Happy Giving Month, And welcome to another exercise in Humility. It’s time for another Retro Review from that special time in my life when I barely knew what fair judgements & sentence structure was. And since this is the week of SNL’s Christmas Show with Casey “I’m Trying Very hard to step out of my Brother’s shadow” Affleck, it’s only fitting that we take a look at a rather attractive ghost of Christmas Past who’s very much Still Alive & kickin’ Ass…
Lucy Liu/Jay-Z – Original Airdate: 12/16/2000
And before we begin, yes, everything I wrote back then is 100% Real, and that any/all spelling errors will remain intact—I am astonished I was able to pass Grade School English, let alone High School & College. As was the case with the previous Christopher Walken review, Old thoughts will be in Block Quotes & Italics, “Updated” thoughts will be in Blue Ink. With that said……(*CHUGS A GALLON OF 80 PROOF EGG NOG*)…………Let’s roast this Chestnut…
From New York, Where one Rockefeller Center tree can give you fiber for life, It’s JK’s SNL: SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EDITION. Brought to you by “CHIA BONG”: Just add water, makes a great gift.
OK, I’ve got ground to cover up the wazzoo so please bear with me. Some ground includes the 2nd annual”Mid-Season awards”, which is coming up later. But First, I’d like to talk about some things that are on my mind, In other words: “I HAVE AN OPINION” (fanfare)
PRESIDENT-ELECT BUSH?!?!?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Also, I only get a week off for vacation this year. Whatever happened to 2 weeks? Is my school that poor? Maybe they shouldn’t have shelled out their budget on food flavored lunches.
and for the last time, the millenium starts in 2001, not 2000!
And another thing, after finding out that Charlie Sheen is to be on when the show comes back, (Cue applause) I found out that there isn’t a musical guest yet. Which got me to thinking. Can’t there be a show W/O a musical guest? I mean sure it was only done once (1978: Walter Matthau) But why not try it again? It will give the show plenty of chances to improve itself.
Finally, WWTBAM (if you know what that means) Is going to be making more money next year, (An extea $10000 per show) What do I care? I’m 16! I can’t go. Even so, I’m what the rap fans call “Po! Listen, you all don’t have to agree with me, but simply put…
I HAVE AN OPINION (fanfare)
Getting back to the show, The christmas show is usually good, but this one isn’t so good. Despite the fact that I want to take last nights host for a kind of “Egg roll”. (if you know what I mean) I said I was going to do this, and I am.
EDITORS NOTE: WOW……and this was only the introduction…….Remember a 2-part sketch from 1997 with Tim Meadows called “The Kevin Franklin Show” where in the first part, Meadows over-hypes his upcoming talk show, and in the 2nd spot we cut to a “Sober” version of Meadows saying he found religion? Well…these bullet points will pretty much be exactly that, Minus the Drugs & Religion. Where the hell do I start? First of all, I CANNOT Stress enough that I was 16 years old when I wrote this. It was during this time that my reviews were still trying to find an identity, so I thought it would be a challenge to come up with a “Monologue” of sorts to kick things off for these reviews. And of course, at the enlightened age of 16 years old, I’ll have Educated opinions to make, right? Clearly, that’s a boldfaced lie.
*“I Have an Opinion” was a semi-popular “Update” piece that Jimmy did; and at the time, he & Tina were about to become Superstars thanks to revitalizing “Update”—so I thought that was worth spoofing.
*The long delated results of the 2000 election were called during this week (more on the follow-up sketch in a minute)
*“Cue Applause” at the mention of Charlie Sheen—Times HAVE changed (also, Nelly Furtato was eventually announced as his MG)
*I was a BIG fan of “Millionaire” back when it was THE show to watch—and as you can tell a few years later, it remained far out of my grasp.
*And Finally, that “Eggroll” comment might’ve been borderline offensive considering the host of this show is Asian; but Also considering the Monologue we’re about to see, it might’ve been tame in comparison.
*Also, If you are wondering about the “Mid Season Awards” for this review, I will NOT be revisiting that part—partly because there are a number of sketches I have listed there that I want to save for a special occasion (or possibly this coming summer when I start doing things Daily again…maybe.). For now, let’s just say that this year was Highly favorable to Fallon, Fey, Ferrell & Tracy Morgan, and highly unfavorable to Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch (for reasons I don’t even remember/might possibly regret), and of course……..Kattan…..(*THUNDER RUMBLES*).
I didn’t even get to the actual “Review” part of the review, and already I feel unclean.
OPENING: (…And yet they still applaud for gore…)
The Good: Gore
The Bad: nothing, and yet, the sketch was still a
The Rating: C+
EDITORS NOTE: Like I said, the divisive 2000 election results were officially called during the week of this show, so clearly SNL had to have their say before taking a break for the Holiday. In light of all the “Political” sketches I already covered, this one sort of gets lost in the shuffle—and rightfully so. Politics on SNL had been in overdrive for a solid month & a half after the election took place, so by the time we got to Ferrell’s Bush & Hammond’s Gore meeting up at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant to discuss the aftermath, perhaps we were all a little fatigued from everything. At the same time, this would be the last time Bush & Gore would spar with each other—something that you would think end with a bang, but instead we wound up with a moderate whimper. Nevertheless, the dye had been cast, Ferrell would play Bush for a few years, Hammond would go back to playing other people, and life moved on. Like all the other Bush/Gore sketches during the first few months of the season, this WAS funny—but because of all the mud-slinging in real life, maybe we were just burnt out by then.
SCORE TODAY: B-
Monolouge: (—INSERT COMMENT HERE—)
The Good: “Carrage ride”
Horatio eating the dog
The Bad:Asian Steriotypes
(you guessed it) Horatio eating the dog
The Rating: C+
EDITORS NOTE: Stupid Hulu Paywall! Anyway… (*DREAMY SIGH*) Lucy Liu; just like “Shipoopi”, she’s the girl that’s hard to get (but you could win her yet). The fact that she looks EXACTLY the same now vs. 16 years ago makes me wonder where she’s hiding her picture of Dorian Gray. Now that I got the “Positive” stuff out of the way; let’s get to the fact that, yes, this was pretty much a Stereotypalooza—and I’m sure at the time it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way regardless of the fact that it is an Asian person who is making them (Which, now that I think of it, maybe that was the point). All the classics are there; from being a camera-toting tourist, to walking on a person’s back to “massage” them, to traveling in a rickshaw, and yes…even eating Dog as a legitimate meal. Of course, this was WAY before everybody in the Western World got all PC about anything/everything there is to see, so I could see why there would be SOME good humor in it all. But at the same time, maybe the writers should’ve thought this through a little first…………..But at least I can see why Fry had the hots for her—even in robot form (must be a thing with us redheads).
SCORE TODAY: C-
Priceline.com: (disturbed Shudder)
The good: Material
The bad: Worse shattner impression in years
The Rating: C+
EDITORS NOTE: OK, I don’t have Video or a Transcript to back me up on this, but since the idea is practically the same as This installment from Julianna Margulies’ episode from February 2000, I don’t think research will be necessary. For those who don’t remember, William Shatner was (and I believe Still is) the spokesman for travel website Priceline.com. But it was during the year 2000 when a series of commercials for the website came on that poked fun at Shatner’s infamous “Rocket Man” style of “Singing”. The Real commercials were, in a word, “Campy”. At the same time, it would’ve been foolish for people NOT to Parody them. MadTV did it, the short-lived WB show “Hype” did it, so of course SNL had to put in its two cents. It was a pretty standard parody featuring a long-winded rambling from Hammond as Shatner. Was his impression truly “The Worse…in Years”; by today’s terms, it was just OK—but I probably didn’t like it when I was 16. Truth be told, Maurice LaMarche is the undisputed King of Shatner impressions, with Frank Caliendo a close 2nd; Hammond may very well be in the Top 10…if I can find 7 other people who can do the impression competently. Nothing wrong with this one, but the rambling might’ve been a little meandering at times.
SCORE TODAY: C-
TRL: (“I like big butts in the can like that”…) I
think that’s how it goes.
The good: Fine limber movements
The bad: Mr. Massive tool
The Rating: C+ (again)
EDITORS NOTE: (*GIGGLES*) OK, if they ever make another “S’cuse me while I Kiss This Guy” book, I’m submitting that mis-heard “Baby Got Back” lyric…But I digress. Who could forget “Gemini’s Twin?” The “Destiny’s Child” parody that seemed more biographical than we give ‘em credit for—complete with rotating band members. Now…I should mention once again that I was 16 when this first aired. As such, the sight of Ana, Maya & (*INSERT GUEST STAR HERE*) moving around in skin-tight outfits can do something to a kid growing up…….”Adult” things………..Moving on. The main joke of these sketches (aside from constant staff rotation) was that Ana & Maya would do the singing, while whoever the 3rd wheel was would seductively whisper a few words. Nothing wrong with that, but I wish they would do better variations of the formula—then again, they only did this a handful of times. We also get one of Jimmy’s more subtle impressions as Carson “Massive Tool” Daly—which in retrospect might’ve been a little unfair (especially now that the Real Daly is a more prominent figure on NBC these days). Regardless, there’s a fine line between Eye Candy & actual Jokes—there was more of the former to keep me entertained.
SCORE TODAY: Still C+
Jeopardy: (Great, but starting to lose it’s spark)
The Good: “Robin Williams”
“Sean Connery” (as usual)
ANAL BUM COVER (LINE OF THE YEAR BTW)
Trebek and a horse
The Bad: Who are the beatles? (major insult to me,
don’t ask why)
The rating: A
EDITORS NOTE: Yeah, NOW We’re talking! One of the hardest tasks a recurring sketch has to face is the challenge to do just a little bit better than the previous edition—In the case of the J! sketches, it has to be an improvement of Jokes, Different Impressions & Word Play. The “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketches on SNL may have marked one of the rare times in the show’s history where—instead of a decline in quality–something recurring actually maintains steady flow of improvement over a period of time—even at times when things get a little weak. This one was no exception, as we get a number of Great moments; from the only the Second time a Cast Member ever did an impression of Robin Williams (something Jimmy should’ve done more often), to amping up the “Connery/Trebek’s mother” jokes, and yes even enhanced word play with “An Album Cover”. For the life of me, I don’t recall why I was angry over “The Beatles” joke—maybe it was because they were so common knowledge to everybody else, that for someone to question their existence was just plain dumb—even if it was for the sake of comedy. Either way, J! sketches will never Not be entertaining—so much so, that Lucy Liu as “Catherine Zeta-Jones” almost seems like an afterthought, even though this sort of counts as a Reverse form of “Hollywood Whitewashing”—but that might be a coincidence.
SCORE TODAY: Still A
Pretty Living: (all right, everyon to the Bomb shelter
The good: You’ve got to be kidding?
The Bad: Do I really have to say it?
The Rating : F* (can’t make a divite by sign)
EDITORS NOTE: It is now my Sad duty to present to you the character that (IMO) almost ruined Molly Shannon’s career. Some people say that her “Sally O’Malley” character was the embodiment of Shannon’s annoyance peak, but that would actually be child’s play compared to (again, IMO) one of the WORST SNL Characters of All Time; Licensed “Joyologist” Helen Madden. I’m honestly baffled as to how these sketches ever wound up with SEVEN EDITIONS let alone one; and believe it or not, I actually wouldn’t’ve minded it if the character did more than the Exact….Same….Thing….Over….And Over…. and over…. and over…. and over…. and over….AGAIN! Molly is good at a LOT of things, and she’s certainly done a lot of good things Since this Pandora’s Box of annoyance was unleashed on the world. But seriously, SEVEN TIMES they revisited this…….SEVEN. And not one of them added anything new to it aside from new & improved ways for Molly to Gyrate (not that I’m against flexible women, but I certainly have my limits). I don’t even have anything to say about this particular episode—what? Lucy Liu has a Boy’s haircut? Whatever! I don’t want to be cruel and say something like “Thank God Molly was just 2 months away from leaving the show”, but These sketches are an insult to SNL Recurring characters past & present; I mean, there just HAS to be something or someone who could run circles around this chronic leg kicker—do we have ANY volunteers?
SCORE TODAY: Still “F Divide by sign”
Webcam Show: (Move over Nick Burns)
The Good: “Funkin Gonuts”
How Lucy reminds me of this girl I used to
Pubic Hair beard
The Bad: I think Jimmy was high. I dunno for sure
The Rating: B
EDITORS NOTE: (*CUE HALLELUJAH CHORUS*) Jarret’s Room! How could I forget about Jarret’s Room?! Now This was a series of sketches that was “Ahead of its time” at the RIGHT time; in addition to this being a forefather to what Many “Live Stream” shows on various media platforms would eventually become, these sketches were also famous for showcasing what many tuned in to SNL to see at the time…………Jimmy Fallon & Horatio Sanz ruining the sketch they’re in by giggling non-stop (but since they’re stoners in these sketches, at least THAT’S forgivable in this case). In this first installment, we pretty much see that Fallon’s Jarret & Sanz’s Gobi is the embodiment of (almost) Every Gen-X stoner who ever existed in the late 90s/early 00s. Lucy dressing up the way she did actually reminded me of this girl I went to high school with…in fact, anybody who played a person who did strange things with their hair in the 16 years since this show aired reminds me of her……(*SIGH*)……Melissa…………(*SNAPS OUT OF IT*)…Anyway, I think part of the appeal of these sketches—aside from the constant corpsing from Fallon & Sanz—was the fact that this was one of the few sketches that catered to a “Young” audience, something SNL didn’t really do since the first 5 years. To the young demographics, this was surprisingly relatable; and it would only evolve from there when Seth Meyers’ “DJ Jonathan Feinstein” joined the mix the next year. I don’t know where I would put them on my “Characters List”, but they deserve an honorary spot.
SCORE TODAY: Still a B (giggling gets you nowhere………unless you’re Bill Hader)
Update: (c’mon let’s go 8 for 8 here.)
The Good: Jimmy
Old school jimmy
The bad: “James Madison”
“Baby New year”
The rating: (not even those two can ruin this
EDITORS NOTE: Lennon/McCartney, Batman/Robin, Burns/Allen, Fallon/Fey. To mention how much these two gave the show a Garofalo-quoted “Exorcism” in the 4 years they appeared as Update anchors would be the ultimate waste of breath…Then again, if you read my essay on Colin Quinn, you’ll probably figure out that both of them made it to the desk at Exactly the right time. But aside from sharper jokes, I think the REAL reason why “Update” hit its turning point here is BECAUSE of revisiting the two-anchor system. Comedy is so much easier when you’re bouncing stuff off of someone else vs. just one person & the camera. Fallon & Fey were enjoyable not just for the chemistry, but for the fact that they could go from disciplined anchors one minute to friends goofing off the next—something that the dynamic between Jane & Dan/Bill was kinda lacking. Take it from personal experience, a show is better when you have other people in the room with you (12 years and counting of radio experience can attest to that). As for the commentaries, Dratch as James Madison wasn’t as bad as I remember…though I think she might’ve been a little mis-cast to do it. Of course, you have to have your downside as well………..Kattan! (*THUNDER RUMBLES*)………Seriously, who thought the sight of him in a diaper was a good idea? And then we get one of the main reasons why Jimmy is as popular as he is (even now), the song parodies he did in his first few years, as well as his energy–The perfect antidote to seeing a spaz in a diaper. Though not an A+ by Any means today thanks to said spaz, it was still strong enough so that everybody had a good time.
SCORE TODAY: B+
Ornaments: (Yeah I know It wasn’t funny, but maybe
that wasn’t supposed to be the purpose of the sketch)
The Good: The concept
The Bad: The lack of humor
BONUS OPINION: Maybe the good and the bad were
supposed to clash together, or maybe they try to make
it look like one of those christmas plays at
The Rating: A (gift grade)
EDITORS NOTE: Well folks, it took a while, but the internet is completely stumped. No Video/Transcript to this one either…or even a picture (not even one with a “Getty Images” watermark)…and yet, I remember it vividly. I mentioned a time or two in the past that I’m a bit of a sap—I see something warm & fuzzy, I’m more than prone to go “Aww” at it. At the same time; By all accounts & purposes, SNL is, was, and will always be a “Comedy Show”; but that doesn’t mean it won’t take a dive into the waters of sap every now & then (Tom Schiller & Gary Weis wouldn’t have careers if they didn’t). So it should come as no surprise that they would go the “Cute route” for this sketch; and quite honestly, that’s all this sketch really is—cute. Not “Laugh out loud” Funny, but not a tear jerker by any means, it’s just…cute. Unfortunately, “Cute” doesn’t pay the bills, so now I have to be a bit of a Grinch and call out the sketch for what it REALLY is…Corny. So corny, in fact, it would surprise me if (*INSERT COMPUTER ANIMATION MONOLITH HERE*) made a movie about Ornaments that could talk at some point…probably “Illumination Studios” because NBC/Comcast owns them, and the rest writes itself. Nevertheless, it’s perfectly harmless but certainly no Holiday Hall-of-Famer.
SCORE TODAY: C+
Robert Gouleeeeettttttt: (it’s a rap)
The good: Jay-z
Big horned goat
The bad: When it was goulet’s turn to sing the rap
“Not as funny the 2nd time around” kind of
The rating: B+
EDITORS NOTE: Not gonna lie, with SOME exceptions, Rap isn’t really my thing…except for the Beasties, the Tribe, the Wu, Eminem, 2-pac, Biggie, Grandmaster Flash, the Sugar Hill Gang, Run DMC, the Fat Boys, and of course the CEO himself Shawn Carter—but you may know him better as Jay-Z, who makes his SNL debut in this show with a couple of powerhouse performances……………This isn’t one of them, but he & his crew are still having a good time anyway. Alongside him is probably one of Will Ferrell’s more underappreciated impressions in the form of Robert Goulet. The first time they tried Goulet rapping was a couple of months earlier, and I recall it being more “Funny weird” than “Ha-ha”. But now that I think about it, perhaps the Goulet sketches were an effort to capitalize on a budding trend—So-called “Serious” singers doing covers of “Tunes the Kids enjoy”. Once upon a time, there was an album called “Lounge-a-Palooza” where such luminary squares as Pat Boone and Steve & Eydie would do covers of Metallica & Soundgarden (among others). If I may be so bold, I’d like to also think that the “Goulet” sketches laid the foundation for someone like Richard Cheese to have a career, that’s kinda cool. As for this sketch (as well as another one later), it was one of those instances where it’s the same set of jokes as the previous installment, so there wasn’t much that was new. But between Ferrell’s Goulet being over the top, and Jay-Z & Co being in awe of a Big-Horn Goat, this was just silly enough to give it a pass.
SCORE TODAY: B
Greetings from update: (short & sweet)
The good: that bum
“Who th F**K are you?”
The bad: ——
The Grade: (Marginal) A
EDITORS NOTE: Not really much to add to this; it was a short bit, they got the laugh in, the end. The only difference is that I probably wouldn’t grade so-called “Filler” sketches these days. I also wish they did more “Filler” bits with Jimmy & Tina (I.e. Fake promos for “Update” in the style of super-aggressive news promos and such.)
SCORE TODAY: N/A
That christmas song again: (deja vu of the week)
The Good: …oh, you want me to talk?… Ok, Um, WHY
THE HELL DID THEY DO THIS AGAIN?!?!?!?
The Bad:Isn’t it obvious?
The Rating: F
EDITORS NOTE: (*TAKES A LONG HARD LOOK AT MYSELF IN THE MIRROR*)…Could I Really have been that much of an asshole as a kid? I mean, I THINK I get why I was annoyed they would do this a 2nd time when the first one they did the previous week was perfectly fine–then again, little did I know that this would become an annual event (sometimes over different holidays) as well as one of the staples of SNL at Christmas. But for God’s sake, I can’t believe how harsh I was on this—even if it was only a few sentences. I mean, who in their right mind would HATE the “Christmas Today” songs (Well, aside from this guy)? It’s happy, it’s jaunty, it’s Fallon & Sanz cracking up while Tracy & Spazzmaster Flash stand and do virtually nothing…………holy crap, I just got it! This isn’t trying to be funny per se, it’s trying to be “Kaufmanesque”! You know, how sometimes Andy Kaufman would do a similar thing over & over but expecting different laughs each time? I get it now, these songs are supposed to be Performance Art…Good GOD, I was an uncultured swine as a Kid. Also, yes, I know, I’m actually posting the first version, not the 2nd…it’s the Same damn song, who’s gonna care?
SCORE TODAY: Take as many “A’s” as you want!
Overall: Ok, there I go again over exadurating. I guess it was one of those shows that was bad, but was so hip that people would think of it as good. (Copyright 1996 by Martin Short)
UPDATED THOUGHTS: As far as Christmas shows go, I certainly wouldn’t call this “Bad”…far from it. Over 42 years, this is actually a Better show than I remember it to be—ESPECIALLY considering the number of Heavy Hitters in this one (Update, Gemini’s Twin, Jeopardy, Goulet, the debut of “Jarret’s Room”, The continuing wish it was Christmas Today…Hell, I wish I could mention more about Jay-Z outside of “Goulet”). Not even Molly’s “Joyologist” could bring things to a grinding halt—though lord knows, she tried. I guess because I was either gearing up for mid-terms, feeling bummed about the election, or the fact that I pretty much did what most 16 year olds do and barely put any effort into anything, or even all three put together that made me feel less than enthused by this show when it first aired. Now that I think about it, it also marks probably the last time Christmas on SNL felt “Innocent”—This was December 2000…and we all know what happened 9 months later; “Ignorance is Bliss” as they say. Nevertheless, the Real reason why I feel “Ashamed” to have written the review in the original form was simply because—as a teenager with absolutely no direction what-so-ever–I simply didn’t care back then. I just liked what I saw, hated what I hated, and was just stone cold cynical about everything else while being oblivious to the world around me…I guess this was what it’s like to be Kyle Mooney in some of his short films (which also probably FURTHER explains my “Women with weird-colored hair” fetish). Either way, I will try very hard not to take the past for granted ever again…but Like I said before, I once spent 4 years of my life writing this way, so we’re FAR from out of the woods.
And on THAT cheerful note, this is gonna wrap up SNL related blogs for the year 2016. I’ll still write a few things over the next few weeks, and there will still be unscheduled sketches if something SNL-centric happens in the news; but the Next SCHEDULED time you will see something SNL related from me will be the week of January 16th, 2017; for on that week, we will be counting the days until our impending doom with a special look at the times over the decades that the show lampooned the man who SOMEHOW became our President-Elect. It’s a Special feature that I’m calling “Countdown to the Trumpocalypse”.
Until then, however, Let me end the year with the Wise words of one Mr. Hershel Schmoykel Krustofsky:
See you on the other side, everybody!