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by Nummer and H-Bomb
Episode 18: Johnny Knoxville / System Of A Down (5/7/05)
CONEY RATING SYSTEM
0-10 Coneys – Garbage
OAD = Original Air Date*
(*To be fair, coneys will be awarded the same as they were the first time they aired)
Although the coney score ended up short, excitement surrounded this episode due to a slew of f-bombs, a failed cameo and one new cast member.
Of these three items, the most impacting news for the show was the quiet promotion of 29-year-old Jason Sudeikis from writer to featured cast member. This only furthers my theories about departing cast members come the season finale on May 21st. Sudeikis, a Las Vegas Second City veteran and nephew of SNL’s own Chicago Bears super fan George Wendt, has been with the show since the 2003-2004 season. Keen observers may also recognize him as one of the audience hecklers from January’s Topher Grace/The Killers episode. Sudeikis, after being told “Topher” was a shortened version of “Christopher”, was the one who asked if he should start calling his son Matthew “Thew” during Grace’s monologue.
In the summer prior to his SNL gig, The Las Vegas Review-Journal did a write up of Sudeikis’ Second City troupe pointing out his top-notch George W. Bush and Dr. Phil impressions in addition to other characters such as a senator who is constantly apologizing and a drunk driving teenager. On paper, these character descriptions sound very much like roles Will Forte has played since his debut in 2002. It will be interesting to see how these two evolve together since it sounds like both could be up for very similar parts in the coming seasons. Do I smell friendly competition?
For those curious, the first sketch Sudeikis penned was “The Wheel Bar & Grill” from the always talked about Season 29 Jack Black/John Mayer episode (10/4/03). http://www.whatevs.org/snl_black.htm
Excitement of a new cast member aside, Johnny Knoxville helped the SNL troupe deliver the 14th episode of the season to fall in the “Average” or below coney category. Seeing as so many cast members are probably counting the minutes to their exit, it is clear we should once again expect a last hurrah from many recurring characters. Exhibit A: the unnecessary return of Hammond’s Donald Trump, Parnell’s “Merv the Perv” and Maya’s “Versache”. Since I have nothing but the usual complaints for these one time fan favorite sketches, let’s hope that once the clock struck 1:00 AM early Sunday morning, these characters quietly packed their bags and left Rockefeller Center for good.
One thing I should have predicted was the slew of Mother’s Day themed comedy throughout the episode. Granted Mother’s Day was the next day, but portions of tonight felt reminiscent of the 1992 Mother’s Day special where all the cast members brought their mothers onto the show. This was no doubt fueled by the hilarious appearance of Forte’s mother during Weekend Update, but also the two other Mother’s Day based sketches seen tonight. I guess inspiration has to come from somewhere.
Despite adding up to another average run overall, Knoxville proved he could have handled a wide range of characters. Too bad the cast gave him mostly sex oriented roles to work with. By the end of the night, Knoxville had played a horny alien, a drag queen, Elton John’s homosexual fiancé, Jeff Foxworthy’s “gay half-cousin” and Merv the Perv’s brother “Irv the Perv”. Watch out for typecasting Johnny.
In the days prior to the show, much was also made about Paula’s confirmed cameo to cover off on the recent American Idol Abdul/Corey Clark “scandal”. This proved to be a minor moment early in the show and ended up only paving the way for Maya Rudolph to dust off the Justin Guarini impression she debuted back in 2002. Another reason this cameo fell short was the fact that Amy Poehler ended up playing Abdul for the actual sketch and all the real Paula did was a bookend intro and follow up. Regardless, the NBC executives again got what they wanted since the AP and countless other newspapers ran stories about her cameo on Sunday morning. By Tuesday, it have even leaked out that Paula was reduced to tears shortly after her apperance claiming that things were taken too far. Too far? The same news reports also stated that not only was Paula supposed to play herself in the opening, but was also set to appear in two additional sketches. It wasn’t until the post dress rehearsal shuffle that Paula asked Poehler to fill in for her. No buzz. In light of this information, I think things weren’t taken far enough.
Finally, what would a Season 30 episode be without controversy? From the season that gave us a lip-synching Ashlee Simpson, a foul-mouthed Colin Farrell and the recent censored rendition of Green Day’s “Holiday”, System of a Down joined the list with their performance of “B.Y.O.B”. During their first song of the night, several f-bombs had to be carefully muted by NBC censors during the recurring line “Where the fuck are you”. Things were going well until a blatant “Fuck Yeah” made it over the airwaves towards the end of the song courtesy of guitarist Daron Malakian. Bill Hutchinson of the New York Daily News reported Sunday that the band apparently “got one” over the incident. They were still invited back to perform “Aerials” towards the end of the show however. System of a Down’s new album “Mezmerize” immediately gained buzz after the performance.
Two episodes now remain for the season that started off with so much hope just 8 short months ago. Luckily, one of them will be hosted by recent SNL vet Will Ferrell. Hopefully this means the greatest moments of the season could still be around the corner.
Well, I guess the hilarity of this week’s episode with host Johnny Knoxville will be discussed about as much as “people actually discuss the movie, A Dirty Shame,” which is apparently never. The show’s attempt at comedy pretty much bombed in every conceivable way, from Paula Abdul’s flop of a cameo to the already much-tired returns of Versace and Merv the Perv. True, there were some laughs garnered via Bear City, Helping Hands and Ritchie B. Yes, System of a Down dropped the forbidden f-bomb onto the airwaves. And, of course, there was the latest buzz surrounding the surprise promotion of newest featured cast member, Jason Sudeikis. But, to me, these were somewhat lost in the midst of all the crap this show was trying to play off as humor.
First off, we have the obviously uncomfortable appearance of Paula Abdul in the American Idol Scandal cold opener. Knowing now that she was originally supposed to play herself in the entire skit and then chickened out at the last minute, I’m wondering why she even agreed to the cameo in the first place. The whole disaster seemed to be just another pathetic way to gain ratings for both Abdul and SNL.
And speaking of ratings, is that why SNL even asked System of a Down to perform as musical guest? I mean, was it really that big of a surprise that a “Fuck Yeah!” just “slipped” out onto the airwaves during a song full of f-bombs? Are we really supposed to be talking about it like it was such a big deal? Who the fuck cares? Yeah, I said fuck. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!!!! Ooohhh…System of a Down, you’re my new fucking heroes because you said the F-word on live tv!! Oooohhh…SNL…you are so fucking cool now because you let it happen!! Whatevs.
Besides my always favorite Bear City, Forte’s “Oh NO’s,” and Armisen’s Ritchie B. (“Watermelon!”), about the only other noteworthy occurrence was writer-gone-cast member, Jason Sudeikis. From the little we saw of him during the episode, he seemed to be a pretty funny guy. Given some good material, I think he could really be a hilarious addition to the cast, which is in desperate need of a fresh face. But remember, Sudeikis was/is also a writer. One of the very same writers that’s been continuously cranking out the very non-funny sketches we’ve seen all season. That being said, I wish him the best of luck and look forward to some good things from him, but I’m definitely not expecting any miraculous recoveries for the show just because they have a new cast member in the roster.
Flat out, this show completely sucked. Knoxville and System of a Down were utter disappointments. Most of the sketches were the same old drivel and a good number of the cast just need to give it up. Being a huge Will Ferrell fan, I’m putting very high expectations on him to deliver a good show next week. It’s not new for him to carry an entire episode by himself and, for the sake of SNL, hopefully next week won’t be any different.
1. Cold Opening: American Idol Scandal (cameo: Paula Abdul)
2. Monologue: Johnny Knoxville
3. Commercial Parody: Mom Jeans
4. Sketch: Sally and Dan Harrison: The Couple That Should be Divorced
5. Sketch: Trump “Cheeseburger Pizza” Dominos ad
6. Sketch: Versace: Mother’s Day Special
7. Channel 5 Late Night Movie: Visitors From Another Planet
8. Music: System of a Down “B.Y.O.B”
9. Weekend Update (Guests: Will and Patti Forte/Fred Armisen)
10. Sketch: Mother’s Day at a Restaurant
11. Helping Hand’s Telethon
12. Sketch: Merv the Perv
13. Music: System of a Down “Aerials”
14. Sketch: Action News
15. Film: Bear City
16. Sketch: Todd Foxworthy’s DVD commercial
22 / 64 Coneys
16.5 / 64 Coneys