FIVE STAR RATINGS SYSTEM:
***** = Excellent, flawless
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Poor, with only a few highlights
* = Just plain terrible
[COLD OPENING/CARTOON] The 700 Gang with Pat Robertson
-- Uh, what the hell was this? Why is a cartoon the cold opening? This whole thing was just bizarre. I’m all for SNL trying different things, but this didn’t work at all and you could tell this wasn’t intended for the cold opening.
-- I’m pretty sure this must’ve been taken from the TV Funhouse that aired later tonight, especially since it started with the announcer saying “THEN it’s the 700 Gang with…”, as if there was supposed to be something before that.
-- Aside from the bad placing of this cartoon, this just wasn’t really that funny, and was also extremely short. Unfortunately, even if it was used in the context of the later TV Funhouse, it still wouldn’t have been funny.
[MONOLOGUE] Scarlett Johansson
-- Amy’s new tan was distracting at first.
-- Some funny lines from Amy, but overall, I’m getting very tired of musical monologues nowadays, unless it’s from a comedic talent like Jack Black or Steve Carell who can make it enjoyable. Try something else, guys.
[COMMERCIAL] Taco Town
[SKETCH] Deep House Dish
-- Why are they making this recurring? I found this only mildly funny the first time in the Eva Longoria episode, but I knew the format would get old fast if they brought it back and I was right.
-- Kenan’s frequent comments about Rachel being boring are annoying and have already been run into the ground.
-- Parnell’s song and interview afterwards about his tranquilizer addiction was the only real funny part.
-- The look on Rachel’s face during the whole sketch does crack me up, though.
-- The “ESPN for fatties” line at the beginning was funny.
-- I appreciate the bizarre premise, but the execution of it didn’t work well and most of this was pretty boring.
-- The Swedish Chef ringtones commercial with Andy was so silly, it was hilarious and had me cracking up for a long time. This was the funniest part of the sketch.
-- I thought the husband was going to come out of his coma sometime during the sketch. At least it would’ve given Bill something to do besides just lay there. Poor guy hasn’t had any noteworthy roles in quite a while.
[TV FUNHOUSE] Intelligevision
-- The Hanna Barbera-style parody was done much better in Smigel’s Michael Jackson cartoons.
-- The girlfriend in the Celi-Bots cartoon looked like she was modeled after Scarlett Johansson.
-- Too many different cartoon parodies in one gave this too much of a sloppy feel.
[SKETCH/COMMERCIAL] Mike & Toni’s Chandelier Galaxy
-- An okay commercial, but made much funnier by the performances, especially Fred’s delivery. This was similar to that computer school commercial with Fred from last season.
[NEXT WEEK] January 21, 2006: Peter Sarsgaard
-- I’m really don’t know much about him at all. At least I was familiar with last year’s obscure host, Paul Giamatti. I just hope he does a good job, even though I hear he’s not experienced much in comedy.
[SKETCH] Duluth Live
-- There were technical difficulties with the microphones at the beginning: you couldn’t hear a word Jason was saying and the camera cut to Amy for a split second for no reason.
-- This sketch went on for a very long time obviously, but Will had me dying with his with his crazy singing, insane facial expressions, and chugging the Jack Daniels, and there were a lot of other funny things to keep it from getting old.
-- It’s good to see another “Bizarre Will Forte sketch of the week” so soon after the success of Spelling Bee.
-- Fred’s drum solo was awesome, as well as the look on his face.
-- There maybe could’ve been a little more variety in the band scenes or show Jason and Amy doing funnier stuff in their reaction shots, but overall, this was very good and the best sketch of the night.
[WEEKEND UPDATE] Fey & Poehler, Martha-Ann Alito, Andy Samberg
-- The terrorists and Starbucks jokes were the only good jokes tonight.
-- The bit with Rachel as Alito’s wife reminded me of that awful Update bit with Rachel playing Jean Schmidt from earlier this season, but the part with her doing the gang signal to the camera was funny.
-- Andy’s shaggy hair commentary was pretty nice. I’ve enjoyed most of Andy's Update bits so far.
[SKETCH] My Super Sweet 16
-- Not very funny. The problem was that the real show is ridiculous enough on it’s own that there was no need for a parody of it since it would come off too much as the real thing.
-- Scarlett had a few funny lines, though, like the one about the holocaust, and I liked Parnell explaining how he had to smuggle a nuclear warhead into Cambodia just to be able to afford the birthday party.
[SKETCH] Once in a Lifetime Jewelers
-- Nice sketch. Jason was hilarious in this, and I loved his laugh.
-- Good ending with him stealing the diamonds out of nowhere, then getting brought down twice with a taser, and STILL laughing about it.
-- I could see this maybe being a good recurring character since they could put him in plenty of different situations instead of just basically repeating the same skit every time. Same thing goes for Jason's A-Holes character with Kristen.
[SKETCH] Tiny Submarine
-- Seth seems to flub his lines a lot. He did it in both of his sketches tonight and it’s getting annoying.
-- This was similar to the Smorgasbord sketch in that I liked the unique premise, but felt they didn’t do nearly as much with it as they should have. This sketch was a little funnier, though, and had some good parts.
-- Horatio just saying “Hey…” to Seth when he was revealed as Scarlett’s new boyfriend made me laugh.
-- The twist with Andy as the intern coming in and the newspaper ending both sucked.
[SKETCH] Mr. Willoughby
-- This just came off as a poor Bill Brasky rip-off and wasn’t funny at all. Rachel’s performance was the only thing close to saving this.
-- Duluth Live
-- Once in a Lifetime Jewelers
-- The Swedish Chef ringtones commercial
-- Mike & Toni’s Chandelier Galaxy
-- Parnell in Deep House Dish
-- Mr. Willoughby a.k.a The All-Female Version of Bill Brasky
-- The weird, out-of-place, and unfunny 700 Gang cold opening
-- Weekend Update
-- Deep House Dish
-- Several parts of Smorgasbord
-- The ending of Tiny Submarine
OVERALL THOUGHTS: After the big success of the Jack Black episode, I had a bad feeling SNL would drop the ball and let us down with this one and I was right. A very mediocre episode, and the first bad one in quite a while. A lot of boring and poorly executed sketches, with only the Duluth and Jewelry sketches standing out as all-around great ones. Scarlett was an okay host but her timing seemed slow during several parts.
OVERALL RATING: **
CASTMEMBER COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 2 sketches [Mike & Toni’s Chandelier Galaxy | Duluth Live]
DRATCH: 6 sketches [Deep House Dish | Mike & Toni’s Chandelier Galaxy | Duluth Live | Weekend Update | My Super Sweet 16 | Mr. Willoughby]
FEY: 2 sketches [Weekend Update | Mr. Willoughby]
FORTE: 1 sketch [Duluth Live]
HAMMOND: 0 sketches
MEYERS: 2 sketches [Smorgasbord | Tiny Submarine]
MITCHELL: 2 sketches [Duluth Live | Once in a Lifetime Jewelers]
PARNELL: 6 sketches [Taco Town | Deep House Dish | Duluth Live | Weekend Update | My Super Sweet 16 | Mr. Willoughby]
POEHLER: 6 sketches [Monologue | Deep House Dish | TV Funhouse | Duluth Live | Weekend Update | My Super Sweet 16]
RUDOLPH: 0 sketches
SANZ: 2 sketches [Duluth Live | Tiny Submarine]
THOMPSON: 2 sketches [Deep House Dish | Mike & Toni’s Chandelier Galaxy]
HADER: 3 sketches [Taco Town | Smorgasbord | Duluth Live]
SAMBERG: 5 sketches [Taco Town | Smorgasbord | Duluth Live | Weekend Update | Tiny Submarine]
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches [Taco Town | Mike & Toni’s Chandelier Galaxy | Duluth Live | Once in a Lifetime Jewelers]
WIIG: 3 sketches [Deep House Dish | Duluth Live | My Super Sweet 16]