BY the Former "Heystu," Amateur Critic and Sugarhigh Teenybopper
The 25th season of SNL was, in retrospect, a little uneven. It marked the beginning of the end of the cast that rejuvinated the show in the mid-90's slowly weaned themselves off the suckling teat of Lorne Michaels. Everybody from that era (save Darrell Hammond) has moved on with their lives, with varying degrees of success. Either you loved this cast or hated it; for every person that loved the zany antics of Chris Kattan, there was another that thought he was vastly overrated.
The late 90's also introduced us to the next ensamble of memorable cast members, such as the photogenic Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch, providing some laughs for the first part of the next decade, which was marred considerably by inconsistency.
I chose this particular to review because, for some reason or another, E! seems to air this episode more often than other SNL reruns. I would presume this is because of the star power of the host/musical guest, Britney Spears. When this episode first aired in May 2000, she was promoting her second album, which eventually went 3x platinum, and coasting a little on the success of her 1999 debut. Plus, she was an alumnus of "The New Mickey Mouse Club," much like then-boyfriend and future host Justin Timberlake. Hense, she's no stranger to sketch-driven variety programs.
And now, let's bounce on over to the sketch-by-sketch analysis:
COLD OPENING: Mayor Giuliani (DH) discusses his recent personal problems (cancer, divorce) before handing it over to US Senate rival Hillary Clinton (AG), who compares him to her husband. If you have any recollection of what was going on in the news in the Spring of 2000, maybe you'll find this funny.
MONOLOGUE: Britney walks onstage and sets the record straight on some strange rumors. The lip-syncing joke was moderately amusing, but the Pamela Stephenson-esque chest-jiggling is the real kicker.
"Gap Fat": Hey, remember those Gap ads with the pastel-colored models dancing to the "West Side Story" soundtrack? Anyone? Well, here's a spoof of it starring Horatio Sanz and writer Paula Pell.
"Morning Latte": Whenever you had a bad recurring sketch, you could always count on someone like Will Ferrell for at least one laugh. That's probably why this skit appeared nine times between Seasons 23 and 25. In this edition (hopefully the last of its kind), a goofy Tom (WF) and a larygitis-stricken Cass (CO) chat with a "lost" cast member from The New Mickey Mouse Club (Britney). Yawn.
"Boston Teens": In their third appearance on the show, Sully, Frankie, and Zazoo (JF, HS, RD) are left behind on a US History field trip, which gives them ample time to hector a 18th Century butter-churner (Spears) who, for one reason or another, lives in Massachusetts despite her southern accent. These sketches were pretty funny until they repeated the formula endlessly.
SMIGELTOON: The Ambigously Gay Duo rescues the L.A. Lakers right in the middle of the NBA Finals. You would think the gay jokes would grow old, but as politically incorrect as they may be, they are a hoot.
"Woodrow": If there was one big breakthrough during the 99-00 season, it's that Tracy Morgan finally came into his own, earning some much needed screen time. Unfortunately, it's wasted in this particular example, as a homeless man who lives in the sewer (Morgan) tries to impress Britney Spears.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Cheri Oteri kisses her mom (remind you, it's mid-May), which is followed by most annoying song of the year, "Oops, I Did It Again."
WEEKEND UPDATE: In my personal opinion, Colin Quinn was a mismatch behind the "WU" desk. Judging from his other work, he's a more capable comedian when he's doing vicious diatribes about race relations and world affairs, rather than cheap one-liners about Al Gore and Elian Gonzalez. Luckily, CQ is overshadowed tonight by Chris Parnell and his white boy freestyle in honor of Britney Spears. If they ever get around to a "Best of" special for Chris (and that's a long shot), this skit will more than likely be included.
"Open Audition": Britney, who by the way seems to keep playing the exact same character in each sketch (herself), has an audition for new dancers, and stumbles across the DeMarco Brothers (CK, CP). I liked the awkward dance moves, but the dialogue is more than a little clunky.
"America's Worst Moments": A faux ad celebrating past blunders like the Elian Gonzalez controversy and the McCarthy Hearings. Now if only those plates were real...
"The Comeback Tour": Abusive pop diva Deandra Wells (AG) goes back on tour with her trusty albeit much-put-upon backing band (WF, CP, HS). While the end of the sketch bordered on melodrama, it was fun watching the ugly side of fame.
"Uncle Jemima's Down Home Mash Liquor": An Uncle Remus-type (TM) discusses 45 proof hooch over a game of checkers with his best friend (TM). A deserving contribution to Morgan's recent best-of special.
MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know" that this attempt at balledeering doesn't work for me. On the bright side, no ten-to-one sketch.
All in all, this was an interesting episode, though I'd put it right in the middle in comparision to other episodes from Season 25. Spears was an okay host, and she received her deserved second appearance in Season 27. As a musical guest, however, her psuedo-skanky dance-pop tendencies (a sign of things to come) were enough to make your head spin.
At the time this review was written in early 2004, the writer simply known as "Heystu" was a student at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Little is known of his whereabouts since then, but if you've seen him, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.