Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Lena Dunham & The National

Lena Dunham is a divisive character.  Some people feel that she’s one of the most definitive voices of her generation.  And some people feel that she’s a prime example of nepotism and don’t really know much beyond her lot in life. 

And now she’s hosting Saturday Night Live the only show that’s been attacked for a lack of diversity more than her own show, Girls. 

Of course SNL is coming off a truly horrible week, with the dreadful Jim Parsons episode.  So basically, people are going to be watching SNL with their knives sharpened.

Let’s get started.  


First, a prediction;


Of course, here’s 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

President Obama Cold Open – Nice of SNL to try to be topical again and tackle the Ukraine.  But of course Liam Neeson shows up and the sketch turns into a weird sort of parody.  The most memorable thing about this sketch was how cut Pharoah was.  That dude’s in shape.  It feels incredibly short and incredibly light. 

Rating: David Spade

Monologue – Boom, we get the first mention of Lena Dunham’s habit of nudity on Girls.  I like the pivot that strangers discuss private sexual matters with her on the street.  It’s pretty predictable and that last line about not watching the next episode of her show landed like a sledgehammer. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Ooh Child – This sketch was perfect.  It built anticipation and then completely nailed the bit.  And that ending was great.  Sadly, this sketch probably won’t be online tomorrow.  But it’s great. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Scandal – The notion of there being a new member of the Scandal team, who isn’t up to the task is a pretty smart one.  Beck wore Huck’s scowl pretty well.  And the idea of someone being completely overwhelmed by the goings on of the show was funny.  I’m guessing that if you haven’t seen the show, some things would be lost on you.  But this was good. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

What’s Poppin’ – Building a sketch about bad rapping is pretty easy and this one was pretty unique.  That’s A Rap were like a group of aloof hipsters with dexterous rhymes.  The sketch suffered a bit from the second reaction shot of Lil’ Taint Anthony and LeGod Williams and from the abrupt ending.  But “Tim is my rapper name” is a pretty good line. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Girl – This wasn’t as good as Louis CK’s “Lincoln” but it was still pretty solid.  I’m pretty sure everyone will be talking about “apple shaming.”  Killam did a decent job as Adam.  And of course the pull quote “even for adam and eve there’s a lot of nudity” was pretty funny. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

What Are You Even Doing? You’re Being Crazy! – This is sketch has some interesting components that don’t quite add up.  A talk show hosted by girls who’ve just discovered boys could be interesting.  Jon Hamm as a guy who’s still booking small talk shows is mildly funny.  Sadly the sketch doesn’t really go anywhere.  Hopefully it’ll never return.

Rating: Robert Downey Jr.

The National Performance #1 – You know what I like about The National?  I like how unassuming they are.  Like, I’d totally trust any one of them to do my taxes.  They look like they could be an accounting firm.  Of course I also dig their music and particularly this song. 

Weekend Update – Whoever wrote Killam’s McCoughney did a really great job, because it felt spot on.  The weakest part of the McCoughney bit was Jost clearly reading his lines from cue cards, that’s something he really needs to work on.  Of course I was slayed to see Putin’s Best Friends From Growing Up.  Beyond that, the jokes were just ok. 

Jewelry Party – Yet another sketch that had way too many components going on.  Right off the bat it took way too long to get to the joke of the this sketch.  I’m sure that Strong is going to get blasted for her accent tomorrow, which did feel pretty over the top.  O’Brien’s male activist at this women’s group was a funny premise, and I’m sure that’s how it started.  But they needed a reason for him to get there, hence Strong’s Latina character.  I really wanted this sketch to be better. 

Rating: David Spade

Pimpin’ Pimpin’ Pimpin’ – I don’t understand what the love affair SNL has with Katt Williams is.  Is anyone more interested in Katt Williams than the writers for SNL?  Apart from Whelan’s Jared Leto, every other impression as pretty good.  Killam’s Harrison Ford brought a smile to my face and Lena’s Liza felt completely wasted here.  And is there a rule that Noel only gets to appear in sketches that feature someone impersonating Katt Willaims? 

Rating: Robert Downey Jr.

The National Performance #2 – Another thing I like about The National?  How understated this performance was.  It was simple and good. 

Guitar Lessons – This is clearly a filler digital short.  (I wonder what happened with the timing for this episode that this got tossed in.)  It was funny.  I like the office guys that Beck and Kyle played felt very real.  And I dug Brooks’ exasperation. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Final Thoughts: This was a pretty solid bounce back from last week’s abysmal offering.  Lena was funny and looked pretty relaxed.  She actually did a good job.  Meanwhile Update still hasn’t found it’s new groove. 


Looking Ahead: Louis CK returns to host at the end of March with musical guest TBD. 

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