Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Anna Kendrick & Pharrell Williams

I know very little of Anna Kendrick.  I believe she was in End of Watch.  I know she’s in a ton of other movies that I haven’t seen, at least one of which recently got a sequel greenlit. Other than singing, I’ve got no clue what she’s going to bring to Saturday Night Live. 

But I do know Pharrell.  I know three things about him; he’s going to wear his hat, he’s going to perform Happy and the other 50% of The Neptunes will be nowhere to be found.  

Before we get to the show, here’s the 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

GM Recall Testimony – I guess this might be funny, if I was aware of the story.  The escalation of her evasion gets more cartoonish and the sketch gets mildly funny.  But only mildly. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Monologue – Last year SNL totally overdid the musical monologue, but there’s been so much variety this year that this monologue feels fresh.  Granted, it’s from a movie I haven’t seen in decades, but it’s cool.  It’s also a pretty elaborate monologue.  Sadly the funniest moment comes at the very end, when Mike O’Brien clearly doesn’t know the words he’s supposed to be singing.  Sadly this monologue is designed to show off Kendrick’s singing, not her sense of humor or ability to be funny.

Rating: Jim Breuer

Fox & Friends – This sketch was all over the place.  Normally this sketch can just coast on wacky guests and outrageous retorts from the anchors until it’s time for the corrections.  But Kendrick’s Obamacare victim seems to thrown-together that she barely elicits laughs.  She’s a violent blackout drunk and for some reason her doctor has a restraining order against her?  Sure.  Thompson’s deGrasse Tyson was refreshing in that for once he seemed to be almost trying to do an impression. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Dongs All Over The World – For the first minute, this was a funny premise.  The fact that they stretched it into, what felt like, a 7 minute song, stretched my goodwill.  By the time the second verse rolled around, it had gotten old, and there was still the rap to come.  I’ve never seen SNL actively try to go viral, but this might as well have given you a link to tweet out. 

Rating: David Spade

The Little Mermaid – This was awesome because I was just mentioning, to no one, that SNL needs to do more parodies of Disney animated movies from decades ago.  I barely remembered Ursula’s song and I had to jog my memory to get there.  That said, the sketch acceptable.  Aidy’s Ursula was much funnier than the incongruity of Ariel’s performance of modern pop songs.  I guess I should give Kendrick credit for performing those songs, but since that’s also what I remember her doing in End of Watch, I won’t.  Also, the panic in Kendrick’s eyes when the wrong song was cued up first was classic!

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Neighbors – Kyle and Vanessa completely mastered the awkward patter of crushes.  And Beck’s Bro was equally spot on.  This was equal parts funny and accurate.

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Pharrell Williams Performance #1 – Have I heard this song enough?  Let’s see, it was used in the commercial for Beats speakers.  It’s also from a film and it was nominated for an Academy Award.  Yeah, I’ve been over this song for months.  I’m equally over Pharrell’s hat, though I accept that his refusal to take it off stems from the merciless mocking he got on social media.  But yeah, this did nothing for me. 

Weekend Update – Another week another uneven Update.  Colin Jost almost seems to be getting better.  Maybe?  Glad to see Merkel again and McKinnon has so much fun playing her.  Her dreams were awesome and I’m sure “do you want to go to make-out point for some boob touches” will be overused in the near future.  Kind of surprised to see Brooks make a return appearance as himself.  I’m sure people in the office find his storytelling hilarious, but it doesn’t quite play as well on tv.  And Moynihan’s George R.R. Martin felt rushed, and not just because his beard was coming off.  It felt like they wanted to reference Game of Thrones, but didn’t know where to go with it. 

Les Jeunes de Paris – Completely shocked that this made a return.  It’s been over a year, right?  The formula is the same as always, with guest stars Jean Luc Picard Madeline and Ruby Rhod.  And I guess you can count Nasim Pedrad as a guest star too, right?   

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Booker T. Washington Field Trip – Another returning sketch that caught me off guard.  While I like the notion of a field trip, the mics don’t make all that much sense.  Kendrick gets plugged into the sketch and does fine.  The insults hurled at (and repeated) by her zoo instructor were pretty funny.  Principal’s Frye’s referencing a monkey with a snapchat account slayed me.  Of course Kenan’s Coach is always aweome. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Pharrell Williams Performance #2 – I bet Pharrell’s performances were supposed to encourage people to buy his album.  Unfortunately I still feel burned by his solo debut from 2006.  Despite the appearance by Hans Zimmer, I’m still not sold on Pharrell as a solo artist. 

Big Joe – This was a pretty funny sketch.  Between the practical effects used to book Killam’s physique and his comedically low voice, I was in from beginning.  From his struggling to lift the rock, to the passage of time, to the song at the end it was solid.  Predictable, but funny. 

Rating: Norm MacDonald

Pharrell Auditions – This sketch was completely predictable.  And yet again, we get Kendrick singing.  This sketch was really just a showcase for Kendrick’s singing and Pharrell’s attempt at acting. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

NCAA Tourney: Best of the White Guys – This was the most daring sketch of the night.  “They’re basically on the team.”  “Giving it their best show.”  The reference to them playing in Europe before coming back as coaches was sharp.  This was literally packed with jokes.  Plus you get “When It Was Fair” narrated by Jimmy the Greek.  “These are your father’s players.”  Classic.

Rating: Phil Hartman

Final Thoughts: This was a decent episode.  Yeah, referencing two 20 year old Disney films might not seem very bold, but you’ve got to play to your host’s strengths.  Kendrick didn’t so much shine as she didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. 

Next week is Seth Rogen & Ed Sheeran, so expect guest stars and possibly James Franco. 

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