Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Night Live, March 14th, 2009

Saturday Night Live
March 14th, 2009
Host: Tracy Morgan
Musical Guest: Kelly Clarkson

Cold Open.
Was this the first time they did a digital short style opening? I thought everything about it was great. I wonder if it was inspired by real events.

Probably the best monologue I've seen in years. Great jab about being in more sketches than his 7 years as a cast member. And tons of fantastic quotes like, "I'm not actually a ridiculous person," and images of Tracey frying chicken in his shark tank.

Commercial parody.
I guess it's better to show a repeat than cut immediately to a real commercial. But seriously, they need to make more parodies per year.

The return of Brian Fellows.
I'm glad they went right to what everyone wanted to see. I assume that was the same intro and not a new one. I wonder how much of the set was held on to "just in case." This felt a bit phoned in, but I could care less. My only complaint was that it didn't last long enough.

The View.
I guess it's pretty funny to have Tracy Morgan play a different host on The View since he was well known for playing Star Jones. I guess he could play anyone and it would make me laugh. The naivte could have been annoying if not so pitch perfect. "I know what stem cells are, but what is research?" Kristen Wiig's take on Elisabeth Hassleback is also growing on me. One of the best View sketches in a while.

Scared Straight a 3rd time.
It's nice just to see Kenan and Tracy performing together. There's a lot to like about series of sketches, even if the repetition of format still annoys me a bit. But there's more pro than con. This also seemed like the first time in a while where the cast members really cracked each other up and almost broke character.

Bill Hader really has something with this character. It's hard to not smile through the whole sketch.

Astronaut Jones.
The opening sequence and theme song is still one my favorite things of all time (SNL or otherwise). They could show an Astronaut Jones bit every week and I wouldn't complain.

Kelly Clarkson.
Another American Idol winner. I guess I should be embarrassed that I've still never watched that show. The song didn't do that much for me, but I'd say Clarkson has a good voice.

Weekend Update.
Good impersonation of John Malkovich. But does he really have that chin hair?
There was an inexplicable camera shot of Seth before Tracy Morgan showed up for his "Really" bit. Barbie is no Cathy. But I liked the shout out to Black Barbie. All the other jokes about the doll seemed really old though. Did they not see Toy Story 2?

Big Love.
I'm not familiar with the show, but still enjoyed the sketch.

Digital Short.
Visualizing insults for people at a party. Great execution of an idea I can't believe no one else has done before.

Total Brilliance. Will Forte's "This is the wrong time for an erection" was the best use of him all year (makes up for all those MacGrubers). Anti-erection medication is another seemingly obvious idea I'm surprised I've never seen before.
Laying face down on a waterslide can be a problem!

High I.Q.
Is it wrong that Beth's dancing made me wish I had some Suppressex? It was pretty hot.
Not a lot to think about, but the sketch had the right mix of escalating randomness to win the game.

Kelly Clarkson didn't seem dressed like someone who would have that much rock guitar playing behind her.

Family Flix: Rocket Dog.
I can't really explain why this sketch cracked me up from start to end. But it got the biggest laughs of the night. It's horrible to laugh at the idea of dead dogs, but they made it work.

Gas Right.
Was this a new commercial parody? Why didn't they show this at the beginning of the episode?

A great episode. Sorry for all the Tracy Morgan fanboy gushing. But he's the best!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Night Live, March 7th, 2009

Saturday Night Live
March 7th, 2009
Host: Dwayne Johnston
Musical Guest: Ray LaMontane

Cold Open.
Yet another "sad but true" commentary, rather than full-on attempt at gags. Had some good moments though.

I'm glad "Dwayne" addressed his name evolution since last time he hosted. Something about his tattoo really grossed me out and made me question if he's doing okay.

So after appearing in a series of Pepsi commercial tie ins, the real MacGuyver appears in an actual MacGruber sketch. Ideally that should be the final note and they should retire the character--but I doubt it.

Obama and Emanuel.
Andy Samberg's delivery and devious smile totally sold it; The Rock's tattoo almost ruined it. The Incredible Hulk parody was kind of a stupid premise and yet totally cracked me up. For some reason it reminded me of SNL's late 80s political sketches.

Another Activia Yogurt sketch.
Guess I don't feel strongly enough about poop jokes to form a solid (pun!) opinion about this sketch.

Hooray for Tracey Morgan hosting next week! Even if he just retreads old characters like Brian Fellows and Astronaut Jones, I'll probably be happy!

Hawaiian resort performers.
Nothing like employees randomly making fun of customers and then doing a silly dance, and repeating till annoying.

Ray LaMontane.
He wins the "old-timey-sounding" award for recent acts who play music that evokes retro stylings. It'd be adult contemporary if it came out 30 years ago. Or maybe smooth jazz? White R&B?

Weekend Update.
For some reason I don't look forward to this segment as much as I used to. Could be the lack of Amy and/or Tina. I have nothing against Seth Myers, but something about him solo seems less enjoyable.
--Good bit with Michael Steele.
--The Cathy parody would be funnier if the hair went up without Andy's hands. Do people know comic iconography like sweat drop by name? Are Andy and Justin Timberlake total BFFs? Do SNL cast members appreciate how often he steals their potential parts? I guess Jessica Biel cosplayed a good Jessica Rabbit.
-Jon Bovi. UGH!

GameTime with Dave and Greg.
I actually liked the premise of callers speculating on the alien co-host. And Bill Hader's reaction to the water spilling on him was pretty great. I can't believe how many sketches cut to Kenan just for a silly reaction shot.

The return of Donald Trump mini commercials.
Daryl Hammond sticks around long enough to convince SNL to bring this sketch back from the dead. Not sure if these were celebrities actually on Celebrity Apprentice, or just people the performers wanted to impersonate.

UGH again! Sketches like this only interest me because I have a hard time believing they made it on screen. So random.
I wonder if it was bounced from an earlier episode. I feel like a year from now this one will at least seem funny in retrospect.

Overall a pretty unsatisfying episode with no real memorable sketch beyond the Obama Incredible Hulk parody.