***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - Romney: Believe in America
• After last week’s pleasantly refreshing cold opening, I see we’re unfortunately back to business as usual with the typical dull “one person speaking to the camera” snoozefests.
• I’m especially baffled as to why they would resort to yet another “one-man speech” opening with Jason’s Romney, when they just DID an incredibly boring, laughless one with Jason’s Romney only two episodes ago. Can’t they see that these aren’t working? Is there anybody at SNL paying attention anymore?
• Only laugh in this whole thing came from the interaction with the dog at the end. I also appreciate anytime SNL breaks format with the “Live from New York...” tagline - having Jason begging the dog while in the middle of delivering LFNY was fairly clever.
Monologue - Zooey Deschanel
• This sure must’ve been an easy monologue for the SNL writers, as this whole thing was just a bit from Zooey’s act that I’m assuming she wrote entirely herself.
• That being said, this was fine. Decent song. Not sure what else to say, as this is kind of an odd monologue to review.
Commercial - Clint Eastwood ad #1
• Two words: absolutely priceless.
• From Bill’s always-funny Eastwood impression, to the tone of the whole thing, to him referring to Ron Paul’s “tiny little chicken legs” and calling Rick Santorum a “pussy”, to the unexpected Chrysler twist, to the “Git off my damn lawn” ending line, this entire commercial had me laughing my ass off.
Sketch - Piers Morgan Tonight
• Always nice to see Taran starring in a sketch. His portrayal of Piers Morgan was very funny, particularly the endless stuttering over certain words. Taran seems to be good at adding funny little touches like that to his impressions.
• An all-around good sketch. Some other highlights besides Taran’s performance include the “decency strap” that Zooey demonstrated, Andy’s appearance as the tiny-legged tightrope guy, just the way Fred and Jason looked as those two idiots from “LMFAO”, and the line about Cee-Lo being dressed as Janet Jackson’s boob.
• What was the point of having Jay and Kenan play the two silent warriors standing behind Kristen as Madonna? Lorne didn’t feel like paying two extras to do those roles instead? Strangely, this would end up being the first of only two small apperances for Kenan all night - and both of his appearances tonight were non-speaking roles! But hey, I’m not complaining.
Sketch - Les Jeunes de Paris meets “The Artist”
• Wow, to say the least!
• As someone who bitches and moans about how SNL’s current batch of recurring sketches always cuts-and-pastes the same basic script in each installment and never does anything different with the formula, I really appreciated what they did with tonight’s Les Jeunes de Paris installment.
• The black-and-white silent movie twist came out of nowhere and was just great. While this wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny nor was it trying to be, it was definitely fun, entertaining, and held my attention the entire time wondering what would happen next. They did an excellent job with this.
• If Taran’s the one who came up with the creative idea of this particular installment (which I assume because I’m pretty sure I heard that it’s him who writes these Les Jeunes de Paris sketches in general), then this is just one of the many reasons why Taran Killam is going to carry SNL in the future once the old veterans in the cast finally bail.
Commercial - Clint Eastwood ad #2
• Another winner, just like the first Eastwood ad tonight.
• All the anti-Chinese comments, the Gingrich insult, and the very random bit calling out viewers for “stroking it to Danica Patrick’s godaddy.com commercials” all kept this very amusing.
Sketch - 1940s Newspaper Office
• Definitely gotta hand it to the performers in this sketch for being able to flawlessly spit out all those lines rapid-fire with that theatrical old-timey delivery, without messing up at all. That takes major talent.
• This sketch had an interesting premise, but the writers went absolutely nowhere with it. The sketch never developed beyond the simple premise: “one staff member can’t keep up with the old-timey fast-paced conversations of her co-workers”. Zooey’s “Is everyone here on cocaine?” line was a good laugh, but that was about it.
• On top of that, the sketch just... ended, rather abruptly. There was no real conclusion or anything.
Commercial - Clint Eastwood ad #3
• A fine finish to tonight’s Eastwood trilogy. Nothing else to say, really.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Arianna Huffington, Nicolas Cage & Nicolas Cage
• Best jokes: Rick Santorum/“The Other White Meat”
• The Arianna Huffington commentary was solid with a lot of clever lines throughout. My favorite was the one regarding Gingrich abandoning women in danger.
• Also, I correctly predicted in an episode review from 2009 that Nasim would eventually take over the Arianna Huffington impression from Michaela Watkins. It was in my review of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt episode when I went on an (unnecessarily long) heated rant about how SNL kept strangely putting then-featured player girls Abby, Nasim, and one-season wonder Jenny Slate into roles that were originally played much better by the then-recently-fired Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson. Here’s a quote from that rant: “Hell, at this point, I almost wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see Jenny take over as Michaela’s Bitch Pleeze blogger character, Nasim as the new Arianna Huffington, and Abby as the new Paraplegic Stripper.” Haha, when I originally wrote that back in ’09, I was kinda being tongue-in-cheek and didn’t expect any of those three predictions to actually come true.
• I groaned at first when Seth introduced yet another Get in the Cage edition, but then they shook the segment up by having Nicolas Cage himself accompany Andy’s impression. It’s hard for me to get excited anymore for cheesy “castmember plays a celebrity right in front of the real celebrity” confrontations, considering how overused that gimmick has been these last few years. HOWEVER, this Nic Cage bit ended up being decent, to my pleasant surprise. The real Nicolas Cage’s presence helped breathe some much-needed life into the Get in the Cage routine. I honestly laughed several times here, especially at the line about how all the dialogue in a Nicolas Cage movie is either whispered or screamed. So true, so true.
Sketch - Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Deschanel
• Speaking of the familiar “castmember plays a celebrity right in front of the real celebrity” gimmick...
• A pretty funny sketch overall; much better than I was expecting. All of the performers involved each did a good job, although the odd inclusion of Kristen’s Bjork impression felt a little too tacked-on.
• I know Taran’s Michael Cera impression is very over-exaggerated, but I don’t care. It kills me every time, and most of my laughs in this particular sketch came from him. He was awesome here.
• Despite all my positive comments for this sketch, this does not mean I want them to turn this into a recurring sketch. I feel that if they made this recurring, it would most likely fizzle out quickly and get annoying after about 2-3 installments, just like most “talk show hosted by a celebrity” sketches these days. I remember how so many people enjoyed the very first Miley Cyrus Show sketch... then just 2-3 appearances later, a lot of people couldn't wait for the sketch to be retired for good. So I don’t see what’s wrong with keeping Bein’ Quirky as a one-off sketch. They can still use Abby’s Zooey impression in other settings.
Commercial - Verizon
• This was quite forgettable and the premise was too basic. However, this still had one or two laughs and the ending was kinda funny. I also liked the bit with Bill randomly holding up a glass of orange juice for a quick second and Fred’s response to that basically being “What the...?”
• I just realized that with this commercial and the three Clint Eastwood fake ads from earlier, Bill appeared on tape all night long. Nothing live for him in this episode. Hmm... Lots of odd things with the cast going on tonight: Kenan only appears in two very tiny non-speaking roles, Bill makes no live appearances, and Vanessa’s only appearance is a very brief walk-on with no lines in Les Jeunes de Paris.
Sketch - Crab Blast 2012
• Ohhh, boy... This was one of those sketches that you can already tell is gonna be terrible after only 10 seconds in. As soon as Kristen and Zooey first entered the scene playing a pair of annoying characters, I sighed and thought to myself “Oh, this is gonna be a long one”.
• The only thing I came anywhere close to even chuckling at was the way Bobby angrily said “They better bring that crab!” at one point. That line itself wasn’t funny; it was just something about Bobby’s amusing delivery of it that worked.
Sketch - We’re Going to Make Technology Hump
• The first time they did this sketch, I didn’t really care for it. However, I actually enjoyed tonight’s installment, much to my surprise. The humping segments were a lot funnier this time, with lots of amusing and clever little gags thrown in each segment.
• My favorite was the whole Duck Hunt scene; that part was great.
Sketch - Victorian Ladies
• A typical weak 10-to-1 sketch; I didn’t care for this one at all.
• What the heck was with that surf ending?
• This whole thing reminded me a little of that awful Ferrari Calendar sketch from the Anna Faris episode, in that both sketches deal with Kristen and the host fawning over grotesque-looking men, and both sketches had similarly weird pre-taped endings. The only difference is that in THIS sketch, we actually see the grotesque-looking men who are being described... and that didn’t make it any funnier at all.
• all three Clint Eastwood ads
• Les Jeunes de Paris meets “The Artist”
• Piers Morgan Tonight
• We’re Going to Make Technology Hump
• Crab Blast 2012
• Romney: Believe in America
• Victorian Ladies
Best Performer of the Night:
• Taran Killam
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 4 sketches (Piers Morgan, Jeunes de Paris, Verizon, Victorian Ladies)
ELLIOTT: 3 sketches (Jeunes de Paris, Bein’ Quirky, Crab Blast)
HADER: 4 sketches (Clint Eastwood #1, Clint Eastwood #2, Clint Eastwood #3, Verizon)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 4 sketches (Jeunes de Paris, 1940s Newspaper, Crab Blast, Victorian Ladies)
PEDRAD: 3 sketches (Piers Morgan, Jeunes de Paris, Update)
SAMBERG: 6 sketches (Piers Morgan, Jeunes de Paris, Update, Crab Blast, Technology Hump, Victorian Ladies)
SUDEIKIS: 4 sketches (Romney, Piers Morgan, 1940s Newspaper, Victorian Ladies)
THOMPSON: 2 sketches (Piers Morgan, Jeunes de Paris)
WIIG: 6 sketches (Piers Morgan, Jeunes de Paris, 1940s Newspaper, Bein’ Quirky, Crab Blast, Victorian Ladies)
BAYER: 1 sketch (Jeunes de Paris)
KILLAM: 5 sketches (Piers Morgan, Jeunes de Paris, 1940s Newspaper, Bein’ Quirky, Crab Blast)
PHAROAH: 3 sketches (Piers Morgan, Crab Blast, Victorian Ladies)
ZOOEY DESCHANEL: 8 sketches (Monologue, Piers Morgan, Jeunes de Paris, 1940s Newspaper, Bein’ Quirky, Crab Blast, Technology Hump, Victorian Ladies)