Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Miley Cyrus

Like most of America, I’m effectively over Miley Cyrus, which is one of the reasons I was dreading tonight’s SNL.  Another reason; I’ve got zero confidence in the writers at this point.  I know, I know; it’s only the second week.  But the premiere was so unimpressive, that I’ve got no faith in anyone writing anything on Saturday Night Live. 

Of course there’s a difference between uninspired and lazy.  Lazy is what happens at the end of the year (or a long run of episodes) and uninspired is usually what happens when a musician hosts or pulls double duty. 

Oh crap.

Before we begin let’s jump into 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

VMA Cold Open – On one hand props to SNL for getting the VMA’s out of the way early.  On the other hand, boo for not doing something with a bit of bite about Government Shutdown.  (In hindsight I realize that it might have stepped on the “We Did Stop” video, but still.)  The impressions were solid.  But I’m way over “Miley smokes weed” hysteria.  I did appreciate the critique on the reaction to the VMA’s though. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Monologue – First off, I applaud everyone for tackling Miley’s press straight on.  Twerking? Check.  Race? Check.  Video for Wrecking Ball.  Check.  And it was actually pretty funny too.  It was like a laser, so precise.  It’s easily the briefest monologue in recent memory. 

Rating: Chris Farley

50 Shades of Grey Screen Tests – Screen test sketches are really surefire hits.  They don’t require much writing and rely pretty solely on impressions.  I love them.  There were definitely some dope impressions in there; Chrisof Waltz, Scarlett Johansen, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jane Lynch.  (Does Kate McKinnon have and impression of every lesbian in Hollywood in her back pocket?)  Everyone else was just passable, but still made me laugh. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Girlfriends Talk Show – I’m glad this sketch is back, because it’s always been a pretty strong one.  While I enjoy it, I do wish they’d switch up the formula a bit.  I really enjoyed Aidy’s character relishing in being treated like an adult.  And the two friend competing for Cecily feels kind of new. I do wish there was an actual ending to the sketch though.  Miley contributed very little, but also didn’t distract. 

Rating:  Tim Meadows

We Did Stop – Pretty funny concept, placing Boehner and Bachmann in Miley’s video.  There was a bit of a disconnect in that Killam’s Boehner was appropriately awkward, while Miley’s Bachmann seemed right at home.  The reworked lyrics were pretty funny too.  But it kind of dragged on after the initial joke wore off. 

Rating: Darrell Hammond

Piers Morgan Live – Nice of SNL to utilize their female cast so well.  I’m always psyched to see Nasim’s Ariana Huffington, so the sketch started off strong.  Seeing the different versions of movies of Hillary was pretty good.  They seemed to have the various brands of the networks down, which was a great deal of the joke.  Again, the lack of an ending bothered me. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Miley Cyrus Performance #1 – Honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard this song.  I’m a sucker for a good “end of a relationship” song.  I dog how passionately she’s singing.  And while I’m willing to put my biases against Miley aside, I genuinely can’t wait to hear someone cover this song, acoustically or otherwise. (After her second performance, I’m glad to see Miley reading my thoughts.)

Weekend Update – For a week that felt like it had a ton of things happen, it felt weird to have three correspondents.  Apparently McKinnon’s Pat Lynhart came out with Jacob’s chair, which was entertaining to see.  Equally dope to see; Cecily interacting with correspondents.  I liked seeing Jacob react to a new anchor.  This week’s Update just didn’t feel quotable. 

Cheerleading Practice – This sketch was just a mess.  I wonder what technical difficulties happened that necessitated switching to a camera with full view of a guy hooking up rigs.  And while that took everyone out of the sketch, the sketch was flawed from the start.  Aidy Bryant, who I love, was completely off rhythm and the premise of the sketch was flawed.  If the joke is that Miley’s lead cheerleader is unflappable, half of her lines were stepped on by laughter, which just leaves the other cheerleaders reactions.  It was a weak sketch. 

Rating: Janeane Garofalo

Mornin’ Miami Promos – This sketch was brilliant.  Everything worked.  The disdain between takes.  The corny copy with fake enthusiasm.  And the build up/pay off with the full names was executed perfectly.  Seriously, this was a flawless sketch. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Miley Cyrus Performance #2 – First off, I’ve got to laugh because it’s an acoustic version of We Won’t Stop.  Very nicely done Miley.  But I’m of two minds about the dwarf guitarist.  On one hand it’s entirely dope to see that minority represented.  But on the other hand it feels mildly exploitative, especially since she’s doing a song that’s been saddled with the exploitation tag on it.  Also, she’s crazy nasally. 

Poetry Class – As soon as Bayer opens her mouth, she sounds like a Fred Armisen character.  I don’t know if this was written by someone who worked with Fred on his characters or if she’s just channeling him, but it was distracting.  I was happy to see Aidy Bryant step up and almost steal the sketch.  But this one really didn’t go anywhere and the jokes felt few and far between. 

Rating: Darrell Hammond

Kyle’s Office – I loved this sketch.  I’m a sucker for absurdist bits and this one was entirely dope.  Equally dope; seeing the new guys doing something and venturing into having personality.  But yeah, this was pretty much just straight comedy. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Final Thoughts – Three taped bits. Technical problems.  Clearly SNL is still working things out in the new season.  I’m glad to see that Aidy Bryant is still stepping up and impressing.  I’m also glad to see that Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are trying to break out of the pack of new cast members.  As a host Miley was entire adequate.  She didn’t really bring that much to the table other than a comfort level in front of tv cameras.  I am looking forward to next week to see what Bruce Willis does when he returns to 30 Rock.   

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