot. The thought about her and Britney Spears was a three-tissuer.
Second of all, she seemed pretty composed for her first time. Fallon, who
looks a good ten years too young to ever be taken seriously as a newsman,
nevertheless had a good Bill Murray-esque vibe going. The back-and-forth
between anchors will take a bit of getting used to; it feels like I'm
watching This Hour Has 22 Minutes (a Canadian news spoof, for all of
you Yankees). As well, I hope they come up with their own tagline. "Have a
pleasant tomorrow" is property of Jane Curtin. Tim Meadows was away for a
grand total of ZERO shows; let the plugging begin! I hope Tim doesn't
become like Jan Hooks or Jon Lovitz by hanging around the show after he
leaves...it always bothered me why they didn't just stay cast members.
Jerry Minor makes his SNL debut as an aging rapper; the bit was pretty
funny, and you just know that young Marshall Mathers danced around his
bedroom to this stuff when he was a tot. A-
[SKETCH] Every Blind Date Ever
See how easy it is to laugh? All Chris Kattan has to do is mention a lack
of chicken wings, and it gets a response. Of course, perhaps the audience
was laughing in anticipation, because they thought that something was
eventually going to happen. Boy, were they off. I like it when SNL does a
slice-of-life sketch as a change of pace, but I prefer slices of life that
are funny. Will makes the mistake of continually bringing up something that
the girl doesn't want to talk about, which goes the against the first
Commandment of Male-Female Interaction. I recently broke the second
commandment by telling the truth when a friend of mine asked me to honestly
tell her if she was good-looking. Guys, ALWAYS say she's good-looking,
NEVER tell the truth. Trust me. The sketch, by the way, was a dull D.
[SKETCH] The Sound of Stone
The first Commandment of News Producing, by the way, is to never hire an
anchor with a silly first name. For an example, take, oh, I don't know....
Church Lady: Satan?
No, just Stone Phillips. Between Shaggy and Stone, Rob Lowe
showing off the ol' vocal chords, although this impression sounds a bit like
a young Sean Connery. Will's kiss-ass director was pretty funny. I was in
the Dateline studio when I toured the NBC studios last May. The whole wood
background is actually just painted metal, and they're going to have to
replace the whole thing with real wood because high-definition TV reveals
the fake set. Funny. The sketch, by the way, merits a C -.
[MUSICAL GUEST] What Kind Of A First Name Is Slim, Anyway?
Ah, there we go. I would have been ashamed to give a good rating to two
Eminem songs. Now it's all been set right. The censor caught all of the
curse words, but I think he could have safely cut out about, oh, four more
minutes of it. F
[SKETCH] Chris Kattan: America's Sweetheart
This one provided several very funny moments. Tracy Morgan being busted for
drugs, the sight of Kattan's parents, the trauma of losing CDs to a
flood...good stuff. I wish the video had the shiny, washed-out-looking
cinematography that NBC used in the actual Olympic profiles, but nobody's
perfect. The Brendan Fraser cameo had better not be his only appearance
this season, since I have him in the hosting contest. B
[COMMERCIAL] Sportsmanship? What Sportmanship?
Under normal circumstances, I would be miffed that this wasn't a Looks at
Books sketch to follow up from the Kattan profile. However, seeing as how
this commercial ruled the free world, I'll let it slide. Do you know why
this ad was funny?
Homer Simpson: It's funny because it's true.
Exactly. And they didn't even mention the doping scandals...although
is NBC. They never mention doping scandals. :) A+
ACTOR OF THE NIGHT: Will Ferrell
SKETCHES OF THE NIGHT: Scooby Doo, Olympic Highlight Video
WORST SKETCH OF THE NIGHT: Blind Date at the Airport
BUSIEST CAST MEMBER: Chris Parnell (Five sketches)
CAST MEMBERS WITH TIME TO WASH LORNE'S CAR: Rachel Dratch (0 sketches)
CHARACTER BREAKS: None, although it's gotten to the point where I can't tell
if Molly Shannon is breaking character by giggling or not. She does it, but
so do her characters. I'm lost.
"I'd like to step in and answer that question, as if it were my turn to
speak."-- Darrell Hammond, as Al Gore
"The team that scores the most points will probably win
the game."-- Will
Ferrell, as Dan Fouts
"He sounds smart...he couldn't have been in St. Elmo's
Fire."-- Rob Lowe, on
"One man's porno is another man's Sleepless in Seattle"--
Tim Meadows, as
the Ladies' Man
"We're set, baby!"-- Tina Fey, who apparently has
a thing to learn about
turning off microphones
"Chris is a bit out of his element here, he's better with
He's not good with words."-- Chris Parnell, on Chris Kattan
A pretty solid opener to start the season. Rob Lowe was good, but he was
barely in the show. He was only in three sketches, which is very unusual
for a host. Eminem at least performed his one decent song, but he still
sucks like a vacuum. I'll give the show a B+
Say, what happened to that Smiegel cartoon?
Next week is hosted by Kate Hudson, but who really cares about the host?
RADIOHEAD are the musical guests. Radiohead are behind only U2 on my lists
of favorite bands, so I'll be in a state of orgasmic bliss next week. Until
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