Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Melissa McCarthy & Lady Antebellum

I love Saturday Night Live. I’ve got fond memories of laughing at Mr. Bill with my mom. I can remember the summer that my cousins and I all discovered Eddie Murphy’s Buckwheat, how funny we thought it was and how our parents (and aunts and uncles) probably hated the fact that they’d let up stay up late enough to watch it.

So, while I’m not the biggest SNL nerd in the world (or even at Fish & Spaghetti Industries) I’m a big enough fan that I’d feel pretty comfortable talking about the show with anyone. And that’s why I feel comfortable enough to do Sunday Morning Quarterback.

As always with rating the sketches here’s the system we use;

Phil Hartman – Comedic gold
Chris Farley – Definitely funny, but kinda messy
Norm McDonald – Funny, but not for everyone
Tim Meadows – Solid Bit
Andy Samberg – Funny, but overstayed it’s welcome
Jim Breuer- Crowd pleaser, but a bit obvious
David Spade – Trying too hard
Chris Elliot – Didn’t click at all, how did it get on

The Lawrence Welk Show – Right off the bat and things are troublesome. There’s nothing going on politically in the world? You’re going to start off the show with Dooneese acting goofy? And with Melissa McCarthy doing physical shtick. It’s barely a funny bit as it is and the inclusion of McCarthy didn’t help any.

Rating: Jim Breuer, David Spade

Monologue: Calling the monologue uneven would be kind. Sadly it’s here that the episode beings to take it’s shape. Rather than a well written monologue, we get more reliance on physical comedy with a hint of chemistry between McCarthy and Wiig. The “I’m about to dance, but wait a minute” joke got tired fast. The monologue wasn’t clever, but more than that, it wasn’t funny. Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan deserve props for their dance moves.

Rating: Jim Breuer, David Spade

Lil Poundcake – Finally, something topical, although it came out of left field. At first I seemed like the joke was about an edible name, and then came the HPV shots. It was a nice blending of toy ads and pharm commercials. Maybe a bit too subtle? Also, the disposal of the dolls seemed a bit too rigidly pharm commercial.

Rating: Tim Meadows, Andy Samberg

Arlene – Look, it’s McCarthy doing a riff on her airplane scene in Bridesmaids. So now not only are the writers relying heavily on physical shtick, but they’re essentially recycling material? This would’ve been great for NBC’s “Green Week.” Is there anything funnier than an unattractive female character being overtly sexual? Just about everything. Which isn’t to say that there’s never an appropriate time to pretend that you’re fellating a horse, but SNL might not be the right venue. Bill Hader did do his best to save the sketch though and almost redeemed it.

Rating: Andy Samberg, Jim Breuer, David Spade

Digital Short - This was just “eh.” It started off as a goofy parody and grew into working. And shooting at the Blue Man Group was funny initially. But then it went on. And on. And on.

Rating: Tim Meadows, Andy Samberg

The Comments Section – This premise had such promise; everyone knows the worst thing about the internet are the people who leave comments. But then it went from promise to stereotyping and shooting fish in a barrel. People who leave obnoxious comments are losers with bad hair? Way to aim high writers. At least McCarthy was subdued in her portrayal of a clichéd internet loser. And then things end with punching. Boo.

Rating: Andy Samberg, Jim Breuer

Chris Rock on Broadway – Jay Pharoah’s Chris Rock impression must have killed in middle school, which is also probably the last time it was relevant. In case you’re wondering Chris Rock hasn’t had a stand up show in over three years, which in current time is close to a decade. This just felt like a ham-fisted way to wedge Jay into the show.

Rating: Andy Samberg, Jim Breuer, David Spade

Lady Antebellum First Performance – Speaking of popular things from the past, glad to see Country stars have jumped on the Metrosexual craze of 2002. Lady Antebellum makes it hard to defend Country music.

Weekend Update – Seth killed. Gaddafi’s Two Best Friends From Growing Up are always welcome, anytime. As is Tyler Perry. Thank goodness for Weekend Update for providing some much needed humor to the show.

Taste Test – Wow. McCarthy gets to play another sad sack. That’s never going to get old. Actually this bit is mildly funny and equally predictable. Is there anyone who didn’t see Linda getting covered in ranch before the sketch was over? Sadly it’s yet another sketch with emphasis on performance over writing.

Rating: Jim Breuer, David Spade

The Essential: Lulu Diamonds– Nice. There was a modicum of effort to make this sketch funny. McCarthy had some funny lines as did her suitors. But again, there’s the reliance on physical comedy. Isn’t McCarthy falling down stairs funny? Not particularly. Maybe it’ll be funnier the fifth time it happens.

Rating: Andy Samberg, Jim Breuer, David Spade

Lady Antebellum Second Performance – Do Country music aficionados feel about Lady Antebellum the way Hip-Hop aficionados feel about LMFAO or Kreayshawn? It’s something to consider. The chemistry between the two lead singers in Lady Antebellum is remarkable. It’s like the chemistry that exists between to actors on two different shows airing on different nights on separate networks.

Bar Skit – It’s a typical five to one skit. It’s goofy and the jokes hit like a sledgehammer. It’s not notable and certainly not memorable, but it’s an inoffensive enough way to end the show.

Rating: Tim Meadows

Final Thoughts: It felt like the writers too a week off. The preponderance of physical bits and the reliance on McCarthy to freestyle was annoying and practically every skit feel the same. It seemed like the writers weren’t focused on writing funny material so much as they were writing Melissa McCarthy material. The fact that Wiig, Hader and Armisen barely showed up was troubling. This is not a good sign.

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