ANNOUNCEMENT: Starting with this episode, I’m going to try a slightly different reviewing format for the remainder of the season. I thought it would be interesting to do a review where instead of writing down my overall analysis of each sketch after re-watching the show, I list down all my spur-of-the-moment thoughts/feelings on each sketch WHILE I watch the show live, so my review will read kinda like a live discussion thread. Hopefully this format works.
If this seems lazy, I apologize, but the main reason I’m doing it is because I’ve been incredibly busy lately and it’s becoming very difficult to find the time to do these reviews, and using this new format allows me to get my reviews done in a much quicker and easier way.
***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Osama Bin Laden Video Will
• Fred Armisen doing an impression of a middle-eastern leader??? COLOR ME SURPRISED!!!
• Of all the many possible ways for SNL to parody Osama’s death, I was hoping they WOULDN’T go for the obvious with an “Osama address to the nation taped years in advance with Jim Downey’s voice doing Osama’s translations” premise.
• The Dakota Fanning stuff is kinda funny, I guess.
• Aaaaand of course, they run the Dakota Fanning joke into the ground.
• Man, this is really dragging on and on.
• This is terrible. Where are the fucking JOKES???
• Wait, if this videotape was supposed to take place when Dakota Fanning was around 12 years old, then why is there a reference to the 2008 market recession when Dakota was already at least 14 years old?
• Very weak ending.
• Typical lame Armisen-addresses-the-nation cold opening as expected.
Monologue - Tina Fey
• Wow, I didn’t know she was THAT far into her pregnancy.
• Tina starts off with a couple of funny Fey-eqsue jokes. Promising so far.
• Maya Rudolph... That loud scraping sound you guys hear is me angrily gritting my teeth together.
• At least this is ending on a decent unpredictable note with Kristen and Kenan as singing fetuses.
Sketch - GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate
• A debate sketch? Oh, this should be good! These are usually always fun.
• Love Bill’s Shepard Smith voice in this. I hear a little bit of an Al Gore impression in his voice, too.
• Yeah... the Michele Bachmann “wrong camera” joke is beyond dated now.
• Talk about being beyond dated: the “Rent is Too Damn High” guy AGAIN??? Does anyone even remember that guy anymore?
• Oh, great, yet another celebrity impression for Bobby Moynihan to fuck up.
• This whole sketch is just an obvious excuse to reprise Tina’s Palin impression, but I’m not complaining at all. Palin sketches are always gold.
• Hey, it’s Darrell Hammond!
• Part of me is happy to see Darrell reprise his Trump impression, but another part of me wishes they passed that impression onto a current castmember. But who would’ve played him? The only two I can picture as Trump is 1) Taran Killam, since he’s proven to be a strong impressionist in general, or 2) Fred Armisen, since he did a somewhat-decent impression of Trump’s voice in that sketch from the Paris Hilton episode where Fred, Seth, and Maya played Trump’s children. Of course, that was back in the days when Fred Armisen was still, you know, FUNNY.
• Oh, my. Darrell is clearly out-of-practice with his Trump impression; the voice sounds pretty off. He’s still making me laugh, though.
• Bobby made a funny exit.
• Kristen’s Michele Bachmann has some funny lines.
Sketch - Osama Below the Waves
• Little Mermaid parody? Hopefully this is good. I’m getting flashbacks to the Reese Witherspoon/Will Ferrell Little Mermaid sketch from 2001. I wonder if Tina Fey wrote that one... seems likely since it revolved around vagina jokes (“I feel an increased flow of mucus in my fish genitalia!”).
• Kenan looks a lot thinner than usual in that crab costume.
• Osama Bin Laden’s dead body... I should’ve expected that would be the twist. Board member RoseArt made a very similar prediction to this sketch earlier this week. Nice job, although it probably just proves how predictable SNL can be with their sketch premises.
• Love Paul Brittain as the drunk fish. This guy can be funny when the writers actually give him the right roles.
• This sketch should’ve been the cold opening.
Digital Short - Jack Sparrow
• WTF was with that technical error at the beginning?
• I heard about this song being on the new Lonely Island CD. Curious to see what they do with Michael Bolton.
• This is really silly but very funny.
• I can’t believe Michael Bolton of all people is making me laugh. There’s just something inherently hilarious about seeing him dressed up as classic movie characters, especially Forest Gump.
• The “You complete me” line was a perfect ending.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring The Devil, Gaddafi’s Two Best Friends, Stefon
• The joke about Obama being the first black man in history having to prove he killed someone was brilliant.
• Hmm, The Devil is back? Jason’s always funny in this role.
• Interesting coincidence: the first time Jason played The Devil was in last season’s Tina Fey episode. Maybe he’ll appear every time she hosts.
• Tonight’s Devil commentary isn’t so great. A few halfway-clever lines, but this is mostly forgettable.
• The Snapple Lady is The Devil’s mom? THAT was the best punchline SNL could come up with? Really? They have GOT to stop it with these lame, dated 90’s pop culture references.
• Vanessa playing a middle-eastern woman? So I’m guessing Nasim is out sick tonight?
• I get the joke with this Gaddafi’s Friends commentary, but it’s not really working. For some reason, it kinda reminds me of something Fred did on Update before. Maybe I’m thinking of Nicholas Fehn?
• Okay, I did kinda laugh at the ending of the commentary, when Seth did their whispering schtick when talking about Tina, especially considering some rumors I’ve heard about real-life negative tension between Tina and Seth. I’ve personally never noticed any tension between them, though.
• Speaking of Tina, she will be doing a “Women’s News” commentary later tonight, right?
• That Sex Study joke was TERRIBLE. Not even the audience could garner up any laughter at all.
• Oh, wow, Stefon, Stefon, Stefon...
• I know these Stefon commentaries are very formulaic and just an excuse to make Bill crack up with the lines John Mulaney changes after dress rehearsal, but I don’t mind it. This character is obviously a huge crowd pleaser and it doesn’t bother me.
• Aaaaaaand THERE is Seth’s obligatory weekly mention of his alleged “girlfriend”.
• What, no Tina Fey appearance at all??? Doesn’t she usually always do a Women’s News commentary whenever she hosts?
Sketch - Birthing Class
• Hmm, this sketch seems interesting.
• Maya again... (*Stooge angrily grits his teeth together*)
• Bill looks hilarious in that bald cap and beard.
• Okay, I’m starting to see what people mean about how 80% of Bobby Moynihan’s appearances on the show are just silent bug-eyed reaction shots. I used to find his reaction shots funny, but I’ve been getting really sick of it lately. When you think about it, Bobby’s really just a white version of Kenan Thompson. They have a LOT of similarities (horrible impressionists, loud voices, excessive mugging at the camera, etc.).
• Wow, this sketch is getting weird...
• Maya must be ad-libbing her licking all over Bill’s face, because Bill looks like he’s thisclose to cracking up.
• The size of Maya’s bush... holy shit! This is hilarious.
• LOVED Jason’s weedwhacker line. He’s always perfect at delivering jokes like that.
• The part with the Halloween kids... wow.
• Overall, this sketch was really fucked-up but made me laugh a lot. I’m a sucker for bizarre off-kilter humor like this.
Sketch - Bedilia’s Sleepover
• Oh, so Nasim IS in the building tonight.
• I had a feeling this character would appear again in this episode, since she made her debut the last time Tina Fey hosted.
• This just seems to be the exact same premise as the last two Bedilia sketches. Disappointed.
• Is it just me, or does Tina’s mom character look a lot different this time? I swear in last season’s Bedilia sketch, Tina had glasses and a different wig.
• It’d be interesting if Alec Baldwin makes a cameo in this sketch as Bedilia’s dad again.
• The ending with Nasim meeting Taran’s character was EXACTLY like the appearance Taran made at the end of that Millionaire Matchmaker sketch with Scarlett Johansson where Taran played a male version of Vanessa’s nerdy character. I think Taran even used the same voice in both that sketch and this one.
• Okay, Tina had a somewhat-funny line at the end that redeemed this.
• These Bedilia sketches are more “cute” than “funny”. That in itself isn’t a bad thing since I can always appreciate some low-key slice-of-life humor and that seems to be Nasim’s forte, but the overall formula of the Bedilia sketches is getting tired. Come on, writers, shake it up and do something different with this character.
Sketch - Pregnant in Heels
• Speaking of that Millionaire Matchmaker sketch... SNL does a parody of yet ANOTHER Bravo show that I’ve (and I’m sure most of SNL’s audience) never even heard of.
• Abby’s voice sounds exactly like a mentally-challenged version of her Deidra Wurtz character from that Downsizing Expert commercial.
• This sketch is just stupid so far.
• Oh, hey, Jay Pharoah’s still in the cast, right? Yeah...
• And of course, Jay’s first and probably ONLY appearance all night ends up being in a pre-taped sketch. It seems like in literally half the episodes this season, Jay made zero live appearances. He’s almost NEVER in any live sketches anymore, and when he is, he either fucks up a line, looks awkward, or does the same impression he’s already done 100 times (Will Smith). You know what, I give up... I’m officially OVER this guy. What a huge disappointment Jay Pharoah turned out to be, after such a promising start earlier in the season. Seriously, what the fuck went wrong??? At this point, Paul friggin Brittain has a better chance of coming back next season than Jay does. Sorry, but it needed to be said.
• Actually, I’m being a bit harsh on Jay... he did provide my only laugh of this whole sketch, with his “I did not help AT. ALL.” line. However, I was bugged by how he looked exactly like Damon Wayans’ character in the Men on Film sketches from In Living Color. You can’t tell me that wasn’t intentional. After all, SNL did a blatant rip-off of that sketch just last month when Elton John hosted.
Sketch - Googie Rene’s Slightly Damaged Prom Wear Barn
• Damn it.
• Yeah, I’ll definitely be using my standby “No, just... no” review for this shit.
• Oh, and let me just add: Maya once again... (*Stooge angrily grits his teeth together*)
Commercial - Hallmark Mother Collection
• Paul Brittain’s stock continues to rise. He’s pretty funny in this Norman Bates-esque commercial, even without having any lines.
• A simple but humorous fake ad. Not bad at all, and a nice showcase for Paul.
• Digital Short
• Birthing Class
• GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate
• Hallmark Mother Collection
• Googie Rene
• Pregnant in Heels
• Osama Bin Laden Video Will
• Maya Rudolph (although I admit not even she could ruin the Birthing Class sketch)
Best Performer of the Night:
• Bill Hader, I guess... nobody really stood out to me tonight
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 3 sketches (Osama Video Will, Below the Waves, Update)
ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (Below the Waves, Birthing Class, Bedilia, Pregnant in Heels)
HADER: 3 sketches (Undeclared Candidates Debate, Update, Birthing Class)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 3 sketches (Undeclared Candidates Debate, Birthing Class, Bedilia)
SAMBERG: 3 sketches (Digital Short, Bedilia, Googie Rene)
SUDEIKIS: 3 sketches (Undeclared Candidates Debate, Update, Birthing Class)
THOMPSON: 5 sketches (Monologue, Undeclared Candidates Debate, Below the Waves, Birthing Class, Googie Rene)
WIIG: 4 sketches (Monologue, Undeclared Candidates Debate, Birthing Class, Googie Rene)
BAYER: 4 sketches (Below the Waves, Update, Birthing Class, Bedilia)
BRITTAIN: 3 sketches (Below the Waves, Bedilia, Hallmark)
KILLAM: 3 sketches (Monologue, Bedilia, Pregnant in Heels)
PEDRAD: 1 sketch (Bedilia)
PHAROAH: 1 sketch (Pregnant in Heels)
TINA FEY: 7 sketches (Monologue, Undeclared Candidates Debate, Below the Waves, Birthing Class, Bedilia, Pregnant in Heels, Googie Rene)