***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - A Message from President Oba... uh, I mean WikiLeaks: TMZ
• Oh, thank you, THANK YOU for cutting off what was going to be yet another damn Obama cold opening. That was a nice little fake-out from SNL. I think they’re finally getting the hint that NOBODY likes Fred’s Obama.
• This was great and a very clever way of parodying both WikiLeaks and TMZ. Easily the best cold opening of the season so far.
• The Hillary Clinton scene was my favorite, especially the surprise Biden appearance at the end. Hilarious!
• So Vanessa is SNL’s new Hillary, eh? I guess they had to replace Amy Poehler’s impression sooner or later, since they can’t keep bringing her back forever to play Hillary, just like how they eventually moved on past Jan Hooks’ and Ana Gasteyer’s Hillary impressions. I remember a few years ago when a lot of people including myself suggested that Kristen Wiig take over the Hillary impression since she seems like she would’ve done a more-accurate impression than Amy. Of course, this was years ago back when Wiig was still funny, underused, and likeable.
Monologue - Robert DeNiro
• *sigh* I don’t know what to complain about the most here - DeNiro’s usual lifeless zombie-like cue card-reading, the lame unfunny premise of DeNiro naming off non-NY landmarks, or this being YET ANOTHER “interaction-with-the-audience” monologue. Seriously, is it an unwritten rule for the 2010-11 season that every single monologue must either have the host singing or fake audience members asking questions?
• I’ll instead just point out the only two positives for me: Michael Patrick O’Brien making another on-screen appearance and the bloody moose head bit.
Commercial - The Abacus Conundrum
• I was going to give this a chance because it used DeNiro in a pre-taped format thus we wouldn’t have to suffer through his inability to read jokes off the cue cards, but this fake ad was pretty boring. Nothing really clever or funny. The main joke, the fake book titles, and DeNiro’s one-liners all fell flat with me.
• What was the point of showing Kristen’s picture on the cover of that one book? None of the other castmembers were shown in this commercial, just Wiig. I guess this is even more evidence of Lorne’s desperation to overuse Wiig as much as humanly possible.
Sketch - What Up With That?
• I usually can always tell in advance when they’re going to do this sketch just by looking for the WUWT set in the background at the beginning of the host’s monologue when the camera cuts to the audience applauding, but I honestly didn’t see the set tonight so this sketch’s appearance was an unpleasant surprise.
• Before tonight, the special guest cameos in WUWT seemed to have been getting better and better each time, peaking with Morgan Freeman and Ernest Borgnine in the last installment, but tonight’s guests were a disappointment. Who do we get? Robert DeNiro as himself (Wow, I can’t believe SNL was able to get DeNiro! ...Oh, wait, he’s tonight’s host, right?) and Robin Williams (meh, not too excited about that... although I did like his line at the end about tweeting what a great time he didn’t have).
• I usually take up a lot of space reviewing each WUWT sketch, but I honestly got pretty NOTHING for tonight’s. Yes, it was THAT boring. The writers were on autopilot more than ever writing this particular installment; barely any effort at all was put into this. This makes the Bryan Cranston installment look like a classic by comparison.
Sketch - From the Garden with Mr. Produce
• Sign #1 that this was going to be a terrible sketch: it started with DeNiro flying solo as the only performer.
• Sign #2: DeNiro kept flubbing his lines left and right throughout, making the already-weak script even more unbearable.
• Overall, this sketch actually had me shaking my head in disbelief over how something this unfunny could make it on the air... and this early in the show!
• Did anyone else catch DeNiro accidentally calling Andy by his real name instead of “Anthony” at one point?
• Andy’s “Have you watered your son lately?” line was kinda chuckleworthy. That was it, though. And the ending was just stupid.
Digital Short - Party at Mr. Bernard’s
• As soon as this started, I knew this was going to be a Weekend at Bernie’s parody because Andy was the spitting image of Andrew McCarthy in that movie.
• Weekend at Bernie’s used to be one of my favorite movies ever when I was a kid, but what the hell was SNL’s motivation for parodying the movie NOW, 21 years later? And for a parody, this wasn’t horrible but could’ve been much funnier. The ending just had me going “That’s it???”
• Evidence #1,276,987,095 that Lorne’s on a mission to overuse Kristen Wiig as much as humanly possible: she, of all people, gets to play the main “teen babe” in this short. Seriously? I guess Abby Elliott was too busy doing... nothing to play this role instead, eh?
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring The Kardashian Sisters, Ryan Christopher, Janet Judytran (or however that’s spelled)
• Best jokes: the “peanut butter” punchline to Seth’s trilogy of Man Marries Dog jokes
• The Kardashians bit wasn’t anything special but it wasn’t too bad. At least SNL parodied all three of them this time instead of just having Nasim as Kim once again, and I had to laugh at how they all stood in profile the entire time. And Abby Elliott eerily looked EXACTLY like the sister she was playing (either Khloe or Kourtney; I can never remember which one of the two is named which). Incidentally, this was the only appearance Abby made all night; no surprise there. She seems to appear less and less every week.
• Andy’s upside-down Spider Man commentary had a few funny lines like him explaining how the first three Spider Man actors in the play got injured (loved how one of them “just exploded”), but the kissing bit at the end was drawn out way too long. However, I do give SNL credit for refraining from actually doing yet another man-on-man kiss for once.
• Apparently, Kristen’s commentary was a parody of an actual aerobics instructor video on YouTube, but I’ve never seen it (can someone at least send me a link?). So to people like me who were lost on what this was referencing, this just came off as Kristen doing yet another in a long line of unfunny hyperactive wild characters. Didn’t care for this one-joke commentary at all, and like Seth himself commented at one point, it went nowhere. If SNL’s gonna parody something, it should be timely or relevant. The WikiLeaks cold opening is a good example of a timely and relevant parody, while Kristen’s Update commentary and the Weekend at Bernie’s short is an example of something that’s NOT.
Sketch - Little Fockers Fan
• Wow, they brought THIS back? Bobby played this “It’s okayyyy?” little boy character two years ago in the Bradley Cooper episode and I seemed to be in the minority in actually liking Bobby’s performance the first time even though most people found his character annoying. Also, in that first installment, Michaela Watkins played Bobby’s mom, yet Nasim took over that role tonight. I still get kinda sad whenever I remember Michaela because Lorne clearly made a mistake in firing her (only to replace her with Jenny Slate??? WTF was Lorne thinking?). I still think that if Michaela had never gotten fired, we wouldn’t have so much Wiig overexposure these days and there’d be more of a balance in the female castmembers’ airtime. I may just be saying that because to me, Michaela was like a funnier, low-key, toned-down version of Wiig (which actually may be one of the real reasons Lorne fired her, but I digress...)
• Tonight’s installment was pretty much a rewrite of the first one, only this took place on the Little Fockers set instead of at a hockey locker room. This didn’t work as well the second time, and almost the entire sketch was predictable. I could see so many of the repeated jokes coming from a mile away, especially that ending.
• And, hey, let’s throw in Bill Hader playing a flamboyant make-up stylist, because Bill hasn’t had ENOUGH walk-ons as gay characters lately, right?
• I did get some laughs from whenever Bobby would do the frozen angry facial expression for a few seconds after talking with DeNiro, and the “Analyze That” slam was hilarious. And in my opinion, this is far from the most annoying character Bobby has played. And at least Bobby toned down the number of “It’s okayyyy?”’s this time.
• Ben Stiller’s cameo was certainly a surprise, although I personally can’t stand the guy. Most of his movies after the 90’s have been terrible, aside from Zoolander and Tropic Thunder.
Sketch - Blizzard Man
• Figures they’d bring this sketch back tonight with Diddy as the musical guest. Blizzard Man was really only hilarious the first time, while the rest of the following installments where just inferior rehashes. Tonight is no different.
• Andy’s cheesy raps still get some laughs from me (and for some reason, remind me of Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), but this whole sketch is just way too formulaic and predictable.
• Jason’s “Now you’re talking my language!” line was reused from the very first installment with Ludacris in ‘06, and that line got much more laughs the first time.
• Why does Kenan always have to play the technician in these sketches? And I love how despite the fact that he’s obviously playing the same character in each Blizzard Man sketch, Kenan always seems like he’s hearing about Blizzard Man for the very first time. Seriously, WTF? If they keep putting Kenan in each of these sketches only so they can have a black character to make the scene more believable, then why not use Jay Pharoah this time? At least it would’ve given him something to do in this episode, as Jay had NO lines at all tonight.
• And now we get DeNiro in drag and simulating anal sex with Diddy? Okay, let’s end this sketch NOW!!!
Sketch - La Rivista Della Televisione con Vinny Vedecci
• Third rehashed sketch in a row??? Actually, despite the fact that the last few Vinny Vedecci sketches were going downhill, tonight’s wasn’t bad. This started out slow, but got pretty funny after a few minutes with Bobby’s drunken appearance and angrily asking DeNiro for his money, the Deer Hunter scene (especially the “technical difficulties” bit), and the “You talkin’ to me” trick at the end.
• Someone needs to do a count on the number of Will Forte’s roles that’s been replaced so far this season, because there’s been A LOT of them. I can’t think of the last former castmember who got this many of their roles replaced by another performer THIS soon after leaving (maybe Mark McKinney; I remember Kattan and Ferrell took over a lot of McKinney’s roles after his firing). Now we get Forte’s silent spaghetti-eating guy being taken over by Paul Brittain, and no offense to Paul, but nobody can make a simple role like that funny the way Forte could.
Commercial - Bosley Hair Restoration
Sketch - Mullin’s Bar
• I thought DeNiro was supposed to be playing an out-of-work St. Nick at first.
• The premise could’ve been taken somewhere interesting, but ultimately this just came off as yet another lazy homoerotic-themed sketch and it fell flat with me.
• I did like Jason and Andy’s performances, though, and my only real laugh during the whole sketch came from the “He looks like Gandalf” line.
• Stiller Cameo #2 did nothing for me.
Miscellaneous - American America presents: I, Hippie with Dana Carvey
• FINALLY this makes it on the air after getting cut all season. And was it worth the wait? Can’t really say it was.
• I thought this would be hilarious, but it just ended up being only one quick joke that wasn’t THAT original, and while it was nice to hear Carvey’s voice, this was a waste of his talents. Sorry to say, but the Spade dog one was actually funnier than this.
• WikiLeaks: TMZ
• La Rivista Della Televisione con Vinny Vedecci
• a few parts of the Ryan Christopher commentary on Weekend Update
• From the Garden with Mr. Produce
• The Abacus Conundrum
• What Up With That?
• Mullin’s Bar
Best Performer of the Night:
• Bill Hader
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 3 sketches (WikiLeaks, What Up With That, Vinny Vedecci)
ELLIOTT: 1 sketch (Update)
HADER: 5 sketches (WikiLeaks, What Up With That, Digital Short, Little Fockers Fan, Vinny Vedecci)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (WikiLeaks, Digital Short, Little Fockers Fan, Vinny Vedecci)
SAMBERG: 7 sketches (WikiLeaks, What Up With That, Mr. Produce, Digital Short, Update, Blizzard Man, Mullin’s Bar)
SUDEIKIS: 6 sketches (WikiLeaks, What Up With That, Digital Short, Little Fockers Fan, Blizzard Man, Mullin’s Bar)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (WikiLeaks, What Up With That, Little Fockers Fan, Blizzard Man)
WIIG: 6 sketches (WikiLeaks, Abacus Conundrum, What Up With That, Digital Short, Update, Blizzard Man)
BAYER: 4 sketches (WikiLeaks, What Up With That, Digital Short, Update)
BRITTAIN: 5 sketches (WikiLeaks, What Up With That, Digital Short, Little Fockers Fan, Vinny Vedecci)
KILLAM: 3 sketches (What Up With That, Digital Short, Mullin’s Bar)
PEDRAD: 5 sketches (WikiLeaks, What Up With That, Digital Short, Update, Little Fockers Fan)
PHAROAH: 2 sketches (WikiLeaks, Digital Short)
ROBERT DENIRO: 10 sketches (WikiLeaks, Monologue, Abacus Conundrum, What Up With That, Mr. Produce, Digital Short, Little Fockers Fan, Blizzard Man, Vinny Vedecci, Mullin’s Bar)