Saturday Night Live

Season 31 Episode 9

Jack Black/Neil Young

0
Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Dec 17, 2005 on NBC
8.3
out of 10
User Rating
68 votes
12

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Live from New York, it's... Will Forte! Sketches include "A Holiday Message from the Vice President," "Stuart Little Mouse Removal Kit," "Sbarro," "Appalachian Emergency Room," "Christmastime for the Jews" (cartoon), "Channel 5 Photo Shoot," "Lazy Sunday" (film), "A Very Downer Christmas," "Space War 2148," "Two A-Holes Buying a Christmas Tree," and "Spelling Bee." Neil Young performed "It's a Dream" and "He Was The King."moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • “Remember, you have eight more shopping days until ‘Holiday’.”

    8.0
    A Review by “HelloStuart,” Amateur Critic and Massive Simian



    After spending last week looking at the more negative aspects of the show, let’s take a look at what elements of SNL actually show promise. I’m speaking of Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig, the three-pronged infusion of fresh blood that has valiantly tried to salvage an otherwise unspectacular season. It’s tough to say if anyone in the cast is truly hogging screen time (Poehler? Armisen?), there are at least four cast members that are rumored to be leaving at the end of the year, and this particular triumvirate appear to be more than able to pick up the slack. The more we see of these three, the better.



    What I love about the Christmas episode is that more often than not everyone tends to pull out the stops, and tonight’s episode will probably be no different. Our host is Jack Black, comedian and singer-songwriter extraordinaire and the star of what could be the highest-grossing film of the winter, the second remake of “King Kong.” JB makes his third appearance as host (fourth overall) with comeback kid Neil Young as musical guest for the fourth time.



    And now, the sketch-by-sketch analysis:



    COLD OPENING: Live from the White House, it’s a holiday message from Vice President Cheney (DH), making wishes come true for several intimidated children before taking Dubya’s (WF) request for that Xbox 360. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like right-wing agitprop to boost your spirits during the holidays.



    MONOLOGUE: Jack breaks out the velvet robe and sings “The King Kong Song,” allegedly a suggested theme song for this weekend’s blockbuster. For anyone with Catherine Zeta-Jones’ monologue still fresh in their memories, it looks like we have a new champion for the season…



    “Stuart Little Mouse Removal Kit”: Looking for a humane way to kill mice? How about luring them into an exploding wind-up car? Do you feel that any children might be traumatized by this idea? How intense in your schadenfreude?



    “Sbarro”: A family (Jack, AP, RD) tries to sit down and eat pizza on a cold, blustery day, but finding a table right beside the door proves to be more trouble than it looks. Okay, so the wind was exaggerated to great comic effect, but didn’t the Weather Channel reference near the end feel like a cop-out?



    “Appalachian Emergency Room”: In a special holiday edition of this increasingly tepid recurring sketch, we watch more oddball ailments from Tyler and the Bo Dances, plus appearances from Johnny Knoxville and a manic Nativity recreation (Jack). I know I’ve joked about this in the past, but now I’m really wondering if the producers are trying to turn this into a movie. Lord, give me a sign!



    SMIGELTOON: The man up Triumph’s keester goes Back to Mono with the Spector-esque “Christmastime for the Jews,” a sing-along commentary on how the chosen people rule the world when the gentiles are at home celebrating the holiday.



    “Channel 5 Photo Shoot”: The news team at WIIX-TV are inspired to point at each other for their new billboard image, but the weatherman (Jack) doesn’t feel the love and turns diva on his colleagues (CP, AP, KT). What seemed like a one-joke sketch adds depth through JB’s performance, though any attempt to break down the fourth wall resulted in only a small dent.



    FILM: Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg do a little white-boy freestyle and riff on cupcakes and kiddie movies in the appropriately titled “Lazy Sunday.”



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: The rock legend goes mellow for “It’s a Dream.” Dig that crazy pedal steel guitar!



    WEEKEND UPDATE: Tina calls Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell “ancient tools,” providing us leftists with another clever joke we can tell at the water cooler. Other than that, this Update sped right by; a bit with Kenan and Tracy Morgan as members of the Skull Island tourism committee fell flat, but a conversation on the perks of marrying a 15-year-old boy as scathing as it was close to home.



    “A Very Downer Christmas”: Has our dour friend made a rebound? If so, this is one heck of a resurrection. Flashing back to 1978, Debbie Downer (RD) runs into Santa (Jack), mentions her juvenile sciatica, and encourages St. Nick’s apparent drinking problem. After five appearances with more or less the same schtick, it was nice to see Debbie showing some versatility; then again, feline AIDS wasn’t around until the early 80’s.



    “Space War 2148”: Two fighters from the opposite sides of an alien-human struggle (AS, Jack) crash-land on a distant moon, then find themselves in an awkward position when the extraterrestrial admits to being a hermaphrodite. The alien sex jokes were more disturbing than funny, but at least this didn’t turn into “Gays in Space.”



    “Two A-Holes Buying a Christmas Tree”: Uh-oh, I smell two potential recurring characters. An abrasive, self-centered couple (JS, KW) float around in their sad little world of their minds while buying a spruce for Christmas. This sketch was funny because it was truthful; I firmly believe that sometimes we all have a little a-hole inside of us. This could also be interpreted as a topical sketch, but that really depends on how familiar you are with the oeuvre of Lynne Truss.



    “Spelling Bee”: An aimlessly absurd sketch in which a grade-schooler (WF) goes to extravagant lengths to avoid misspelling “business” morphs into a delightful performance by Tenacious D, further making this night of music a sight to behold.



    MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: Shakey jumps from troubadour to tongue-in-cheek nostalgia-monger with his ode to Elvis, “He Was the King.”



    Who would’ve thought that Neil Young’s performance would be the fourth and fifth most memorable musical moments of the night? Then again, who was expecting to see “Debbie Downer” again, and that this sketch would actually be funny? Or for that matter, that tonight would probably be the funniest live broadcast since Will Ferrell left? I’m not sure if there’s been any other instance where I’ve viewed a recent show, then had the urge to watch it all over again. It was almost as if for once, everything clicked; the host, the musical guest, the cast, the writing, and the great scheme of things worked together to create a diamond in the rough. I will even go as far as to say that maybe I was a little hard on Samberg last week; he was tonight’s clutch hitter, and he barely even had to use impressions or potential recurring characters to find his way through the show.



    Sketches/Segments That Will Probably Not Appear in Repeats: “Channel 5 Photo Shoot,” most of Update, and “Space War 2148.”



    In Four Weeks: “Lost in Translation” hottie Scarlett Johansson is host with musical guest Death Cab for Cutie, plus my annual midseason recap! (already?).



    Feel free to contact “HelloStuart” at sma17kc@netscape.net. Happy holidays to one and all!moreless
  • "Great" - D-E-F-I-S-Q-C-L-J-J-J-J-N-L-I-I-H-G-T-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q- Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-Q-S-T

    8.5
    We are now arriving at our 4th stop of the 2008 SNL Summer Review tour. This week's host is Jack Black, the at-the-time star of the remade King Kong. Musical guest is Neil Young.



    It was safe to say that by the time the 31st season rolled around, the PFS (Post Ferrell Syndrome) had worn off. The 31st season kicked off with many good episodes, and perhaps this episode was the topping to the cake.



    Here it is:



    Cheney Santa Clause: Dick Cheney dresses as Santa Clause and has kids tell him what they want for Christmas. While the kids deliver some very deep answers, such as world peace, President Bush comes along, and wishes for an X-Box 360. Certainly a good opening.



    Monologue: Jack Black sings about the new King Kong song. Enjoyable.



    Mouse Trap: A commercial for a kind of mouse trap. I thought this was a pretty decent commercial parody, especially for that new Kristen Wiig girl.



    Sbarros: Now, this sketch is genius. As a couple and their "ma-mah" are trying to have pizza, the wind is too much for them to handle. Man, this just exploded into a hilarious sketch. I was laughing on the floor at Rachel Dratch saying "I'm alright! I'm alright!" I can't even emphasize how much I loved this sketch.



    Appalachian Emergency Room: This was a lot more improved then how they usually are. Basically, its the same style as the other ones.



    Christmastime For The Jews: This was gold. I thought this was very funny, and we even got a sneak peak of the lady who sung this before the commercial break.



    News Bumper Shooting: A man is angry because he doesn't get pointed at, while the other news casters get annoyed of him. This was funny.



    Lazy Sunday: I must say, this is the most overrated Digital Short created. If I watched it before the legend was born, I wouldn't have had a laugh at it, and then the next day, when everybody was talking about it, I'd be like "you mean the digital short?" I'm not saying it was bad.



    Weekend Update: Tracy Morgan! That was a great cameo, and he was as usual hilarious. Jokes were good. Best ones of the night were "Shopping until Holiday" and "Circumsision blood sucking".



    Downer Christmas: I know many were annoyed of Debbie Downer, but I enjoyed her. This was a pretty funny sketch.



    Deserted Moon: This was yet another good sketch.



    Two A-Holes Buying a Christmas Tree: The beginning of them. The two A-holes, that starred Kristen and Jason. Unfortunately, this was the at-the-time-new Kristen's only sketch of the night. But, it was a good one.



    Spelling Bee: A kid absolutely tortures a word. I thought that part was funny, but when Tenacious D showed up, That really iced the cake.



    This episode was absolutely a classic SNL episode. As the host was on top of the show, the musical guest provided good music. It was strong all around.



    My next review: We go to season 30 with host Tom Brady and musical guest Beck. Have a great Memorial Day!moreless
  • Saturday Night Live- Jack Black/ Neil Young

    9.1
    Unbelievable...Best TV Episode ever of any TV show I've ever seen. There was a ton of amazing sketches...My favorites were: Dick Cheney Christmas (Opening Sketch)... Christmas Time Appalachian Hospital...Spelling Bee... Sbarro...And I hoped Christmastime For the Jews was better but it was still funny... and my 1 favorite: Lazy Sunday ... I was just laughing hysterically and you can't forget the classic "Weekend Update" This is only my 2nd SNL episode... but I don't think Saturday Night Live gets any better then this (a little strong considering it's only my 2nd episode") Jack Black's Monolouge at the beginning was great too. Bottom Line: Best episode of any TV show I've ever seen.moreless
  • The last few seasons of SNL have been notoriously uneven and weak. Especially since key cast members like Chris Parnell and Rachel Dratch left. This was the last truly great episode Maybe a new one will be as funny and memorable, but it's unlikely.moreless

    9.4
    This Christmas themed episode premiered nearly 2 years ago, but it's still re watchable. I recorded it on my then new DVD recorder and I watched it just a few days ago and I still laughed my ass off. It's a near perfect episode. There were a couple slightly mediocre skits but no bad ones. Most surprising of all, the last few sketches, usually garbage, were actually rather funny. It's also the episode that introduced the youtube sensation "Lazy Sunday." It has great Christmas themed skits like A Debbie Downer Christmas and Two A Holes Buying a Christmas Tree. Neil Young put in a touching performance. And the then current King Kong themed bits were spot on. Jack Black's "King Kong Jam" was hilarious and so was the "Skull Island Tourism Agency" with the memorable closing statement "Come to Skull Island, where our heart and our culture are as big as our murderous scorpions." A great SNL for sure.moreless
  • SNL at its best

    9.0
    Jack Black is the host, and who know's what'll happen.



    The Spelling Bee sketch made fall out of my chair. It's just Will Forte repeating random letters, and the part that surprised me was that it was Jack Black when he was a young kid.



    But the magnum opus of the episode, in my opinion, is obviously the Lazy Sunday film. It's wacky and it talks about the two most unlikely things: seeing "Chronicles of Narnia", and eating cupcakes and snacks all day. It even features possibly the two whitest boys on the Earth, Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell, doing the rhymes. It's just priceless!



    They're showing this episode as a repeat next Saturday in honor of Christmas, and I'll obviously be watching it, laughing at things that some people don't really find funny.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Amy Poehler: A 37-year-old woman who is seven months pregnant by a 15-year-old boy said this week that she preferred older men, but the teenager aggressively wooed her. Hey, who wouldn't succumb to that, am I right Tina?
      Tina Fey: Ah yeah, you know it. 15-year-old boys, so charming with their oily skin and their unflossed teeth...
      Amy Poehler: Ooh, their hairless bodies reeking of day-old sweat and Doritos...
      Tina Fey: Their aggressive, saliva-filled French kisses...
      Amy Poehler: Their dirty fingers, their chapped lips...
      Tina Fey: And of course, the sexy, sexy skid-marked underpants.

    • Dick Cheney: (chuckles) Alright, let's wrap this thing up.
      Voice: Excuse me, excuse me - sorry, kid, President coming through!
      (President Bush emerges and takes his seat on Cheney's lap)
      President George W. Bush: Hey, Dick! What's up?
      Dick Cheney: Hello, Mr. President. I thought we agreed to do this in private, like we do every year.
      President George W. Bush: Well, I couldn't wait, Dick. You know, I'm just so excited for Christmas.
      Dick Cheney: Okay. Well, what would you like for Christmas?
      President George W. Bush: I would like X-Box-360.
      Dick Cheney: What, uh.. what about extending the Patriot Act, Mr. President?
      President George W. Bush: You know, I like the Patriot Act, Dick, I do. But I want that 360.
      Dick Cheney: You know, some of those X-Boxes are defective, they may be recalled.
      President George W. Bush: Well, our policy in Iraq is defective, and we're not recalling anyone, so -
      Dick Cheney: (defeated) Okay, you can have the X-Box.
      President George W. Bush: Yay!

    • Girl #1: I want an American Girl doll, and a Barbie Primp & Polish head with manicured hands. But what I really want for Christmas, is the safety and well-being of my family.
      Dick Cheney: Uh, Santa can't guarantee that.
      Girl #1: (now obviously reading from offscreen cue cards) Well, I was just thinking that if the Patriot Act were extended, I can sleep easy knowing that the American government has the tools it needs in its global fight against terror.
      Dick Cheney: Well, aren't you a sweet young lady. Gosh, isn't it funny how the mind of a child can grasp smething that seems so confusing to Santa's friends across the isle. Your spontaneous opinion is appreciated.

    • Boy: Hi, Santa!
      Dick Cheney: And, uh, what do you want for Christmas?
      Boy: I just want to see my Grandma.
      Dick Cheney: Well, I don't see why that would be a problem.
      Boy: Well - she lies in California, and usually she would drive to see us. But with gas prices being what they are, she can't afford to come. So I was wondering if - nawww, never mind.
      Dick Cheney: Oh no, no, no. Come on, just say it. Say it. It's me, Santa.
      Boy: Well - (also reading directly off unseen cue cards, and, thus, reads quickly) Do you think you can open drilling in the Alaskan wildlife preserve, in order to lessen our dependence on foreign oil?
      Dick Cheney: (smiles sadistically) You know, if you put it like that, it's the least I can do to help a boy see his grandma.
      Boy: Wow! Thanks, Santa!

    • Girl #2: My Daddy is a soldier fighting in Iraq, and I only want one thing for Christmas.
      Dick Cheney: What's that?
      Girl #2: For you to not let him come home until freedom and democracy has spread all through the Middle East.
      Dick Cheney: From the mouthes of babes! It seems to me if an eight-year old girl has the guts to stay the course, maybe everyone else should do a gut check.
      Girl #2: Yay! (jumps off Cheney's lap and exits scene)

    • Moderator: The word is "Business."
      Daniel: "Business", b-r-d-t-f-k-l-m-g-h-r-k-w-t-f-n-y-l-k-p-q-w-q-r-t-d-f-p-l-m-k-q-k-w-q-q-q-q-q-q-q-q-q-q-q-q-s-t-f-j-r-q-m-t-s-d-t-q-m-p-r-f-t-d-p-d-p-m-h-r-k-t-b-t-f, "business."
      Moderator: Wrong.

    • Glirk: I just had sex with myself. What are you doing?

    • Tina Fey: Ashlee Simpson collapsed after a performance in Tokyo on Thursday. Simpson spent Friday in the hospital while her show went on as scheduled without her.

  • NOTES (7)

    • This episode was reaired on December 23, 2006 during Season 32. Episodes from previous seasons rarely air at 11:30/10:30.

    • Sketches/segments not shown in the 60 minute version: Darlene Love performing with the SNL Band, Neil Young's performance of "He Was The King," "Channel 5 News Team Photo Shoot," "A Very Downer Christmas," "Space War 2148," "Two A-Holes Buying A Christmas Tree"

    • The "Lazy Sunday" digital film was co-written by Chris Parnell, Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer, was directed by Schaffer, and the music was produced by Taccone.

    • In the Debbie Downer sketch, when Santa (Jack Black) gave Debbie the calender, there is a ribbon over the date.

    • Maya Rudolph does not appear in this episode, because she is on materinty leave. Horatio Sanz does not appear in this episode, though he was present at dress rehearsal.

    • Tracy Morgan makes a cameo appearance during "Weekend Update," possibly to promote the Tina Fey project "Friday Night Sketches" (later renamed "30 Rock"), where he will play the lead.

    • Howard Stern was originally scheduled to make a guest appearance in this episode, but had to cancel at the last minute.

  • ALLUSIONS (4)

    • When Jack Black's character said "Don't open the gates to Hoth again," he was talking about the planet of ice and snow from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

    • The "Space War 2148" sketch is spoof of the 1985 Dennis Quaid movie Enemy Mine. Andy Samberg appeared in a film short that spoofed "EM" earlier this year, and in this sketch he reprises the role of Glirk.

    • During the "Weekend Update" segment, Tina Fey lists names of Iraqi politicians and then mentions Howard Stern's producer "Baba Booey" (aka Gary Dell'Abate).

    • During the "Debbie Downer" sketch, a parody of the theme song to the classic TV special How The Grinch Stole Christmas is used to open the skit.

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