. . . There is no such thing as an ordinary interaction.
Well I’m really glad that the last episode of SNL, hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was good because this week it was just awful. I don’t know that awful is even strong enough a word for how bad this episode was. Usually I make two lists; one of good sketches, and another of bad sketches. This week there was not even an entire sketch in the good category, just one name. And it certainly wasn’t Daniel Craig’s.
Obviously, the cold open had to do with the debate. It was nice to see Chris Parnell back as the ineffective Jim Lehrer, but man alive this sketch was weak. Jay Pharaoh’s Obama impression is getting better but if the material and sketches don’t improve, I’d rather have Fred Armisen back as Commander-in-Chief. The monologue was just bad. Dear writers; if the phrase “I love this song but don’t know the name, can someone Shazaam it for me?” is what passes as a good joke these days, there is a problem. The catcalling construction workers wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad. It was just there and what seems to be a trend this season so far, it didn’t know when to quit. The “Bond Girls” fauxmercial was okay. I did enjoy Diane Keaton and Taran Killam in bed together. There was a moment where I was wondering how many people out there watching would remember Lea Salonga and then was really confused when they kept going back to her. I’m ashamed to admit I even wondered out loud, “has Lea Salonga even done anything on tv or been in a movie recently?” Well as a matter of fact the last tv/movie thing she did was the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables in 2010. My confusion only increased.
All that said- I’m an idiot. For it wasn’t Lea Salonga they were talking about at all. Rather it was that chick from Glee, Lea Michele. Once I realized that, those parts of the sketch made a lot more sense. They weren’t any better, but they made sense at least. Another sketch about the debate in which Jason Sudeikis was hysterical as a sleep deprived Chris Matthews. Keenan Thompson is always fun as Al Sharpton but overall the sketch was a bore.
The happy Republican girl who said nothing but how happy she was this week was amusing in her simplicity. Next up was the pre-recorded “Long Island Medium” sketch and if there was a highlight of the night, this was probably it. That’s saying a lot. Kate McKinnon played the reality tv “star” who makes a living going up to random people and telling them about their loved ones who died. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen the show so I don’t know how spot on it was, but it was funny. Bobby Moynihan as the subject of one of the medium’s not-quite-so-accurate readings was the first time I laughed.
Unfortunately Bobby went from making me laugh to making me unintentionally impersonate my dog when he cocks his head to the side and gives me that “what the hell have you been smoking woman?” look. Seriously, what on earth was up with that space station sketch? It was just awkward and weird and I’m usually a fan of awkward and weird but it was not working for me. At all. It was interesting to hear an entire audience simultaneously let out an “awwww” when Fuzz Aldrin appeared. Thank god there was a cute cat because otherwise that sketch was a goner.
Musical Guest Time! It was Muse and they were good. During the first song though I could not get past the fact the dude was playing an ipad. Seriously.
I don’t know why I was surprised, hell you can damn near perform brain surgery nowadays after watching a few YouTube videos but this guitar/bass/iPad thing he had going was just fascinating to me. If I learned nothing else on Saturday Night it was this- America still loves Big Bird. I mean, who can blame us? Follow That Bird was one of the greatest movies of its time. Put Big Bird on Weekend Update? The tv watching nation will go nuts.
Did you know that Big Bird is on twitter? Well he sort of is, he just tweets through the general Sesame Street account though. Sharing is a big thing on Sesame Street. Did you also know that Grizzly Bomb is on twitter? Of course we are! After Weekend Update I’m pretty sure Lorne Michaels spontaneously burst into flames and the entire cast was too distracted by it to actually put forth the effort to make the rest of the show watchable.
“Sorry Lot We Are” was just horrendous. When you are making references to movies that have been dead and gone for quite some time (The Full Monty and the even more obscure, Waking Ned Divine) people are going to start to think you are phoning it in. Even more aggravating was this was the first time we got to see Aidy Bryant do more than one short line. I had started to wonder if she was even on the show anymore because we’ve seen plenty of Cecily Strong and Tim Robinson but unfortunately not much of Ms. Bryant. If “man in drag awkwardly rubbing themselves against other cast member” hadn’t been done in the last episode, it might have been better received this week. Then again, there is only so much of Fred Armisen’s crotchtal region that I want to see, so maybe not.
Apparently Fred’s crotch was the last straw because after another performance by Muse, it was a repeat of the “Undecided Voters” sketch from last week and that was all she wrote. Thank the angels and saints in heaven above. So all that was in my bad/not good column. The only thing in my good column? Kate McKinnon. She was all over this episode and even though it looked as if Vanessa McBrayer was being groomed as the next Kristin Wiig, Ms. McKinnon seems ready for that role. Despite the entire episode sucking as a whole, she had some bright moments. I’m looking forward to see her performances as the season goes on.
To sum up: episode was bad, Daniel Craig is pretty but should stay away from sketch comedy, Big Bird is a fan favorite, and I’m trying to forget this show happened and just look forward to October 13th when Christina Applegate hosts with musical guest Passion Pit.
After last week’s strong premiere, I was looking forward to this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live, and thankfully it did not disappoint. This week’s host was a man having a very busy year- Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The cold open featured Jay Pharoah again, but surprisingly, not as Obama, but rather Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa’s new cohost. Can’t say it was good. I suppose it wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t good. Bill Hader as a brooding Robert Pattinson was funny, just not funny enough to save the sketch. I will say though, as a fan, it is really fun to see when featured players become full cast members. You would think I had birthed some of them given how proud I get when they make that leap.
When the monologue first started, I’ll admit to getting a little nervous. It was very rushed and the jokes just fell flat.
And then this happened. Oh yes, apparently Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s favorite movie of the summer was none other than Magic Mike. The dance/strip scene came out of nowhere and was appreciated by womenfolk/some menfolk all across the country. Bobby Moynihan and his second vest literally made me laugh out loud.
With the first “commercial”, I began to wonder if we are ever going to see Aidy Bryant for more than a few seconds. The “Undecided Voters” featured both Cecily Strong and Tim Robinson. It wasn’t as funny as it was sad- we all know there are people out there who could fit perfectly in this sketch.
The real question everyone (okay maybe not everyone, but I certainly was) is who is Albert? Some random guy was in the sketch as Albert who wondered where his power cord was. Random guy is random.
Next up was the first of two, “Son of the Most Interesting Man in the World”. I so desperately wanted to like this and it had its moments but overall it just got old. The premise was strong, the execution was a little tired.
Bill Hader as a caricature drawing P.I. was all right, a little odd but then again, this is Bill Hader we are talking about.
Next up was my favorite sketch of the night- “The Hypnotist”. There are many times when I’m watching tv that I’ll look away/do something else and just continue with the show by listening. I am so glad I did not do that with this sketch because I would have completely missed it. Set up was Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a two-bit hypnotist doing a show in some small hotel. It reminded me of Kevin Kline at the beginning of Soapdish.
The moment that Taran Killam lifted his head to tell the audience that he was not hypnotized, I was sold. And thankfully they found the right length of time to let that one go and it was just gold. Killam in his tighty whitey’s as a hot lady dinosaur dry humping Keenan Thompson? Yes, please.
Another commercial this time for the GOB tampons featuring Vanessa McBrayer. Predictable, but amusing.
Musical guest this week was Mumford and Sons and thank you sweet jesus they were a thousand times better than Frank Ocean. This could be simply because I am a fan of Mumford and Sons and not Frank Ocean but I didn’t fall asleep this week, so who knows.
Weekend Update was on fire this week. The best friends of the “evil dictator of the week” were on and they are entertaining but featured player, Kate McKinnon stole the show with her Ann Romney impression. I think my new favorite line is “Apple Picking: It’s like Mormon Mardi Gras.”
Who would have thought that Ann Romney was such a big fan of Beyonce?
Mumford and Sons returned, this time as a Beatles cover band called “Hey Dudes”. This was one of those sketches where you fully expected Andy Samberg to jump in at any moment. Outside of a forced Jerry Sandusky joke, it was all right. The real fun of the sketch for me was just watching the actors enjoy it. The “walk out into the audience while singing” was a bit hokey, but I like hokey so I was all over it.
The last three sketches of the night were sadly not very good. Remember last week when I was so excited that the last sketch didn’t suck? The same can not be said of this week. “The Finer Things” was the winner of the bunch- mainly due to Bobby Moynihan as “Teddy Graham” and Jay Pharoah modeling with a Hermes purse. The singing parents sketch was only saved from complete failure by the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a surprisingly good-looking woman. There was no saving “Powers Realty”. Flying wangs drawn on real estate ads is far from new, creative, or funny.
The goodbye’s were cut short, which is annoying, but it’s live tv so what can you do?
Overall? Even though there were some sketches that just did not work for me, I actually enjoyed this episode much more than the premiere. Why? I really like it when the host appears to just be another cast member. Seth MacFarlane was always reading cue cards and was obviously out of his element. Joseph Gordon-Levitt however, fit right into sketches like he does it every week. Perhaps he picked up some tips from the fabulous Jane Curtin while on 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Next week is a rerun of the season 37 finale (with Mick Jagger and Kristin Wiig’s farewell) but will return on October 6th with host Daniel Craig and musical guest Muse.
There’s a crisp note in the air (actually here in south Georgia there is no such thing but I like to pretend) which means fall is back and so is Saturday Night Live! Saturday’s premiere was hosted by a man known more for his voice than his face, Seth MacFarlane. I feel the need to be honest here, I actually can not stand Seth MacFarlane. I know, I know… it’s incredibly hard to believe, but it’s true. There is a very good chance my hatred stems from the fact that my husband watches two categories of television:
When the 38th season debuts this weekend, Saturday Night Live will once again have a new look.
Let’s take a moment here…
Are we going to miss Kristen Wiig’s fabulous characters (surely I’m not the only person who has to fight the urge to gleefully announce “APPROVED!” when their credit card goes through successfully at the grocery store) and Andy Samberg’s digital shorts? Of course we are. That’s not even up for debate; but they are not the be all to end all of the entire show.
There is no need to lament on how awful SNL is now and how it isn’t half as it good as it was “back in the day”. Before we can even have that argument we have to realize that “back in the day” has a direct correlation to the pastgazer’s age. Is pastgazer even a word? Can I declare it a word? I am.
Pastgazer (noun) – Someone who is incapable of being excited about the potential future of a television show because they are way too hung up on how it “used to be”.
If the pastgazer is in their 30’s, I assure you their “back in the day” involves Adam Sandler and Chris Farley. Someone in their 20’s (albeit probably their later 20’s) loves them some Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon. The 40 somethings are still plodding along singing the Chopping Broccoli song and answering everything, even when not at all appropriate, with “well isn’t that special?” You don’t even want to be in the room when they feel the need to break out their patented “SCHWING!” move. It’s just embarrassing. Then you’ve got the real badasses in their 50’s who scoff at the idea that SNL has been any good since Chevy Chase left… after the first season. They long for the days of random interludes involving bee costumes and Land of Gorch sketches with the Muppets; yes those Muppets, sort of.
I think we can all agree that everyone misses Will Ferrell. Surely missing the Spartan Cheerleaders is universal. I chose to live in a world (even if imaginary) where the vast majority of people grieve daily for the loss of those crazy kids.
Thing is, even with seemingly everyone in the universe screaming about how SNL is not as good as it used to be, it is still on the air. Which is more than can be said for many other shows (let’s have a moment of silence for Kings, a great show cut down in its prime. Damn you NBC.) so obviously they are doing something right and someone is watching. A lot of someones. Someones who still like the show. Someones who in 20 years are going to say, “SNL was way better when Nasim Pedrad and Taran Killam were on.” Trust me, it’s gonna happen. This little bit of casting news is for those someones.
After the departure of Kristin Wiig, Andy Samburg, and Abby Elliott, three new cast members have been added to the lineup.
While hailing from various parts of the country, all three recently were active in the Chicago theatre scene.
Aidy Bryant is originally from Phoenix, where she lived before she attending Columbia College, and then went on to make her mark with the Improv Olympic, Annoyance, and most recently, the e.t.c. stage of The Second City theatres.
During her time at The Second City, she had the chance to team up with the Lyric Opera. Who would have ever thought that Gretel was so well adjusted?
Tim Robinson is a Detroit native, starting his career with Second City Detroit before moving on to the Second City touring company and then The Second City mainstage in Chicago. He’s been a busy man – he recently put together a pilot for Comedy Central called My Mans that was unfortunately not picked up. However, in addition to joining the SNL cast, he also has been cast in a midseason sitcom on CBS called Friend Me.
Judging by this sketch with The Second City, we might see Tim right at home with SNL’s “commercials”.
The most recently announced addition is Cecily Strong. She is a Chicago native (well Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago) and also a Second City alumni. She was with the Second City touring company and also performed with the Improv Olympic.
Another commercial sketch, this one is right up SNL’s alley, no pun intended.
Lest the actors get all the attention, it was also announced that there have been two new writers hired for the new season. Neil Casey and Josh Patten both come to SNL by way of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York City.
That’s the news; now all that’s left is to take bets on how many Family Guy voices Seth MacFarlane uses during the opening monologue. Oh and we should begin the countdown to when Jason Sudeikis takes his final bow. While he’s listed on the cast page, he’s made it no secret that he is perhaps tired with SNL, which is sad. Actually I think SNL will totally suck when Jason Sudeikis leaves and I will never watch again!!!! While it was just announced that Mr. Sudeikis is returning for his 8th season, it is unclear how long he will stay though- at least through the elections which we can all agree is a good thing.
I leave you with this – a man who I think we can all agree, will most certainly feel the absence of Kristin Wiig like no one else.
The 38th season premiere will air on Saturday, September 15th with Seth MacFarlane hosting along with musical guest Frank Ocean, and his guest, John Mayer.