[COLD OPENING] Michael Jackson in Neverland
· Darrell's Geraldo impression.
· The part with Kenan as Emmanuel Lewis.
· The usual bad sketch with Amy's terrible Jacko impression. Why the heck was this chosen as the cold opening?
[MONOLOGUE] Hilary Swank studies the cast
· A lot of funny scenes backstage, like Kenan's, Seth & Amy's, and especially Rachel's parts. Plus, it's always a treat when they go backstage on SNL.
· A few scenes early on didn't work, like the Maya/Will bit.
[COMMERCIAL] Grayson Moorehead Investments #1
· Both parts of these commercials had the usual dry and low-key humor I always like seeing Jim Downey perform.
· Nowhere near as funny as the similar Grayson Moorehead commercials from 95-96.
Grade: B- (for both part 1 and part 2)
[SKETCH] Sheila Choad's Los Angeles Face
· Everyone's Botoxed facial expressions, especially Rachel's.
· Rachel explaining why half her face was injected with scorpion venom.
· Could've been funnier in parts.
[COMMERCIAL] Grayson Moorehead Investments #2
[SKETCH] Hot Plates
· This was just stupid, especially the more over-the-top and exaggerated everything became as the sketch progressed. Usually, I don't mind some sketches that get increasingly over-the-top and exaggerated, but it didn't work here at all.
· With the corny premise and cheesy sight gags, this sketch felt almost like something that would've been more at home on a kids show, like on Nickelodeon or something.
· Not even the ending with Will as the devil could save this.
[NEXT LIVE SHOW] March 12, 2005: David Spade
· I always look forward to seeing former castmembers host, and we haven't had one in a long time. Spade was a pretty good castmember and he was on during part of my favorite SNL era (the 86-93 era). He also did a good job when he hosted the show last time.
[SKETCH] Debbie Downer
· Well, at least they didn't use that tired "feline aids" line again for the 1,000th time.
· Ugh... It's Debbie Downer, so what do you expect? When will they realize this sketch only worked the first time and that nobody finds this funny anymore?
[WEEKEND UPDATE] Fey & Poehler, Tom Jankeloff, Morgan Freeman
· Fred scores with another great new Update character. This New Yorker bit was hilarious, and I always enjoy any on-location filmed bit Fred does for Update (like the Democracy Plaza one from earlier this season).
· Amy's Harlem joke.
· The Morgan Freeman commentary was pretty good and Finesse was surprisingly funny in it; one of the few times he's made me laugh.
· Amy's Detroit joke.
· Amy's manure joke.
· Amy's Listerine joke.
· Tina's jokes in general. We all know that Tina has been doing poorly on Update all season and is nowhere near as good as she used to be (although she’s usually still a little better than Amy), but damn - she was ESPECIALLY off her game tonight. Her jokes were particularly bad with no real winners, she looked like she had no enthusiasm at all to be there, and I’m getting tired of her inane and unfunny ad-libs after every single joke. Even Amy came off good compared to her tonight.
[SKETCH] Seasons of Love
· Rachel saved this with her hilarious performance as the crying coach.
· Hilary's crying faces got old and annoying after a while, and the ending was just stupid.
[SKETCH] City Court with Aaron Neville
· The joke with the announcer mentioning the sponsor at the end.
· Terrible, just terrible. Basically a poor man's version of The Barry Gibb Talk Show.
[SKETCH] Marc Anthony and J.Lo after the Grammys
· Boring and had no real laughs.
· Maya's J.Lo impression was really bad. She could've done much better than that.
· Could Hilary have made it any MORE obvious she was reading off the cue cards during this? What was with that part where she apparently lost her place on the cue card while she was mid-sentence, which resulted in awkward dead air as we had to wait for her to find where she left off on the cue card? Ouch, talk about embarrassing. I don't think even DeNiro made that bad of a flub any of the times he hosted.
[SKETCH] Project Runway
· Rachel, Parnell, and Fred made me laugh.
· I think I would've found this funnier if I actually watched Project Runway. I was lost on most of the jokes and references to the show.
Overall Episode Grade: D+
· Several of the backstage scenes in the monologue
· The Tom Jankeloff and Morgan Freeman commentaries on Weekend Update
· Rachel's performances in the Los Angeles Face and Seasons of Love sketches
· Michael Jackson in Neverland
· Hot Plates
· Debbie Downer
· Tina on Weekend Update
· Seasons of Love (minus Rachel's character)
· City Court with Aaron Neville
· Marc Anthony and J.Lo after the Grammys
· Hilary Swank's overall performance. While she was very enthusiastic and I usually welcome that in hosts, I felt she was actually a little TOO enthusiastic and hyper, and she also overacted a lot, all of which came off annoying to me (especially in the Seasons of Love and Marc Anthony/J.Lo sketches)
· Jim Downey as founder: "Many investors were referred for criminal prosecution by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and more than 7,000 had their identities stolen by the Russian mafia."
· Amy Poehler: "New York governor George Pataki and mayor Mike Bloomberg broke ground Thursday for a new hotel in Harlem. Then they walked as quickly as they could back to their limos and got the hell out of there."
· Finesse Mitchell as Morgan Freeman: "I don't want to be driving Miss Daisy, I want to be RIDING Miss Daisy."
· Amy Poehler: "Investigators said Monday that blood found on the floor of a Detroit home was not that of Jimmy Hoffa, but rather a standard feature of homes in Detroit."
· Amy Poehler: "An environmentally-friendly paper manufacturer in Australia has begun creating paper for marsupial manure. It's called 'The New York Post'."
· Darrell Hammond as announcer: "Guests of 'City Court with Aaron Neville' stay at Aaron Neville's house. And special thanks to Queen Helene Cocoa Butter. Now that we've mentioned your product, please send us free stuff."
CASTMEMBER COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Michael Jackson in Neverland / Debbie Downer / Weekend Update / Marc Anthony and J.Lo after the Grammys / Project Runway)
DRATCH: 6 sketches (Michael Jackson in Neverland / Monologue / Sheila Choad's Los Angeles Face / Debbie Downer / Seasons of Love / Project Runway)
FEY: 1 sketch (Weekend Update)
FORTE: 4 sketches (Monologue / Hot Plates / Debbie Downer / Marc Anthony and J.Lo after the Grammys)
HAMMOND: 2 sketches (Michael Jackson in Neverland / City Court with Aaron Neville)
MEYERS: 5 sketches (Monologue / Hot Plates / Debbie Downer / Seasons of Love / City Court with Aaron Neville)
PARNELL: 4 sketches (Monologue / Seasons of Love / City Court with Aaron Neville / Project Runway)
POEHLER: 5 sketches (Michael Jackson in Neverland / Monologue / Sheila Choad's Los Angeles Face / Hot Plates / Weekend Update)
RUDOLPH: 7 sketches (Michael Jackson in Neverland / Monologue / Sheila Choad's Los Angeles Face / Grayson Moorehead Investments #2 / City Court with Aaron Neville / Marc Anthony and J.Lo after the Grammys / Project Runway)
SANZ: 4 sketches (Monologue / Hot Plates / City Court with Aaron Neville / Project Runway)
MITCHELL: 2 sketches (Weekend Update / City Court with Aaron Neville)
RIGGLE: 3 sketches (Hot Plates / Seasons of Love / City Court with Aaron Neville)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (Michael Jackson in Neverland / Monologue / Hot Plates / City Court with Aaron Neville)
The best performer of the night was Rachel. Aside from Debbie Downer, she was very funny in just about all of her appearances tonight and saved a lot of bad sketches (and Lord knows there were many of them tonight) with her performances.