Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Morning Quarterback – Dakota Johnson & Alabama Shakes

I’ll admit to still being on a nostalgia high for SNL.  The 40th Anniversary special was pretty dope, despite all of the people who tried to make it out to be disappointing.  It was a very dope celebration of a very influential show. 

I’ll also admit to be slightly excited for Dakota Johnson hosting.  I’ve not seen Fifty Shades of Grey and I probably never will, but I’m always up for an unknown quantity hosting SNL, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a quantity more unknown than Johnson. 

I’m kind of expecting to be slayed. 

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

Rudy Giulaini Cold Open – Much like the movie it’s parodying, I appreciated it more than I enjoyed it.  I definitely appreciate SNL taking a shot at Rudy, which feels rather big.  But at the same time it was Killam doing Rudy via a Michael Keaton impression.  Yeah, the parallels between Rudy and Keaton’s character are crystal clear, but it just wasn’t all that funny. 

Rating: Janeane Garofalo

Monologue – First and foremost, I dig Johnson’s awkward energy.  It comes off as playful rather than stressful.  Sadly the monologue is rather lacking.  It touches upon the two things I already know about Johnson; what movie she’s in and who her parents are.  Kinda lame. 

Rating: Tim Meadows

Isis Ad – This was a really well done ad, apart from the Back to the Future-esque screaming while driving away.  To be clear, I’m not defending Isis, I’m just saying that that particular aspect of the ad felt lazy.  But apart from that it was pretty spot on and funny. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

Cinderella – I’m a fan of Strong’s Kathy Ann character.  And I’m really enjoying how she’s being deployed into these storybook scenarios.  Her CBing Prince Charming was enjoyable to watch, though the sketch felt like it dragged on a bit too long.  The ending was predictable, but still worked. 

Rating: Kristen Wiig

Brave – It’s a pretty simple premise that’s well executed; women finally speaking their mind.  The exuberance of the truth telling is what really sells this bit.  As opposed to the previous sketch, I never got tired of hearing the music kick in and seeing the women celebrate the truth. 

Rating: Phil Hartman

Fifty Shade of Grey Presser – I’m really hoping that Peter Scott Finley makes it as a reoccurring character, because Mooney killed it on this first outing.  Finley’s professionalism is second only to his snark.  I love this 5th Grader even has a concept of a “time crunch.”  The setups to his questions are hilarious and watching Johnson squirm adds that extra layer of believability. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

Millennial Interns – This is a weird sketch.  Honestly, I’d have been fine if it was just the three interns complaining about various things.  Here’s one time where I’m advocating a lack of story for a sketch.  Margo’s plight is funny, but I really just wanted to find out of those three interns would ever find something that they literally could.  But the stuff about Margo breaking her arms from stage diving at karaoke where no one caught here was pretty funny.  

Rating:  Kristen Wiig

Alabama Shakes Performance #1 – I dig Alabama Shakes.  I love Brittany’s voice and stage presence.  I dig her Prince earrings.  I fully support the bassist doing his George R.R. Martin cosplay. But seriously, it’s all about Brittany; she’s putting it all out there and she’s completely fearless. 

Weekend Update – Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of those bits that completely grew on me.  At first I wasn’t really a fan of the whole catchphrase aspect, but the more it happened, the more I was onboard.  Pharaoh’s Kanye perplexes me a bit.  I’m curious why Pharoah doesn’t try to incorporate Kanye’s weird interview voice into his impression.  Also, was that Sasheer’s actual tattoo on her thigh?  That thing didn’t impress me much.  Riblet’s return wasn’t surprising, but he’s an enjoyable character so hopefully SNL won’t run into the ground. 

Worf M. D. – I really liked this sketch.  It was super weird and Dakota almost broke.  It was almost certainly in response to Nimoy’s death, which means it was written on the fly.  But I loved everything about this sketch.  I loved that Kenan’s doing it get his love back.  I also enjoyed his voice.  If only NBC were actually making this show, I might actually watch an NBC sitcom. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

Net Effect – Can I say for the record, that I’m completely over Jones punking people in the sketches she’s in.  I’m tired of it and it gets less and less funny the more it shows up.  Also, what was up with the bit about Dakota’s character being into getting slapped?  Was that the lame attempt at meta humor?  Boo.  This sketch didn’t really have anything going for it and it went downhill from there. 

Rating: David Spade

Alabama Shakes Performance #2 – I love this song.  It’s like a slow ballad.  The more I’m hearing it the more I fall in love with it.  I dig how it’s just the band  and no superfluous folks on stage.  I really enjoy the vulnerability of the lyrics.  Really, I think I just love every part of this song. 

Mr Riot Films – A nice parody of socially conscious YouTube prank show.  The preachiness of Mooney and Beckett when they chastise the people who fail the test is delightfully conveyed.  And it was dope how far they went to attack the concept of bullying. 

Rating: Norm Macdonald

Final Thoughts – Dakota Johnson did a decent job hositng.  She fully commit to every sketch, but she also didn’t ruin anything either.  She was perfectly fine as a host. 

Host Rating: Josh Hutcherson.   

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