Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Morning Quarterback - Seth MacFarlane & Frank Ocean

As much as we here at Fish & Spaghetti hate Blogger’s current interface, we love Saturday Night Live more. So we’ve exhumed this corpse of a blog just for the Sunday Morning Quarterback.

You’re welcome.

Saturday Night Live is going through some growing pains, with the departure of Abby Elliott, Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg. On the other end of the spectrum the show gains Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson and Cecily Strong. Will any of them come into play tonight?

Before we dive into the SMQ, it’s time for our new and improved rating scale;

Phil Hartman – Comedic gold
Chris Farley – Definitely funny, but kinda messy
Norm MacDonald – Funny, but not for everyone
Kristen Wiig – So-so premise saved by performer.
Tim Meadows – Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it, dripping with adequatulence
Darrell Hammond – Funny, but overstayed it’s welcome
Jim Breuer- Crowd pleaser, but a bit obvious
Robert Downey Jr – Brilliant performer, not a lot to work with
David Spade – Trying too hard
Janeane Garofalo – Weird weird, not weird funny
(We made some minor tweaks to fill out gaps in the original scale.)

Obama’s DNC Speech – Fred Armisen’s handing Obama off on Jay Pharoah was cute and meta (and also seems to imply that Fred won’t be sticking around four more years.) Pharoah did a really solid job as Obama. He’s grown as a performer. We also got a taste of Killam’s Paul Ryan, who looks to be pretty funny.

Rating: Tim Meadows

Monologue – Props to Seth on the Farrah Fawcett joke. I was glad that we got the voices out of the way early and I was actually impressed at how many other voices he did during the song, though I could have done completely without the song. I get that he can sing, but I really wish he’d stop trying to crap his wonderful singing voice down our throats.

Rating: Tim Meadows

Obama Campaign Commercial – Wow, Jay Pharoah’s Obama in this wasn’t was good as it was in the monologue. I liked the idea of Mitt Romney being a total schmuch. “Mitt Romney probably gave Dan’s wife herpes” was an awesome pull quote. And the whole thing about Romney and Bain stalking Keenan’s character was very funny.

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Sex After Fifty – Quietly, Roger Brush is a F&S favorite. His first appearance slayed me and I was practically giddy when I saw Armisen as Brush. His gruff dispencing of advice is always welcome. In fact if there were a current character I’d want to spin off into their own movie, it’d be Roger Brush.

Rating: Phil Hartman

Clint Eastwood & Chair – “High-waisted hijnks” cracked me up. Coming into the episode I was expecting to see Hader’s Eastwood and I wasn’t disappointed. I also appreciated the “sitting ovation.”

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Lids – At first I felt bad for Bobby Moynihan, for having to do that performance. But as the sketch wore on, I felt bad for myself for having to sit though it. It reeked of SNL trying to be relevant, rather than deciding what was relevant. It went from lampooning a viral phenomenon to continuing one. So less than good.

Rating: David Spade, Darrell Hammond

Introduction to Puppetry – I really hope that Anthony Peter Coleman comes back, because he’s a great character. Hader knocked it out of the park and Macfarlane held his own as an instructor out of his league. Apparently someone traumatized by war is comedy gold . And when “Tony” started talking about the guy in his platoon, I lost it.

Rating: Phil Hartman

Frank Ocean Performance #1 – I loved the stage set up and the subdued mellow atmosphere. For me, the arcade games in the background were dope almost to the point of distraction. I do like how vulnerability is totally part of Frank’s stage performance.

Weekend Update – MacFarlane’s Ryan Lochte was solid. The Honey Boo Boo felt like it was just the opportunity to poke fun at the show. Cecily Strong’s Mimi Morales left me torn; on one hand she’s virtually the only featured player to get any shine this episode. On the other hand, it’s discouraging that the Latina stereotype hasn’t varied much from the Ellen Cleghorne days. Plus Jay Pharoah was basically a prop.

Boot Camp – This bit was inspired. It was such a performance heavy sketch, but every performed admirably. Macfarlane did an amazing job, Armisen crept in with a really funny moment. Seriously, this was a strong sketch.

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Steve Harvey Makeover – Keenan’s Steve Harvey has stepped up. This is easily my second favorite “talk show hosted by Keenan” sketch. It’s also the second best talk show sketch of the night. I like the line about looking like a Dick Tracy villain. I also liked subtle jabs that Macfarlane’s character was throwing. His uneasiness added a nice layer to the sketch.

Rating: Tim Meadows

Blind Date – Now this was funny. Jay1 pointed out that it was a remix of a Farley/Spade bit, but that they did it justice. I liked how far they took it and how you thought that Hader’s water tossing was the peak and then in comes Armisen to take it over the top. Again, Armisen comes in and delivers gold.

Rating: Chris Farley

Frank Ocean Performance #2 – The sound seemed a bit off on this one. In the beginning Frank seemed drowned out and sounded overpowered. And then John Mayer steps up for an extended cameo. Was he in the first performance too?

Yoder Wooden Spoons – I want to be forgiving, because of the time crunch, but this sketch just felt flawed. An Amish tv commercial? And I’m pretty sure the Amish have the alphabet. Not only that, but the names of the letters switched up. And then they ran out of time. This was just a mess.

Rating: Janeane Garofalo

Final Thoughts: This was a decent season premiere. None of the new hires (or even Kate McKinnon) really had any impact on the episode. Sudekis was barely present. On the plus side, Keenan and Jay Pharoah seemed to have stepped things up a bit. I honestly believe that SNL is on the cusp of a rough patch. I can’t see Armisen, Hader, Seth Meyers or Sudekis returning next year, so these new players need to rise to the challenge. But this episode really only had one clunker, one head scratcher and not real mishaps with mechanics. Good job by all.

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