So, once again, any plans to take some time off have been thwarted by my “Duty before Pleasure” mentality. Yes, it’s true, I came across another “Retro Review” of an episode hosted by the guy who just hosted one hell of a finale. Some background before we start on this one; It was during this year (my 3rd as an SNL episode reviewer for the fabled defunct fansite) that I started to become more “Gimmicky” in my approach (Especially when trying to infuse the review with lines from Vintage “Family Guy” shows……which at the age of 17, I thought were revolutionary…Fast Forward to my 30s, and we add another log to the Fires of Shame). At the same time, I was still having a hard time using fundamental English correctly. I wouldn’t complain about it so much if it wasn’t my Senior Year of High School at the time I wrote it, but like I say time & again around here, Hindsight’s a bitch, And I got better. Once again, all grammatical errors will be left in tack for posterity/punishment to myself, New thoughts in Blue. So with that, let’s get this over with…
The Rock*/Andrew WK – Original Airdate: April 13th, 2002 (*He didn’t become “Dwayne Johnson” until just a few years later when he actually started doing Good movies…and also “The Tooth Fairy”)
FROM THE OFFICES OF “THE DOC”:
HI Ev-er-y-body! (AUDIENCE: Hi Doc!) Once again, I have nothing too important to start the show with. (Which is OK, I guess. It saves time and everything.) So, lets get right into it. There are a great number of “Rock-isms” I could bring up, (I.E. “If you smell what the rock is cookin'”.) but since I’m more of a “Triple H” fan, I’d rather not. Last time “Rocky” came on the show, there was a lot of emphasis on his “Wrestling”. Now, the emphasis has moved over to his newlyfound “Acting” ability. Yeah, Like there’s a difference between the two.
Bush on Mideast or …”Do I look AraFAT to you?” (AUDIENCE BOOS BAD JOKE)
(Hey, C’mon! That was a group effort since my One Writer came back from “Strike” in Mexico!) Now then, here’s a question… Say one of these Suicide Bombers pick up one of these “Fine” Women. Now, let’s say that one of these women have a certain “Disease”. How would they feel about living then? (See, you didn’t think about that.) Is there anything that “bush” can’t do? (Other than to come up with the half-assed approach to things?)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Was there supposed to be a Writer’s Strike in ’02 that eventually got resolved? I honestly don’t remember the context of what I said (Unless somebody else was striking at the time). Anyway, at the time this aired; there was only an inkling that Will Ferrell was about to leave the show, so chances are, this particular instalment might’ve been riddled with “Senioritis” on Ferrell’s end. Watching it again, the humor content is actually unchanged today, but I’m honestly surprised they were able to get away with showing some of the censored pictures.
Monolouge or “YO ADRIANE!… Whoops, wrong “Rocky”.
At first, when I saw Kattan come out as “The Rock’s” Victim, I thought “Alright, someone is finally going to put him in his place”. But when he landed one on “Rocky”, that kinda made me pissed off. Think of how wrong this sounds, A man with “Guns” Bigger than the ones that are Whupassing The Middle East, Vs. A guy who has been called an “Albino Smurf” on one occasion. I know what people are saying right now “But doc, this was just a pretend hit, no one was hurt”. As true as that sounds, you’re missing the point. Anyone who can’t take a punch by Chris Kattan (real or fake) is one sorry S.O.B. in my book. You know, this reminds me of the time I was punched in the face by a Nerd at school. And if you can believe it or not, it only felt like a simple breeze in the air. Actually, it felt more like a woman slapping me in the face, but less. Getting back to the point.
EDITOR’S NOTE: (*THUNDER RUMBLES*)…Spoiler alert, Kattan is gonna be EVERYWHERE in this episode. This appearance was actually his most tolerable of the show.
Brian Fellow or “Flippin’ the “Bird”
(Admit it, it sounds aprropriate) I can’t believe the following things…
Number 1: That this sketch still exists.
Number 2: That it’s on this early in the show.
Number 3: “It’s not butter”
(SCATTERED LAUGHS FROM AUDIENCE) Well, at least it’s not a “Boo”. Does Tracy Come up with these characters all by himself? If so, this explains a great deal much.
EDITOR’S NOTE: (*SIGH*) Hindsight…that’s all I gotta say. But in complete fairness, I kinda see why I would’ve thought my otherwise rambling thoughts back then. I legitimately did not know what the appeal of these sketches were until Years later when Tracy became more prolific on “30 Rock” (as well as meeting him in person); thus granting me a much larger appreciation for the sketches today. Let’s get specific; there is a bird in this sketch, and it’s also one of the rare times Fallon doesn’t giggle his way through a role. Then we get to Dwayne w/the Tarantula, and that’s actually the lower-key part of the sketch until we get to the sketch’s usual hallucination—which, now that I think of it, is a lot funnier than I remember. Anyway, I gave these sketches a hard time back then for seemingly no reason; now I can’t picture Tracy doing anything else.
REVISED SCORE: B+
Scorpion King & son or …”Now this may sting a little”
(Doc talks to writer) Jeb, I think you were better off on “strike” Jeb: Dang it! I’ll done better next time. Doc: When you do better, speak in an inteligable language, mmm’kay? Now then, might as well get a preview of what the Millions (AUDIENCE: “AND MILLIONS!) of people will see next weekend. It’s always nice to see people screw up their lines every now and then, (Tomb/Tome) that’s a plus I guess. Seth plays a good “Pissed off Teen”. (I should know, I am one.) But that’s about all that’s good about it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I mentioned a little bit about this sketch when discussing the “Tomb/Tome” blooper a while ago. But since that had little bearing on the plot, there’s no need to be redundant. Instead, I want to talk a little bit about how Seth Meyers as a Sketch performer got a LOT of flak from a lot of us fans back in the day (Hell, some of the so-called “Die Hards” have ragged on him through his ENTIRE tenure, Including “Update”). A Flak which, I’m happy to say, is about 90% justified considering I’ve heard Seth say in interviews (and even on the show itself) that he never really cared for being a sketch performer—which would also explain why he felt more comfortable doing “Update” and more behind-the-scenes stuff years later. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that Every single thing Seth Did when doing sketches was terrible—a little whiny at times (such as this sketch), but certainly not terrible. Clearly though, he had to do something right in those early performances in order for him to wind up on the career trajectory he’s currently on; so, good for him. As for the sketch itself, it was alright if not a little meandering—and Seth Really Did play a “pissed off teen” pretty accurately; and quite honestly, it’s probably one of his best Non-Update roles. Dwayne is his usual charismatic self despite weak material, Fallon just HAD to giggle at the mention of Tomb/Tome, and even Maya was reserved (Though granted, it was only her 2nd full season—we had yet to know the dangers that lay ahead).
Arthur Andersen or “…(Peter Griffin) “Says here I’m getting an Audi. (Brian Griffin) ‘No Peter, it says “Audit”‘. (Peter) No, no Brian, the “T” is Silent, sweet I’m getting an Audi! (Chris Griffin) ‘I have an Innie'”.
(How’s that for a stretch?) As long as I stay unemployed, I don’t have to worry about taxes. For those who do worry about it, Sorry! This gets my first “OY VEY OF THE DAY” Award of the show, (The next one is coming up.) mainly because it was too much like an actual commercial. That and the jokes were stupid.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Aside from Post 9/11 trauma, one of the bigger stories to happen around this time was the collapse of energy company Enron, and the mis-dealings being conducted by its law firm Arthur Andersen. Of course, since 9/11 happened, a lot of people thought the Enron/Andersen story would be swept under the rug; but leave it to SNL to help re-open the wounds. I probably gave this an F because at the all-knowing age of 17, I probably had no idea what Taxes were, let alone what the Tax code was—so yes, this was one of those “Lost in Translation” moments where I simply didn’t get it at the time. Thanks to the world we live in now, not only do I understand the sketch a little better, but some parts of it are painfully true…and you wonder why we have the current Presidential administration. Does the gained knowledge make this sketch any funnier? Not really, but at least it doesn’t fly over my head. Though if I had to pick a silver lining, I’d go with Ferrell’s “Drilling/Sex Joke” bit.
REVISED SCORE: C-
Hardball or …”Strap on your cup and Batter up! (“Yeah it rhymes, big whoop, wanna fight about it?”)”
The great thing about this one, is that they used a line from one of my favorite shows (Family Guy), and put it into this one. The line was at the expense of “Dick Armey”… Or should I say “Vagina Coast Guard”, (I Smell a Lawsuit!) I thought that that was good. Also, Darrell was seen cracking up (BONUS POINTS!) The only thing about this that I didn’t like, was that fact that he was treating “Begalla” a little softer than he usually did. (Calling him an “Old Friend to Hardball” just didn’t seem right to me.)
EDITOR’S NOTE: And Speaking of “Ripping off ‘Family Guy’”; let’s talk about the fact that SNL actually Stole from them, instead of it being the other way around like most would’ve expected from Seth MacFarlane in the early days of his show. For those unfamiliar, take a second to watch this…
…and then watch the above sketch. Family Guy released that episode on July 25th, 2001—considering animated TV episodes take about 9 months to fully produce, that means the joke may have first been developed in November 2000. SNL used their version in April 2002—Well After FG did it first. I know, this seems like beating a dead horse; but if some no-name can sue Conan O’Brien for stealing jokes, justice should’ve prevailed here too…then again, MacFarlane eventually hosted in 2012, so I guess they made up by then. Anyway, the “Hardball” sketches were probably Darrell Hammond’s 2nd most popular recurring character next to Clinton; and for at least 2 good reasons, one being that there were times when you couldn’t tell the difference between Hammond and the actual Chris Matthews; and the other being the absolute “Tearing a new one” he always gave Kattan’s “Paul Begala” (and rightfully so). The only thing I would change is awarding Bonus points for the Hammond crack-up in the middle.
REVISED SCORE: B-
Drunk Girl or (Slurred speech)”I’m Not Drunk, I have a speach Impediment… (VOMITS) …And A Stomach virus…(FALLS DOWN) …And An Inner Ear Infection.”
So, they actually gave “her” a sketch. And I guess it’s great to see “Rocky” in a dress again. But for some reason, he doesn’t get the same reaction as before. (ROBIN LEECH: “I Don’t know why!”) Having Drunk Girl on Update is one thing, but giving him/her a sketch may be a little too much. That, and the fact that we have gotten the joke a few times. I give this one SOME credit, because the sight of a Muscle man in Drag can really Boost things up. (No Bra Pun intended.)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ah yes, Jeff Richards—one of SNL’s many “Lost Souls”. In my world, an SNL Lost Soul is someone who starts out with a sliver of promise, only to disappear from the face of the earth (Just ask Paul Brittan, Dan Vitale, Peter Aykroyd, and other people that make you want to say “Who?”). Richards’ “Drunk Girl” was (unfortunately) his most popular character in the 2 & ½ years he was on the show—and while I grant that there were certain aspects about the character that were both Funny & “True to Life”, it’s that same “True to Life” feature that made the character a little too painful to watch at times. Now that I think about it, I’ll applaud them for taking the rare step of placing Drunk Girl outside of his/her usual “Update” element, and Johnson helped in his inimitable way; but otherwise, “Drunk Girl” will always be a reminder of just how much of a footnote (at best) Richards was to the show…On another random note, I wonder if “Drunk Girl” and “Drunk Uncle” are related somehow………Ah, who gives a shit.
REVISED SCORE: C-
Homies on a Subway or “Aiight”
This must have been one of those rare instances where the sketch isn’t ment to be funny. So I’m going to judge this by Maya’s singing ability and Tracy’s acting skils. Put 2 and 2 together, and you have…
EDITOR’S NOTE: (*Sorry for using a Getty Image*) There I go being “Vague” again…and I’m probably going to be even more so because there is no Clip or Transcript aside from the picture you see here. Anyway, For what seemed like an eternity during Tracy’s last few years on the show, He & Maya Rudolph would every so often team up in a number of “Pseudo-serious” pieces where—for the most part–Maya would either sing or give a dramatic reading while Tracy played comic relief. For the record, not unlike “Solomon & Pudge” with Eddie & Joe, I never understood why these sketches were a thing. Yes, I know, there have been sketches/films on the show before that weren’t necessarily “Funny” but are still endearing in some way. But for whatever reason, these Maya/Morgan bits stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Since I can’t find the actual sketch, watch This One instead, it’s pretty much the same thing
Girl W/O Gaydar or “…I was going to call it Peterland, but that Gay bar by the Airport already took it.”
This gets my 2nd “OY VEY OF THE DAY”, Because if the sketch from the John Goodman show taught us anything, it’s that Pandora’s Box is meant to be closed. (Interesting Segway, eh?) And just because “Rocky” managed to show off his hidden talent on the last show, it doesn’t mean he has to be a killjoy about it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: (*Damn You, Getty…no footage/transcript either*) I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, In the words of Demitri Martin, I’m “Not Gay, But Supportive”. I think what they do for tolerance is very important, I feel the country should be more open minded when it comes to the LGBTQ community…………But seriously, FUCK THIS SKETCH! Not for the Gay stereotypes, mind you, but because they thought this would be an idea worth repeating a few times (I think they did 4 of them—which is about 8 too many). I’ve seen “Boilerplate” sketches in my lifetime, but this ranks right up there with Molly Shannon as “Helen Madden” in terms of sketches that not only have no development or advancement whatsoever, but I just think whoever wrote these sketches simply painted themselves into a corner with no way out. The one joke is that Rachel Dratch doesn’t realize people are gay……AND? I’m sorry, I know this sketch had SOME good intentions, but I just get Really angry when I watch these.
Update or “…He’s probably going to get interviewed by Connie Chung or that DREADFUL Gene Shallit!.”
These aren’t the same Update jokes that I’m used to seeing. Maybe they were replaced by the FOX network in a desperate attempt to lure viewers away from SNL to “Mad TV”. The “Gene Shallit” segment drilled the whole thing into the ground. This is definately “Not my father’s update”.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Again, I was 17—and lord knows how many times I’ll keep using that excuse. So let’s be fair;
Favorite Jokes: Al Sharpton, Italian Hall of Fame, Alanis Morrisette, Cocaine Vaccine.
Commentaries: Kattan may have been the insufferable one in the cast back then, but Horatio Sanz was a close second—Thankfully his work on “Good News” more than makes up for everything these days; but back in the heyday of him & Fallon ruining sketches with their constant cracking up, an appearance by ANY Sanz character made me want to roll my eyes “Liz Lemon Style”.
REVISED SCORE: C+
Bigfoot & Neil Diamond or “…Believe me Chris, you don’t want to get started on drugs. I tried them once, Big mistake! Things got way too real.” (LIVE ACTION “PETER GRIFFIN”.) “Holy Crap, I am freaking out!”
The only reason that this was good in the first place, is because of the fact that Will was saying some of the most messed up shit I have ever heard. (And believe me, watching stoned people make asses out of themselves is good TV!) Was it just me, or did “The Rock” look like one of “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer’s” relatives? Anyway, the funniest line (of the show, maybe) was “I sold a human foot to a chineese guy in a van”. Mainly because of the fact that it was sung, and a whole lot of crap sound funny when it’s sung.
EDITOR’S NOTE: See my Updated thoughts Here on the 8/12/2016 entry…it was bizarre then, it’s just as bizarre now…but I wouldn’t change a thing to it.
America Undercover or “…To the owner of a John Deere tractor your parked on top of a pig…John Deere tractor on top of a pig.”
I didn’t know that Kattan was that flexable!… Which is too Gross even comprehend. Like “Drunk Girl”, this has gotten to the point where we know what the thing is about. So it loses points for Predictibility, but gains points back when Amy make “The Rock” feel “Uncomfortable” (Very Few points, BTW.)
EDITOR’S NOTE: (*QUIETLY SEETHES*)……………………Have I mentioned how much I Hate Chris Kattan?! Because I Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, HAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTEEEEEE him So Much! And this series of sketches where he’s playing white trash opposite a far better talent in Amy Poehler (who is just starting out in this season) is just one of 72,494,608 Reasons why I do—Another reason is because of the increasingly gratuitous shots of his junk in sketches. The ONLY Reason why I wouldn’t outright condemn the sketch today is because of Poehler, who BTW has the rare distinction of going from Featured player to Full-Timer within half of their first season—the only other cast member to achieve that? Eddie Murphy—and when you see her trying to out-Kattan Kattan in this sketch, it’s pretty easy to understand why she’s gone far in the world while Kattan got booted off “Dancing with the Stars”…in the First Round. Seriously, a round of applause for Amy putting up with the contents of Kattan’s short shorts.
A Message from SNL or “…AHHH, Damn You!”
Well, at least it’s not a “Christmas Song” based song, But not even that helps! They try to be original by letting Tracy join in, but let’s face it… The damn thing died in May 2001.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As much as I agree with myself here, I only do so to a point. Partly because, they actually Do try to mix it up with a different song entirely instead of the usual “Christmas Today” songs. Of course, I’m often reminded of the wise words of one Phillip J. Fry; “That’s not why people watch TV. Clever things make people feel stupid, and unexpected things make them feel scared.” So the fact that this was not the usual song they sung might’ve been slightly jarring to some, but at least they tried something different.
REVISED SCORE: C+
Grand Diagnosis: C+
Prescription: If any of the WWF Superstars had the Chutzpah to show up, (Like they did the last time.) It would have turned out better. But I’m afraid that the morally corrupt city of Hollywood has claimed yet another victim.
UPDATED SCORE: A Solid C
UPDATED THOUGHTS: A Middle of the Road show for an otherwise watershed season (Especially with Ferrell yet to depart). Johnson still had charisma to spare; which is good because considering he had to deal with the likes of Richards, Sanz & Kattan, he needed to get through some of these sketches with a Steely resolve.
OK, NOW The Season is over, Now we have to continue to Prepare for Starmaker, in addition to the following Summer Specials in a few months:
Favorite Bobby Moynihan sketches
Favorite Vanessa Bayer sketches
A Commentary on Sasheer Zamata
…and in August, “Update Week”
In the meantime, Have a Good Summer, and keep watching! (NOW can we endt he Season Properly?)
Thanks, much better.