If 57A and the Wikipedia are to be believed, sometime between 2004 and 2005 entrepreneur and then company president, Sean Parker advised Mark Zuckerberg to change the name of his nascent social media platform from The Facebook, to just Facebook, saying succinctly, we imagine, DROPTHETHE. Some may well wonder what impact that original The might have had on the success of Facebook had it been retained. I'll EAVE that to the experts.
Today's four theme answers also took Mr. Parker's advice, dropping the "the" from common phrases, leaving in their absence phrases that are made sense of (so to speak) thanks to carefully constructed clues. So, CUTTOCHASE becomes an "Early 'Saturday Night Live' camera command." My favorite is WHATSMATTER (Basic query to a physicist?). I bet that never gets ODE.
In other AREAs, I liked:
Lays flat (KOS) - nice ambiguous cluing.
Founded: Abbr. (ESTAB) - sounds more like a menacing tweet to me.
Yarn unit (SKEIN) - I misread this clue at first as "Yam unit" and wanted tuber - ha!
Its alphabet goes from Alfa to Zulu (NATO) - I like any alphabet, really.
Squalid (RATTY) - As Auntie Mame might say, "how vivid."
Calmer, in brief (TRANQ) - I prefer tranquilizer truncated with a Q.