Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Night Live October 25th, 2008

Saturday Night Live, October 25th, 2008
Host: Jon Hamm
Musical Guest: Coldplay

I found this to be the least consistent episode since this season's premier.

Joe Biden and John Murtha on the stump.
The weakest of all the political sketches they've done so far this year. It felt like they used up all their good ideas on this week's Weekend Update Thursday. Nothing said in this sketch is as crazy as what was said by the real people involved and not enough of a twist was added. The whole thing just felt awkward.

No Commercial Parody.
So I'm complaining about it.

Sex Offender for Halloween.
Will Forte tries out a new character, what? It's surprising how little it takes for Will Forte to come across as creepy. I'm not sure why the sex offender had a catch phrase, but for the most part the sketch had some good laughs.

Andy Samberg as a Rasta guy.
It was definitely something. I don't know if it was funny…but it was definitely something. On a personal note, Andy Samberg looked like my hippie cousin Dan. So extra points on that personal note.

Mad Men 2/A-holes Crossover.
I was nervous at first because I still haven't watched Mad Men. Then I was nervous because the return of the two A-hole characters did nothing for me. I certainly enjoyed their first two appearances but now it feels like they're stretching the schtick way too thin.

Obama Variety Hour.
It was nice to see Maya Rudolf back on the show, even if her impersonation of Michelle Obama didn't seem that accurate or funny. Some cute moments like Bill Clinton singing "Don't You Forget About Me" and Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers performing together. Also a better use of Jason Sudekis as Joe Biden with the foot in mouth gag.

Another Mad Men parody.
This sketch definitely worked better, even without any knowledge of the show. "Blow people away any time you say anything" is great advice.

Coldplay song 1.
Did Chris Martin always dance around like the guy from Midnight Oil? Their current rock outfits with mismatched armbands and toast patches look like fashion school rejects. Especially since they follow in the footsteps of My Chemical Romance's marching band jackets (a la Sgt. Pepper) which made more sense for them, since their album was called the Black Parade.

Weekend Update.
Seth Meyers hosts alone because Amy Poehler is having her baby. Congrats! I'm impressed she made it this far into the season. I wonder if there's time to make a Robo-call costume for Halloween? Bill Hader does a great Ralph Nader, and sock puppets are always comedy gold. My admiration for Fred Armisen's Nicolas Fehn political comedian continues to grow. I can't believe he can still get mileage out of saying so much nothing time after time.
Kenan can really sing! A surprisingly sincere end note as he and Maya Rudolf sing a sweet love song to Amy and her baby. Very appropriate since Maya herself was pregnant on the show for quite a while before finally taking a leave.

Vincent Price Halloween Special.
A friend of mine pointed out how little Bill Hader's impersonation actually sounds like Vincent Price, so I spent most of the sketch focusing on it and eventually agreeing it's too nasal. And yet, I want to like this re-occurring sketch for some reason…even though it doesn't do much for me.

Jon Hamm's John Ham.
Inspired. Further proof that SNL's best bits are often further into the show.

Coldplay song 2.
I liked their second song better.

Finger in Butts.
Um. Sure.

Coldplay song 3.
It's been a long time since a band has gotten to play a 3rd song. I guess Coldplay is the biggest band that's been on the show for a while? "Yellow" still holds up as one of their better songs. Barack Obama!


SNL Weekend Update Thursday October 23rd, 2008

SNL Weekend Update Thursday
October 23rd, 2008

Opening Debate Sketch.
I'm not sure why, but I was hoping that Will Ferrell would come back and play George W. Bush for old time's sake. Seeing it happen is sorta like comfort food to this longtime SNL fan. And as a bonus, it frees Jason Sudeikis up to play Todd Palin again. He just has to let the goatee do the talking and it cracks me up. Now if they could just have Dana Carvey come back and play George Bush Sr., I'd be a happy camper. The sketch felt a bit more partisan than any of the openers so far, and considering how close the election is getting, that's FINE BY ME. Great timing since a lot of the news today focused on McCain trying to distance himself from W.

Weekend Update part 1.
Fred Armisen's interactive electoral map reminded me of a Daily Show bit, but it won me over by the time he moved Oregon so it was surrounded by water (dangerous). My favorite joke was about Madonna's adopted child heading off to Baby Yoga, but I don't know if it was smart to end on a retread of Kenan Thompson's "fix it" financial expert. It was cute the first time, but not strong enough to milk again without something good to follow it up.

Weekend Update part 2.
Andy threw up on Jorma! It's always nice to see cameos by the writing staff.

It's lame that Amy and Seth say that they'll be right back just so we are forced to watch commercials until they return to say the show is over (I guess a lot of other shows do that, too these days--but I don't notice it as much). I guess it's worth it to see Tina and Will be silly on the set pieces.

And what's this about an SNL Presidential Bash on November 3rd?


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Night Live October 4th, 2008

Saturday Night Live October 18th, 2008
Host: Josh Brolin
Musical Guest: Adele

Even when their "surprise events" are highly publicized beforehand, SNL still manages to live up to the anticipation. It's been exciting to see the show become so relevant again not only in pop culture, but the world at large. I guess the trade-off for Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin is they get to plug 30 Rock, which will hopefully benefit from all the exposure (since Emmys don't seem to help ratings).

When all eyes are on SNL, why do they always choose to do more McGruber sketches?
I spend too much time wondering how long ago McGuyver was even on TV.

Easily Excited Woman.
More solid character acting from Kristen Wiig. The sketch wasn't as funny as I wanted it to be, but it certainly made me laugh, so it's hard to complain.

Suze Orman show.
I actually learned about Suze Orman through Kristen Wiig's impersonation last year. So now whenever I see her on TV (which, as they accurately mentioned, is ALL THE TIME) I laugh and have a hard time believe she's a real person.

Mark Walberg redeems himself.
After his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel this week, I hoped that Mark Walberg was setting up a joke appearance on SNL. It was either that or the guy had no sense of humor at all. I was glad to be proven wrong. Another great cameo and I'm glad they mentioned Josh Brolin was in Goonies. Because any Goonies reference is a good one.

I'm No Angel.
Josh Brolin with a mustache looking into the camera and saying "perfect" = my new favorite thing ever.

Musical Guest: Adele.
I guess it really is a trend right now for female singers to sound like they are from the 1920s. With husky, sultry singing of non-memorable songs. Between Duffy, Lily Allen, and whoever sang the song in the Chevy commercial that followed the performance…I have a hard time telling the Amy Whinehouse wannabes apart. Adele's no Tracy Turnblad.

Weekend Update.
I thought they missed a good opportunity to have Sarah Palin play Tina Fey and co-host the beginning of Weekend Update as a nod to the old lineup. But I figured the less Sarah Palin the better...until she came back. It would have made me sad, if not for the excuse to see a pregnant Amy Poehler rap. Holy crap, why are SNL cast members (and Natalie Portman) gangsta rapping on SNL always so good? This thing is going to be all over the internets, for sure.

The first time Will Forte played Tim Calhoun I thought it was a slow build but eventually funny (I still laugh when I think of his Chinababy). That said, I would happily sign a petition to make sure he never shows up ever again. Jean K. Jean is Kenan Thompson's most high concept character and it never ceases to amaze me. Just thinking of Kenan reading up on French culture to write the material cracks me up.

I don't even know what to think about this sketch. Some sketches tend to get funnier to me after I digest them for a while, but I'm not so sure this one ever will.

Narc School.
Great idea. Even if 21 Jump Street is as old as McGuyver. Nice of Darrel Hammond to make a single appearance this episode.

Timely satire of stock trading commercials. I like how they whispered "sell drugs."

Interesting and well-filmed set up for a pointless musical performance by Fred Armisen. I would have rather seen "Sciencefinger."

Fall Foliage.
Sure were a lot of sketches about businessmen in this episode. Wasn't sure if this sketch was going to save itself from its one-note, but Kenan's "Oh he was nice about it" was another one of the best-delivered lines of the evening.

Closing thought
I'm surprised the SNL site didn't have some official clips up IMMEDIATELY afterwards considering the Sarah Pain stuff is probably already viral the minute it aired.

EDIT: Looks like as of Sunday 1L09 AM it's on some of the political sites:

-there was a great response in the comment section:

Sardonica says:
"Oh my god - that weekend update sketch is unbelieveable. The VP candidate for the REPUBLICAN PARTY was sitting and nodding her head to a pregnant Amy Poehler rapping in front of eskimos and shooting at a guy in a moose costume. I am glad I did not watch this while high."


Thursday, October 16, 2008

SNL Weekend Update Thursday October 9th, 2008

October 16th, 2008

Opening Debate Sketch.
It's a little strange that Chris Parnel came back again to play a different presidential debate moderator. I worried for a second that they were repeating the same sketch from last week. I very much enjoyed the business about the notorious Joe the Plumber being John McCain's imaginary friend. It was just the right amount of silly and timely.

Weekend Update part 1.
Weekend Update felt consistently stronger than it has in the past few weeks. We liked it!
Especially the video games vs. MRI gag, and the bit about pumpkin racing.
The highlight of course was Kristen Wiig as the crazy woman from the McCain rally. I hope Obama DOES change the White House to a pyramid.

Weekend Update part 2.
So short of a segment, it almost felt pointless. Although, I liked the gag about the follow-up question as to whether or not people would vote for a black president.

I’m glad there's a new episode of the full show this week.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

SNL Weekend Update Thursday October 9th, 2008

Opening Debate Sketch.
Not as funny as the previous debate sketches, but hard to complain when there's a Bill Murray cameo--and hey, it's new content mid-week! McCain pacing about in the background and calling the audience members by their wrong names were nice attentions to detail (if you watched the debate, of course!)

Weekend Update.
Two segments that made up the rest of the half hour special. Sadly, not a lot of memorable bits, especially compared to your average episode of the Daily Show and Colbert Report. The "Really?" bit might be funnier to people watching SNL for the first time in a while.
But I did like the "Oh, my god are you serious" twist.

Will Forte and Fred Armisen performing their Hall and Oates political song was the highlight of the evening for me. Especially Fred Armisen. "Okay, I'm back, you convinced me!"


Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday Night Live October 4th, 2008

SNL Season 34, Episode 4
Host: Anne Hathaway
Musical Guest: The Killers

A consistently enjoyable episode with some of the most memorable bits so far this season.

Opening: Vice Presidential Debate.
This wasn't just good…it was CATHARTIC. Queen Latifah was a delightful surprise as moderator, Gwen Ifill. I loved her shilling for her new book and her large-eyed silent reactions to Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. Jason Sudeikis' Joe Biden still isn't a great impersonation but I liked the running gag about how he'd take a bullet for John McCain. Both VP candidates closing remarks were enjoyable as well, as was almost everything about this sketch. It was exactly the kind of spot-on commentary that helps me stay sane in this crazy world.

Predictable yet unavoidable parody of Anne Hathaway's embarrassing relationship with a con artist.

Lawrence Welk Show.
Kristen Wiig filling Rachel Dratch's role of pushing the limits of how gross and unattractive they can portray themselves. The bit seemed mean-spirited, since there wasn't any point beyond laughing at people with birth defects--which never really leaves you feeling great.

Economic Bailout Sketch.
Perfect impersonations of Nancy Pelosi by Kristen Wiig, and Barney Frank by Fred Armisen. Is this the first time Jason Sudeikis has played George Bush instead of Will Forte? It was a good trade-off, as I liked Forte as the billionaire left in charge of the economy.

Weekend Update.
Nothing too memorable this week, but I always enjoy Amy Poehler laughing at her own jokes.

Digital Short.
Almost pointless and yet COMPLETELY enjoyable series of silly competitions in a Monty Python-meets-Wes Anderson style. Add 2 points if you are fan of Kristen Wiig and Awesometown--which, I am!

Mary Poppins.
It's fun to see Anne Hathaway parody the role made famous by her Princess Diaries co-star, Julie Andrews. And Bill Hader was a perfect Dick Van Dyke. The sketch wasn't all that clever but the great performances made it memorable.

Mark Wahlberg talks to Animals.
Despite the obvious overtones to Tracy Morgan as Brian Fellows, you can't help but laugh at Andy Samberg's take on the Mark Wahlberg persona. Say hello to your mom, indeed!
I imagine they'll do a variation of this bit in weeks to come--so hopefully Samberg can find a creative twist to build off of.

Gay Best Friend.
It's nice to see yet another tightly written, traditional-style sketch on SNL, following up last week's Beer Garden/Ex-Boyfriend scene.

The less Provocative Songs Of Katy Perry (I Kissed a Girl parody).
This was the funniest thing I've seen from featured player, Casey Wilson so far. I haven't even heard the original Katy Perry song, but all her variations on it were hilarious. My wife and friend who saw it with us have been singing, "I held a cat" and "I saw a boat" ever since. A masterstroke of randomness, closing out a very enjoyable episode. In fact, this week was the first time in a while where I've noticed people talking about sketches beyond the political parodies, so hats off the writers and cast for one of the most balanced episodes in a long time! I'm very much looking forward to Thursday's special episode.