Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Morning Quarterback - Jeremy Renner & Maroon 5

I will admit to being a little excited about this week’s Saturday Night Live.   I’ve been a supporter of Jeremy Renner for almost a decade now.  He came onto my radar via The It Factor, back when Bravo had reality shows that a) were vaguely grounded in reality and b) were still worth watching. 

Anyway, I was curious to see what he going to do with the SNL stage, especially since he’s not really known for comedy.  Basically I was hoping for the best and bracing for the worst (which was actually a theme for me this week, maybe I’ll explain in a future post.)

Let’s dive right in.

But first, let’s review our trusty ratings;

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

Booknotes – This was an interesting cold open.  There really isn’t much political going on this week other than that story, and the cold opens are traditionally political.  I liked the stunned listeners.  I liked Cecily Strong’s reading.  The idea that the biography was written like a romance novel wasn’t the strongest, but it worked well enough.  And creepy Fred Armisen was very funny.  Plus I dug Steve Higgins getting his “Live From New York, it’s Saturday Night.”

Rating: Tim Meadows

Monologue – This was not a smooth monologue at all, which made it all the more entertaining and genuine for me.  Renner didn’t seem all that comfortable onstage and possibly with good reason; that piano mic fiasco was a pretty awesome live television moment.  Honestly, I really liked that Renner could barely keep his composure during while on the piano. 

I’d also like to note that this is the sixth monologue with a musical element this season.  While I enjoyed this one, I’d really appreciate some variety in the monologues.  How about an audience Q&A, we haven’t had one of those in awhile.

Rating: Chris Farley, Norm MacDonald

Your Hometown – This was the realest fake ad ever.  As someone who goes back to Tucson every couple of years, I can say that that ad pretty much encapsulates my experience while there.  In fact my feelings about this ad waivered between “this is spot on hilarious” and “this is spot on how I’m going to be spending my Christmas vacation.” “The deepest tv ever sold” had me weak. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

The Californians – First off, they got rid of the SOAPnet intro?  They aren’t even trying to pretend like it’s real?  At first I was pretty much over this sketch.  It’s funny and hearing the variations of the Cali accent is cool, but there’s not much meat to the sketch, ever.  All of Fred’s breaking in the sketch made it enjoyable this week, but I kind of hope they retire it. 

Rating: Chris Farley

The Situation Room – So Cecily Strong gets to play both of the women in the Petraeus scandal?  Nice.  Sudekis’ Wolf Blitzer was acceptable, but the sketch really did very little for me.  I’m sure that there was a perfectly funny Elmo sketch that was scrapped for this one. 

Rating: Robert Downey Jr

The Stand Off – I loved this.  It was pretty funny.  I enjoyed seeing how far they took it.  Seeing them having fun ice skating was a nice touch.  And I was even cool with Adam Levine’s cameo (which will mean so much more in a minute.)  Yeah, I liked this. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Maroon 5 Performance #1 – I don’t like this song.  I don’t care for the band having a uniform.  I really didn’t like this performance.  I also totally don’t like Adam Levine.  I find him grating and annoying.  Honestly I’m just grateful that he’s not doing the host/musical guest thing.  Though I will say that I could see him pulling double duty in two years if not next year.  He’s clearly being groomed for that. 

Weekend Update – For me the line of the night was “The head of the CIA couldn’t get away with it.”  I was surprised that there was no mention of Elmo, the week’s other big scandal.  I’m equally perplexed by Katt Williams.  It seems weird to me that Katt would even be on SNL’s radar, much less the audiences radar, yet Jay Pharoah gets an update segment?  Also Chris Christie totally killed.  He’s another person I could see hosting the show in the near future. 

The Avengers – Look, I’m all for bashing Marvel, but not like this.  This sketch was just a wreck.  And I get that Hulk is supposed to be huge, but did they need to use little people to force perspective?  It just felt creepy. 

Rating: David Spade

Death Intensity – At first I though Sudekis was supposed to be Vin Diesel, but then I changed my mind.  But he was clearly poking fun at Vin Diesel.  I liked how Dick Fuel had no grasp of the scene.  Actually I liked everything about the character.  I did feel it was kind of cheap having Renner play himself, but the sketch was funny, especially the bonding moment over Ray J. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Maroon 5 Performance #2 – Again, I don’t dig the trying for a uniform look.  Again, I don’t like the song.  I don’t know what to tell you; I don’t dig Maroon 5. 

Cool Drones – I really wanted to like this animated short.  I really, really did.  But the only thing that made me laugh was the overkill of the drone strike and that was mostly because of how long it went on, which was where the humor was. 

Rating: David Spade

Body Identification – This was hilarious.  I loved every part of this sketch.  It was pure comedy.  I liked Sudekis’ frustration and Hader’s enjoyment of everything.  I really liked Hader hamming it up his hands and kudos to Killam’s composure. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Final Thoughts – This was a pretty decent episode especially considering everyone’s been working for three weeks straight.  Usually episodes before a break a weak and while this one had it’s flaws (The Avengers) it also had some good bits too.  There were three pre-taped segments, with Cool Drones and Your Hometown clearly being roll ins that could have been made months ago.  All in all, it was an inoffensive episode thanks in part to lowered expectations.  

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