Saturday Night Live has been a disappointment, pretty much for all of 2013 so far. As a long time fan, it’s been challenging to watch. And what’s really weird is that the 2012 half of the season was pretty solid. Same cast and writers, different outcome.
But here comes Sir Justin Timberlake to save things. He’s always funny and he’s one of those hosts that’s talented enough to be a cast member. And he always brings his “A” game.
Clearly I’m setting myself up for disappointment.
Let’s start with our rating system;
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
Memorial Service for Hugo Chavez – Incredibly ambitious of Justin to be in the cold open. Generally the hosts shy away from that, but not Justin. And he sings! He doesn’t sound a thing like Sir Elton John, but that’s ok. This is a funny bit that’s gets a bit obscured behind things.
Rating: Chris Farley
Monologue – I’m slayed by the return to the Five-Timer’s Club. I’m not going to worry about the implications of bringing heavy hitters to supplement for a host pulling double duty. No, I’m going to relish seeing Hanks, Baldwin, Chase, Bergen, Simon and everyone else show up for this sketch. It’s not really funny, but the wattage is impressive. That said, it runs crazy long.
Rating: Darrell Hammond
It’s a Date – I thought that this sketch was unoriginal when it began and Hader was playing the host. But then to trot out Samberg, Martin and Aykroyd to rehash characters, it made me cringe. And this sketch took on a meta significance if you consider that Moynihan represents a current cast member being overshadowed by the show’s past.
Rating: Jim Breuer
Vegan-Ville – These bits are always funny, because Timberlake puts so much into it. There’s really not much more to say other than that.
Rating: Kristen Wiig
NuvaBling – This was a pretty clever bit. I liked the attack on Big Pharma and the notion that women care more about being fashionable than their health. It was also shot spot on.
Rating: Norm MacDonald
Justin Timberlake Performance #1 – Oh hey, it’s a song that’s everywhere. It’s that song that’s inescapable despite the fact that everyone feels lukewarm about it. It’s that song that shows how far past his prime Jay-Z is.
Weekend Update – This week may have been brief, but it was packed full of comedy. Infinity pesos. Honky Tonk Bar Fight Airlines. Stefon had me weak with Joseph Gordon Fisherman.
Tales of Sober Caligula – This is a very funny concept that went absolutely nowhere. This is a textbook case of a halfbaked idea. It’s sad because to far, this is the first original sketch of the night.
Maine Justice – This is a case of “be careful what you wish for.” We loved this sketch so much the first time around, but this time around it fell short. Sure the New England Neverglades and Praline & Andullie Chowder were funny. And the Benies reference was dope. Timberlake does a decent Jamie Foxx impression, but the crazy explainations for things were such an integral part of the original sketch. This time around they were sorely missed.
Rating: Tim Meadows
Justice Timberlake Performance #2 – So, this is two weeks in a row with white guys doing Black music backed by Black musicians. I bet this song is dope if you like Timberlake.
She’s Got A Dick – This is a perfectly crafted parody, but the punchline is so lame. And they really hammer it down. Hard. It’s so wack.
Rating: Jim Breuer
Moet & Chandon – Yet another sketch from Jamie Foxx’s episode? Wack. Yeah, it lends itself to a return bit, but the writers are lazy enough to take two sketches from the same episode? It’s mildly funny, but the unoriginality is wack.
Rating: Kristen Wiig
Final Thoughts – Yet another disappointing episode. Sure, maybe expectations were too high, but the writers phoned it in again. The only original sketch flopped and everything else was just acceptable. I’ve given up on being optimistic about future episodes of SNL.