Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008

Saturday Night Live
November 22, 2008
Host: Tim McGraw
Musical Guest: Ludacris & T-Pain

Hi, this is Dave's wife Raina, guest-blogging for the evening. I've been watching SNL pretty consistently since about 1993, when Kevin Nealon was hosting Weekend Update, and Wayne's World was in its heyday.

Cold Open.
Financial bailout meeting. Maybe this is TOO timely--I'm not finding it especially funny.

Opening Credits.
I don't know much about country music, but Tim McGraw is driving home the ol' cowboy hat stereotype. I'm surprised his quick song was as sincere as it was--maybe now that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are gone from the show, there's no one to write wacky dancing ladies into the guest's opener.

Clear Rite.
A dental sketch! Yay! Kristen Wiig does affected characters well. I know how her character feels. Whoa, and one of the new girls is in this sketch. I still have no idea if she is funny or not, after 20 seconds of screentime.

Dateline: Real-Life Crimes.
I'm not even sure who Bill Hader is impersonating, but it's funny.

Turkey Escape.
I was hoping for a Sarah Palin turkey-pardoning parody, but no dice. Actually, the real thing was parody enough.

(Real actual commercial.)
Tim McGraw has an actual cologne! I'm guessing it smells like cowboy hat.

James Bond.
We were just watching Dr. No last night, and we watched Casino Royale last week, and I was pondering whether they always play cards in JB movies. Verdict: I guess so. Bill Hader plays the part surprisingly well. Throwing a redneck with a camera phone into the mix is mildly amusing.

Musical Guest.
Aw, classy to advertise the release date of your album before you start rapping! At least he introduced T-Pain. The chorus is very 1992; I'm digging it.

Weekend Update.
For a split second whenever Daryl Hammond does his Bill Clinton impression, I have to check whether it's actually Bill Clinton or not. That's how ubiquitous it's become. New girl's Ariana Huffington impression: not bad. Remember Zell Miller? Didn't Will Forte used to impersonate him and go red in the face? It was more enjoyable when Zell Miller was actually newsworthy. Vote Clementine Dimpleflibby!

Ludacris Recording Session.
Dave asks, "Didn't they already do this? With Ludacris?" Ludacris and T-Pain need to be in more sketches, they're pretty great.

(Dave likes to flip channels during commercials, which only confirms to me that there is NEVER ANYTHING ELSE good on TV on Saturday nights.)

Sex offender/mental escapee goes to Thanksgiving dinner.
Oh, Will Forte. Sadly a sex offender character plays to his strengths. Dave says, "I'm glad YOU'RE blogging."

Prank Phone Calls on CD.
This one's an eye-roller. I guess Southerners are funny?

Musical Guest Round 2.
Weird Tron statue women dancing. Their metallic hair is freaking me out. I'm not even paying attention to the song.

Uno Pizzeria Bartender.
Oh boy, Dave's FAVORITE character is back. The Peppa-Up-In-Heah character made Dave cringe immediately upon the season opener, and yet somehow it's gotten funnier after marinating for a couple months. Oh, life.

Closing Credits.
No cowboy hat!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Night Live, November 15, 2008

Saturday Night Live.
November 15, 2008
Host: Paul Rudd
Musical Guest: Beyonce

Cold Open.
It probably would have been funnier if they got the real Joe Biden to come out and say almost the exact same stuff. As it was: it felt more true than funny.

Opening Credits.
Included two new 'featuring' players who were barely used this episode. I didn't get a chance to write their names down and they don't seem to have bios on the SNL site just yet.

Commercial Parody: Sproingo.
I liked it! A perfect compliment to the Boner Juice commercial from a few years back.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone in Baseketball was the first time I remember two guys making out on camera for the sake of comedy. It's been quite a few years since then, but I still appreciate comedians who aren't afraid to lock lips for laughs. Paul Rudd always seems game for anything and made for a great SNL host overall.

Scared Straight Sketch TAKE 2.
I don't remember if all of Kenan's examples were movie references last time he did this character. I think I laughed at least once last time, this version not so much. Nothing against Teen Wolf or Bill and Ted references!

Digital Short: Paul Rudd and Andy Samberg painting each other.
A good example of taking a silly premise and pushing it as far as possible. The ending could have been a cop-out but they went the extra mile and threw in as many gags as possible. Great job!

Slow-Moving Country Song.
Singing about a package delivery to an apartment is funnier in concept than execution, but I found the bit mildly amusing. I'm easily sold on musical sketches and the cutting over to reaction shots from Will Forte was nice touch.

Road Trip version of the re-occurring sketch where dudes sit around and tell messed up stories and then sing the chorus to songs.
This sketch always feels like a weak version of one of the oldest Kids in The Hall sketches. The addition of the moving landscape over the usual bar setting was an improvement…but not by much.

Musical Guest.
Beyonce gets angry. I wasn't into her new song, but I think Beyonce is a better singer and performer than any other female singer who has been on SNL this season.

Weekend Update.
Isn't it time to take Amy Poehler out of the credit sequence? Is it a contractual obligation to keep it for the rest of the season?
I was thinking "does anyone even remember Snagglepuss?" and then my wife asked, "was that a real character?" I guess she didn't grow up on Hanna Barbera cartoons like me. I give them points for superimposing a miniature Great Gazoo. My favorite quote: "Barbara Walters is easily fascinated." Why Justin Timberlake? Thanks for randomly coming out to make fun of SNL's most predictable aspects. I smiled at his impersonation of Fred Armisen's Nicholas Fehn character though.

Beyonce video shoot.
From the line "We're warmed up like biscuits," I was sold. This sketch was pretty much perfect from start to finish and had the biggest laughs of the episode. It even had a funny ending. Justin Timberlake earned his keep, and Bobby Moynihan gave his best performance to date. And it wasn't JUST seeing guys dancing around in leotards; there was actually some good lines and delivery too. Even Beyonce had some good moments. Was the woman with the slate one of the new featured players or just a random extra?

Having Will Forte repeat the word "don't" through a megaphone until people get annoyed doesn't seem like a great way to make people laugh.

Musical Guest.
I assume Beyonce was just performing to a lip-synched chorus and was singing the rest?
Those outfits sure were something.

Prop 8 commentary.
Could have been a typical "gay joke" sketch but ended up being pretty cute thanks to the fun performances by Paul Rudd and Bill Hader and the almost sincere ending.

A Short Film.
Repetitive words. No No No No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Lots of editing and zooms.
I'm impressed that they convinced someone to film something so pointless.

Nice of the cast members to point at the two new girls who barely appeared on screen the whole episode.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Night Live November 1st 2008

Saturday Night Live
November 1st, 2008
Host: Ben Affleck
Musical Guest: David Cook.

Kind of a low-key episode with some solid moments.

Cold Open.
I always enjoyed John McCain's many appearances on SNL, and thought he was a great host (loved the McCain Sings CD ad). He's a natural comedian and it's the context in which I like him best. The QVC follow-up to Obama's paid programming was an inspired idea and well executed. Creepy cameo by Cindy McCain modeling McCain's Fine Gold (cute pun).

They FINALLY show a commercial parody after the monologue and it's a repeat from earlier in the season? They really need to make some new fake commercials!! And bring back TV Funhouse!

The View.
An okay sketch made great by really funny impersonations by all the players. Kenan's Whoopi stare is priceless.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Keith used to be a pretty tongue-in-cheek personality, who I equated with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. But considering how intense and over the top he's gotten lately, he's pretty ripe for parody. Because as much as I agree with a lot of his politics, he's been hard to watch go off the handle on a daily basis. I imagine Ben Affleck and Keith Olbermann are on good terms and Keith won't lose too much sleep over the parody. It reveals how much political TV I watch, that I mostly appreciated Fred Armisen's imitation of Newsweek's Richard Wolf.

[I can't believe I just saw a commercial for the notoriously delayed Guns n' Roses album, Chinese Democracy. Is it a sign of the apocalypse? ]

Return of the Target Lady.
For a second, I thought Ben Affleck was reprising Bobby Moynihan's Pepper Sketch character. It was kind of creepy. I like the Target Lady's reaction to having a day off, "They make me take one!"

Staten Island Zoo.
The Giraffe with a forked tongue made the video worthwhile. I forget what animal they did a similar video for last time.

David Cook.
SNL makes it darn near impossible not to say something snarky about their musical guests lately. I kind of feel bad about being out of touch and not knowing who they are…and yet I can't imagine ever sitting through them again.

Weekend Update.
It's felt weird not to have a co-host for Seth Meyers, until I remember that Weekend Update only had one host for years and years! But for some reason Seth comes across as nervous and unsure without Amy there. I’m glad John McCain came back to show off his new campaign strategy, "The Sad Grandpa."

I started rolling my eyes at Will Forte and Fred Armisen doing another one of their stupid songs. But this one was better than most.

She used to annoy me, but much to my own surprise, Kristen Wiig's reoccurring Aunt Linda is actually starting to grow on me.

Night School Musical.
A decent idea that just barely came together. I liked Andy Samberg needing a time out and Bill Hader's narration. Always nice of Darrel Hammond to make a cameo on his own show.

Disney Pitch Meeting.
A solid character showpiece for Bill Hader. I liked it.

Times Square Coat.
Another funny idea, that wasn't all that funny to watch. I liked the idea of the coat turning into a tent. Two guys screaming at the screen with Austrian accents gave the sketch echoes of Hanz and Franz.

Tina Fey looked awkward around Cindy McCain. I was sad Obama didn't do a last minute surprise cameo.