***** = Brilliant, a possible future classic
**** = Great, but not quite perfect
*** = Average
** = Meh, but not complete crap
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - The Democratic Candidates Presidential Debate
• Surprisingly good Brian Williams impression from Forte. He sounded exactly like him. Much better than Seth’s impression of him.
• At least Amy finally got rid of the prosthetic nose she usually wears as Hillary, since that was doing nothing at all to make her look like Hillry.
• Hammond’s Tim Russert was good and funny as usual.
• Armisen’s facial look as Obama was even better this week. Unfortunately, the voice didn’t really improve at all. It sounded very strange tonight, almost cartoonish. In fact, some people said he sounded like Yogi Bear and Kermit the Frog. And why did he keep putting emphasis on every third word he said? All that being said, his voice still kinda made me laugh I admit. But I think it’s going to be a while until he can get Obama’s voice down pat.
• Vincent D'Onofrio’s random cameo/interrogation of Amy was very unexpected and made me laugh. He looked kinda haggard, though.
• Forte’s “We’ll ask the questions here, sister” line was great.
• I heard beforehand that the real Hillary would be appearing on tonight’s show, so her cameo didn’t surprise me like Obama’s did back in November. This whole thing with presidential candidates appearing on the show is really becoming overdone. Hillary wasn’t all that funny here, either, although her interaction with Amy had some decent moments, thanks to Amy.
Monologue - Ellen Page
• What was with the leather jacket? It was cute when she wore it in the bumper pictures, but it seemed like an odd choice to wear for her monologue.
• Andy playing Diablo Cody was unexpected, because I thought Kristen if anyone would play her. Samberg was very funny in this, though, especially the “blog” spiel towards the end and him saying “I was a stripper” right before his exit.
Sketch - The Dakota Fanning Show
• Hmm, this is strange. Earlier this week on Monday, I was imagining what kind of sketches they might do this weekend, and I randomly thought of them bringing back The Dakota Fanning Show. Not only that, but I even correctly predicted the first guest would be Miley Cyrus. I didn’t think they’d actually do all this, though, so imagine my surprise when this sketch came up. Although I had Miley being played by someone in the cast (maybe the new girl) instead of Ellen. And I also had Will Forte making a short appearance as Billy Ray Cyrus.
• The part with the writers was pretty funny, especially Sudeikis as Bruce Vilanch.
• The Kid Speak scene was a nice change of pace. Kenan’s “What the f…” reaction was great.
• I was hoping they’d make fun of Miley Cyrus a lot more, but they only had her play with dolls with Amy and sing briefly, and that was it. They missed an opportunity to really slam her. It also didn’t help that Ellen’s impression wasn’t good AT ALL.
TV Funhouse - The Obama Files
• A middling effort from Smigel, and this went on a little too long. A few funny parts, like Michelle Obama puking on cue as a diversion, Brian Williams getting shot with a dart, Jackson and Sharpton as a podium and lion, and just hearing Darrell’s voice as Jackson.
• Who was the other guy in the car with Bill Clinton? It looked like Chuck Norris. Why was he there?
Sketch/Commercial - The College of Excellence
• I usually love these types of commercials that Fred does (the “You have to learn computers!” sketch and the Chandeliers sketch were classics, in my opinion), but this one left a lot to be desired. It just wasn’t that funny or clever, and felt very “been there, done that”. Armisen even recycled the exact same voice he used in the Chandeliers sketch, despite the fact that he was playing a completely different character.
• Armisen’s character wasn’t funny enough and his parts pretty much fell flat and Ellen Page added nothing. But some of the intentional miscues/bad acting from the other people were pretty funny, especially Kristen mouthing Kenan’s lines, and Samberg awkwardly popping up in the background throughout the sketch.
Sketch - The Other Boylen Girls
• This was yet another parallel to something I imagined might be on the show earlier on Monday. I thought about them doing a trailer for a movie set in the old times, starring Ellen Page. My idea was just a random made up movie, though, not The Other Boylen Girl.
• I thought this sketch would be about just Ellen and Casey Wilson at first, but then they showed Kristen and I thought it would be about her, but then they had the guys come in and things just got too crazy. By the end, this was just a one-joke parody. It would’ve been better if it were a more straightforward, focused Boylen Girl parody.
• Kristen stole the sketch with her hideous-looking Boylen Sister character, and her “I was out having sex with a horse” line.
• All of Sudeikis’ reactions were great.
• Casey looked like Claire Danes in this sketch.
Digital Short - Nightmares
• I knew Ellen Page would be in a digital short.
• The usual awesome digital short and a lot better than last week’s underwhelming short. All the sudden appearances of Samberg’s odd-looking character in the mirror and bathroom, the recurring waking-up scenes with different characters in bed each time, and the completely random wolfman and Dracula appearance were all hilarious.
Weekend Update - Poehler & Meyers, featuring Rudy Giuliani, Nicholas Fehn
• The jokes were pretty below par tonight. Barely anything really stood out.
• Best joke: Foreign Oscar Winners
• I was shocked to see Rudy there. He’s usually always great when he appears on the show, but the whole "dress" thing tonight went nowhere. He had good interaction with Seth, though, and the comparison of his campaign to an SNL sketch that never ends was pretty funny. That’s the second time he jokingly made fun of the show, after the “Can we be funny?” “Why start now?” exchange with Lorne in the post 9/11 cold opening.
• The Germany bit with Seth and Amy was great.
• The return of Armisen’s political humorist character. I know some people don’t get this character, but I can understand why since it relies on Andy Kaufman-esque humor that isn’t for everyone. I personally find the piece hilarious and Armisen’s “comments” had me dying laughing tonight. I hope they don’t keep doing this character too much, though, because it’ll definitely get old.
Sketch - Shopping with Virginiaca
• What was the point of the opening “Shopping with Virginiaca” title announced by Pardo? That almost made me think that this Virginiaca installment was going to actually be different from the usual ones, but of course, I was wrong. This just ended up being the EXACT same unfunny trash that’s always in these Kenan-in-drag sketches. Will somebody shoot this character already?
• Ellen’s attempt at a ghetto accent wasn’t even close. She sounded embarrassing. Even Jaime Pressly and Scarlett Johansson were more convincing in previous installments of this sketch than she was.
• Samberg’s impatient demeanor and angry facial expressions made me laugh, because that’s the exact same look I had on my face during the entire sketch. I felt his pain.
Sketch - The Continuing Adventures of Peter Pan
• Criminal underusage of Bill Hader tonight. Why was this his first and ONLY appearance in the whole damn show?
• This reminded me of the West Side Story sketch with Norm MacDonald and Robert Downey Jr., where the gangsters kept breaking out into song-and-dance, while Norm was just going “What the hell is going on?” Classic sketch. This Capt. Hook sketch was nowhere near as funny.
• The premise was pretty one-note, and they could’ve gone SO much further with a “Capt. Hook/Peter Pan” crossover, but there were still a couple of good laughs and some of the performances made this more bearable. Hader was a very funny straightman, and Forte’s character was great.
• Ellen’s singing got really annoying after a while.
• Very lame cop-out by bringing Tinkerbell back to life by clapping. Why couldn’t they have just left her dead?
Sketch - Lesbian-Turned Girlfriend
• I didn’t get this sketch at all and it seemed pointless. I think they were attempting at an interesting low-key, subtle 10-to-1 piece, but I don’t think it worked. And what was with the strange, joke-less ending? I’m not saying every ending has to be laugh-out-loud funny, but this ending just came off awkward and closed the show with a completely empty feel. The audience seemed confused by the ending, too, judging from their hesitant applause.
• I wonder if they only did this sketch because of all the speculations about Ellen Page’s sexuality. This certainly ain’t going to stop those rumors. It did seem pretty much like she was just playing herself in this sketch.
• Andy was pretty good, though, in a more subdued role. He’s been standing out tonight a lot more than he usually does.
• The only parts I laughed at were Samberg’s line about girls “sucking face with no bras on and not because it’s my birthday”, as well as Page saying she wants to hug a woman with her legs in friendship.
• Digital Short
• Kristen in The Other Boylen Girls
• Samberg in the monologue
• Armisen on Weekend Update
• Hader and Forte in The Continuing Adventures of Peter Pan
• Lesbian-Turned Girlfriend
• The College of Excellence
• Some parts of the cold opening
Best Performer of the Night:
• Andy Samberg
A pretty disappointing episode. Aside from the digital short, there were no "good from start to finish" sketches, and they had quite a few duds. Even Weekend Update wasn’t nearly as strong as usual. Everyone was expecting Ellen Page to be funny, but she ended up being very underwhelming as host. Even though she was given a wide variety of different roles (part of me was worried before the show that she would just play variations of Juno for most of the night), in almost all of them she was either bland, awkward, or annoying, and just didn’t fit in on the show. The digital short was the only time she really shined, and that’s probably only because it was pre-taped. She seemed really off during all of the live portions of the show. Maybe it was nerves.
Overall, a step down from last week’s great episode. I’m not thrilled that the show’s already resorting to weaker material when there’s still two more consecutive shows left.
If these 4 live shows in a row are each going to get progressively worse, I shudder at what the next two weeks might look like. And I already have very low expectations for the fourth live show. That has disaster written all over it if you ask me. Didn’t Lorne learn his lesson when they tried doing 4 consecutive live shows once in the 70’s, which left the cast & writers completely wiped out?
CASTMEMBER COUNT DOWN:
ARMISEN: 5 sketches (Presidential Debate, Dakota Fanning, College of Excellence, Update, Peter Pan)
FORTE: 3 sketches (Presidential Debate, Boylen Girls, Peter Pan)
HADER: 1 sketch (Peter Pan)
HAMMOND: 2 sketches (Presidential Debate, TV Funhouse)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
POEHLER: 4 sketches (Presidential Debate, Dakota Fanning, Update, Peter Pan)
SAMBERG: 5 sketches (Monologue, College of Excellence, Digital Short, Virginiaca, Lesbian-Turned Girlfriend)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Dakota Fanning, Boylen Girls, Digital Short, Peter Pan)
THOMPSON: 5 sketches (Dakota Fanning, College of Excellence, Boylen Girls, Virginiaca, Peter Pan)
WIIG: 3 sketches (College of Excellence, Boylen Girls, Digital Short)
WILSON: 2 sketches (Dakota Fanning, Boylen Girls)
ELLEN PAGE: 8 sketches (Monologue, Dakota Fanning, College of Excellence, Boylen Girls, Digital Short, Virginiaca, Peter Pan, Lesbian-Turned Girlfriend)