We are now past the one year anniversary of my first announcing my campaign to get my name on SNL. The results so far have been utter and complete failure, but I remain hopeful. 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 <a href="http://www.nbc.com/snl">official website</a> 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!
If you want the actual review of this week's episode, you might
have to scroll down a bit. Well, okay, scroll down a LOT. It's
time once again for the 2001-2002 SNL YEAR IN REVIEW (hey, that
A year removed from the latest round of "SNL is cool again" headlines, Saturday Night Live settled into a comfortable, if not always funny, routine. When compiling my 'best/worst of' categories and going over old episode reviews, it amazed me how even the show was all year long. Just about every show featured one very good sketch, one very bad sketch, a very good Weekend Update, an average musical guest, and a respectable hosting performance. The shows just tended to blend together, which I guess can be both good or bad depending on your perspective. Since the season was just so damn average, I'll have to give it an average grade of B- for the year.
I've given up trying to figure out who's coming back and who's not, since I invariably get this wrong every damn year. I think I originally predicted Chris Kattan leaving three years ago, and here he is. All that is cast in stone is that Will Ferrell is not returning next season, thus robbing SNL of one of its all-time greats. The process this year, therefore, has been a general easing of Will's roles on the show. He hasn't had many "Ferrell moments" this season outside of his normal recurring characters of the Kulps, the Lovahs, George Bush and Neil Diamond. There have even been a couple of shows where he's been absent altogether, filming movies. Those predicting doom and gloom for SNL after Will leaves are wasting their breath, since lord knows this show has survived the loss of major stars before.
This leaves Kattan, Darrell Hammond, Ana Gasteyer and Tracy Morgan as the rest of the "old guard" that are apparently all returning next year for one last year. Tracy, I know, is involved with a new show on some other channel, so this could be a hint that he's not coming back, but who knows? I can already predict that Hammond will do his usual 2-3 sketches per show doing mostly political stuff and the occasional impression, Tracy will continue to do his 1-2 sketches per show doing his one-note characters and the occasional stand-up bit on Update and Ana and Kattan will provide their usual recurring characters and straight roles.
No matter what the old folks end up doing, Jimmy Fallon, Rachel Dratch, Horatio Sanz, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Chris Parnell are the new core of the show. Fallon will probably take over as the "star" with Ferrell gone, so it's important that Jimmy get a chance to do more than just Update and his few recurring characters (Jarrod's Room, the Bahsten Teens, etc.) He's probably the best impressionist on the show, so -- this seems obvious -- LET HIM DO MORE IMPRESSIONS. Rachel and Horatio had decent seasons, getting a lot to do but nothing particularly memorable. Maya Rudolph had a very good year, showing a lot of range by playing many different and varied roles. Chris Parnell was brought back in March after apparently being fired last summer, and presumably he'll stick around next season as well, giving the cast a valuable utility man. Tina, of course, is still the co-head writer, Update anchor and also my imaginary girlfriend, so she'll be back.
If you want to talk about new breakout stars, I would think the discussion begins and ends with Amy Poehler. Going from a featured player to a cast member in nine episodes is rare in this "wait 2 years and pay your dues" phase that Lorne seems to be going through. She has proven to be a very funny and versatile actress, making SNL's female quotient even stronger. Seth Meyers is the only other featured player who made an impression, though his screen time and quality of roles has diminished as the season has gone on. Jeff Richards has shown that he is a pretty decent impressionist in his few roles, and Dean Edwards has apparently become the SNL Other Black Guy, and thus barely gets any face time.
RATING THE EPISODES FROM WORST TO FIRST
Josh Hartnett/Pink, Billy Bob Thornton/Creed, Jonny Moseley/Outkast, Drew Barrymore/Macy Gray, Reese Witherspoon/Alicia Keys, Cameron Diaz/Jimmy Eat World, Sir Ian McKellen/Kylie Minogue, The Rock/Andrew W.K., Hugh Jackman/Mick Jagger, Ellen Degeneres/No Doubt, Winona Ryder/Moby, Jon Stewart/India.Arie, Britney Spears, Gwyneth Paltrow/Ryan Adams, Jack Black/The Strokes, Seann William Scott/Sum 41, Kirsten Dunst/Eminem, Derek Jeter/Shakira and Bubba Sparxxx, John Goodman/Ja Rule, Alec Baldwin/P.O.D.
BEST MALE LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A SKETCH
Alec Baldwin (as Tony Bennett, Apr.20)
John Goodman (Wilford Brimley commercial, Nov.3)
Seth Meyers (Bookie Newton, Nov.3)
Sir Ian McKellen (Edmund McGrave Does Dickens, Mar.16)
Will Ferrell (as Neil Diamond, Apr.13)
BEST FEMALE LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A SKETCH
Tina Fey (Weekend Update, Oct.13)
Ana Gasteyer (as Bobbi Mohan-Culp, Sept.29)
Amy Poehler (porn girlfriend, Oct.6)
Maya Rudolph (Wake Up Wakefield, Sept.29)
Reese Witherspoon (Interspecies Beach, Sept.29)
BEST MALE SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A SKETCH
Jack Black (The Lovahs sketch, Jan. 19)
Darrell Hammond (as Jesse Jackson, Sept.29 Update)
Chris Kattan (as David Guest, Apr.20)
Seth Meyers (as Hugh Grant in the 'Gwyneth and Mango' sketch, Nov.10)
Horatio Sanz (Jarrod's Room, Dec.8)
BEST FEMALE SUPPORTING PERFORMANCES IN A SKETCH
Ellen Degeneres (Kulps Christmas Navity, Dec.15)
Rachel Dratch (Wake Up Wakefield, Sept. 29)
Kirsten Dunst (Last Call with Carson Daly skit, May 11)
Amy Poehler (as Sharon Osbourne, Apr.20)
Maya Rudolph (as Liza Minnelli, Apr.20)
RATING THE HOSTING PERFORMANCES
As mentioned before, the hosts were generally okay this season, with the only outright poor performances coming from Josh Hartnett (who looked really nervous), Cameron Diaz (who seemed drunk) and Jonny Moseley (who isn't an actor, so it's not unusual). The highlights of the year included great hosting gigs from Hugh Jackman and Sir Ian McKellen, who managed to make average material seem much better. From worst to first, the hosts were ----- Josh Hartnett, Cameron Diaz, Jonny Moseley, Billy Bob Thornton (mostly because he got so little to do), Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, Britney Spears, Kirsten Dunst, The Rock, Reese Witherspoon, Jon Stewart, John Goodman, Derek Jeter, Ellen Degeneres, Winona Ryder, Seann William Scott, Jack Black, Sir Ian McKellen, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman
RATING THE MONOLOGUES FROM WORST TO FIRST
Josh Hartnett, Alec Baldwin, Kirsten Dunst, Reese Witherspoon, Derek Jeter, Jonny Moseley, Drew Barrymore, Hugh Jackman, Cameron Diaz, John Goodman, Jack Black, Britney Spears, Gwyneth Paltrow, Seann William Scott, The Rock, Billy Bob Thornton, Winona Ryder, Sir Ian McKellen, Jon Stewart, Ellen Degeneres
RATING THE MUSICAL PERFORMANCES
This year's musical guests were okay for the most part, though the best performances of the year (from the likes of Moby and P.O.D) can better be described as 'solid' rather than 'instantly memorable' (like U2's performance last season). Like I said in my half-season recap, this will likely end up being a roster that people will look at ten years from now and wonder "who?" From worst to first, the ranking is ----- Bubba Sparxxx, Andrew W.K., Eminem, Ja Rule, No Doubt, Pink, Britney Spears, Jimmy Eat World, Kylie Minogue, Creed, Shakira, Ryan Adams, India.Arie, Alicia Keys, Outkast, Paul Simon, Mick Jagger, Macy Gray, Sum 41, The Strokes, P.O.D, Moby
10.(tie) The New Happy Birthday Song (Jan.19)
(tie)Wake Up Wakefield (May 12)
9. Gwyneth and Mango (Nov.10)
8. Dating the Porn Star (Oct.6)
7. Dick Cheney, One-Man Terrorist Task Force (Oct.13)
6. Derek Jeter Helps A Kid Learn To Play Ball (Dec.1)
5. Christmas Kangaroo (Dec.8)
4. Edmund McGrave Does Dickens (Mar.16)
3. The Tony Bennett Show (Apr.20)
2. The Newtons, Kid Detectives (Nov.3)
1. Neil Diamond and Bigfoot Sing The Classics (Apr.13)
10. John Edward (Oct.13)
9. Derek Jeter's Taco Hole (Dec.1)
8. Action Talk Show (Oct.13)
7. Mango and Ellen (Dec.15)
6. I Slept With My Stepson (Jan.12)
5. Annoying Peppy Flight Attendants (Jan.12)
4. The Extreme Wedding (Mar.2)
3. The Never-Ending Dinner Roll (Mar.2)
2. Typhoid Mary: The Musical (Mar.2)
1. The Farting Baby (Sept.29)
RATING THE COMMERCIALS
Worst-----5. Clairol Shampoo For Men (Nov.3) 4. The Cheese Board Game (Mar.9) 3. Hip Preparation H (Sept.29) 2. Vacation At Camp X-Ray (Feb.2) 1. Demilon (May 12)
Best----- 5. Law & Order: Parking Violations Unit (Oct. 6) 4. Clear Results Pregnancy Test (May 12) 3. LooseBear (Dec.8) 2. Classic Kotex (Mar.16) 1. EDS Pregnancy Test (Nov.3)
SATURDAY TV FUNHOUSE SEGMENTS
Best-----3. Bambi 2002 (May 12) 2. Michael Jackson (Nov.10) 1. Snowman Narrator At Ground Zero (Dec.15)
Worst-----3. Powell Talks To Teens on MTV (Mar.9) 2. Emeril Gets Retooled (Oct.13) 1. The Anatomicals/Lorne And The Senators Backstage (Apr.20)
BEST WEEKEND UPDATE SEGMENTS
10. Tracy Morgan on shopping for the wife (Dec.15)
9. Sale & Pelletier (March 2)
8. Denzel and Halle Talk About The Oscars (Apr.6)
7. Tina and the SNL women talk about pregnancy (May 18)
6. Tina's rant about Bush's "With Us Or Against Us" speech (Apr.6)
5. Seth Meyers baseball rant (Nov.3)
4. The "Snap! Oh No You Didn't!" routine (Jan.19),
3. Neil Diamond/Gay Hitler (Oct.13)
2. Colin Quinn (Oct.13)
1. Jesse Jackson calls the Taliban (Sept.29)
WORST WEEKEND UPDATE SEGMENTS
5. Rachel Dratch as Harry Potter (Nov.17)
4. Tracy Morgan routine (Oct.6)
3. Hollywood the Gossip Reporter (Mar.2)
2. Chris Kattan as Amelie (Jan.19)
1. Michael Bloomberg/Rudy Giuliani (Nov.10)
WEEKEND UPDATE-RELATED STARTING LINE-UP
"At the request of the Catholic Church, a three-day sex orgy to be held near Rio de Janeiro was cancelled last Friday. So instead I spent the weekend cleaning my apartment." -- Tina Fey, Weekend Update (Sept.29)
"All the play is bin Laden. He's like Law & Order over there."-- Colin Quinn, on the Al-Jazeera television network (Oct.13)
"Everyone and everything that Boston roots for loses. If Boston rooted for gravity, tomorrow we'd all be three inches off the ground."-- Seth Meyers, Weekend Update (Nov.3)
"So if you love pizza and hate terrorism, get your head out of your ass and get all up in Mohmar's carry-ons."-- Tina Fey, on the Weekend Update War Against Terrorism Pizza Party (Nov.10)
"This week, ABC decided not to air a special commemorating the 25th anniversary of the roundbreaking miniseries Roots. This decision was made by ABC programming executive The Man."-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update (Jan.19)
"And why are they complaining about living conditions? They're suicide bombers!" -- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update, on terrorists at the X-Ray camp in Cuba (Jan.19).
"A female version of Viagra is expected to be released next year with the promise of giving women faster arousal and better orgasms. The pill is so strong, doctor's warn the increased speed of arousal might cause Christina Aguilera's vagina to time travel."-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update (Feb.2)
"A cow that escaped from an Ohio slaughterhouse was spared last week after former Cincinnati Reds owner, Marge Schott agreed to let it live on her farm. Schott was touched by the story because she once escaped from the same slaughterhouse."-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update (Mar.2)
"In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, Charles Barkley said that golf is the most racist sport of them all. Oh really, Charles? What about Klanball?"-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update
"When Stevie Wonder took the stage at the Presidential Gala last Sunday, President Bush waved to him. Realizing his faux pas, an embarrassed Bush turned to his wife Laura and said, 'Oh my god, do you think he saw that?'-- Tina Fey, Weeknd Update
"It was announced this week that Mike Myers will play the lead role in the film adaption of Dr. Seuss' 'The Cat In The Hat.' Also, Woody Allen has agreed to star in the film version of 'Hop on Pop.'-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update
"Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie have adopted a baby boy from Cambodia. No word yet on what they plan to use the boy for."-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update (Mar.16)
"Palestinians would be awesome at Fear Factor."-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update (Apr.6)
"It was announced this week that after four years in Los Angeles, the Grammys will move back to New York City. Be careful, you guys. My grammy moved to Florida and like a month later she died."-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update (Apr.6)
"I was an ugly baby. I was a cross between that chick from the Indigo Girls and...the other chick from the Indigo Girls."-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update (May 18)
STARTING LINE-UP FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR
10. "I climax very loudly at 7 AM each morning."-- Roger Klaven (Will Ferrell), in the Luvahs sketch (Jan.19)
9. "The definition of gay isn't same-sex intercourse, it's thousands of young boys wearing matching neckerchiefs waiting for next year's Jamboree."-- Jon Stewart, on the Boy Scouts of America (Mar.9)
8. "MTV4 is so hip and underground that you can't even call your cable company to order it. You just turn on your TV, and if it comes on, I guess you're just cool enough."-- Iann Robinson (Horatio Sanz), the MTV4/Papayas sketch (Apr.6)
7. "A world ruled by dinosaurs? I can't believe it. I could understand a world where dinosaurs have a say, but not rule." -- Jack Handey (Oct.13)
6. "I've never seen anyone worse, and I work with blind kids. Did you raise him in Europe or something? Has he even seen a baseball before?"-- Derek Jeter, on Patrick (Chris Kattan)'s lack of baseball ability (Dec.1)
5. "Can we be funny?" -- Lorne Michaels
"Why start now?" -- NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Sept.29)
4. "If you had any brains, you would've challenged me to a game of Scrabble."-- George W. Bush (Will Ferrell) to Osama bin Laden (Oct.6)
3. "I'm going to get off my horse now, onto a smaller horse. Then onto a large dog, until I'm near enough to the ground to roll off."-- Wilford Brimley (John Goodman) (Nov.3)
2. "Carl, go down to the kitchen, Mabel, take your clothes off and put these shoes on, also the hat; now, put one leg up on the table, arch your back and listen to this 'cause this is a humdinger."-- Dan Rather (Darrell Hammond), during a CBS Anthrax Update (Nov.3)
1. "Sure, the boys and girls of Australia don't get any toys, but at least they're spared watching a giant marsupial take their old man to Brown Town."-- Hugh Jackman, in the Christmas Kangaroo sketch (Dec.8)
BEST INDIVIDUAL MOMENTS OF THE SEASON
10. Will Ferrell walks on-stage in a silly-looking bowlcut wig, and the audience immediately starts to laugh (New Happy Birthday Song sketch, Jan.19).
9. Rachel Dratch debuts the Giddy Crab Face while dressed as, appropriately enough, a happy crab (Interspecies Beach, Sept. 29)
8. Matt Damon's cameo. Gwyneth Paltrow: "Hey, you're not the one I went out with." (Nov.10)
7. Sir Ian McKellen rocks out to Kylie Minogue (Mar.16)
6. Robot Tina (Apr.6)
5. Justin Timberlake, apparently trying to be stylish, wears the stupidest shirt of all time (Feb.2)
4. Jimmy and Tina crack up in the background after Will (as Neil Diamond) ad-libs a line about being in love with gay Hitler (Weekend Update, 10/13/2001).
3. Weekend Update, 12/15/2001. Jimmy Fallon sticks what looks like a greasy tail of a cat onto his forehead. (The real) Rudy Giuliani looks on in confusion. "What is that?" "It's your combover. " Giuliani cracks up.
2. The special goodbyes to Will Ferrell (May 18)
1. The tribute to New York City at the season premiere, including a Paul Simon performance
In a move that is perhaps fitting since it's the season finale (and thus something special should be in the works), tonight's SNL has been heavily touted as a big going-away party for Will Ferrell. Call it the farewell to Ferrell, or the FareWill, if you...uh, will. Word on the street says the show will be filled with Ferrell's most popular characters and sketches in an effort to make his last appearance on SNL as a cast member a memorable one. Suffice it to say, presuming that this episode is decently written, we could be looking at one of the all-time classic shows here, folks.
Lost in the shuffle behind Ferrellmania running wild is that Winona Ryder is hosting SNL for the first time. She's here promoting Mr. Deeds, her new movie with Adam Sandler. Of course, Sandler couldn't host the episode, since that would make too much sense -- and also, it would've put me into a tie for first in the Guess the Hosts contest. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Remember back about ten years or so ago when Winona Ryder had the "weird teenage girl" role in just about every movie that she was in? Seeing her now playing romantic leads to Adam freakin' Sandler just makes me feel old by proxy, even though Winona is at least ten years older than I am anyway. Man, when Thora Birch starts going mainstream, that just might send me into a downward spiral of depression, pills and booze. Anyway, Winona is not exactly the first name that comes to mind when you think of comic actresses, and the fact that tonight's show will be Ferrell-centric could very well make her an afterthought altogether. On the other hand, this could mean fewer jokes at Winona's expense about her shoplifting and general whoring of herself around Hollywood. So (double stars) both her ego and the viewing audience win! Hooray!
The musical guest is Moby, the techno DJ type guy whose songs have been so horribly overplayed and overexposed in commercials that he's gone from "pretty cool" to "meh" on the Mark Polishuk scale of cool. Normally, a DJ wouldn't translate well to a live performance, but Moby has enough good rock songs that I anticipate no problems. Unless, of course, Moby suddenly spontaneously combusts. That would be unfortunate.
[COLD OPENING] "Oh, So The Island's Not For Sale, Eh?
Well, Will You At Least Permit Us To Live In Your Socialist Paradise?"
"You Talking About Cuba?"
Poor Jimmy Carter. Such a nice, honest, pleasant man -- all qualities that are totally unsuited to the job of President of the United States. It's really too bad that decent folks like him only get one term, whereas truly dangerous idiots like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush are popular. Why couldn't Jimmy have just gotten a job at a general store somewhere, where he could've been beloved to a community as Ol'Jim to the adults and Mr. Carter to the young ones. Well heck, when a youngster in town starts calling him Ol'Jim instead of Mr. Carter...why, that's as much a sign of growing up as shaving or having your voice deepen. Ol'Jim is always behind the counter, dispensing both advice and...
Mark: Hey you! Andy Griffith! Quit hijacking my review!
Andy Griffth: Uh-oh. Looks like it's time for me to be on my way. I'll see you later, folks.
I knew I should've checked for Andy Griffiths before I turned the computer on. Anyway, back to the sketch. It was generally okay, but it didn't really go anywhere outside of mocking poor ol' ex-President Carter. Darrell debuts yet another excellent impression, as his Carter is worlds better than that of Dan Aykroyd, who in all fairness was purposely doing a caricature. My knowledge of foreign tongues has gotten a bit lax (though not when dealing with the ladies -- ggggrrrowwwrrr), so were Will and Maya really speaking Cuban? If so, wow. Well learned...or, more accurately, well read off of the cue cards. Maya gets in her first ever Live From New York as an added bonus as well, making her the third cast member this season (after Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers) to open the show for the first time. This one gets 27-illegal-but-plentiful-in-Canada Cuban cigars out of 40.
[MONOLOGUE] "Ceiling Mirrors And Video Cameras Sometimes
See More Than Who Is About To Shoot Me."
This was one of those monologues in name only, since just about the entire cast got involved. I guess the video footage from Rachel, Kattan and Parnell's dressing rooms were just too explicit to be shown on national television. Hint hint. Of the various segments, my favourite was probably the one with Jeff, Dean and Seth talking about who's leaving next season because it was just so akin to all the discussion on the SNL message board as of late. The Ana/Darrell pregnancy accusation was also pretty funny, though it makes one wonder what sex between those two would be like. Would Ana start singing? Would Darrell scream like Chris "Hardball" Matthews, or would he deliver dirty talk in the sultry tones of Al Gore?
Voice of Reason: Wow, you have some real problems.
Shut up, Voice of Rea...
Voice of Reason: Wait a damn minute! I've been providing nothing but intelligent commentary for years, and you always tell me to shut up so you can get on with your perverted thoughts and obscure pop culture references! This time, why don't you shut up, Polishuk?!?!
Wow. I didn't realize you felt this way.
Voice of Reason: I have a lot of pent-up rage from your idiotic comments. It's tough being reasonable all of the time since you have to keep a cool head.
This "monologue" gets a rhombus out of a pentagon, with an added bonus for the segment featuring Tina shaving. I also shave, so this was unquestionably a shoutout to me.
Voice of Reason: Rage....building....
[SKETCH] "What They Eat In Iceland."
After so many years of sheer comedy, Celebrity Jeopardy finally comes to an end. Given that the last installment, and this one as well, weren't all that outstanding, it's probably time to put the old horse down before it runs amok in the stable killing the other horses. The fact that this was rock and roll Jeopardy, however, leaves open a sliver of possibility that the sketch might be brought back next year in this format, with somebody in the cast (maybe Seth Meyers) playing Jeff "The Guy From Survivor" Probst. The ultimate way for this sketch to end would've been to have Alex Trebek as a contestant, playing Will Ferrell, though that would've required too much actual acting from Trebek to successfully pull off. As it was, the Trebek cameo was wholly uneventful. Jimmy's impression of Dave Matthews was okay, as was Winona as Bjork, though Bjork is hardly the toughest impression to pull off. All you need to do is act insane. I think Winona might've broken up a couple of times, but it was hard to tell if the giggles were real or just in character. Not the most spectacular way for Celebrity Jeopardy to go out, but it needed to be done. I'll give it 7 forms of a question out of 10.
[SKETCH] "Wow, Lisa. Looking At You Makes Me Want To
Get Married For A Third Time. I Met A Really Nice Exotic Dancer
The Other Night At Hugh's Bachelor Party." "Hugh Didn't
Have A Bachelor Party." "We Had One In His Honour...I
Had One In His Honour...I Went To A Strip Club."
A one-joke sketch, but it needed to be included as a representation of how many one-joke skits that Will has single-handedly made funny over the years. But wait, said the know-it-all episode reviewer, I don't think this sketch was necessarily a one-joke premise at all. Certainly more could've been done with the fathers of the bride more directly interacting with the other guests at the wedding. The expressions on the faces of Rachel and Kattan as the other parents said it all, but some halfway decent dialogue could've elevated this one into something really interesting. Even in this state, however, it was still pretty good for the ridiculous duet between Parnell and Will. Even funnier was Will's wig, which made him look like one of the terrorists from Die Hard. What is it with Will and wigs? The man can make a simple hairpiece look like the funniest thing in the world. Then again, anybody can make a hairpiece look funny if the hairpiece looks less like a toupee than it does a dead squirrel. This is why I continue to maintain my hairless state without any cosmetic enhancement; I'm bald and proud of it, almost to the point of sheer arrogance. This skit gets 7250 out of 10,000 Maniacs.
[SKETCH] "Tonight, A Stowaway Bear Terrorizing Space
Shuttle Astronauts. But First..."
This skit was originally cut in the dress rehearsal of the Gwyneth Paltrow show, but gained a cult following after bits of it were featured on the A&E backstage Biography about SNL. Now, it has come to light, and the world finally gets to see a pretty funny sketch. The punchline of the bear shooting the wife had already been given away from A&E, unfortunately, but the circumstances were unknown. The melodramatic accents and music were hilarious, especially Darrell doing his best impression of Chief O'Hara from the old Batman TV series. Chief O'Brien, by the way, was probably the laziest cop ever; he'd encourage Commissioner Gordon to call Batman at the drop of a hat. Chief Wiggum was a stalwart defender of law and order compared to this putz.
Barney Fife: That O'Hara is a disgrace to the badge!
Sorry about this everybody, but my review seems to be infested with characters from the Andy Griffith Show. Just give me a second to download the Griffith removal tool from McAfee....now a reboot to install it properly....there we go. If Floyd the barber shows up, I might just call it a day on the review completely. Getting back to the sketch, Seth cracked me up with his little dance after shooting the doctor's wife. Also, Winona looked EXACTLY like Tina Fey in this skit, and the apparent ease at which this look was achieve makes me wonder if I got a pair of glasses, bought a wig...no, never mind. That's just too disturbing for words. This one gets 11 pic-a-nic baskets out of 15.
[COMMERCIAL] "Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins."
"Homer Simpson, Smiling Politely."
A funny enough little commercial, dealing with the scourge known as Botox. Silly people; you don't need to spend all that cash on Botox injections when you can just make a funny face on your own. Eventually, if you make funny faces for long enough, your face will freeze that way (source: my parents). Or, you could just get some Smilex gas.
Dead Model Voice-Over: Love that Joker.
The final shot of Winona, Ana, Amy and Maya all sitting there with frozen smiles on their faces was pretty funny, especially Amy's drool. It was sort of like that old Carol Burnett skit where Tim Conway plays a dentist who keeps stabbing various body parts with novocaine. Thankfully for everyone, Tim stayed above the equator. This commercial gets 58 references to Tim Conway's groin out of 80.
[SKETCH] "Now, Um, What Did This Christmas Thief Look
Like?" "Well, He Had A Glass Eye, A Wooden Leg, And
A Big Scar On His Cheek." "Anything Else?"
Hey look, it's Paula Pell! Amy's character of Amber, the "aspiring waitress" from the DisMissed skit a few months back, makes her return. Ratings immediately shoot up in Des Moines, Iowa, because Iowans love characters with wooden legs. For the rest of North America, however, the effect is negligible. I have to laugh at the incredible special effects used to make Amy look like she has only one leg.
SNL Director: Okay Amy, could you, uh, bend your leg back at the knee? That would be great.
The sketch overall was okay, though maybe a bit more could've been done to mock the Playboy search TV show (subtitle: "Go Ahead And Mock Us, Hef Gets More Tail Than A Toilet Seat"). The highlights were the garish facial expression that Rachel wore throughout the entire skit, and Maya's incredibly raunchy dialogue. "Ebony beaver" is HBO-quality stuff. Were the network censors on early vacation, or what? I know that when I tried to discuss my vanilla snake, I was immediately hushed up -- though in retrospect, it might've been the wrong thing to bring up during a valedictorian speech. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess. This sketch, however, is only 15/20.
[WEEKEND UPDATE] "Are You Sure About This? A Baby Can
Really Change Your Life." "You'll Have To Give Up Smoking."
"I'll Chew." "No Man Will Ever Want You. All I
Have Now Is Sperm In A Cup."
Weekend Update, the most consistently funny part of SNL this season, ends with a rather uninspired segment aside from Tina's rant about pregnancy. The whole thing was basically built around the Neil Diamond cameo, which came as a major surprise to me. God bless not reading the spoilers. The real comedy value of the cameo was seeing how time has dealt a cruel hand to poor Neil Diamond -- he looks downright withered. Not to mention the fact that he was really off-beat with his OWN SONG. Ferrell looked like he was about to crack up. Other than the cameo, the whole "Update All-Stars" bit was pretty average, as were the newsbits except for the ones about the Batman reunion and earthquakes shaking the gay out of San Franciscans. The story about the States being led by a symbolic leader (Bush) just like Palestine (Arafat) was copped directly from some other show this past week -- maybe Conan or the Daily Show or something like that. The unquestioned highlight of this Update was Tina's rant about the pressure put on women to have children; classic Fey. The comments from Maya, Amy and Rachel were also good, and while a Gasteyer-related punchline was obvious, it might've just been funnier to have Ana walk into the background and smack them all upside the head a la Moe from the Three Stooges. I could make a comment here about how I'm available if any of these ladies are looking for a man...no, I'd like to go out with a little bit of genuine class to end the season. This edition of Update gets 3 Alec Guinnesses out of four.
[MUSICAL GUEST] "I Believe That Famous People Have
A Debt To Everyone. If Celebrities Didn't Want People Pawing Through
Their Garbage And Saying They're Gay, They Shouldn't Have Tried
To Express Themselves Creatively."
This song is called "We Are All Made Of Stars," and the video features Moby in a spacesuit hanging out with such washed-up celebrities as Vanilla Ice, Corey Feldman and Kato Kaelin. I couldn't possibly make that up. The song doesn't do much for me on the radio, but it was much more impressive live. Then again, any song would sound better if it was being performed by approximately 149 people. Geez, Moby is a solo artist in name only. The most entertaining of his myriad of backup musicians was easily the bass player, who had a huge smile on her face during the entire performance. Maybe she was named person of the year by People With White Hair magazine, or maybe she simply got into the Botox before the show. This performance gets 8 CD singles of "Ice, Ice, Baby" out of 10 videotapes of The Goonies.
[SKETCH] "Who Left All These Muddy Claw Prints On My
Clean Floor?" "Sorry Marge. Pinchy Got All Dirty Chasing
Birds. But Don't Worry, I Put Him In A Nice Hot Bath...Hey, What
Smells So Good?"
You know, I'm in general a fan of the Lovahs skit, though Jack Lord knows that the quality varies wildly from sketch to sketch. I don't think the characters needed to be brought back yet again this season, but since it's Will's last show, I'll cut some slack. This was a pretty innocuous skit, with the only twist to the formula being that the Lovahs converted an innocent young mind to their deranged way of life, so their legacy can live on. Let's just all be thankful that they didn't have a three-way with Winona's unconscious body (otherwise known as the Tyson Method of seduction). Then again, she was looking pretty hot in the bathing suit....
Gregarious Voice: Congraulations, Mark! You've made a joke about rape! What are you going to do now?
I'm going to Disneyland! I think this skit was subtitled "Fallon tries not to laugh." The bit with Will spraying Jimmy in the face during his lines was classic Ferrell. Perhaps with Will gone next year, Jimmy can manage to keep a straight face in 50 % of his sketches, as opposed to his current 20%. This skit gets 2 out of a three-way.
[SKETCH]"Shoplifting Is A Victimless Crime, Like Punching
Someone In The Dark."
You knew that the shoplifting thing would come up in some form, and here it is...involving Mango. Man alive. That plummeting sound you hear is any promise that this sketch had. Well, I guess plummeting doesn't really make a sound, but...let's just forget about that. The overly gimmicky Mango skits rarely work, and this is a prime example. There were a few clever moments (Moby wearing an "I Heart Eminem" shirt after being dissed last week, Mango checking the time while not wearing a watch, Mango and Winona just going at it with that pane of glass), but overall the skit didn't amount to anything. Back to the pane of glass makeout session for a second...to comment on the situation is Catskills comedian Marvin Weinstein.
Marvin Weinstein: I've heard of safe sex, but that's ridiculous! (rim shot) You're supposed to grab the ass, not grab the glass! (rim shot) Watch out for the glass clap...it's really paneful! (rim shot)
Thank you Marvin. I wonder what the casting call was for those two guys who stood behind Kattan during his phone call. "Wanted: two guys with large packages." The applicant-judging process is a sexual-harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. This skit gets five rotting Mangoes out of ten.
[MUSICAL GUEST] "Give Me My Pepper Spray!" "Oh
Marge, One Squirt And You're South Of The Border!"
A funny thing about Moby; he takes his name from the fact that he's a relative of Herman Melville, author of "Moby Dick." I guess he could've just called himself 'Dick,' but the comedic possibilites would've been endless, not to mention the inevitable disappointment that would arise every time he tried to bed a groupie. Anyway, this song is "South Side," another of those tunes that was good the first time I heard it, but was overplayed into the ground. Since it's spent a good six months off of radio playlists, however, the song has come back into the positive side of the ledger. The single version of this song featured Gwen Stefani on vocals, and it wouldn't have been a bad touch to have Gwen make a cameo here. Even still, this was a terrific version of the song except for NBC's idiocy in cutting the performance off before it was finished. Since that isn't Moby's fault, I'll still give the song 8 dead peacocks out of 10.
[GOODBYE TO WILL FERRELL] "I Guess There's Nothing
Left But To Kiss My Sorry Butt Goodbye."
Aw, everybody is there to say goodbye. This is so heartwarming and kind...okay, it's too heartwarming and kind...somebody say something funny, dammit! Quite being serious!...Parnell's thing about being fired had potential, but he was just leading up to it...there we are! Always count on Tracy Morgan to liven things up. Seriously, this was a very nice sendoff for Will and a classy thing to do on the part of the cast. The omission of the featured players was a bit odd, since while I guess the effect was to feature people who've worked with Will for a while, a segment featuring Dean or somebody saying how much they've learned from the master would've been a nice touch. Well, maybe somebody instead of Dean; we all know how much Will hates black people. The story about Will getting Chris Parnell rehired was cool, though I wonder if Will's departure means that Parnell will be rebooted, and I don't mean like a faulty computer. And technically, wasn't Harry Shearer the first SNL cast member to be fired and then rehired later? This literally just came to me as I was writing this, but that's who Parnell reminds me of; Harry Shearer. Both good straight men, can fill a lot of roles in a low-key but funny way -- it's like they're related. Since this wasn't really a sketch, I'll have to give it an NA, but it was still hella classy.
PERFORMERS OF THE NIGHT: Will Ferrell (duh), Ana Gasteyer,
BEST SKETCHES: Monologue, The Bearologist
WORST SKETCHES: Mango In Jail
BUSIEST PERFORMERS: Will Ferrell (10 sketches); Ana Gasteyer, Darrell Hammond, Maya Rudolph (6 each)
PERFORMERS WITH ENOUGH TIME TO PLAN THEIR SUMMER VACATIONS TO SCENIC LONDON, ONTARIO, THE FOREST CITY: Dean Edwards, Tracy Morgan, Chris Parnell (2 sketches each)
COOL NAMES FOR A BAND THAT MARK USED IN THIS REVIEW: Amy's Drool, Griffith Removal, Dead Peacocks, Rim Shot
PLACES WHERE THE SNL WRITERS COULD EASILY HAVE INSERTED THE NAME 'MARK POLISHUK': With all the signs at the end of the show, not ONE person could've held up a piece of paper with "so long, Mark" written on it? Sigh. Another year goes by without a 'Mark Polishuk' citation on SNL.
NUMBER OF REFERENCES TO FORMER BALTIMORE ORIOLE CATCHER CHRIS HOILES: None, oddly enough.
NUMBER OF TIMES THAT MARK MENTIONED THAT HIS BELOVED TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS ARE IN THE STANLEY CUP SEMI-FINALS: None? Nuts to that. Go Leafs go!
MISTAKES: NBC went to commercial before Moby was finished playing his second song.
"I cut an album of dirty limericks just so I'd be eligible."-- Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond)
"And...SHUT UP."-- Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) to Bjork (Winona Ryder)
"Fourteen years in a bear outfit finally paid off!"-- Craig Matthews (Seth Meyers)
"I want a paralyzed face, but I'm too young for a stroke."-- Botox patient (Winona Ryder)
"Olga Korbut says she's going to bust Darva Conger so badly that she'll end up looking like...Olga Korbut."-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update
"I was an ugly baby. I was a cross between that chick from the Indigo Girls and...the other chick from the Indigo Girls."-- Tina Fey, Weekend Update
And the Farewill episode of SNL is complete. No Harry Caray, no Get Off The Shed, no crazy doctor...this show sucked! Seriously, while this wasn't quite the Will Ferrell showcase that everybody predicted, he still left SNL on a high note with ten sketches. It'll be sad to see him go, but I'm certain that he'll have a lot of success in movies and return to host within the next few years. The show itself was nothing really special, but nothing bad either. Winona Ryder made a fine accounting for herself as host, and hopefully she'll return sometime so that she can perhaps get a bit more of the spotlight for herself. Unfortunately, we didn't find out the answer to last year's season-ending cliffhanger, so the question as to whether Jimmy or Tina is the father of Winona's baby is still up in the air. I say it's all a swerve, and it was Johnny Depp all along. Moby was tremendous, probably the best musical guest of the entire year. He can now celebrate by going to Mooby's and having a Moobyburger.
And that was my last SNL as a full-time reviewer. Sniff...I promised myself I wouldn't cry! (tm Mike Myers) If you had told me four and a half years ago that not only would I still writing episode reviews, but that they would be so damn long and involved, I would've said you were crazy and then punched you in the face to that the paramedics would have an easier time strapping you into the straitjacket. Yet here I am, only now walking away from the task of recapping a late-night sketch comedy show that most people who are reading the review have probably seen anyway and have formed their own opinions about. Like I said in my first "retirement annnouncement," I'm not quitting cold turkey, since if I have time next year, I'll whip a few of these things up. But nevertheless, I'd like to thank everyone that ever took the time to read one of my reviews or e-mail me about them, even if it was just to tell me that I sucked and had the writing talent of a retarded goat. I met a lot of friends through these reviews, and I hope you had as much fun reading them as I had writing them. Until next year, adieu.
And in the end/The love you take/Is equal to/The love you make.
Chris Farley: Is that true?
Paul McCartney: Yes Chris, in my experience it is. I find the more you give, the more you get!
Chris Farley(silent mouthing): Awesome!
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