Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Jim Parsons & Beck

So, it’s the first episode of the post-Seth Meyers era for SNL.  Fortunately there’s another witty white guy to take his place.  Phew! Disaster averted. 

Also, since it’s the Saturday before the Oscars, I’ve got to believe that Saturday Night Live was sort of desperate for talent in terms of hosting.  They got Jim Parsons, who is allegedly known for doing comedy. 

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

Quick editorial note: I usually watch the episode and take notes before writing the SMQB.  However because I attended the AMC Best Picture Showcase, this week I’ll be basically writing as I’m watching.  So it may be a bit rough around the edges. 

Ellen Cold Open – McKinnon’s impression is Ellen is great.  Man, this sketch is toothless.  It’s also brutal.  Parson’s Weir seems way more Parsons than Weir.  Tara Lipinski in a pocket?  SNL’s been off for a month and this is how they start things off? 

Rating: Janeane Garofalo

Monologue – This monologue is not funny.  But it does feel like Parsons had a ton of input on the monologue and possibly wrote it himself, at least the beginning part.  A singing monologue?  Trotting out almost adequate impressions?  Parsons is not that guy and this monologue is not that funny. 

Rating: David Spade

Tonkerbell – Aidy Bryant as a saucy fairy.  I like the relationship between Peter and Tonkerbell.  I’m slightly confused by what was supposed to be accomplished by the high-five?  Was it supposed to be funny?  Also, Parsons’ reading is distracting. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

The Bird Bible – I dig the weird premise.  I like the awkward acting.  I do like that the Bird Bible may have a “faint egg smell.”  This feels like a bit that would come on post-Update.  But props for placing it here, when the episode needs a boost of creativity. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

The Killer Files – This is a pretty funny premise.  It plays to Parsons’ strength of looking creepy.  Wait, pieces of body getting found in the Soul Train green room didn’t get a laugh?  That’s odd.  Or completely appropriate.  Marc Allen Henry’s Khaki Pants Breakdown is a funny extension of the joke.  Of course this entire Dance Floor Killer sketch continues the SNL trend of doing filmed sketches with live wraparound.  I believe every episode in 2014 has had one.  The sketch is funny enough, mainly because the episode has dropped the bar so incredibly low. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Oscar Profiles – Another filmed bit?  Of course this sketch is borderline meta since Taran Killam was actually in 12 Years a Slave.  This is a pretty funny bit.  The reveal of Jerome as the cameraman was a very nice touch.  The awkwardness was pretty awesome. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Beck Performance #1 – I’m always excited for a new Beck album.  In fact Beck is probably the only Scientologist whose work I’m still anxious to consume.  Based on this song it seems like his next album will be more about live instrumentation than producer based.  I like this song.  But then again, I like Beck.  Also, I’m sure glad to see he’s still got his bass player with him.  That dude rocks. 

Weekend Update – Wow, I really didn’t care for that earnest opening.  Not one bit.  Jost does not look comfortable, which is making me uncomfortable.  What was up with that weird cut to Cecily while Shaq and Barkely were getting situated?  Pharoah missing his line was great.  Jebidiah Atkinson?  I really like his offense to people not liking a joke.  Props on a Woody Allen joke. 

Hillhurst Murder Mystery Dinner – Good gravy this sketch is painful.  The staging is poorly conceived and Parsons inability to not stare directly at the cuecards kills any momentum that the sketch could possibly have.  I feel badly for anyone involved in this sketch, but mostly for whoever thought Parsons would be a good host. 

Rating: Jim Breuer

Spotlightz – Really, this sketch makes a second appearance?  The premise works, because it’s topical, but the joke of Parsons character mouthing his partners lines is undercut by the fact that Parsons has been reading his lines all night long.  We get a second reference to the Somali pirates of Captain Phillips.  This sketch actually wasn’t all that bad.  I’m surprised it came back, but it worked much better this time around. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Beck Performance #2 – This is a dope performance.  I like that Beck’s up there, basically alone with an orchestra behind him.  And those opening strings sounded vaguely reminiscent of Radiohead.  I’m very excited about this new Beck album. 

Elevator Ride – It’s a pretty basic set up, with things escalating.  As each new person gets on the elevator.  It feels like it should be the five to one sketch.  Yet, it’s not?  It’s a quick in and out sketch.  Pretty harmless. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Cowboy Campfire – Boom mic in the shot?  At this late in the show?  Man, this sketch is like devoid of jokes.  It’s got on joke that’s relying nearly completely on Parsons, which, as this episode has shown is never a good thing.  And the ending was just bad. 

Rating: Janeane Garofalo

Final Thoughts: Wow, this episode was bad.  This is easily the worst episode this seasons and probably the worst episode in recent memory.  SNL’s was off for four weeks and they return completely mediocre.  The only impression Colin Jost made this week was that he’s not really comfortable and he’s so very white. 

This episode was so bad that I’m looking forward to Lena Dunham, which is something I never thought I’d ever type. 

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