In many ways Melissa McCarthy hosting SNL before a month long break is strategic. On one hand she’s a strong performer, so she’s more likely to have a strong show to end things on before the extended break. But she’s also a performer who seems to be game for anything, thus the writers don’t have to try so hard.
This episode is also the last one for Seth Meyers. He’s the longest tenured cast member and a former head-writer for Saturday Night Live, so his departure means that the show will be taking a hit. Will he go out with a bang or a fizzle?
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
Super Bowl Halftime Show – I get that it’s a parody of a Broadway show, but this cold open feels long enough to have its own intermission. The shimmery jersey Killam’s wearing is a great touch. Not so great; McCarthy’s “womp womp” line, which I guess was supposed to elicit laughs somehow? The crowd doesn’t laugh and it become reminiscent of the Nancy Grace/”the babies” fiasco from the Drake episode. This goes on way too long. The big Broadway ending is good, but not good enough to justify the length of this cold open.
Rating: Darrell Hammond
Monologue – The flashback to justify Moynihan’s anger is great. Seeing McCarthy is full diva mode was priceless. If only the monologue had carried on with that or ended there. It didn’t and we get to see Moynihan checking his wiring rig in prep for his high flying fight with McCarthy. It’s not worth getting into. Needless to say, it’s more messy than funny.
Rating: Jim Breuer
Valentines Gifts from CVS – This was great and so real. Who does buy those holiday trinkets from CVS? Yeah, things went on a bit too long, but it’s still good. Bennett’s casual indifference when picking up the TMNT chocolates was worth the price of admission alone.
Rating: Phil Hartman
Delaware 1 News – What a great surprising reappearance. I’m not really aware of how big the NY1 reporter story got outside of NYC, but bravo to the writers of this sketch for using that as a reason to bring back Shelia Kelly. She was great as a coach and she’s also great a politician. And the escalation of things really maximized the comedy.
Rating: Phil Hartman
Women’s Group – PJ is one of those characters that McCarthy excels at. She’s trying to be normal, but she doesn’t quite fit in. The idea of a group of women getting together to realize dreams, and one has the dream to “avenge the death of my father” is a great premise that just needs McCarthy to deliver on the performance. And she does, like an ace. “Mostly ears and one penis.” C’mon. And she ends the sketch with a great exit.
Rating: Chris Farley
Guess That Phrase – Beck as the game show host? Interesting. Kathleen is yet another character built for McCarthy’s strengths. Remember how the previous sketch was a premise that just needed a performance? This one is a character that the writers failed to build a sketch around. This sketch is really under-written.
Rating: Robert Downey Jr.
Black History Month Song – C’mon, this is great. 1 - We Deserve a Chance. 2-28 – Slavery. Dug the shoutouts to Michael McDonald and Daryl Hall. I loved everything about McKinnon’s teacher. Moynihan’s attempt at a retort was so deliciously awkward. This was just great.
Rating: Phil Hartman
Imagine Dragons Peformance #1 – So…this song was used in a commercial for a video game, right? That’s where I heard it before the Grammys. I really liked how the band switched to percussion when K-Dot shows up. But the best part of this song isn’t anything Imagine Dragons does; it’s the orchestra and the build during Kendrick Lamar’s verse. Still, this performance is dope, despite having seen it less than a week ago at the Grammys.
Weekend Update – I appreciated the attempt with Buford Calloway, but his lines fell flat. Killam gave it his all, to no avail. Obviously, the best part of Update was Seth’s send off. Seeing Amy and Stefon return for it was great. Samberg? Not so much. But he also graduated, so thematically it made sense, though comedy wise he added nothing. It was great seeing Stefon react to Cecily. References to “…Kevin?”, Meow Meow, Yolo Ono and one of the best callbacks ever. Circus tickets anyone?
Museum of Modern Art – This did not work. It went way too long without a joke and it never recovered from that. I’m guessing that the tourists blocked McCarthy’s entrance, which ruined the rhythm of the sketch. McCarthy gave it her all, but there was nothing there. And the lack of laughter made this one drag on. Ugh. Again, under-written.
Rating: Robert Downey Jr.
Girlfriends Talk Show – A welcome change of pace by allowing Morgan to pick the guest. But also keeping things intact by having Kyra subvert things as usual. Also as usual Bryant has killer lines like “I’m dating the woman I’m becoming” and Strong has a great and creepy story about the desires of her boyfriend. McCarthy fits in decently.
Rating: Tim Meadows
Imagine Dragons Performance #2 – I’ve got to say it; I don’t really dig bands from Vegas. It took me two albums before I finally decided to give The Killers a chance and I’ve actually met members of that band. This song does nothing for me.
Summer of Diane – What a weird sketch. This felt weird enough to be a five to one. I dig the ambitious of the sketch.
Rating: Kristin Wiig
Super Champions with Kyle – Everything about this rocked. Kyle’s awkward interviewing skills were amazing. I loved his meandering mumbling. And the interstitial graphics were to gloriously lo-fi. This was good enough to make me forget how flat Mooney’s offerings have been thus far in 2014.
Rating: Norm MacDonald
Final Thoughts: It was either feast or famine this episode. The writers clearly relied on McCarthy to do the heavy lifting, to the detriment of some sketches. I don’t think I’ve seen a show as under-written as this one in quite some time. Basically sketches were either homeruns or strikeouts. Poor Brooks Wheelan, who I don’t believe I saw until “goodbyes.” That can’t be a good sign.
SNL is off for a month, hopefully they can recharge and build some momentum. Though, good luck finding a host for the show the day before the Oscars.