EPISODE REVIEWS


Sarah Michelle Gellar / Backstreet Boys
May 15, 1999


It's the end of the season as we know it, yes indeed, the end of the season
as we know it, and I
feel fine.

First, I'd like to thank Charles Wonn and my old buddy GE Cafe for sending
in some LFNYs. Also, I'd like to say that my preamble will be pretty long
this week. So if you want, just scroll down until you hit the sketches.

Well, another season has come and gone on Saturday Night Live. Time for my
1999 SNL YEARIN REVIEW. If these seem different from my half-year review
last December, it's because I had more time to think them over. Remember,
this is just MY opinion. I might be an idiot, for all you know.

BEST SHOW: Drew Barrymore/Garbage, Mar.20
Honourable Mention: Alec Baldwin/Luciano Pavarotti and Vanessa Williams,
Dec.12; Jennifer Love Hewitt/Beastie Boys, Nov.21; Bill Paxton/Beck,
Jan.9;

WORST SHOW: Bill Murray/Lucinda Williams, Feb. 20
Dishonourable Mention: Vince Vaughn/Lauryn Hill, Dec. 5; John Goodman/Tom
Petty, Apr.10; Kelsey Grammar/Sheryl Crow, Oct.3;

BEST HOST: Alec Baldwin, Dec.12
Honourable Mention: Lucy Lawless, Oct.17; Joan Allen, Nov.14; Sarah
Michelle Gellar, May 15

WORST HOST: Vince Vaughn, Dec.5
Dishonourable Mention: Kelsey Grammar, Oct.3; Ben Stiller, Oct.24; John
Goodman, Apr.10

BEST MUSICAL GUEST: The Corrs, Mar.13
Honourable Mentions: The Smashing Pumpkins, Sept. 26; Jewel, Nov.14;
Garbage, Mar.20

WORST MUSICAL GUEST: Lucinda Williams, Feb. 20
Dishonourable Mention: Elliot Smith, Oct.17; Busta Rhymes and the Roots,
Feb. 13; Backstreet Boys, May 15

BEST SKETCH: A & E Biography on Puff Daddy, Oct.17
Honourable Mentions: Delicious Dish (Schwetty Balls), Dec.12; Jingleheimer
Junction, Sep.26; Celebrity Jeopardy, Mar.20; You're a Champion, Charlie
Brown, Feb.13

WORST SKETCH: Laying Down Strip Party Ground Rules, Nov.7
Dishonourable Mention: Male Knicks Cheerleaders, Feb. 20; Bobby Wraps It
Up, Apr.10; All of the Pretty Living Sketches, Dr. Laura Schlesinger,
Nov.7

BEST COMMERCIAL: Oops! I Crapped My Pants, Sept.26
Honourable Mention: Mercury Mistress, Nov.7; Shirt in a Can, Oct.17

WORST COMMERCIAL: Play the Lotto, May 8
Dishonourable Mention: Teeny Weenies, Jan.16; Most of the VH1 Behind the
Music Ads

BEST CARTOON: Saturday Howard Night Stern Live, Oct.17
Honourable Mention: Ambiguously Gay Duo Nov.21; X-Presidents, Feb. 6

WORST CARTOON: Maakies, Oct.3
Dishonourable Mention: Maakies, Sept.26; Fun With Real Audio (Oscar
speech), Mar.20

BEST NEW CHARACTERS: Jack and Laura, the ridiculously horny couple played by
Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan

WORST NEW CHARACTER: Ana Gasteyer's host of Hello Dolly, because it's
exactly the same as Ana's host of Pretty Living and Cheri Oteri's host of
Morning Latte

BEST RECURRING CHARACTER GIVEN A BIGGER ROLE: The Ladies Man, played by the
great Tim Meadows. Since they're making a movie about him, it makes sense
that the character is on more. It's also a blessing, because the character
is hilarious.

WORST RECURRING CHARACTER GIVEN A BIGGER ROLE: The Pretty Living sketch.
It's the same freaking thing every time, and it's never been funny.

BEST CAMEO APPEARANCE: Brad Pitt, on November 7th, just because it was a
complete surprise.

WORST CAMEO APPEARANCE: Stephanie Seymour, on February 20th. She somehow
managed to drag down the Ladies Man, if such a thing is possible

BEST PART OF THE SEASON: From 5/8/99; Tracy-- "Hi, I'm Tracy Morgan."
Lorne-- "Yeah, whatever."

WORST PART OF THE SEASON: There was a real lack of good recurring
characters. I think the Spartans were only on once or twice, the Delicious
Dish was on twice, Mary Catherine Gallagher twice, Goth Talk once, Celebrity
Jeopardy twice. Recurring characters shouldn't be overplayed, but they can
at least show up sometimes.

As promised last week, here's a good old fashioned, Dennis Miller-esque
rant. It was originally supposed to be about the Backstreet Boys, but I've
decided to expand it to include most popular music.

Music today sucks. Hard. Nowadays, you can't turn on a radio without
hearing the likes of the Backstreet Boys, N Sync, Monica, Brandy, Britney
Spears, 98 Degrees, Usher etc. Where is the creativity? Hell, where's the
difference? I defy anyone to listen to a song each by BBoys, N Sync, and
the Degrees and not think they're by the same band. Then again, since most
of these "artists" share the same producers (Max Martin and Denniz Pop),
that's not surprising. Martin and Pop write most of the songs for their
singers, who can't even be relied on to create their own material. I'm not
saying that performers have to write all of their own material, but at least
SOME of it would be nice. At least maybe the lyrics, instead of the vapid
"You're special to me, girl." that dominates these songs. In that instance,
then the band can claim it as their OWN song, not just a case of Pop and
Martin writing something, then rolling a dice to see which of their boy
bands gets to sing it. Martin and Pop are very rich men by now, but they
are taking a crap on musical originality. I'm not saying that every song
has to be totally ground-breaking, because that's too much to ask of
anybody. However, the Backstreet Boys new album is coming out in a couple
of weeks and there is no sign of musical growth on it. Three years have
passed, and the group is still putting out the same lame ballads that are
big hits at junior high dances.

I'm sure some of you are reading this and thinking that I'm just a bitter
rock fan who is whining because he's behind on a current trend. Well, I'll
argue to anyone who thinks that rock is a dead genre. There is all kinds of
good, INNOVATIVE music being made today that gets no publicity. Radiohead,
the Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Garbage, Beck and REM are all groups that try to
change their sound every album and do something new. At least you can tell
the bands apart in rock. A Metallica song sounds much different from a
Matchbox 20 song. No one will ever confuse Oasis with U2. I have to laugh
when I see how a lot of the biggest hip-hop songs are just remixes of rock
songs, and then the rappers are given credit as being "innovative." If
these guys were so innovative, they could come up with their own music, as
opposed to just taking a guitar riff from Led Zepplin and singing about
money and being a playa.

One of my favorite SNL skits of the past year was that one from the James
Van Der Beek show, when Kattan, Fallon, Sanz, Parnell, and Van Der Beek
played the boy band 7 Degrees Celsius. That sketch managed to PERFECTLY
spoof everything about these bands. I still have to laugh when I think how
all of the song lines contained the word "girl", and how Horatio denied that
he was really in his thirties. That sketch sums up everything I've said
here.

So, in conclusion, if you are a fan of these groups, feel free to e-mail me
in response or post a rebuttal on the Bulletin Board of Sean's site. Also,
remember that in five years, when Radiohead and Beck are still making good
music, all of these groups will be history.

Whew. It's FINALLY time for the review.

 

[OPENING] Kulps perform at godnephew's graduation
I love the Kulps. They're just so perky they're funny. The line about
Tommy HilfiJer was pretty funny. GREAT LINE ALERT: "Thank you for the
seated ovation."--Ana Gasteyer
RATING: 8/10

 

[MONOLOGUE] Sarah Michelle Gellar
This was pretty funny. It's a good follow-up to her last monologue, when
everyone wanted to give her gifts because she was the "nicest host ever."
Having Will come on dressing like Hugh Hefner then not even trying was
pretty funny. Kattan and Colin Quinn have quite the little war of words
going, don't they? The best moment of the show happened when the camera
caught Horatio eating the chocolates, and then slowly zoomed in while
Horatio had this hilarious blank look on his face. It's small moments like
that which make or break shows. GREAT LINEALERT: "I borrowed some
mood-enhancing videos from Colin." -- Chris Kattan
RATING: 8/10

 

[SKETCH] Tiger Beat's Ultra Super-Duper Dreamy Love Show
The best part about this sketch was the ad before it for practice beer.
Other than that, this was just an excuse to trot out surprise guests. Uh,
Seth Green is a sex symbol? Okay.
RATING: 6.5/10

 

[SKETCH] A Romantic Cabin
How the actors can perform in this sketch without laughing their asses off
is beyond me. Geez, I thought it was Jack and Laura, not John and Laura. I
swear, Kattan's character changes names every sketch. These sketches are so
filthy they're hilarious. I like how Kattan goes from the world's biggest
horndog to being normal in the span of about a second. I'm not sure about
Parnell and SMG, since there's about a ten year age difference, but aren't
trophy wives great? GREAT LINE ALERT: "That's what it looks like in the
light?"-- Sarah Michelle Gellar, on Chris Parnell's penis.

 

[SKETCH] Dad gets violent at Little League
Ah, can't beat a patented "Will Ferrell is a psycho" sketch. I laughed out
loud at Parnell's line about drinking at ten-thiry in the morning. The sad
thing is, there are parents who are actually like this, which is probably
why the audience was a bit slow to get laughing. GREAT LINE ALERT: "I will
chain you to a pipe in a crawlspace if you don't get on that bag!" -- Will
Ferrell RATING: 7.5/10

 

[CARTOON] The Ginsberg Gang
Pretty funny, with some good jokes about Geraldo and Scooby Doo included. I
would personally have liked to see a big send-off, since this is reportedly
Smiegel's last cartoon on SNL. GREAT LINE ALERT: "Wicky wad wex with a
woblin?"-- the dog
RATING: 7.5/10

 

[SKETCH] MTV Shame Attack
This was hilarious for many reasons. First of all, I know a (white) guy at
my school who acts exactly like Kattan did in this skit. Second, Jimmy used
the word priz-izes, which is hilarious in itself. Third, this is exactly
like the junk that is on MTV. I'm glad I live in Canada, where
MuchMusic rules all.
RATING: 7.5/10

 

[MUSIC] The Backstreet Boys "I Want It That Way."
Geez, this completely changed my views on the Backstreet Boys! I love them
now!
RATING: 5/10

 

[WEEKEND UPDATE] Colin Quinn
An okay Update, but a bit of a step down from the great last four months.
Cheri was pretty funny as Amy Fisher, and Tim was hilarious as Billy Dee.
Personally, I think this Star Wars thing is really out of hand. There are
these guys in my math class who just never shut up about it, and they did
the whole deal of getting in line for tickets and such. It's a movie,
people! GREAT LINE ALERT: "The movie started off good, but it became
increasingly clear that I was not in it."-- Tim Meadows
RATING: 7.5/10

 

[SKETCH] Dusty's Love
This was a completely bizarre skit, and if somebody asked me to describe it,
I don't think I could. But it was filled with several hilarious little
moments. SMG kept walking in the wrong direction because of her blindness,
Parnell's red beard and black hair, Will just showing up and singing with
the "twins", the humping sequence edited for television sign, Horatio as a
raving monster. The voice-over at the end was just perfect, too. GREAT
LINE ALERT: "We were at Channel 55 show a lot of movies, and that one
slipped by us. I don't know what that was. Maybe it was a front for a
money laundering scheme." -- Voice-over announcer (Chris Parnell?)
RATING: 8.5/10

 

[SKETCH] Nickelodeon Kids Awards Press Conference
Another funny skit. SMG was really funny as Britney Spears, but she didn't
need to mention the breast implants, since it was obvious from the minute
she bounced on stage. Parnell was good, but in real life Eminem is more of
a sullen black wannabe. That loser that Jimmy played is another reason I'm
happy I've got MuchMusic.
RATING: 7.5/10

 

[COMMERICAL/SKETCH] Holding Your Own Breasts Magazine
Sarah Michelle Gellar is topless!
RATING: 10/10
....oh, I'm not that shallow. You knew one of the guys would come on, and
of course it was Will. A good ad, but kind of a weak target.
RATING: 7/10

 

[MUSIC] Backstreet Boys "All I Have To Give"
I liked how the backup band are all a bunch of middle-aged guys dressed like
cowboys. Maybe we can fix Kattan up with the Boy in the leopard skin hat.
He looks kind of que...odd.
RATING: 4.5/10

 

[SKETCH] Brian Fellow's Safari Planet
This was mediocre, but it was the last sketch. It was also Tracy's only
appearance of the show. Boo to that. I think I've mentioned before that
this character seems like a rip-off of the Men on Film from In Living
Colour, performed by David Alan Grier and Damon Wayans.
RATING: 6.5/10

 

PERFORMER OF THE NIGHT: Chris Parnell
SKETCH OF THE NIGHT: Dusty's Love
LINE OF THE NIGHT: "I blame myself for your blindness, dear. If only I
hadn't been so drunk and so damn proud of my new flare gun." -- Chris
Parnell, in Dusty's Love
SKETCHES THAT MADE YOU SAY "DUDE, THIS IS PRETTY F***ED UP RIGHT HERE.":
Dusty's Love, The Ginsberg Gang, Brian Fellow's Safari Planet
SKETCHES THAT MADE YOU WANT TO TURN ON HOWARD STERN: Tiger Beat's Ultra
Super-Duper Dreamy Love Show, the Backstreet Boys
KATTANOMETER FOR HIS HARDCORE FANS: Two sketches, the monologue
NUMBER OF TIMES MOLLY SHANNON BROKE CHARACTER: Once, in the MTV Shame Attack
sketch

OVERALL: A good show to end the season, but it didn't really seem as special as last year, when they
brought out a whole bunch of classic characters and special guests. This was more like a normal show.
Sarah Michelle Gellar was good again, and maybe she could be a future five-timer. The less said about
the music, the better. Well, it seems like yesterday, but almost eight months has passed since my first
review of the year. Just think of all that's happened in these little spaces on Sean's server. Trivia
questions, great line alerts, Lev Dakeev, harsh mocking of Vince Vaughn, the insanity of Eagle-Eye Cherry
and the Kattanometer. I've had a great time writing these, and I've hoped you've enjoyed reading them. I'd
like to thank Sean for posting my reviews and the LFNY list. Holy crap, that was one big review. I'm
Mark Polishuk, and I am outta here.
OVERALL RATING: 7.75/10


Episode Review written by Mark Polishuk


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