The Rock / Andrew W.K.
April 13, 2002


MARK POLISHUK RETIREMENT TOUR '02
As mentioned last week, this is my final season of recapping SNL on a full-time basis (pause for tears). While it is a sad time me, it's also strangely liberating. Now I can actually go out on Saturday nights and have a social life without having to worry about if my VCR is running properly, or if my mother walked downstairs and changed the channel to watch figure skating or late-night porn or something. Also, it means I can finally stop being Mr. Nice Guy, so to speak. Since I won't be around as often next season, I see no reason not to divulge all the gossip about selected other SNL reviewers that I've amassed over my four-plus years as part of the SNL on-line community (the SNLO-LC). I'd like to share some of this inside information in a little segment I like to call BURNING THE BRIDGES.

Bob Barron: As a hardcore Atlanta Braves fan, Bob tries to attend games whenever his favourite team is in New York playing the Mets or the Yankees. One day, Bob and a group of friends were taking the number 7 train to Shea Stadium for a Mets/Braves game, when who should he see but then-Braves closer John Rocker? Bob just about pissed himself with excitement; he tugged on the arm of his purple-haired friend Terry and pointed the famed athlete out. Terry was excited, and so was Lance, Bob's gay friend who happens to have AIDS. Lance wasn't much of a baseball fan, but he sure liked those cute players. Less impressed was Consuela, Bob's middle-aged Hispanic friend, who was trying to keep her kids Julio, Ricardo and Maria from bothering the other passengers; throwing a baseball 90+ miles per hour doesn't mean much to a woman trying to raise three kids on a single income. As the train was about to disembark near Shea Stadium, Bob decided to get an autograph from his baseball hero. He and his pals walked over to Rocker, who was staring blankly at the terminal signs in a vain attempt to understand the big words. Bob said "Gee whiz, Mr. Rocker sir, could I have your autograph?" Rocker turned around, looked at the menagerie in front of him, and a look of shock came upon his face. He was so stunned that he didn't even sign his own name, which is why if you (unlike so many women) go into Bob's bedroom, you'll find a glass-encased baseball signed by some guy named Farley Whitowsky.

Nelson Bermudez and Nick Mayhew: These two go together, as their secret is shared between the two of them. One day in New York, these two were shopping in the same Banana Republic without knowing it. Life sure is funny, huh? Here these guys are, both writers for the same website, and they haven't a clue in the world that their lives crossed in such a small but distinct way. They might've even tried on the same shirt; for all Nick knows, his skin made contact with a garment that once alit the torso of Nelson Bermudez. Truly a magical moment.

Sean Bradley: You know all of those shots of Sean with the SNL cast members? All of them fake. My suspicions were raised after I went to Sean's other website, www.the-american-civil-war.com and saw the photos of him with Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee and even Joseph Hooker. Real? I think not!

Paul Buxton: Paul is actually the reincarnation of Christ, which begs the obvious question of why Jesus would choose to return in San Jose, Calfornia of all places. "Well," says Paul, "I had gotten used to the warm climate back in my first life, and besides: gotta love those beaches." Paul has been keeping a low profile in his return, sticking mainly to writing about SNL. If you look at his reviews, however, you'll notice a distinct moral theme. For example, he starts off reviews by saying "Live From San Jose, it's Paul Buxton's Review!" This obviously plays off the actual SNL opening, which is actually a translation of a passage from Luke 4:21-- "He liveth in Bethlehem, and your soul shall be reviewed tonight." Sure there isn't a great deal of similarity, but Paul says that he wanted to avoid 'cribbing,' to use his term, from the original text. The second time around, there will be changes: Jesus is far more grim and harsh now. You're either with him or against him, no Mary Magdalene gray areas. Sinners will be executed by crucifixion, since if there's anything that Jesus lives for besides our souls, it's irony.

Jordan Davidson: There are no secrets to Jordan's life. I mean come on, the man admits to an obsession with Elton John, you think he'd make that up? His hometown of Orangeville, his love of the Toronto Raptors, his dog Raja...all of it's true. In fact, that's Jordan's problem in a nutshell; he's always honest. If you've ever seen Liar Liar, then Jordan is basically just like Jim Carrey. While this honesty is endearing, it can also lead to some problems. For example, in high school, the quickest way for mean older kids to get a laugh would be to simply ask Jordan if he had masturbated recently. Jordan is planning a career in politics so that he can learn the fine art of lying.

Renee Epstein: Has never once watched actually watched an episode of Saturday Night Live. She writes her reviews by turning on the TV, muting the sound and then placing her hands upon the screen with her eyes closed. The osmosis technique makes her one with the program, and allows her to truly absorb all of the insight that goes into the comedy. Renee has also applied this technique to other avenues with varying degrees of success. It seems to work relatively well for schoolwork, not as well for reading a bus schedule and only works during sex depending on where she puts her hands.

Adam Grunstein: When first introducing himself to the SNLO-LC, Adam wrote that he was "Australian." Naturally, this piqued everyone's imagination, since the mostly North American population of Jordan's message board is always interested in hearing about other lands, especially such downright cool countries as Australia. Unfortunately for Adam, his home country is not the home of sandy beaches, kangaroos and Greg Norman; it is the home of Mozart, Hermann Maier and a long history of being Germany's bitch. That's right: Adam Grunstein is actually Austrian. One simple slip of a finger on a keyboard added an 'l' into his nationality, and thus trapped Adam into a lifetime lies and deceit. Adam felt forced to keep up this act, since he couldn't possibly go back on his word now. I mean, lying on the Internet? That kind of behaviour just isn't tolerated. So, Adam began an intense study into learning everything he could about Australia. He professed a liking for Australian musical acts like Powderfinger and Natalie Imbruglia, rather than his real favourite musician, Austrian punk rocker Umlaut Von Schlurmann. He even had to hide his Ahnold-esque accent under an Australian twang whenever he met other SNLO-LCers in person. Finally, Adam can come out of the nationality closet and stand proud as an Austrian citizen, straight outta Vienna.

Jess: I learned this from an entry in her live journal, which was posted only for a few moments before she had a change of heart and deleted it. Jess was doing her usual stalking of Tina Fey, and one day followed Tina into a little music store near the Rockefeller Centre. Jess noticed Tina picking up and briefly reading the back of a Dave Matthews Band album, and thus Jess devoted her life to following the commandments of Fey, and thus became a huge fan of the DMB. She followed them across the country, attending dozens of concerts and discovering a lot about herself as well. You see, Jess grew up in rather a cloistered environment: her dad spent a lot of time at his job at the bank, her mom was a housewife that put great emphasis on keeping her house neat and her older brother Wally was getting such a good reputation that Jess had trouble living in his shadow. On the road with the DMB, however, Jess found her own identity. She didn't have to live with these squares; she could be like the other DMB fans and smoke weed, grow really long hair and not bathe for days on end. As it often goes with youthful adventures, however, Jess soon woke up to a sobering dose of reality. After months of "smoking weed," Jess was informed by the rest of the people in her Volkswagen van that all this time she been smoking actual weeds, such as the kind you pull out of your garden. Jess was shocked; her psychadelic fantasies were the product of her own invention, not inspired by drugs. Returning to her family, Jess learned that she had a medical condition unofficially as "spectral insanity." Basically, people with this condition become addicted to the wild variations of light itself, often just staring at flashing lights and mumbling "Ooh, the colours, the colours." This is also, incidentally, a major reason why Jess like N*Sync concerts so much. Jess is currently receiving treatment for her ailment at the Betty Ford clinic, and is forced to wear blinders like a horse in order to shield her from distracting light sources.

Jenny Maurer: A Rhodes scholar at Cambridge, Jenny is currently finishing her doctoral thesis for psychology. She has been studying the phenomenon of rage on the Internet, and how the anonymity of on-line personas allows people to express represssed extreme emotional states that they would never dream of revealing in polite society. Her chief experiment has involved posting several poorly spelled and grammatically incorrect messages on a Saturday Night Live message board. Other posters on the board have reacted with great hostility towards these messages, even going so far as to insult Jenny whenever she makes even an innocuous comment. The results have been illuminating, and there are even some rumours that Jenny may be in line for a Nobel Prize.

Nick Mayhew: See the entry for Nelson Bermudez.

Brendan Merritt: A few years ago, Brendan was walking home from school and decided to take the long route, as it was a nice day. This path took him by a small swimming pool, where children often frolic. On this day, however, there was a young girl lying facedown in this pool, and nobody seemed to be paying any attention. Brendan took matters into his own hands, leaping over the fence into the pool area and diving in to rescue the girl. He dragged her out of the water, and CPR brought the girl back to consciousness. This act of bravery made Brendan quite the hero in his little town of...uh, New York; it was reported in the papers, and he was even awarded a special medal of bravery from the police commissioner. Unfortunately, this fame had its price. In every newspaper article, the headline always made some play on Brendan's last name. "Honorable Merritt," one might say; "Merritt Merits An Award" says another. It got to the point that Brendan, as soon as he is legally able, plans to change his last name in order to escape the terrible puns. He is currently deciding between three possible choices: Jackson, McCrady and Weatherbee.

Mikintosh: Mik is frequently complimented for having a very advanced vocabulary and writing style for a 15-year-old, but he is actually 38. Mik learned at a very early age that by lowering people's expectations, it's easier to surprise them. For example, at his first job interview back when he really was 15, Mik told his boss that he had already gotten a girl pregnant. The boss was more than a little taken aback, but decided against his better judgement that Mik was the most qualified for the job anyway. From these humble beginnings, Mik went on to become the best employee that Barnes & Noble ever had, and he now owns that very store that he started out at, along with 26 other Barnes & Noble locations in the county. To this date, he has yet to get a girl pregnant, though that's not for lack of trying if you catch my drift.

Chris Schiffman: Every day, Chris drinks a Pepsi-Cola. No matter what he's doing, at some point between 12 AM and 12 PM every single day, he often goes out of his way to buy and drink a Pepsi (either in a can or a bottle, it doesn't matter which). It is a complete mystery even to Chris why he does this; he's not even particularly fond of the drink itself. He thinks it might be a genetic by-product of his father's missions of the moon back in the sixties; Buzz Schiffman was a decorated NASA astronaut. Chris often asks his father about his trips to the moon, and to inquire about the Pepsi mystery, but Mr. Schiffman always responds with "You'll see, son, you'll see" and then winks. Perhaps coincidentally, Mr. Schiffman owns several hundred shares of Coca-Cola stock.

Matt Schroeder: As most of you know, Matt is a proud student at Washington State, and is quite the BMOC. One incident that he has hidden within his past is a sordid night during frosh week, when he and another fellow dormmate had a steamy one-night-stand. Since both of them were pretty hammered, they agreed the next morning that it should be just a one-time thing or else living together on the same floor all year could get awkward if they were to break up or something. While the girl held her part of the bargain, Matt couldn't quite let things be. In his defense, this girl could suck the chrome off of a fender, and you don't let a pair of lips like that just walk away. So, Matt tried to arrange "surprise" encounters, like running into each other in the hall, or hanging out in the dorm's TV room when she was watching a show, etc. One day, however, Matt took it a bit too far and walked in on her while she was using the bathroom. The girl didn't take this invasion of privacy as badly as one might think, instead just telling Matt that she liked him as a friend but nothing else. Matt understood, but still, he couldn't just let his feelings for her just disappear. Matt channeled his desire for this girl into his personal mental recollection of their final meeting, and to cut a long story short, developed a fetish for watching women urinate. Rather a simple fetish to satisfy, really; all it takes is a peephole.

Jay Stuler: Jay is currently in the fourth year of a relationship with his girlfriend Ellen, and folks, it would be a tough task to find a happier couple than these two. The odds are good that these two will settle down and have a fantastic life together. The only problem is that they're both really, shall we say, affectionate towards each other, and go to extreme lengths to make this known to others. The phrase "fuckin' like rhinos" comes up an awful lot. Here is an ICQ conversation I had with Jay just the other day:

Ellen_sMan: Hey Mark, what's up?!
Shukspeare: Not a lot Jay. What's new with you?
Ellen_sMan: I'm having sex!!
Shukspeare: What? You mean right now?
Ellen_sMan: Yeah! I'll put Ellen on, she can say hi!
Shukspeare: That's really not necessary...
Jay_sGirl: Hi Mark! Pleased to finally talk to you!
Shukspeare: Hi there Ellen. It's nice to meet you too. For the record, I'm impressed that you two are able to have sex while also positioning yourselves so that you can type on two different computers at the same time.
Jay_sGirl: That's because Jay isn't very good! lol
Ellen_sMan: Thanks a lot! lol
Shukspeare: Yeah so, uh, I should probably leave you two alone....
Jay_sGirl: Want to check out my webcam?
Shukspeare: Good God, no!

And so it goes. I got an e-mail about their four-year anniversary last February, and let's just say that Larry Flynt would've been shocked. It was also a bad move opening the photo attachments in a public place. The librarian not only threw me out of the library, my school internet access was revoked for a month.

SELF-INDULGENCE CORNER
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 official website <http://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!

SHOW OVERVIEW
Hosting this week's episode is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who since his last SNL hosting appearance as won three more World Wrestling Federation world titles, making him a six-time former world champion. That and a dollar will get you a Coke in a vending machine, but nevertheless, it's still quite the achievement. As a wrestling fan, I'm more familiar with the Rock than most, and thus I know that the man can be quite funny if he wants to. His first hosting gig was okay, but he seemed a bit nervous for most of the night. Live sketch comedy is daunting even to a man who makes his living wearing tiny tights pretending to fight other men in front of thousands of people, I guess. Hopefully, Rock will loosen up a bit more this time, as he's got charisma coming out of his ass. This unfortunate biological quirk means that since his rectum is busy dispensing charisma, feces comes out of the Rock's nostrils. The moral of the story is that whenever the Rock is about to sneeze, for God's sake turn away.

The musical guest is Andrew W.K., who no doubt wore BK Knights as a child. His music has been described as "party rock," but presumably he's a big more cutting-edge than Wang Chung. Or, maybe it's just me that plays Wang Chung at parties; God, why is my life so sad? I've never heard anything by this guy before, so I'm going into tonight's show a completely Dana Carvey-esque blank slate. I plan to sit back in my houserobe drinking a scotch saying "Entertain me, my good man! Sing your ribald melodies and tickle my fancy!" At this point, I will demand that my manservant Eduardo refill my glass while I insult his personal hygiene. Oh, the demeaning things that Eduardo will do for his green card.

As an experiment for this review, I'm starting it immediately after the show itself and staying up all night to write it in one sitting. If I get incoherent by the end, now you know why.

[COLD OPENING] "And We Can't Watch FOX Because They Own Those Chemical Weapons Plants In Syria."
President Dubya turns into an informercial in this cold opening, which wasn't bad. If you're a suicide bomber watching SNL over in Bethlehem, you have the choice of either killing yourself needlessly, or getting a Nokia phone. The choice seems pretty clear, unless you're worried that you'll get ear cancer from cell phone usage. Wow, that's a real damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Here is yet another reason why the Bush government is inferior to the Clinton administration: Bush can't find 72 whores at the drop of a hat. Hell, Clinton had probably half of that number just lying around the Oval Office. I'm not going to bore you with my political views, but my feelings about the Israel/Palestine situation can be best summed up by the movie Jerry Maguire. You know how you really wanted to like Jerry because he seemed to be a decent guy at heart, but he kept doing such dumbass things that made you wonder if you were backing the right horse? Jerry Maguire is Israel. I guess that would make Palestine into Jay Mohr, so my analogy isn't perfect. If Yassir Arafat could do a killer Christopher Walken impression, however, he could get a lot more people on his side. This one gets 54 out of 72 whores.

[MONOLOGUE] "Your Brain Is Cushioned By A Layer Of Fluid 1/8th Of An Inch Thicker Than Normal, Acting Like A Football Helmet. Why, I Could Wallop You All Day With This Surgical Two-By-Four Without Ever Knocking You Down...But I Have Other Appointments."
My fears are automatically allayed, as Rock seems about ten times more composed and relaxed during the monologue. His shirt, I'm sorry to say, is nowhere near $500 in value, however; I have a shirt like that, and it cost me about $10 at BiWay. Um, er, that is, not that I shop at BiWay or anything. Sure, I might've just admitted it, but....let's move on. Rock also made mention of the fact that he's been hit with chairs, ladders and thrown from 15-foot-high objects, but the latter is untrue. As somebody who's seen many a Rock match over the years, he's never taken anything more than a 11.2 foot drop, a figure achieved through deft calcuations of the ring and a defined placement within the given...

Voice of Reason: Since when could you do math? Aren't you an English student?

Shut up, Voice of Reason. Anyway, statistical anomalies aside, the monologue was perfectly fine. Kattan carrying the power of the punch was hilarious, and Rock's facial reactions sold the whole thing. Another nice touch would've been to have Rachel Dratch or somebody had some out and continued to assault the Rock, but then I'd no doubt have complained that the joke was being drawn out. Wow...I'm criticizing my own ideas now. My web of cynicism just never stops expanding, does it? This monologue gets...um, well, something good, since I'm not good at math.

Voice of Reason: I told you so.

Shut up, Voice of Reason.

[SKETCH] "Whoop-De-Doo, Tarantula Town!"
The only parrot I've ever encountered in my life belonged to a blind friend of my grandmother's. There's comedic potential involving a blind woman and a parrot, but I just can't put my finger on the joke. At this point I'll pause to allow you to make a suitable entry up for yourselves............there, pencils down. This was your average Brian Fellow skit, and the gimmick is getting pretty stale. The skit kept some semblance of freshness back when it was only on once a season, but having it three times in a year just slays it dead. Tracy's dialogue was a bit funnier than usual, with the comment about fixing the parrot's dialogue in editing standing out as particularly clever. Extra points are given for the fact that the parrot was named Bailey. As I've said several times in these reviews, I have a cat named Bailey, which means that this is a SHOUTOUT TO ME. Well...still probably not, but at least this one is semi-plausible. If the tarantula had been named Trooper after my dog, I would've been onto something. If a wrestler was going to bring a tarantula on-stage, shouldn't Yoshihiro Tajiri have played the role? ~~~ NON-WRESTLING FAN ALERT: Tajiri is another WWF wrestler that uses a move called the Tarantula ~~~ Golly gee, the Rock sure was an innocent and forthright guy in this sketch, wasn't he? He just couldn't understand what the pesky Brian Fellow fellow was up to, gosh darnit. Now that's acting at its finest. This sketch gets 21 Monty Python dead parrots out of 30.

[SKETCH] "You Agreed To Spend One Saturday A Month Doing Something With The Kids." "Awww...." "Oh Quit Complaining. It's Half The Work Of A Divorced Dad." "Yeah, But It's Twice As Much As A Deadbeat Dad."
The timing of this skit was off, for a very simple reason. The Rock is used to slower-paced dialogue in his WWF interviews, as he has to pause for crowd response after basically everything he says. This works fine in the WWF, but not for a sketch like this; there was a lot of dead air while the Rock was running through his facial reactions. At least the pausing gave Rock time to improvise off of his inability to read the word 'tomb.' He didn't even break character, as
opposed to certain professional actors (coughcoughFalloncoughcough). Maybe that was the reason for the Rock's pauses; he was trying to figure out how pasty white Jimmy Fallon could ever pass for Egyptian. Geez, Dean Edwards is just sitting in the back, begging for airtime, and still it's not given to him. SNL = racism. Anyway, the concept was pretty generic to begin with, so it's not like the dialogue was ruining anything. Seth was appropriately bratty as the Scorpion Prince, though I'm not sure how he was able to achieve an electric sound on an ancient Egyptian guitar. Must be that weird, mummy magic. I'll give this one eleven scarabs out of twenty.

[SKETCH/COMMERCIAL] "Sir, Bad News From Accounting. The Economy's Hit Us Pretty Hard." "Tough Times, Eh? I've Lived Through Twelve Recessions, Eight Panics And Five Years Of McKinleynomics. I'll Survive This."
Look at the Arthur Andersen situation this way: wouldn't you want your accountant to be as loyally crooked as him? I mean, sure, Enron paid the company a hefty sum, but all of this illegal activity is just above and beyond the call of duty. Kudos to Arthur Andersen Accounting, the acronym of which is AAA. How appropriate, considering they need a road map to get back to the land of legality. HA HA, I'M UPROARIOUS. A pretty straight-forward spoof ad here, with the jokes able to be seen well in advance, but still clever in a "it's funny because it's true" kind of way. Amy's waitress character reminded me of my own tax return, when I always claim my tips. This is a tip (no pun intended) to all of you in the service industry: by reporting your tips, it helps to turn the cycle of honesty around. Surely by being honest with your government, the government will be forthright with you. This message has been brought to you by the Canadian Association for the Naive. This sketch rating has been brought to you by the number 725, by way of the number 1000.

[SKETCH] "How About Town Crier? You'd Be Great At That." "You Think So?" "Yeah, Well, Dad, You're A Big Fat Loudmouth And You Can Walk When You Have To."
Remember when I said earlier that Brian Fellow was better then the skit only appeared once a year? The same is true of Hardball. It's been a while since we've last seen Hardball, and absence has made the heart grow fonder. Removing Chris Parnell's Bob Barr character from the skit also improves things, since now Darrell can mock three people instead of just two or just Paul Begala. The insults were appropriately...uh, insulting, with some creativity added, though adding Dick Armey to the skit just writes itself. One thing that must be mentioned is that Darrell Hammond broke character yet again, this time after the "only 50 people watch this show" joke. After years of keeping a straight face, this is the third time that Darrell has broke up this season; what's going on? Has Molly Shannon syndome affected another SNL cast member? Oh the horror, the horror. Dick Armey's plan to make the West Bank into America 2 is probably being studied by White House security officials as we speak. Canadians are up in arms because we always thought that we were America 2. This sketch gets 17 of Jean Chretien's tears out of 20.

[INTERLUDE] "You Can't Seriously Want To Ban Alcohol. It Tastes Great, Makes Women Appear More Attractive, And Makes A Person Virtually Invulnerable To Criticism."
After the success of the between-sketch sketch last week (the Oscar spoof), SNL goes to the well once again. Unfortunately, unlike the randomness of last week's bit, this one is little more than an excuse to get the Rock dressed in drag. Ha ha, the big tough wrestler in drag! That's pure comic originality right there. Anyway, Jeff was still good as Drunk Girl, though the Rock was a bit too wide-eyed to really convey that sense of being totally wasted out of your mind. Also, I find it hard to believe that any woman (or even men in drag) drunk or sober would ever find Seth "Phil Mickelson Lite" Meyers attractive. Even the wasted have standards; on a totally unrelated note, I've never had a drunk girl hit on me. This one merits a six-pack of Budweiser out of dozen.

[MUSICAL SKETCH?] "He's Probably Just A Big Blowhard Like You."
Did I miss something? Did SNL become a variety show again when I wasn't looking? This is the latest sketch with a musical theme, and, well, at least this one was better than the Kandahar song from the Billy Bob Thornton episode. Maya (who in this sketch was a dead ringer for Miss Hyjazzy, my fourth grade French teacher) gets a chance to show off her vocal ability, though no, wait, she doesn't because her character is so nasal. I fail to see the logic in writing a sketch around a song, featuring the SNL player with the best voice in said sketch and then totally wasting her vocal talent by making her character sound like Fran Drescher. As for that Fred, well, he's just a know-it-all on the subway, sort of like how I'm a know-it-all behind a keyboard. Maybe this song will seem catchier if I find an mp3 and listen to it a few more times, but for now, it didn't do anything for me both aurally and sexually. Usually I at least get one of the two. An interesting concept for a skit and an E for effort, but it only rates an EFF out of EFFORT.

[SKETCH] "Pros: Uses Big Words, Dislikes The Boy. Cons: Possible Homer Sexual."
And they brought back the Girl With No Gaydar why? It was a perfectly fine one-time-only skit, but that's SNL, just desperate for recurring characters. But hey, let's not confuse this sketch for anything other than an excuse for the Rock to sing. Is he going for a record contract or something? Sadly enough, lisping and suggestively stroking a microphone is not nearly as homoerotic as dressing in short tights and rolling around with big, sweaty men; sorry Rock. Though it was basically a carbon copy of the original, it still has enough enthusiasm for me to give it a positive rating. Rachel just acts so giddy in this character that it's infectious.

RuPaul: If I got to kiss the Rock, I'd be giddy too. Oh, darling!

I'm still trying to figure out how RuPaul got into my review, but moving on, I expected SNL to feature a bit more about the Catholic priest molestation scandals than just a throwaway gag about a priest in the bar. Perhaps the omission is a bit of loyalty from that good Catholic boy Lorne Michaels towards his church.

Lorne Michaels: Um, I'm Jewish.

Oh. Never mind. This sketch gets 28 out of 40.

[WEEKEND UPDATE] "We're Here, We're Queer, We Don't Want Any More Bears." "Hey, That's A Pretty Catchy Chant. Where Did You Hear It?" "Oh, I Heard It At The Moustache Parade They Have Every Year."
A more reserved Update than the epic we had last week, and unfortunately a step less funny as well. Still, several good newsbits, including the ones about Nick Cage and the Italian-American hall of fame, cocaine testing and Jimmy n'Tina's little routine about vampire rapists. You'd think that nobody in his right mind would try to rape a vampire, but then again at least afterwards you could say "Fangs for the memories" (rim shot). Sorry, I saw a commercial for a Dean Martin roast today and it's still affecting my comic timing.

The Rock: It's probably because you're used to a slower pace in your WWF interviews.

Good call, Rock. The only special guest on Update was Horatio as Gene Shalit, whose home was victim of a bear attack this past week. I just like writing that because it's so damn funny. I mean, who gets attacked by a bear in this day and age? The idea is so absurd that Shakespeare was using it for farce in A Winter's Tale 400 years ago. Oh, to live the wacky life of Gene Shalit. The best part about Horatio's bit was when 'Bear Necessities,' one of the great Disney songs was produced, and thus we all got to partake in a makeshift country bear jamberoo. Lord knows I got out my washboard and played all night long. The unfortunate part of this bit was that Tina happened to be wearing pants behind the Update desk, which meant that I didn't have material to "get out my washboard" and "play all night long," nudge nudge wink wink. This Update gets an octet out of a dectet.

[MUSICAL GUEST] "Oh Boy, What's Going On? Patio Party?" "No, A Possum Drowned In The Pool. You Have Any Garbage Bags?"
Like my grandmother would say, this boy has ants in his pants. This song is called "Party Hard," and the message that Andrew W.K. (musical artiste) is trying to convey is that everyone should party hard. One needn't be a music scholar to figure this guy out. I'd personally love to be the pianist in his band; you could be horrible, but nobody could tell under the wall of guitars. Andrew W.K. looks like the love child of Dave Grohl and Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and since the Foo Fighters are a 3-star band and the Chilis 3.5-star band, I'll give this song 3.25 out of 5.

[SKETCH] "The Naturalist Who Took These Absolutely Extraordinary Pictures Was Impressed By The Creature's Uncivilized Look, Its Foul Language, And Most Of All, Its Indescribable Stench."
What with his absences from the show, the 2001-2002 SNL season had been missing Will Ferrell as his finest. There hasn't been any real standout "Ferrell moment" (tm Mario Lanza) this year, with the possible exception of the first Neil Diamond/Gay Hitler Weekend Update segment.

Neil Diamond: Dammit, Neil Diamond doesn't stand for any maybes...if I'm going to be a Ferrell moment, I'm going to do it by himself, with some possible help from a pro wrestler dressed as Bigfoot.

What started out as another goofy Rock-gets-to-sing skit turned into one of the better sketches of the season. So many memorable little bits: the references to the "black Richard Mulligan," the ridiculous photo of Will and the Rock with their mouths wide open on the cover of the "All Aboard The Freedom Train" album, Will's constant questions about whether the commercial is really happening or not, etc. All of you losers out there take note: this is the kind of sketch that will make you a popular person if you get a copy on RealPlayer video or even on audiofile. Maybe even that special someone will sleep with you to get a copy of this sketch, and though that is shallow and wrong, it's still intercourse. Never forget Einstein's Equation of the Universe: Intercourse = A-Ok. This sketch gets 9 and a quarter out of 9 and four quarters.

[SKETCH] "I Can See My Maw From Up Here. Hey Maw! Get Down Off The Dang Roof!"
So let me get this straight: the week that a wrestler is on the show, Kattan isn't held upside down in the piledriver position?? Poor Dean Edwards had to hold Kattan upside and have testicles in his face, but I guess Mr. Big Movie Star Rock is just too good for Kattan's balls. These Hollywood types: always forgetting the little people. I think this skit might've contained yet another SHOUTOUT TO ME, since Kattan had the word 'Shazbut' on his shirt. It's an alien curse word popularized by Kang on The Simpsons, and since I co-opt everything from that show, the word has entered my vocabulary as well. I'm really stretching it now, but then again, SNL is stretching the America Undercover rednecks by having them appear three times in the past sixteen shows. These are more characters that could use more time between appearances because of the sameness of their sketches. I guess this one was original because doctors, instead of cops, were the straight men, but that's splitting hairs. I'll give it a third out of a fifth of moonshine.

[MUSICAL GUEST] "Who's Playing That Music?" "And Where's All That Liquor Coming From?" "It's A Party, Marge. It Doesn't Have To Make Sense."
The singing was so incoherent that I couldn't even begin to find a title. "Get Away?" "I Really Don't Care?" Another of his 18 songs with the word 'party' in the title? I got so bored that I'm now just idly speculating on what the W.K. stands for. Whale Killer? White Knight? Willie Keeler, baseball Hall-of-Famer? Whack Kracker? Wan Ker? The world may never know...hey, there's another one! World Know? This song gets two out of four.

[MUSICAL INTERLUDE] "Yo Chill Out, Dude. I'll Pay The Fine." "Not This Time You Won't; This Is Your Third Strike. First You Torched That Orphanage, Then You Blew Up That Busload Of Nuns..." "Hey, That Was Self-Defense!" "Well You'll Be Seeing A Lot Of Nuns Where You're Going, Pal: Hell!"
Normally I'd rank the Horatio/Jimmy/Tracy/Kattan song an NA, but wait! It's actually a different song this time! Will wonders never cease? Tracy actually has some lines in this one, though since the thing was cut off after about fifteen seconds, the true musical genius couldn't be fully appreciated. Let's hope this was just a one-time summer-themed song and not a recurring bit, since this one isn't as stupidly catchy as the Christmas song. Also, since the whole point of the first bit was to sing a dumb Christmas song at all times of the year, making another one seems kind of pointless. Anyway, I'll introduce this new song to the club by giving it an NA.

PERFORMER OF THE NIGHT: Will Ferrell
BEST SKETCHES: Neil Diamond and Bigfoot; Hardball
WORST SKETCHES: Fred the Subway Loudmouth
BUSIEST PERFORMERS: Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell (6 sketches each); Chris Kattan (5 sketches)
PERFORMERS WITH ENOUGH TIME TO LIE PRONE ON THE GROUND SO THAT THE ROCK CAN DELIVER HIS RIDICULOUS PEOPLE'S ELBOW FINISHING MOVE: Dean Edwards, Jeff Richards (1 sketch each)
PLACES WHERE THE SNL WRITERS COULD EASILY HAVE INSERTED THE NAME 'MARK POLISHUK': One of Arthur Andersen's clients, one of the doctors treating the redneck couple, and even one of the gay guys in the piano bar.
MISTAKES: The aforementioned problems with the Rock's timing, and the characters breaks from Jimmy and Darrell. Oh yeah, plus the last skit was cut off. Yeesh, you'd figure after 27 years that SNL could schedule a show properly.

STARTING LINE-UP
"You probably know I have a movie out: Gosford Park 2."-- The Rock (during the monologue)

"Thanks to Andersen, I get tax credits for drilling and exploration. And that is not a sex joke."-- a satisifed Arthur Andersen customer (Will Ferrell)

"Hey, what do you think this is, the Dick Armey Happy Fun-Time Hour? This is Hardball, so zip it!"-- Chris Matthews (Darrell Hammond) to Penis Navy...er, Dick Armey (Will Ferrell)

"Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock got engaged this past week in Las Vegas. To celebrate, Kid Rock bought her a three-karat diamond ring. Pamela, in return, gave him hepatitis."-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update

"According to a recent study, women over 40 have more trouble conceiving. So hello Bea Arthur, goodbye condoms!"-- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update

"Listen folks, I don't know if any of this is real. I'm stoned out of my gourd right now."-- Neil Diamond (Will Ferrell)

"My husband jumped off the roof!"
"Is he conscious?"
"No, he's Methodist!"-- Redneck woman (Amy Poehler) and a 911 dispatcher

AFTERSHUKS
A pretty funny show, though not without its flaws. Certainly more good than bad things about it, with that Neil Diamond/Bigfoot sketch standing out as one of the funniest sketches of the entire year. The Rock seemed a lot looser this time out, and except for the inexplicable amount of singing, accounted himself very well. Andrew W.K. needs to sit down and take some Ritalin or something; his music isn't all that great, but the boy sure is energetic.

Next week's show is hosted by Alec Baldwin, making his 10th appearance on SNL. Not totally sure why he's showing up, but since he was announced as host only a few days ago, it would seem to hint that he's coming in as a replacement for somebody else that pulled out at the last minute. Any ideas? The musical guests are P.O.D., thus making it four straight modern rock bands on SNL. Remember two seasons ago when I made the plea for more rock acts on SNL? This is a case of being careful for what you wish for since you just might get it. Gentlemen, start your mute buttons. I can also say that next week's review will be delayed at least a day, since I have an exam on Sunday afternoon. Until then, adieu.

Mark Polishuk
What the hell is wrong with me?


Episode Review written by Mark Polishuk


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