FIVE STAR RATINGS SYSTEM:
***** = Excellent, flawless
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Poor, with only a few highlights
* = Just plain terrible
[COLD OPENING] Anderson Cooper 360
-- Seth’s Anderson Cooper impression has yet to grow on me. It’s way too damn bland and he does nothing special with it, aside from a “funny” line thrown in at the beginning and end that always bombs with the audience anyway. Like I said before, if they want a new version of Hardball, they should try doing one where the host is actually funny.
-- Jason, Kenan, and Antonio’s parts were all good with a lot of funny comments, and Kenan’s part in particular made me laugh.
-- I’ll give Seth credit for a very energetic LFNY delivery, however.
[MONOLOGUE] Antonio Banderas
-- Okay…that was very random. Sometimes, random is good, but this just felt weird and it ended before they could really do anything with the concept. Still, at least this was a real monologue and it was short.
[COMMERCIAL] Basic Instinct 2
-- Pretty much just one-joke and uncreative. Will’s comments were the only laughs I got.
[SKETCH] Deal or No Deal
-- Fred’s Howie Mandel impression was hilarious and his facial expressions alone had me dying.
-- Antonio as the confused game show contestant was very good.
-- The part with the suitcase models was pretty weak and wasn’t necessary.
-- What was with the ending with Fred saying “No Deal or Deal” then walking off?
[SKETCH] Automated Voice-Over Recorder
-- The first time they did this sketch, I thought it was really clever and cute as a one-time bit. But it really wasn’t necessary at all to bring it back. Most of this was just the same from the last time, and it didn’t work as well the second time around.
-- Fred as the Spanish voice-over guy was hilarious and the only real funny and fresh moment of the sketch.
[SKETCH] Besos Y Lagrimas
-- Basically the same thing I just said about the preceding Automated Voice-Over Recorder sketch applies to this one: This really worked the first time as a bizarre and creative one-time bit, but never thought they would bring it back (especially since the last time they did this sketch was 2 seasons ago). And it wasn’t anywhere near as funny the second time.
-- Fred and Horatio’s expressions and the baby’s wind-blown shirt were the only laughs. The rest of this was boring and the frequent cut-aways to the Besos Y Lagrimas credits got annoying.
-- Was this whole thing prerecorded, because I can’t see how Antonio, Fred, and Rachel got changed so fast from the previous sketch?
[NEXT LIVE SHOW] April 15, 2006: Lindsay Lohan / Pearl Jam
-- Random observation: every time Pearl Jam has been the musical guest, the host was someone with double initials: Sharon Stone, Emilio Estevez, and now Lindsay Lohan. Weird coincidence.
[SKETCH] The 13th Annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Fashion Awards
-- The frequent dance numbers with Antonio & the backup dancers were annoying.
-- Rachel and Kristen’s parts were the funniest. Amy seemed very awkward during her part.
-- I thought Maya was going to appear as one of the coaches since all the other female castmembers were in this, but she ended up not appearing in any sketches tonight at all or even the goodnights. That’s odd. Did she suddenly get 9 months pregnant again during the 3 week break?
[WEEKEND UPDATE] Fey & Poehler, Rather, Mitchell, Murray, Kattan
-- Only good jokes were the Star Jones and Paula Abdul ones.
-- Darrell’s Dan Rather commentary was decent. Had a few funny lines.
-- Finesse was his usual unfunny self with his painfully weak commentary. Even the audience barely ever laughs at him and I don’t blame them.
-- When Tina was introducing the Chad Michael Murray bit, I thought for sure that Samberg was going to play him. But it turned out to be Will, who would probably be one of the last castmembers I would expect to play this role. The commentary was kinda boring, although the ring joke at the end was good.
-- Anyone else notice that whenever Tina starts to tell a tree frog joke, she always gets interrupted by a cameo appearance? I think this running gag started in the Jon Stewart episode years ago.
-- It was nice to see Kattan there, I guess, but his appearance turned out to be pretty pointless and just seemed to be him, Tina, and Amy reminiscing about his old characters. Pretty sad, actually. Can’t the guy move on and find work these days?
-- A very long Update, but unfortunately still as weak as usual.
[SKETCH] Antonio’s double
-- Typical pointless, dumb, and unfunny sketch starring Horatio Sanz hamming it up with his tired schtick. There wasn’t a single funny moment during the whole thing.
-- Amy looked absolutely nothing like Catherine Zeta Jones.
-- Seth played his 24,235,346th movie director role.
-- Oh, there’s Andy, making his first and only appearance tonight in a blink-and-miss-it walk-on as a marker where his only line was “The Legend Of Zorro, take one”. They might as well have just gotten an extra or writer to play that role. Reminds me of the type of useless bit roles he always used to get before he hit it big with Lazy Sunday. But hey, he still did more tonight than poor Bill Hader. Where was he???
[SKETCH] Rascals Karaoke Bar
-- I’m getting tired of seeing Amy appearing in virtually every damn sketch tonight. I found her performance pretty annoying during this sketch, too.
-- The sketch got better with Rachel desperately singing increasingly-raunchy songs, from “Sexual Healing” to “Me So Horny”.
-- Parnell’s one-liner (“Screw you, Mary-Anne”) got the biggest laugh of the whole sketch.
[MISCELLANEOUS] The Immigrants Plan
-- The talk between Parnell, Amy (in yet ANOTHER appearance tonight), and Jason at the beginning was good.
-- Fred’s microphone wasn’t working when he started speaking and you could see a boom mike above him. These technical issues are giving me bad flashbacks to the Peter Sarsgaard episode. Also, right before Antonio entered, there was a long awkward pause that - for once - wasn’t caused by Horatio. I think Antonio was just late on his cue to make his entrance.
-- The way Horatio pronounced his name with that heavy Spanish accent was the same way he introduced himself in one of the Updates this season where he filled in for Tina.
-- Fred seemed almost a little out-of-place here, I guess because he doesn’t look as Hispanic as Horatio and Antonio. He did a good job here, though. In fact, he’s been having a great night in general.
-- The “stab you” and “steal your women” bits started to get a little repetitive before the end, but overall, this sketch was very good and had several great lines.
[SKETCH] Wine Tasters
-- And there’s Amy YET AGAIN. What a surprise…
-- And the point of this sketch was…? Aside from maybe a few chuckle-worthy lines, this suffered from the same problems as the monologue: too random and weird for its own good, and didn’t go anyplace.
-- Deal or No Deal
-- The Immigrants Plan
-- Jason, Antonio, and Kenan in Anderson Cooper 360
-- Fred’s appearance in Automated Voice-Over Recorder
-- Dan Rather commentary on Weekend Update
-- Antonio’s double
-- Basic Instinct 2
-- Wine Tasters
-- Weekend Update
-- Besos Y Lagrimas
-- The dance numbers in Basketball Coaches Fashion Awards
-- Seth’s Anderson Cooper impression
OVERALL THOUGHTS: Not very good. After a streak of very good episodes lately, the show has it’s first weak one since the Peter Sarsgaard episode. Antonio himself was not bad, though. He had quite a bit of good enthusiasm and seemed to try his best, although it was hard to understand him at times. And where was a Digital Short? This is the first episode without one since the Scarlett Johansson episode back in January. Considering that those have been the best parts of the show lately, tonight’s episode really could’ve used one.
I also didn’t like how Amy Poehler hogged up the airtime tonight. I wouldn’t complain about it much if she had given good performances (and usually, she does), but she actually had an off night with lots of weak & annoying performances. On the other hand, Fred Armisen had a strong night, being very funny in each of his appearances and being the sole highlight of some of the weaker sketches.
OVERALL RATING: **1/2
CASTMEMBER COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 4 sketches [Deal or No Deal | Automated Voice-Over Recorder | Besos Y Lagrimas | The Immigrants Plan]
DRATCH: 5 sketches [Deal or No Deal | Automated Voice-Over Recorder | Besos Y Lagrimas | The 13th Annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Fashion Awards | Rascals Karaoke Bar]
FEY: 2 sketches [The 13th Annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Fashion Awards | Weekend Update]
FORTE: 3 sketches [Basic Instinct 2 | Weekend Update | Rascals Karaoke Bar]
HAMMOND: 1 sketch [Weekend Update]
MEYERS: 2 sketches [Anderson Cooper 360 | Antonio’s double]
MITCHELL: 2 sketches [Deal or No Deal | Weekend Update]
PARNELL: 4 sketches [Besos Y Lagrimas | Rascals Karaoke Bar | The Immigrants Plan | Wine Tasters]
POEHLER: 8 sketches [Basic Instinct 2 | Deal or No Deal | The 13th Annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Fashion Awards | Weekend Update | Antonio’s double | Rascals Karaoke Bar | The Immigrants Plan | Wine Tasters]
RUDOLPH: 0 sketches
SANZ: 4 sketches [Deal or No Deal | Besos Y Lagrimas | Antonio’s double | The Immigrants Plan]
THOMPSON: 1 sketch [Anderson Cooper 360]
HADER: 0 sketches
SAMBERG: 1 sketch [Antonio’s double]
SUDEIKIS: 2 sketches [Anderson Cooper 360 | The Immigrants Plan]
WIIG: 3 sketches [Deal or No Deal | Besos Y Lagrimas | The 13th Annual Women’s Basketball Coaches Fashion Awards]