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Des Moines, Iowa


NBC's Saturday Night Live in the 2000s Primetime Special

Geoff Wood

I've been watching Saturday Night Live (SNL) since I was a little kid. I can't put an exact date on it but I know that it goes far enough back that I remember watching it simply because I knew it was funny (even though I was too young to understand most of the humor).

My interest waned in high school, college, and post-grad since I wasn't usually at home on Saturday night's to see the show. However, sometime around 2002 I bought a TiVo and SNL has been a staple ever since.(1) That means that I've watched almost every skit in the decade being covered in this retrospective; crazy.

Overall, the special was great. It's not often that a TV show can make you both laugh out loud and tear up all at the same time (e.g., the Digital Shorts footage and first show post-9/11 discussion, respectively).

It's crazy to look back at the force that Will Ferrell was on that show at the begginning of the decade. The oft-quoted Alex Trebek/Jeopardy! sketches, the Cheerleaders sketches - the guy is just plain funny. 

I was glad to see SNL show some of the sketches that I remembered fondly, such as the Jimmy Fallon going away sketch (a "Summer Lovin'" parody from Grease with his Weekend Update co-host Tina Fey), the Lazy Sunday and Dick in a Box Digital Shorts, Mark Wahlberg calling out Andy Samberg for his impression, the Sarah Palin sketches, one shot of the infamous Weekend Update tree frog, and any skit that Justin Timberlake has ever been in.

A few that they left out that I wash they had included are Outkast's "Hey Ya" performance, which was amazing, the performance was then repeated the following week in the monologue (only subbing out the backup dancers for the women comics on the show), the characters from Broadway musical's union meeting, Amy Poehler doing the Sarah Palin rap (which did make it online), MacGruber, the rest of Justin Timberlake's sketches (most notably the "Bring it on down..." performances and the Weekend Update where he summarized an entire episode in 90 seconds), and several others.

A few other thoughts: Jimmy Fallon's hair style changed alot, Jimmy and Horatio Sanz cracking each other up annoyed me at the time but was endearing in the retrospective, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers' first show was the one following 9/11 (wow, tough), and Andy Samberg needs to get more air time this season.

Bill Hader mentioned that people uploading the "Lazy Sunday" rap to YouTube was how he first heard about the website. That's true for me, too. They talked about YouTube and viral video quite a bit which I find ironic since NBC pulls down their copyrighted content from YouTube with veracity. I wonder what would happen if they let people share it (their replacement, Hulu and are too hard to navigate).

Finally, I'm disappointed that they failed to bring up the Ashley Simpson incident, where the then-pop star was caught lip syncing during a performance on the show as a musical guest (I believe she stopped singing but her voice went on). It was an embarrassment to the performer and the show and really brought into question the "live" nature of Saturday Night Live. I'm surprised they didn't at least somewhat embrace it make into a joke, after all, isn't that what they do?

1. Of course these days I watch it on TiVo because we're in bed before it airs, not because we're out and about.