Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake

So, tonight is sort of a big deal.  Firstly, it’s the final episode of the calendar year and the last one before an extended holiday hiatus.  This is the episode that is meant to hold everyone over until the show returns in January. 

Also, it’s Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake together again.  Also it’s probably Seth Meyers’ last episode since he should be prepping for his new gig as host of Late Night. 

So yeah, tonight should be huge. 

As is customary, 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

Wrappin-ville – I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed with this sketch.  Not so much the sketch, but the decision to start the show with it.  This makes for a great post-monologue sketch, but throwing this out there, right off the bat, feels cheap.  Oooh Look, Timberlake sings and dances.  Oh wow, Timberlake and Fallon are very enamored with Hip-Hop.  There’s nothing here that’s remotely surprising, or entertaining for that matter. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

Monologue – I think it speaks volumes that the joke about hosting “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” didn’t get a laugh because not even the audience expected Jimmy to be funny.  Jimmy’s monologue was musical and relied on his talent for impressions (or mimicry if you will.)  It’s not bad, but Paul McCartney’s appearance is entirely predictable. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

Family Feud – First off, there were actually some funny lines in this sketch, most of them delivered by Kenan.  The line about Steve Harvey realizing his dream of being on mute in every waiting room was funny, as was the joke about NBC/Universal’s charity of choice being NBC/Universal.  Apart from that it was just a series of impressions, except for Brooks Whelan, who was himself for the second time this season.  I appreciated Timberlake’s impression of Fallon.  I didn’t care for both Timberlake and Fallon losing it during the sketch, nor for the meta moment with the number one answer.   I have to admit that it dope seeing two things; Pharoah’s Ice-T impression and the new cast members in a sketch.  But shouldn’t the NBC team have gotten the chance to steal at the beginning of the round? 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Twin Bed – This was a great premise.  And having the ladies of SNL playing themselves was a nice move.  The lyrics were funny and not even Fallon could ruin this bit.  The production values were great.  And seriously, who didn’t enjoy those throwback photos? 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Barry Gibb Talk Show – So, I guess I’m the only one around who doesn’t enjoy this sketch.  For me the only silver lining of Robin Gibb’s death last year was that this sketch would certainly be retired.  Nope.  Not at all.  I don’t know what looked more out of place, Madonna or the boom mike in shot.  I’ll confess to thinking “my baby ate a dingo” was a funny line.  But the actual Barry Gibb coming on at the end was about as unnecessary as this sketch was. 

Rating: David Spade

Justin Timberlake Performance #1 – I did not care for this performance, and not just because it gave me a seizure.  It felt crazy forced.  Timberlake’s entire routine felt more like a tantrum than a performance.  Also, it’s pretty clever to keep Timberlake in the shadows, so we can’t tell if he was “using a backing track.” 

Weekend Update – I ask you this; is there any prominent lesbian that Kate McKinnon can’t play?  Honestly?  I loved her cocky Billie Jean King.  I pretty much loved all of Update this week.  I especially enjoyed the line about Hoda and Kathie Lee’s intervention.  But since there didn’t seem to be any finality to the affair, I guess Seth’s coming back in January? 

Waking Up With Kimye – Ok, so I’m guessing the dress rehearsal had some pretty drastic changes, because given that neither Timberlake nor Fallon showed up in this sketch, it feels very cold open-y.  So this sketch got bumped back and Wrappin-ville got pushed up.  Anyway, I’m glad they’re trying to make this a reoccurring sketch, but they still haven’t worked out the kinks.  I dig Kanye as the guy who’s trying to show the world that his girl isn’t what they think she is.  I’m less than cool with Kanye being the guy who starves his girl.  Either way, hopefully the next time this sketch shows up, they’ll have worked out things. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Now That’s What I Call Christmas – This wasn’t bad for what it was; a parade of impressions.  The only ones I truly enjoyed were Axl Rose (mostly for December Rain) and Pitbull, because I don’t think nearly enough people make fun of him. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

A Christmas Carol – I’m conflicted.  As a watcher of Late Night, Jimmy seems to rely pretty regularly on the effeminate homosexual stereotype for laughs.  To see it here is pretty much eye roll inducing.  Also, the idea that one of literature’s most famous villains is a homosexual, albeit repressed, feels weird.  There were some laughs to be had.  But, I don’t know. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Baby It’s Cold Outside – This is a great sketch.  I loved the singing and the new lyrics.  And I loved how they dialogue kept going.  This was really well written and played perfectly.  Yes, it became “man, women be clinging!” for a minute, but the heartwarming turn at the end was sweet, in an endearing way. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Justin Timberlake Performance #2 – There’s not much I didn’t hate about this performance.  I hated that Timberlake put on his faux earnestness while he strummed the guitar.  I hated that the subdued performance still had a ton of people onstage.  I hated that we didn’t get a five-to-1 sketch, but had this instead.  Boo. 

Final Thoughts: It was an episode that by no means lived up to the hype.  Structurally speaking it was a mess.  The guest stars who popped up, were pretty much two guys who were in their prime in the 1970’s.  It was underwhelming.   Still, I can’t help but wonder if, when Drake pulls double duty in the next new episode, if we’ll look back on this one fondly. 

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