Of course last week’s episode of Saturday Night Live was a genuine triumph. Did it set the bar unreasonably high?
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
And introducing our new Host Rating Scale;
Drake – Outstanding
Edward Norton – Impressive
Josh Hutcherson – Fine Enough
Charlize Theron – Essentially an Extra
Seth Rogen – Expectation, Unmet
Jim Parsons - Awful
School House Rock Cold Open – As a longtime fan of School House Rock, I dug the premise of the bit. This sketch didn’t have a ton of jokes and relied a bit too heavily on Obama tossing Bill down the stairs, but I liked it. I liked Executive Order’s tagline “I’m an Executive Order and I pretty much just happen.” I liked how even Executive Order wasn’t completely sure what the deal was. I probably enjoyed this more than I should have.
Rating: Kristen Wiig
Monologue – Oh the trusty “questions from the audience” monologue. Generally I like this type of monologue, but this one felt a bit off. At the very least it felt under cooked. And seeing Leslie Jones in the audience when Kyle Mooney asked his question really undercut her popping up.
Rating: Jim Breuer
Back Home Ballers – I can completely understand why SNL would want to capitalize on “(Do It On My) Twin Size Bed”; the song was a viral success and at least 50% of the time SNL is creatively bankrupt. But where as the previous outing was about the awkwardness of crashing with your parents for the holidays, this time around it’s about horrible people taking advantage of their parents. The only good parts were Aidy Bryant’s awkward conversation with her neighbor and oddly enough Leslie Jones. Jones’ bars about the variety of bowls at her parent’s house was funny and felt real.
Rating: Darrell Hammond
HBO First Look: Anne – Ugh. I really feel like I’m done with sketches where the joke is about the physical appearance of the performer. Or maybe I’m just over Leslie Jones basically playing the same type of character in everything she’s in. Either way this sketch was horrible and Cameron Diaz, the host, wasn’t anywhere near a focal point of it. I will say that Jay Pharoah’s Jamie Foxx was pretty awesome.
Rating: Jim Breuer
Nest-Spresso – I feel like maybe I missed something, but this one did not connect with me. I felt like it just missed the mark. If they were going for hipsters, it wasn’t sharp enough. If they were aiming for consumer culture, they were off the mark. I missed the point. This one was definitely too weird to be on before Update.
Rating: Janeane Garofalo
Woodbridge Theater Showcase – This was such a well written sketch. It actually might have been overwritten. I really think it would have worked just as well if we saw the reactions on Bayer and Thompson’s faces between set ups, though Bayer’s refusing to identify her daughter was a great.
Rating: Norm MacDonald
Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars First Performance – I really like that both Ronson and Mars continue their unabashed love affair with Black music. And that’s a genuine statement. I also dig that Mars brought he crew along, because he really does know how to put together stage choreography. This song was such a throwback, but a great one. Ronson and Mars know how to capture the essence of a sound or era and replicate it. I really dig how Ronson has evolved from someone who was completely behind the scenes to someone who is now onstage.
Weekend Update – Loved the shot at Bill Cosby, which was a shot that only Che could make. Imagine how different that line would have landed if delivered by Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien or Jon Stewart? I also dug Jost’s bit on the immigration situation. But the Update joke that I loved the most was about never being able to find out who on Franklin & Bash was Rizzoli and who was Isles. I loved that joke.
While it’s always pretty fun to see Angel Merkel, I didn’t care for Jost’s abortive German kiss. Speaking of things I didn’t care for, Killam’s Charles Mason felt incredibly tame. I prefer my Mason to be of the Bob Odenkirk variety.
Dinner with Mr. Patterson – First off, nice of Sasheer to show up in a sketch. Beyond that it’s a typical Patterson sketch. Bennett knows the character and performs it well.
Rating: Tim Meadows
Dr. Dave and Buggle’s Animal Hour – This sketch is so one-note it’s a wonder it made it into the actual show. It you don’t find a monkey tearing someone’s genitals off to be funny, you won’t dig this sketch. Let’s put it this way; this sketch was so underwritten that not even Kenan Thompson could save it.
Rating: Robert Downey Jr.
Chris Fitzpatrick Video – I’ll go ahead and say it; I like this character. I liked him last year when he was running for student council and I was happy to see him pop up again. His beef with Andy Rydell was pretty sweet, especially the back story. Strangely enough the weakest part of this sketch was trying to give it a beginning middle and end. The attempted ending really didn’t fit for me.
Rating: Norm MacDonald
Mrs Meadows – Yet another reoccurring sketch and yet another sketch where the host is an afterthought. I haven’t really enjoyed her previous two appearances, but this time her more pronounced accent gave the character a bit more meat than before. But really this sketch could have been tighter and funnier.
Rating: Darrell Hammond
Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars Second Performance: Look at SNL being all unintentionally topical by having Mystikal perform. You know Mystikal, the convicted sex offender. So SNL, I’m assuming, forces the audience to decide if they can still find entertainment in someone who did an unspeakable thing. While I could totally appreciate the niche that Mystikal was attempting to fill, as the sort of James Brown-esque bandleader, I couldn’t get past the fact that he’s a sex offender. It was crazy distracting. It was distracting enough that I couldn’t focus on the song. The song was aesthetically pleasing, my objection was to the inclusion of Mystikal.
Night Murmurs – This a great five-to-one sketch. It’s weird enough and has the right number of components to keep things interesting. The poses and scenarios were hilarious. My favorite was McKinnon’s Latouch, mainly because of the insane stakes of her bet. I would totally call (212) 555-0199 to talk to her.
Final Thoughts: It’d be hard for any episode following last week’s to not disappoint. And this one didn’t disappoint in terms of disappointing. Up to this point, I was at least giving the writers credit for not falling back on reoccurring characters, this one episode had a ton of them. And the writers clearly didn’t know what to do Cameron Diaz and possibly didn’t trust her to do any heavy lifting.
Host Rating: Charlize Theron
Next Time: James Franco and Nicki Minaj. There will obviously be guest stars popping and Nicki Minaj will certainly be a filmed sketch if not a live one as well.