***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Romney: Believe in America
• I thought last week’s cold opening was dull, but this takes the cake. The odd thing about that is Jason’s comically-boring Mitt Romney is usually much funnier than Andy’s just-flat-out-boring Rick Santorum. But tonight’s all-around-bland cold opening made me realize that SNL has almost nothing to work with among most of these republican candidates. The candidates overall are just boring so far and have very little about them that’s spoof-worthy. SNL’s going to be in trouble during this upcoming election season unless 1) some good dirt on these candidates starts arising, 2) the candidates develop an actual personality worth parodying, or 3) Jim “Past His Prime” Downey finally steps down and SNL lets that young new political writer they hired from funny-or-die.com take over in writing the political cold openings.
• I watched this entire sketch, and I STILL remember practically nothing about it. Absolutely nothing. The only part that I recall getting even a slight chuckle from me was some line Jason had about his “five human sons”. Other than that, nothing. All I can remember is Jason badly flubbing one or two lines and Abby appearing in a typical nothing role as a waitress.
Monologue - Daniel Radcliffe
• At the beginning when the camera cut to the audience applauding after Radcliffe walked out, I couldn’t help but notice the familiar set for the old Target Lady sketches in the background. I let out the biggest groan when I realized that damn sketch was going to return tonight, but at least I was given an early warning sign for it.
• A pretty funny - if slightly unoriginal - monologue. SNL’s had monologues that used a similar premise before (Gabriel Byrne’s monologue where Colin Quinn and Fred Wolf keep appearing behind him dressed a potato and a bottle of whiskey while he talks about how he’s happy SNL won’t be resorting to Irish stereotypes; Eva Longoria’s monologue where she states she won’t do sketches about Hispanic stereotypes just as Horatio Sanz is about to walk onstage wearing a sombrero and fake Mexican mustache), but tonight’s was pulled off well.
• At first, I was wondering why Dumbledore was played by Taran instead of Bill this time (Bill has previously played him in a sketch before), but then Bill later showed up here playing The Situation.
Commercial - Ricky Gervais Promos
• I always get a kick out of Jason’s Gervais impression, and this was a good way to parody his notoriety from last year’s Golden Globes-hosting stint.
• My favorite parts were the Kids Choice Awards and Dog Show scenes.
• The cutaway to a dog sitting at a table like celebrities do at award shows was a funny brief sight gag.
Sketch - Target Lady
• No, just... no. With the recent return of Nicholas Fehn and now Target Lady after their long hiatuses, who will become the next annoying recurring character to be needlessly resurrected after not appearing in ages? My money is on Kenan’s Virginiaca character.
Stars: *½ (the “½” is for Bill’s funny performance as the hot dog-devouring boss)
Sketch - You Can Do Anything
• Another sketch in the tradition of I Didn’t Ask for This/Finding Your Power/The Comments Section. I don’t really mind this method of doing variations of the same format; it’s better than them just simply making any of those sketches recurring where they would probably just copy-and-paste a majority of the jokes.
• That being said, tonight’s sketch didn’t work nearly as well as it should have. While I understood exactly what type of people this sketch was going after (specifially, untalented YouTubers & millenials who think they're more talented than they are), the writing and execution came off sloppy, under-developed, and repetitive. It’s hard to explain specifically what the problem was; there were just a lot of things about the sketch that made me confused - especially the attitudes of the two hosts. It felt like the hosts kept going back-and-forth between being sarcastic towards the guests and being overly-understanding toward them, as if the writer of this sketch couldn’t decide which attitude to go with. The result was kinda messy and confusing.
• Funniest exchange in the sketch: “I’m what you call Twitter famous!” “Meaning...?” “Not famous.”
Miscellaneous - Spin the Bottle
• Very low-brow and stupid, but I do admit to laughing a few times in spite of myself. As a whole, this wasn’t much, though, and in the end the whole thing felt pointless.
• I got a good laugh from Fred “freshening up” by putting deodorant on this tongue. I also liked Bill’s facial expression as the “dead” hobo and Kenan’s deranged character.
• Very lame ending with Jay. The whole build-up to the end had me thinking something hilarious was going to be revealed... boy, was I wrong!
Sketch - Delaware Fellas
• This sketch’s premise was one of those ideas that’s funnier in concept than in execution. This would’ve been fine as a quick little joke in a different sketch, but as an entire full-length sketch of its own? Nope, sorry, not gonna work.
• Kenan’s intentionally-horrible Italian accent was one of the very few things I laughed at, along with Jason as Joe Biden giving a review of the play.
• Taran messed up during one of the times they were all supposed to say “Capisce!” in unison: Taran started to say it way too early by himself right before one of Kenan’s lines, then Taran caught himself halfway through and stopped. That was kinda funny.
Sketch - Harry Potter in 2020
• An interesting and clever way of doing the inevitable Harry Potter parody of the night. This ended up being a pretty good sketch.
• The castmembers’ impressions of the Harry Potter characters were mostly really funny. My favorites were Paul as Malfoy and Bill as Professor Snape. Bill in particular was just excellent.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Kim Jong Un’s Two Best blah blah blah blah blah, Casey Anthony’s Dog
• Best jokes: Drug-stealing sign
• What the... ?!? Oh, you have got to be kidding me. They’ve now found a way to bring back that lousy one-joke Gadhafi’s Two Best Friends From Growing Up bit (that I assumed was now dead since Gadhafi himself is) by changing it to Kim Jong Un’s Best Friends, yet still copying-and-pasting THE EXACT SAME unfunny whispering joke and punchline from before? Are you kidding me? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??!?! I... I have no words. But if I did, I guarantee you they would be very family-unfriendly expletives directed towards Mr. Fred Armisen.
• Random observation: Vanessa looked like Molly Shannon in that wig.
• The Casey Anthony’s Dog segment was an interesting change of pace for Update and ended up being a pretty funny commentary. Radcliffe did an excellent job in this role. Also, it’s very rare to see the hosts ever appear on Weekend Update. If you don’t count former castmembers who’ve hosted, then who was the last first-time host to appear on Update? Gerard Butler in 2009?
• Two Sarah McLachlan dog commercial references in the same episode? Strange.
Sketch - X27B Theater
• I get the feeling I liked this sketch more than most people did. I found the premise of seeing how people in the future would look back at this current era to be really interesting and fresh for SNL standards, and the execution was decent enough. While this wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny (and it should’ve been, with better writing), I found the sketch to be pretty fun and cute.
• This was an accurate parody of how people tend to generalize and stereotype previous decades and ages. For example, the parts of this sketch where they played the 2003 Outkast song “Hey Ya” to represent 2012 reminds me of some sitcom I saw where they did a flashback sequence to what their life was like back in 1989. The flashback featured a whole bunch of over-the-top obvious 80s stereotypes, but the ridiculous thing was that in one part where the characters were dancing to what we’re supposed to believe was a new hit song at the time, it was a song that actually came out in 1981. The song would’ve already been old and dated by 1989. Inaccuracies like that are what the “Hey Ya” thing in this sketch was making fun of.
• My favorite part of the sketch was the allusion that Taylor Swift will become infamous for assassinating someone in the future. Although as far-fetched and unlikely to happen as that sounds, you never know. After all, who would’ve guessed back in the 70s and 80s that good-ol’ lovable O.J. Simpson would end up going down the path he did?
• NOW do you guys believe me when I pointed out in my review last week how Nasim plays nothing but old ladies nowadays? Hate to say I told you so, but...
• Kristen actually looked embarrassed to utter the line “Stop looking at that close-up of a penis going into a woman’s butt”. You could tell by the shy/awkward look on her face during that line and the way she quickly jumped to the next sentence afterwards, as if she couldn’t wait to get it over with. This is odd if you ask me, considering Kristen has had to deliver far more-humiliating lines throughout her SNL tenure. This was hardly the worst line she was ever given, so why the sudden shyness here? It’s not like her to hold back.
• How come some of the people in the fake theater audience stopped laughing towards the end (especially Abby), while other theater members kept laughing all throughout?
Commercial - Glenda Okones for Mayor #1
• At first, I wondered if Kristen was playing a real politician that I’m not familiar with, before I realized that no real politician would have a name THIS goofy-sounding.
• The idea of someone doing an attack ad on themselves is hilarious and I did like Kristen’s delivery as this character (although the voice was too similar to her Greta Van Susteren impression), but this commercial never really developed beyond that. This wasn’t nearly as funny as it should’ve been.
• Nothing else to say here really, as this was just the first of three ads.
Commercial - Glenda Okones for Mayor #2
• Two consecutive Glenda Okones ads with no sketch in between? That’s just awkward.
• This was the best of the three, if only because of the funny bit with Okones openly admitting she loves her youngest daughter more than the oldest, as well as the “I don’t do maintenance” line about her body.
Sketch - The Jay Pharoah Show
• Similar to what I said about “You Can Do Anything” earlier in this review, I understand what this sketch was trying to go after, but it didn’t really work.
• Much like how the classic The Chris Farley Show sketches were later revealed to be an inside joke on Farley’s real-life personality behind the scenes at SNL, I’m assuming that this Jay Pharoah Show sketch is similarly parodying what Jay is like behind the scenes. I imagine that he probably just sits around making people around him laugh with his celebrity impressions and voices, but is very bad at contributing to actual conversations with others and also bad at contributing to pitch meetings and sketch writings (which would explain why the writers put him into very few sketches... I also imagine Abby Elliott is probably the same way).
• But here’s the problem with this sketch: while The Chris Farley Show is genuinely funny even to those who aren’t familiar with Farley’s real-life personality, this sketch is probably mostly only funny to Jay’s co-workers at SNL who are in on the sketch’s joke. Farley came off to general audiences as both hilarious and endearing in the Chris Farley Show sketches, whereas this sketch made Jay come off as a dull one-trick pony with no personality. That is not good.
• It also didn’t help that most of the impressions Jay did in this sketch are ones that he’s done to death: Denzel, Will Smith. His Chris Rock is still somewhat fresh, though - I especially love the detail of copying the way Rock fidgets with his fingers while he’s ranting. And it was nice to see him debut a Tracy Morgan impression, even if the voice wasn’t all that great (I’ve honestly seen better Tracy Morgan impressions from other comedians). The belly rub at the end was dead-on, though.
• The only real inspired joke of the whole sketch was just a quick throwaway one: Radcliffe’s ridiculously-tall glass of water, which was almost taller than him! The rest of this sketch didn’t really work and went nowhere.
Commercial - Glenda Okones for Mayor #3
• Freaking overkill.
• Also, I mentioned this in a previous review earlier this season, but it bugs me when SNL comes back from a long commercial break only to show a quick 40-second segment that’s immediately followed by ANOTHER long commercial break. It especially comes off irritating when that quick 40-second segment is merely a pre-taped bit.
Sketch - Exit Polling
• Honestly, this wasn’t too bad for a 10-to-1 sketch. But by this point, I was so sick of the major Wiig overexposure tonight (it felt like she was even more overused than usual, and that’s saying something; she had a lead role in almost every single segment in this episode) that it clouded my judgment of this sketch a little. I’ve been trying my absolute best this season to avoid doing many long anti-Wiig rants that used to plague my reviews from the 08-09 and 09-10 seasons. Hell, I’ve even DEFENDED Kristen on a few rare occasions this season. Part of the reason why I’ve been trying to go easier on her lately is because I’ve come to slowly accept the fact that despite all her weaknesses and annoyances, Kristen is really the only strong female in the cast right now.
• Trying my best to judge this sketch fairly, I can see this had its moments with some pretty funny lines. I particularly liked that quick bit with Kristen saying “Oh, glad I asked then” after Radcliffe answered the obvious “male or female?” question.
Commercial - Headz Up from World-Tel
• Whaddaya know - there’s Andy, making his first and only appearance tonight in a pre-taped segment that was filmed months ago. Now we know what Radcliffe meant a few days ago when he said he has yet to meet Andy Samberg; apparently Andy wasn’t there this week AT ALL. Wonder what happened to him. At first, I assumed he took the week off to shoot his scenes for a movie he’s in, but then I remembered they usually take castmembers out of the opening montage when they skip an entire episode to film a movie/TV show (Will Ferrell went through this during his final season in 01-02, as did Chris Parnell in 05-06, Mike Myers in 92-93, etc.). So maybe Andy was just sick this week. That wouldn’t be the first time this has happened with him during his SNL tenure; he missed the Gerard Butler episode in ‘09 because he was supposedly feeling under-the-weather that week.
• Sorry for that off-topic spiel. ANYWAY... this commercial has been cut after almost every single dress rehearsal this season, and after finally watching this, I can certainly see why it kept getting cut. An overall lame and unfunny fake ad. My only laugh came at the beginning when Vanessa got run over by a taxi.
• Harry Potter in 2020
• Ricky Gervais Promos
• the Casey Anthony’s Dog commentary
• X27B Theater
• Kim Jong Un’s Two Best Friends from who gives a fuck
• Target Lady
• Romney: Believe in America
• Delaware Fellas
• Headz Up
• The Jay Pharoah Show
Best Performer of the Night:
• Daniel Radcliffe
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 3 sketches (Spin the Bottle, Update, X27B Theater)
ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (Romney, Spin the Bottle, Harry Potter, X27B Theater)
HADER: 6 sketches (Monologue, Target Lady, You Can Do Anything, Spin the Bottle, Harry Potter, X27B Theater)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 6 sketches (Monologue, Spin the Bottle, Delaware Fellas, Harry Potter, X27B Theater, Headz Up)
PEDRAD: 4 sketches (Spin the Bottle, Harry Potter, X27B Theater, Headz Up)
SAMBERG: 1 sketch (Headz Up)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Romney, Ricky Gervais, You Can Do Anything, Delaware Fellas)
THOMPSON: 4 sketches (Target Lady, Spin the Bottle, Delaware Fellas, X27B Theater)
WIIG: 8 sketches (Target Lady, Delaware Fellas, Harry Potter, X27B Theater, Vote Okones #1, Vote Okones #2, Vote Okones #3, Exit Polling)
BAYER: 7 sketches (Target Lady, You Can Do Anything, Spin the Bottle, Harry Potter, Update, X27B Theater, Headz Up)
BRITTAIN: 4 sketches (Monologue, Spin the Bottle, Harry Potter, X27B Theater)
KILLAM: 8 sketches (Monologue, Target Lady, You Can Do Anything, Spin the Bottle, Delaware Fellas, Harry Potter, X27B Theater, Headz Up)
PHAROAH: 3 sketches (Spin the Bottle, X27B Theater, Jay Pharoah Show)
DANIEL RADCLIFFE: 10 sketches (Monologue, Target Lady, You Can Do Anything, Spin the Bottle, Delaware Fellas, Harry Potter, Update, X27B Theater, Jay Pharoah Show, Exit Polling)