Julia Stiles / Aerosmith
March 17, 2001


These reviews will now be rated PG-13, since the Voy forums allow coarse
language. Huzzah!

SELF-INDULGENCE CORNER
Every single form of literature (books, film, poetry, Bazooka Joe comics),
has one common element: the main character is on a quest of some kind.
Think about it; ANY character you can think of is trying to find love, their
stolen bicycle, the Holy Grail, the head of Alfredo Garcia, etc.

Since it's my dream in life to become a fictional character, it's time for
me to embark on a quest of my own. Now, despite what literature tells us,
you'd be surprised at how difficult it is to fulfill a quest. A lot of my
past quests have come up short; I'm sure you all remember such past
campaigns as trying to get a venereal disease named after Tom Cruise, trying
to have the birthplace of Dale Ellis in Marietta, Georgia declared a
national monument, and my drive across the country with my friend Louise on
a search for self-fulfillment. The results were failure, failure and
driving off of a cliff to escape the police. So, I've decided to come up
with a quest that I think might be a bit more realistic.

Try to get my name mentioned on an episode of Saturday Night Live.

This does not need to be a major thing. Call a minor, walk-on character
Mark Polishuk. If a scrolling list of names is ever done in a sketch, stick
'Mark Polishuk' in there somewhere. Do a sketch in a variety store, and
have the store called Polishuk's Variety, or something. Any of these ideas
or something else suitable will suffice.

Why, you ask, would I make this a quest? Simple. It would be incredibly
fucking cool. You figure that Sean Bradley would've mentioned his site
address during his many visits and photo ops with the various SNL stars, so
it's a reasonable bet that SOMEONE involved with the SNL production staff
has been to the page. If this random SNL staffer has been to the page,
they've likely read a few of the episode reviews. If they're a regular
visitor, they would've noticed that I have reviews for virtually every
episode since 1997 (damn that Charlize Theron show). Plus, my name comes up
unusually often in other people's reviews. Usually it's something along the
lines of a citation of a catchphrase, like "as Mark Polishuk says, 'what the
ass?'" This random SNL staffer would see this name, and then get the hint
to read my review, and it all snowballs from there. Ergo, there is a
reasonably good chance that my name is known to SOMEBODY involved with the
SNL production staff. Even if Lorne Michaels prints my reviews out and
places them around the studio in case Rocky Balboa has an accident, at least
my name is out there.

Why, you ask, would I be so arrogant as to make such a self-obsessed request
and ignore the rest of the review-writers on the site? Well, it's not
really arrogance as much as it would be a shout-out from SNL to one of their
dedicated on-line fans. I guess I'm technically the senior reviewer, with
reviews harkening back to the 97-98 season (Patrick Lonergan has reviews
from back then as well, but has been sporadic ever since). Also -- and once
again, I'm really not trying to sound arrogant or anything here, just
stating facts -- I was really the first reviewer to really make a big deal
out of these things. I innovated many of the review gimmicks in use today.
The quick ending summary (the "best sketch/worst sketch" stuff). The "great
line alerts," and now the starting line-up to highlight memorable quotes
from the show. Guest stars in the review, involving everyone from Eagle-Eye
Cherry to former Milwaukee Brewer Pat Listach. Giving the sketches
individual, funny names instead of just titling them all 'Kulps sketch,' for
example. Going on and on about random topics before the review even started
(like now). As you can see, I don't think it would be too much of a stretch
to consider myself the Dean of SNL Reviews.

Voice of Reason: You do realize how lame that sounds, right?

Shut up, Voice of Reason. Anyway, I got the idea first, so that is as good
a reason as any to get my name on the show. So, 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 the official website (www.nbc.com/snl) 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!

FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATE
If you want to play SNL League fantasy baseball, sign up literally right
now! Mail me asking for the pertinent information.

SHOW OVERVIEW
This is the 500th (or, if you're Roman, Dth) episode of Saturday Night Live.
Does everybody out there realize how frigging big this is? Only a handful
of shows in HISTORY have ever hit the big 5-0-0, and certainly no variety
programs. This is truly a monumentous event, and to pay tribute to the long
and storied history of the program, the host is that noted SNL icon...

Norm Macdonald: You guessed it, Frank Stallone.

No, but closer than you might think. Julia Stiles, star of such films as
Save the Last Dance and 10 Things I Hate About You gets the
hosting nod. Now, I have no particular beef with Julia Stiles. I think
she's quite a good actress, and I especially enjoyed her work in the Ethan
Hawke version of Hamlet as Ophelia and in the aforementioned 10
Things,
a film that's about 50 times better than you would expect it to
be. If this were some random SNL, I would gladly nod my head at Julia
Stiles hosting the show. This, however, is the 500th episode. Get Steve
Martin in there, or Bill Murray, or Mike Myers; hell, even Buck Henry would
have more to do with SNL's history than Julia Stiles. In short, cheers to
Homer Simpson for all his recent charity work, but jeers to Lorne Michaels
for booking Julia Stiles for the 500th show. Maybe at least we'll get an
Alec Baldwin cameo, since he and Julia were both in State and Main.

The musical guests, Aerosmith, are more appropriate. They've been on the
show four or five times before, and are among the relative handful of
musical guests who have said "Live from New York..." Well, it was only
Steve Tyler and Joe Perry who said it, but you catch my drift. Plus,
they're usually in a sketch when they're on SNL, so get ready for that.
Anyway, Aerosmith are a good veteran band who have managed to stay popular
in the teen-dominated musical market. Of course, they had to do this by
completely selling out: example A, the Super Bowl halftime show. Seeing
Aerosmith perform with the likes of N*Sync and Britney Spears was the
greatest day of shame in the world of old-school rock since Alice Cooper
started doing commercials for Callaway golf clubs.

Speaking of doing something special for the 500th show, we were one
fractured tibula away from having a joint review from myself and Jordan "The
Other Dean" Davidson! Jordan was going to be down in London this past
weekend visiting friends and the idea of getting together to watch SNL was
hatched. However, as it turned out, a co-worker of mine broke his leg, and
thus I had to fill his shift and work all the livelong night. Ah
well...perhaps it worked out for the best. I'm sure that Jordan would've
been surprised to learn that I'm not really a 19-year-old guy, but a 47-year
old, female sex offender. Remember kids: never agree to meet anyone you
talk to on the Internet.

[COLD OPENING] Actually, It's Martha Stewart...Make That, "Frigid
Opening"

Shock of shocks...no Dubya in the cold opening. I guess SNL noticed that
the political openings were getting week-old-beef-quality stale, and put
Dubya on the shelf for a spell. Good call. In Dubya's place we get the
Martha Stewart sketch, which is pretty straight-forward stuff mocking the
Irish for their drinking. You see, it's St. Patrick's Day today. It's
amazing how a holiday can slip completely under the radar like that; I
didn't realize it was SPD until this sketch aired. Say, I just realized
that it would've been much funnier it the Irish had made their patron saint
St. Thomas or something...then the holiday could've been initialed into STD.
I have a dirty mind. Anyway, the sketch had a few good lines in it and
Ana's impression of Martha Stewart is always good for a chortle. On a note
totally unrelated to anything, Hand-Hewn Heather would be a great name for
an exotic dancer. B

[MONOLOGUE] Julia Stiles: Genuine Class. Alec Guinness: A Jesuit
Sill

Here's another reason why Julia Stiles is classy. She's dressed in a nice
black blouse and plain brown skirt; most teenage girl hosts (coughcoughKatie
Holmescoughcough) look like they buy their clothes from Abercrombie & Skank.
Julia ain't no skank...then again, she is wearing about 60% of a red shirt
in the ad bumpers. And, this monologue was all about Tracy Morgan trying to
mack her. Tracy is 35? He has five kids?...the man's a machine. This
monologue was pretty useless. Since Julia only mentioned the 500th episode
thing in passing, perhaps the SNL brass honestly don't consider the
milestone a big deal, and it's just us on-line people that are making a
mountain out of a molehill. Could we be wrong? Nah. C

[COMMERCIAL] In Case Your Kids Are Still Gay...
This is a repeat from the Sean Hayes show, and I originally gave it an A-

[SKETCH] I Would Wake Up From This Recurring Nightmare...Get It?
Recurring? Like A Recurring Sketch? Ah, I've Got Nothing

The sketch is called "Wake Up Wakefield." Hijinks ensue when Red Sox
pitcher Tim Wakefield (Jimmy Fallon) keeps forgetting to set his alarm
clock, and as a result keeps missing the 1 PM start times at Fenway Park.
Boston manager Jimy Williams (Darrell Hammond) tries all sorts of methods to
get him to wake up, including having outfielder Carl Everett (Jerry Minor)
sleep over and scream about his hatred of dinosaurs, but nothing works.
However, Tim has a neighbour named Annie (Julia Stiles), who is a groupie
that will do anything for the BoSox. As it turns out, she has a snoring
problem. She and Tim fall madly in love, and the snoring serves to get Tim
up for the ballgames. A fun sketch and a nice little spoof of Bull
Durham.
A-

Once again, {I could write for this show}.

The real sketch was a bunch of crap about these kids and their school video
announcements. For the love of God, this has recurring sketch written all
over it, so Lorne Michaels, I'm begging you: come to your senses. I don't
need to hear that grating voice that Maya used again, nor do I need to see
Rachel Dratch dressed as a man doing Larry Zbysko hand-waves. I'm Canadian,
so I'm not really sure what a middle school is. Grades 7-8-9? Up here it's
just Kindergarten-Grade 8 is grade school, and Grades 9-13 are high school.
Us Canadians like to keep it nice and simple.

Joe Average American: Because you're a bunch of Eskimos and your capital
city is Toronto!

Unfortunately, I would've not taken too well to "What's Going On With Our
Bodies." Every grade school has a kid who gets ill during health class, and
I was that kid. Passed out in the hall, threw up once...it wasn't pretty.
The get-my-name-on-SNL campaign might already be moot, since this sketch was
in many ways a shout-out to SNL reviewers: most of us look like the members
of that jazz band, and the female ones all have t-shirts with Jimmy Fallon's
face airbrushed on them. This sketch was totally mediocre, and only notable
because this is the most space I've ever devoted to a single skit in a
review. Wacky. C-

[SKETCH] Speaking of Bad Recurring Sketches...
It's been about a year since Maya Rudolph joined the SNL cast, and I've
finally picked up on her personality. She's got a real weird, Nicole
Sullivan vibe to her. Nicole Sullivan is on MadTV, so this is not a good
thing. This sketch definitely reminds me of MadTV in quality, which is not
a good thing. Perhaps SNL has a quota of having one sketch where people in
service industry mock the customers; since Cheri Oteri left behind Simmah
Dunnah, this had to pick up the slack. The slack should have stayed on the
ground. The only humour came from Julia Stiles' firm grasp of Ebonics. At
least the last sketch involved a character named Doug Drabek. D

[MUSICAL GUEST] The Jade Monkey Was In The Glove Compartment
This song is called "Jaded," off of Aerosmith's new album titled "Just Push
Play." Okay...hey, nothing happened! Oh, I bet they meant to push play
after putting a CD into the machine. Yeah, that is a lot more reasonable.
Anyway, I'm not that big a fan of this song, since it's already been
overplayed into the ground, but the performance was still good. Why does
Steven Tyler only hug Joe Perry and not the other guitarists? I'll bet Brad
Whitford stays up night crying. And actually, come to think of it, I wonder
if Joe Perry ever thinks to himself "Cut it out, jackass, I'm trying to play
the guitar here." Steven Tyler is looking more and more like an effeminate
skeleton as the years go by. B

[WEEKEND UPDATE] The Blue Bar Was Still More Charismatic Than Brad
Hall

Yet more new ground is being broken for Weekend Update, as the first
three-person news crew is introduced. Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, and a digital
blue bar. Technical buffoonery aside, the jokes were pretty decent this
week. I liked the bit about Dubya being 98-0 in favour of Conservatism over
Compassion. Darrell's bit as Ahnold was pretty funny, and he's improved on
the impression since last year's Danny DeVito show. Darrell probably had a
lot of time to work on it, since he's NEVER IN THE SHOW ANYMORE. Get the
man some damn screen time, since he's talented enough to deserve it. The
bit at the end with David Copperfield was pretty random. It reminded of
back in the day on SNL when Penn & Teller used to guest-star. Some of their
tricks were really quite impressive. Maybe Copperfield got mad that he
couldn't do any major tricks, so he was the one that caused all the
technical problems? Hmm.... B

[SKETCH] And To Think They Gave Soderburgh Two Nominations, Snubbing
Suel.

The first sound film in history was The Jazz Singer, released in
1927. The title card at the beginning of the sketch indicates that this
skit was set in 1922. The characters in the film were clearly speaking,
despite the fact that the audience of the time wouldn't have been able to
hear them. Just shoddy. Like most Suel Forrester skits, the comedy is not
in his unintelligibility, but in now the other characters interpret it:
these particular interpretations were pretty lame. My biggest laugh in the
sketch came from Jimmy: he always seems to end up playing these Jimmy Olsen
types. Why not a sketch about that (not that he always plays them, about
the Jimmy Olsen character itself)? C-

[SKETCH] Third-World Wackiness
So, the moral of this sketch is...

A) Foreign countries are worse than America
B) Foreigners are funny
C) Sexual harassment is bad, but heck, not as bad as being a foreigner!

I bite my thumb at that reasoning. Rachel Dratch seems to have cornered the
market on all of the bizarre female roles, including foreigners, incestual
love children, James Madison, etc. Please lord don't make this recurring.
This is the kind of sketch that Will can usually improve by doing something
silly with his straight-man character, but even he was muted in this one. C

[DIGITAL SHORT] Attack, My Pretties, Attack!
Remember that scene in Ed Wood where Bela Lugosi is told to fight
with the giant plastic squid and "move its arms around so it looks like
you're fighting?" That was the feeling I got whilst watching Will fight the
(ahem) dog. It was also like that recurring bit in the Pink Panther movies,
where Clouseau asks Kato to continually attack him in order to keep Clouseau
alert. This is the best of the Adam McKay films, though that's not saying
much. The dog jumping from the balcony down onto Will was good for a laugh.
C-

[SKETCH] The Message Here: Cheeseheads Win At Everthing. Go Packers!
If I hear the word "rock" in that faux-Fargo accent one more time, I
think I might snap like Jack the Bear. There is nothing inherently funny
about Julia Stiles and Jerry Minor having the approximate dancing skills of
XFL cheerleaders, and also nothing funny in this presentation of it. I
guess the punchline was supposed to be that the Apollo crowd cheers anything
as long as the performers are black, but I've seen enough Apollo shows on
Showtime to know that's not true. The Apollo crowd boos anything that
sucks; methinks this sketch would've definitely merited the Sandman.
Perhaps even the Neil Gaiman Sandman, who could've tormented the dreams of
the writer that thought this thing up. Maya's exaggerated singing and
Tracy's bizarre jokes were funny, so why not base the sketch around those?
D

[SKETCH] Any Product Called Eye-Poppers Should Be Endorsed By Marty
Feldman

This sketch had a good premise, but there just something about it that was a
little off. I'm not sure what, exactly; maybe there were just too many
testimonials, and since they were all delivered in the same wooden tone, the
sketch sort of meandered along. Since David Copperfield was in the house,
maybe he could've come out and done some real magic tricks or something.
Remember how I said earlier about how Will doing something silly could've
helped the foreign cleaning ladies sketch? It's little things like a drink
order of "grapefruit juice and cognac" that Will is good at milking a laugh
out of. This is the third sketch tonight (Video announcements, Copperfield
cameo) that has made a joke out of reading cue cards, which makes this the
most blatantly cue-card themed SNL since the last time Christopher Walken
hosted. B-

[MUSICAL GUEST] Ten Inches Is The Equivalent Of Ten Inchworms
This song is an Aerosmith golden oldie called "Big Ten-Inch Record," which,
of course, is about a record. Sure. You see, it's songs like this that
create all of these misconceptions. Size doesn't really matter.

Every Woman On Earth: Shyeah right.

That's "Big 25-Centimetre Record" for all of you non-Americans out there.
Double entendres aside, it's a good tune. Nice soloes from Saxamaphone
Lenny Pickett and Joe Perry even busted out the old "torture rack"
guitar-playing technique. B+

[SKETCH] Achtung Baby...Or At Least, Achtung Adolescent
Germans are sure portrayed strangely on SNL, eh? Dieter, Adam McKay's
films, and now this. I've never been to Germany, but I would assume that
not all German people are bizarre, Eurotrash nihilists. Germany doesn't
deserve this kind of treatment.

Every Jewish Person On Earth: Shyeah right.

Anyway, this was funny in a very odd sort of way. The costumes were
downright bizarre, from Horatio's half-assed Riddler outfit to Parnell's
pumpkinhead, to Will's fur suit. Julia's maid costume was not as odd as it
was sexy; yes, I am lecherous. Here's something to think about: is The
Smile Masters really that far removed from Pee Wee's Playhouse? B

[SKETCH/INTERLUDE] The Stone Cold Steve Austin School Of Drinking
I have a friend named Eric Van Bart, and I find no shortage of humour is
calling pre-facing everything he does with the word "Van." For example,
when he answers the phone, I say "Hurry up and answer the Van phone." I am
easily amused. Not easily amused enough, however, to find this funny.
Jimmy's impression of Van Morrison was okay, but it's tiresome having yet
another sketch whose punchline is "Ha ha, the Irish are drunks." Especially
when everyone knows that only 75% percent of the Irish are drunks. Get your
facts straight SNL. D

 

PERFORMER OF THE NIGHT: Chris Parnell
BEST SKETCHES OF THE NIGHT: Weekend Update, The Smile Masters
WORST SKETCHES OF THE NIGHT: Van Morrison, Sassy Postal Workers, Amateur
Night at the Apollo
BUSIEST CAST MEMBERS: Will Ferrell, Chris Parnell, Maya Rudolph (5 sketches
each).
CAST MEMBERS WITH THE TIME TO PONDER LIFE'S LITTLE MYSTERIES: Darrell
Hammond (one sketch).
MISTAKES: The video graphics in Weekend Update were all over the place, and
even Jimmy mocked the big blue bar that took up a fifth of the screen. The
post office sketch was full of laughable speaking errors from the Chrises.
Kattan: "It's not a letter!...It's not a package, it's a letter." Parnell:
"This is the most least organized post office I've ever seen!" They talk
English good.

STARTING LINE-UP
"...you must be Irish, because my penis is Dublin."-- Ana Gasteyer (as
Martha Stewart)

"Jungle fever? Tracy, that's a horrible stereotype."
"Yeah, but I don't mind that one or the one about us having long dongs."--
Tracy Morgan and Julia Stiles

"It's about the 60, when nobody could cut their hair because of Vietnam."--
Julia Stiles (as some kid whose name I didn't catch) in the Wake up
Wakefield sketch

"Many people forget that I served two terms as Mr. Universe. Technically, I
was in charge of the entire universe -- California is nothing!"-- Darrell
Hammond (as Arnold Schwarzenegger)

"Best-selling suspense author Robert Ludlum died this past week...or did
he?"-- Jimmy Fallon

"Sir, I am not a Jew!...anymore."-- Chris Parnell (as some actor) in the
Suel Forrester sketch

"Hi, I'm Janet Tucker. You might remember me from earlier in this
commercial."-- Julia Stiles (as Janet Tucker), in the Willy Sluggs
informercial

AFTERSHUKS
This was really not a good show at all. It's not quite as bad as the Tom
Green debacle, but close. The sketches ranged from average to downright
bad, and I think we saw the debut of about three bad new recurring
characters. Doom. Julia Stiles was all right, but she wasn't really given
anything good to do. Aerosmith, at least, were pretty good, especially
their second song. Overall, this show gets a disappointing D.

The next live show is April 7th, hosted by (my fourth correctly guessed host
of the year) Alec Baldwin. So show #499 is hosted by Conan O'Brien, and
#501 is multiple-time host Alec Baldwin? I think somebody got the
scheduling mixed up. Baldwin almost always does a good job of hosting, and
his presence also seems to inspire the writers as well. The musical guest
is Coldplay, a British band whose hit song "Yellow" has been played into THE
GROUND by London radio stations.

Since there aren't any new shows for a couple of weeks, let's get a few
predictions out of the way. NCAA Tournament: Duke. WrestleMania: Austin
over the Rock. The Ongoing Battle Between My Razor And This One Little Spot
On My Chin: my razor. Saturday-Night-Live.com gets updated: even money.
Until April 7th, adieu.

Mark O'Polishuk


Episode Review written by Mark Polishuk


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