***** - Future classic
**** - Almost perfect
*** - Average in every way
** - Eh
* - Is this 1994-95 again?
COLD OPENING: American Idol
- Hmm, Seth seems to have given up playing Ryan Seacrest, and now Hader is playing him. I don’t mind since Hader looks more like him and was very funny in this, especially when telling Maya if she was or wasn’t voted off.
- The obligatory Mary Katherine Gallagher appearance of the night. I got sick of this character when Molly did it too much when she was in the cast, but I admit, I liked seeing her back on tonight. She fit well into the sketch, added a lot of energy, and her song at the end was great as was her throwing Sudeikis through the table.
- Amy looked even more like Paula than usual.
MONOLOGUE: Molly Shannon
- Very energetic audience tonight.
- The talk about all the sex at the beginning was funny.
- The flashback video with Molly and Lorne was hilarious with all the 90’s references and Lorne wearing the wig.
SKETCH: Penelope at a Building Meeting
- Good to see the return of Kristen’s character. Penelope was hilarious again, especially the line about giving birth to a cat.
- Weird seeing Molly play the straight character, but it was great towards the end when she started mocking Penelope.
SKETCH: Fringe Candidates Debate
- I always like sketches like this where the whole cast gets a meaty role (minus Seth in this case).
- Everyone was good in their roles, except for Maya who I found annoying here, and Samberg, who didn’t really do much (plus, he spoke over one of Hammond’s lines at one point). Forte was the funniest, and Sudeikis, Hader, and Armisen were great, too.
- Darrell lost it and started cracking up during one part.
SKETCH: Sally O’Malley on The Sopranos
- The guys were hilarious as the Sopranos characters, especially Sudeikis with his mannerisms and voice, and Armisen.
- I used to really hate Sally O’Malley back in the day and I kinda groaned when she showed up here, but the character actually fit better in this sketch, laughs-wise. Her interaction with the guys and their lines about her and reactions to her were pretty funny.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Poehler & Meyers, with Jeanne Darcy & Pep Walters
- Best jokes: Dora the Exploder, Paris Hilton, First Black Woman
- As soon as they started talking about the Comedy Cul-De-Sac segment, I knew that there were going to show the return of Molly’s stand-up comedian character. Time hasn’t healed the wounds from this character unlike with MKG and Sally O’Malley, because I still couldn’t stand Jeanne Darcy tonight. Her character was as annoying as usual here, although Seth’s exaggerated laughing at her jokes was good.
- The “What’s in a Word” segment was another excellent Seth/Amy piece.
- Good to see the return of Fred’s blind character. Although this was a little similar to his last time on Update, the steak flinging into the audience was hilarious.
SKETCH: Kaitlin at a Nursing Home
- Oh no… I thought this character was long gone with Horatio Sanz’s departure, and I thought before the show that we’d have enough annoying recurring characters tonight from Molly Shannon alone, but I see they have to drag Kaitlin out again. This was the usual annoying Kaitlin crap, and the references to Rick actually almost made me miss Horatio for some weird reason (because he used to be the only tolerable thing in these Kaitlin sketches).
- Molly’s appearance as the mom added absolutely nothing.
MISCELLANEOUS: Macgruber #1
- I didn’t think they’d bring this back again, but I’m happy about it since I loved the first time they did this bit.
- The theme songs to this sketch are always awesome.
- I like that they took this in a different direction from the last one by having Forte with a drinking problem. The end of this one with Molly asking if Forte’s making a drink and him innocently asking “What’s up?” right before the sudden explosion was hilarious.
TV FUNHOUSE: Tales from the Greatest Generation
- A very random, WTF-ish idea, even for Smigel’s standards. There were some laughs like the Lassie part, but this whole thing just felt uninspired and desperate, and we know Smigel can do much better (and don’t say he’s completely lost his touch, because he’s proved he can still produce some classics nowadays like “Maraka”).
SKETCH: Charli Coffee
- They did this awful character back a few years ago when Tom Brady hosted, and it didn’t get any laughs then, so why in the world are they doing this again? . Molly didn’t help make things any better, either. That’s two annoying recurring characters tonight that don’t belong to Molly (and like mentioned earlier, her characters actually haven’t even been that bad tonight except for Jeanne Darcy).
- They only reason I can think of for them randomly bringing this character back is because Maya is hopefully leaving in next week’s season finale. How many more annoying characters of hers will we have to endure for her swan song?
MISCELLANEOUS: Macgruber #2
- A good continuation of the first one. I like how Forte’s drinking gets increasingly worse in each one. The guitar song and him singing about his “inches” before the explosion was great.
SKETCH/COMMERCIAL: Trump Steaks
- An okay sketch, like the usual Trump pieces. The “Black Anus” parts got the biggest laughs, and Molly was a good addition here as Trump’s wife.
- I’m not surprised we’ve been seeing more of Hammond than usual. I kind of expected that for some reason considering Molly’s hosting.
MISCELLANEOUS: Macgruber #3
- The funniest of the three Macgruber bits and an excellent wrap-up to the show. The David Hasselhoff video parody was just brilliant.
- Penelope at a Building Meeting
- American Idol
- Fringe Candidates Debate
- Charli Coffee
- TV Funhouse
- Jeanne Darcy on Weekend Update
I came into this show expecting a night filled with the same annoying, over-acted Molly Shannon performances from 1999-2001 (her bad years), but I was pleasantly surprised with what I got instead. Molly didn’t annoy me anywhere near as much as I thought she would, and even some of her overdone characters like Mary Katherine Gallagher and Sally O’Malley were bearable tonight after being put into creative settings where they were crossed-over with a TV show (American Idol and The Sopranos, respectively). Thankfully, she also kept the REALLY annoying bits like Helen Madden away. Molly also fit well back into the show and blended in like a castmember again instead of standing out like a host usually does.
I would have liked a little more original material on this episode (almost every single sketch except for Fringe Debates was recurring), and some of the recurring pieces were totally unnecessary (Kaitlin, Charli Coffee) but overall, tonight was a good show.
TONIGHT’S RATING: ***1/2
CASTMEMBER/HOST COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (Fringe Candidates Debate, Sally O’Malley on The Sopranos, Weekend Update, Kaitlin at a Nursing Home)
FORTE: 5 sketches (Fringe Candidates Debate, Sally O’Malley on The Sopranos, Macgruber #1, Macgruber #2, Macgruber #3)
HADER: 5 sketches (American Idol, Fringe Candidates Debate, Sally O’Malley on The Sopranos, Kaitlin at a Nursing Home, TV Funhouse)
HAMMOND: 4 sketches (Urigrow, Fringe Candidates Debate, Sally O’Malley on The Sopranos, Trump Steaks)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Weekend Update)
POEHLER: 5 sketches (American Idol, Penelope at a Building Meeting, Fringe Candidates Debate, Weekend Update, Kaitlin at a Nursing Home)
RUDOLPH: 7 sketches (American Idol, Fringe Candidates Debate, Kaitlin at a Nursing Home, Macgruber #1, Charli Coffee, Macgruber #2, Macgruber #3)
SAMBERG: 1 sketch (Fringe Candidates Debate)
SUDEIKIS: 5 sketches (American Idol, Urigrow, Penelope at a Building Meeting, Fringe Candidates Debate, Sally O’Malley on The Sopranos)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (American Idol, Penelope at a Building Meeting, Fringe Candidates Debate, Charli Coffee)
WIIG: 2 sketches (Penelope at a Building Meeting, Fringe Candidates Debate)
MOLLY SHANNON: 12 sketches (American Idol, Monologue, Penelope at a Building Meeting, Fringe Candidates Debate, Sally O’Malley on The Sopranos, Weekend Update, Kaitlin at a Nursing Home, Macgruber #1, Charli Coffee, Macgruber #2, Trump Steaks, Macgruber #3)