Mick Jagger with Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, and Jeff Beck
May 19, 2012


***** = Excellent, a possible future classic

**** = Great

*** = Average

** = Meh

* = How'd this get past dress?


Cold Opening - The Lawrence Welk Show

• Ohh boy, here we go with this again...

• Jon Hamm cameo! Yep, it’s official: this is definitely Kristen Wiig’s last show. Without a doubt.

• Hamm’s frequent cameos lately are starting to remind me of John Goodman in the 98-99 season, where he cameoed in literally half the episodes that year.

• I’ll be a little more tolerant of this Lawrence Welk installment, considering this is the final appearance of this sketch...while Kristen’s a castmember. I certainly wouldn’t put it past them to bring this back whenever Kristen hosts in the future, unless Fred is no longer in the cast by that point (ha, fat chance...).

• Hamm’s presence helped and he managed to add a little much-needed life into this.

• In her quick pop-in as the Italian mother, Kate McKinnon totally reminded me of Amy Poehler, especially with the voice she used here. In fact, I actually almost thought that WAS Amy at first.

• Decent ending with Kristen’s Dooneese character finally getting her man.

Stars: **


Monologue - Mick Jagger

• A passable - if a bit unmemorable - monologue. Nothing here really stood out, but Mick’s natural charisma carried the material just fine. I can’t think of anything else to say here. So, moving on...

Stars: ***


Sketch - Secret Word

• Hey, SNL? How about putting on some of Kristen’s actual GOOD recurring characters to end her tenure with? You know, such as the Two A-Holes and... uh... well, there’s also... uh... I’ll get back to you on that. [SPOILER ALERT: I won’t.]

• Just like I did with the Lawrence Welk cold opening, I’ll try to go easy on tonight’s Secret Word since this is the final installment during Kristen’s tenure in the cast, but they’re sure making this difficult.

• I’ll give credit to two things I found okay in this installment: the canal/anal mix-up (which was much funnier and more unexpected than the thorny/horny mix-up from an earlier installment) and Jagger’s strong performance. Everything else in this sketch: the usual BLAH.

Stars: *½


Sketch - Karaoke

• Well, this has to be one of the simplest, easiest sketch premises in recent memory. It felt like a grade-schooler came up with the idea for this sketch. That being said, there were still a couple of highlights here, mostly helped by the performances.

• Although it was obviously intended to be an over-the-top caricature, Fred’s impression of Jagger was actually quite good. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, because I remember noticing before in those Royal Family Queen Elizabeth sketches that whenever Fred and Bill talk in those crude cockney accents, Fred sounds like he’s doing a Mick Jagger impression. Speaking of those Royal Family sketches, I’m relieved they didn’t bring that back tonight. I wondered beforehand if they’d do that sketch tonight considering they have a British host.

• I got a big laugh from Bobby falling asleep at the mike and everyone at the bar assuming that was part of the impression.

• The ending with Mick singing somberly by himself and the camera doing an iris-out on him was at least interesting, if not exactly laugh-out-loud funny.

Stars: **½


Digital Short - Lazy Sunday 2

• Yep, this confirms our suspicions: tonight is indeed Andy’s last show and this Lazy Sunday sequel is his farewell.

• And now we know why there was no mention of the original Lazy Sunday in last week’s 100th Digital Short. Having the final Digital Short be a Lazy Sunday sequel was very fitting and clever, considering the original Lazy Sunday was 1) the first Digital Short to become an internet sensation, and 2) Andy’s first breakout role.

• This was a great way to end the run of Digital Shorts, and also a fine farewell to Andy’s SNL tenure.

• While there’s no possible way to top or equal the original Lazy Sunday (still the best Digital Short of all-time in my opinion), this sequel was still fantastic in its own right and I enjoyed the hell out of it. So many great little moments throughout this.

• I especially love how they actually stopped and updated the beat halfway through this to sound more like current rap; that was very unexpected and Parnell was particularly AWESOME during that part. When it comes to rapping, Parnell’s still got it.

• The ending was absolutely brilliant, with Andy closing the short by saying “On these New York streets, I honed my fake rap penmanship; that’s how it began and that’s how I’m-a finish it!” (*gunshot sound effect*) (*fade to black*). The perfect way to conclude Andy’s final Digital Short ever.

Stars: ****½


Sketch - Politics Nation with Al Sharpton

• Well, way to piss all over the great mood the Digital Short just put me in, SNL.

• Really could’ve done without this returning. I didn’t care for the first installment, and tonight’s wasn’t any better.

• I admit to getting a laugh from the random “emphysema” line at the end. That was all, though.

Stars: *½


Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Stefon

• Best jokes: Bloomberg commencement speech, Super Pac/Carlton Banks, New Text Message Study

• As most people probably predicted, here indeed we have Stefon’s obligatory season finale appearance.

• I never know what to say about Stefon’s Update commentaries anymore. My reviews of his last few appearances usually only consisted of me saying “Stefon was Stefon”, which pretty much sums it up because his appearances almost always follow the exact same basic formula. Although as often as Stefon appears, he hasn’t gotten annoying to me. I can still tolerate him just fine, but I’m never crazy about him either. It would be really nice if they would at least shake up his segments much more often. That’s why I usually prefer it when they have him appear in just a quick unexpected cameo in other segments, such as in Maya Rudolph’s monologue or even at the very end of Update in last year’s season finale where he appeared out of nowhere just to walk off the Update set with Seth while discussing how they’ll spend their summer together.

• Very short Update overall tonight. Can’t complain much, and this was actually one of Seth’s better nights in recent memory. He had a surprising number of actual funny jokes this time around. This still doesn’t mean that I don’t want him outta here before next season, though...

Stars: **½


Sketch - So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival

• Interestingly, whenever SNL does a “So You Think You Can Dance” sketch, it’s never just a straight parody of the show; they always cross it over with another unrelated theme. Remember the “So You Committed a Crime & You Think You Can Dance” mash-up from the Ryan Reynolds episode? I recall that one being a lot better than this Outdoor Music Festival version, though.

• The premise seemed okay, but the resulting sketch didn’t work out nearly as well as it wanted to. This ended up being quite boring.

• I always enjoy Bill’s Dave Matthews impression and tonight was no different, although he looked a lot less like him than usual tonight. What’s with the wig they gave him? That looked NOTHING like Dave Matthews’ hair.

• I liked Fred’s Santana impression, especially his line “Hey, YOU tell me another one of my songs...” and the bit with his mustache being attached to his hat when he tipped it. Funny thing is, up until that point, I kept wondering why Fred’s fake mustache looked so sloppily applied to his face.

• Mick playing Steven Tyler was funnier in theory than in practice. I thought the impression was going to be hilarious, but he just ended up disappointing me. Also, he ruined the punchline of that scarf joke by stumbling over the delivery.

• The dance sessions were mostly dull, although I did get some laughs from the one with Taran.

Stars: **


Sketch - The Californians

• (*extremely loud groan*) Ohhhh, you have got to be friggin kidding me. Please tell me you’re kidding me, SNL.

• The writing for this may have been even worse than the first installment, which is saying something considering how much I disliked the first one. Tonight’s installment seemed to drag on even longer, and all the little plot twists they kept throwing in towards the end were just not funny.

• Surprisingly, there were no major character breaks this time around; only a minor quick giggle from Kristen and Fred at one point, that’s it. I’ll give a lot of credit to Bill for not breaking AT ALL this time. Considering we just had a Stefon appearance earlier tonight, it would’ve made Bill look pretty damn bad in some people’s eyes to have a major crack-up in two different sketches in one night, so it’s nice that he controlled himself here.

• Abby looked very, veeeeerrry attractive in this, even more than she usually does.

• S-St-Steve Martin??? That’s gotta be the most unexpected, out-of-left-field cameo SNL’s had in quite some time. His appearance in this also received one of the longest audience applause breaks that I’ve EVER heard on SNL. It was kinda amusing watching the other performers in this sketch just awkwardly standing there silently and twiddling their thumbs while waiting forever for Steve’s applause to die down.

• Anyway, Steve Martin’s appearance did absolutely nothing to help this sketch, but hey, how kind of him to join the party anyway...

Stars: *


Miscellaneous/Goodnights - She’s a Rainbow: Graduation Ceremony for Kristen Wiig

• Well, if the abundance of Kristen’s popular recurring characters earlier in this episode wasn’t a clear sign that tonight is her last show, this sketch certainly put away anyone’s doubts.

• This. Was. Simply. AMAZING. I always love when SNL does something very special for the final sketch of the season, instead of just ending the season with something routine and ordinary. This particular sketch was very well-done and absolutely fascinating to watch. This will go right up there with other classic season-ending full-cast pieces, such as 1993-94’s “So Long Farewell” from Phil Hartman’s final episode, the cast each giving an emotional goodbye speech about Will Ferrell in his final episode, the Grease take-off from Jimmy Fallon’s final episode, and of course “Goodnight Saigon”.

• Oh, there’s Jay Pharoah. Up until now, I was beginning to think that he would be a no-show for tonight’s season finale, which would be pretty sad considering he also wasn’t in any sketches back in the season premiere (Alec Baldwin/Radiohead). To be cut out of the premiere AND finale of the same season would just suck.

• For those wondering why Andy didn’t get to share the spotlight with Kristen in this sketch (considering tonight’s also his last show), you have to remember that Andy already got his own send-off with the last two Digital Shorts. I know those weren’t quite as huge a farewell as this sketch was for Kristen, but maybe those shorts are how Andy preferred to go out. Makes sense to me. And since the last two shorts were his own farewell without sharing the spotlight with any other departing castmembers, the people at SNL let Kristen also have HER own farewell without sharing the spotlight with any other departing castmembers.

• Also, there were three noteworthy things about Andy in this Graduation sketch that further prove this was his last show: 1) he played a special role as the piano player onstage next to Jagger instead of playing a graduate like the rest of the cast, 2) he was the final castmember to dance with Kristen, and 3) he received BIG sentimental hugs from the others after his dance with Kristen. He and Kristen were the only two people on stage that were receiving hugs from people.

• Did anyone notice how extremely sad and somber Jason looked throughout this? I’m not sure if that means he’s also leaving or if he just felt sad watching the departure of two of his fellow members from The Class of 2005 (a.k.a. the four featured players from the 05-06 season). My guess is the latter. If he was leaving, wouldn’t he have gotten his own separate send-off sketch like Kristen and Andy did?

• Chris Kattan! Amy Poehler! Rachel Dratch! Chris Parnell! A bearded Will Forte! Nice! This is starting to remind me a bit of Goodnight Saigon...

• I wasn’t bothered by Lorne’s walk-on, and this is coming from someone who feels that Lorne overrates the hell out of Kristen. I have no complaints about his walk-on here because I felt that having him appear added a nice touch to this sentimental piece.

• While watching this sketch, I wondered to myself at one point “How are they gonna end the show on time with the usual goodnights?”, considering it was very close to 1:00 while this sketch was still in progress. Then I realized “Oh, they’ll probably just roll the ending credits during this sketch instead of going to commercial and coming back to show the goodnights”, and I was right. The way they had Jagger give his “goodnights” thank-yous as part of this sketch was a pretty clever segue. This is one of the very rare SNL episodes that doesn’t end with a traditional goodnights segment. I always appreciate anytime SNL does something different with the usual format of the show.

• Overall, an absolutely beautiful way to end both the season and Kristen Wiig’s SNL tenure. For all the issues I’ve had with Kristen over the years (and Lord knows I’ve had MANY), she certainly left on a very strong note with this sketch. This truly does feel like the end of an era.

Stars: *****




Episode Highlights:

• She’s a Rainbow: Graduation Ceremony for Kristen Wiig

• Lazy Sunday 2

• the three musical performances (I know I never acknowledge the musical guest portions of SNL episodes in my reviews, but tonight’s special musical guest performances deserve mentioning)


Episode Lowlights:

• The Californians

• Politics Nation with Al Sharpton

• Secret Word

• The Lawrence Welk Show


Best Performer of the Night:

• Kristen Wiig (just for the final Graduation sketch alone)

Andy Samberg (just for the Digital Short alone)

Mick Jagger (just for the musical performances alone)



ARMISEN: 6 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Karaoke, Politics Nation, Outdoor Music Festival, The Californians, Graduation)

ELLIOTT: 4 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Outdoor Music Festival, The Californians, Graduation)

HADER: 5 sketches (Secret Word, Update, Outdoor Music Festival, The Californians, Graduation)

MEYERS: 2 sketches (Update, Graduation)

MOYNIHAN: 3 sketches (Karaoke, Outdoor Music Festival, Graduation)

PEDRAD: 2 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Graduation)

SAMBERG: 3 sketches (Digital Short, The Californians, Graduation)

SUDEIKIS: 2 sketches (Politics Nation, Graduation)

THOMPSON: 3 sketches (Politics Nation, The Californians, Graduation)

WIIG: 6 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Secret Word, Karaoke, Outdoor Music Festival, The Californians, Graduation)


BAYER: 5 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Secret Word, Karaoke, The Californians, Graduation)

KILLAM: 4 sketches (Secret Word, Karaoke, Outdoor Music Festival, Graduation)

MCKINNON: 2 sketches (Lawrence Welk, Graduation)

PHAROAH: 1 sketch (Graduation)


MICK JAGGER: 7 sketches (Monologue, Secret Word, Karaoke, Politics Nation, Outdoor Music Festival, The Californians, Graduation)


And now, time for my year-in-review for 2011-12. Before I go into my Best/Worst lists for this season, I want to quickly talk a little about my feelings regarding the season as a whole. Basically, this season was pretty much the new 93-94: a decent steady first half of the season, but once they reached the new calendar year, the quality suddenly began rapidly declining and the show started putting out far more mediocre episodes than good. I can’t think of any other seasons besides this and 93-94 that had such a sudden dramatic drop in quality mid-way through. The first half of this current season had some of the strongest episodes in recent years (Alec Baldwin, Charlie Day, Jimmy Fallon). Then the season fizzled out badly in the second half and there were no real strong episodes AT ALL on the same level as Baldwin, Day, or Fallon. There were also many disappointments in the second half, particularly the Will Ferrell episode.


One of the reasons why this season’s many similarities to 93-94 worry me is because we all know what infamous season 93-94’s decline led into: 94-95. That being said, I am fairly optimistic for the upcoming 2012-13 season. With the cast changes that are hopefully about to happen and the possible beginning of a new era upon us, next season has lots of potential to look very promising and exciting. But the pessimist in me has to point out that there were several cast changes made after 93-94 as well (the departures of Phil Hartman, Rob Schneider, and Julia Sweeney / the hirings of Janeane Garofalo, Chris Elliott, and Laura Kightlinger) and as promising as those changes may have potentially seemed to SNL fans back then, we now know it didn’t end up helping 94-95 avoid being a disastrous season. So who’s to know if the same unfortunate fate won’t happen to the upcoming 12-13 season? However, I’m honestly pretty confident that the changes being made for the 12-13 season are going to be for the better and will improve the show. I think Lorne just needs to remember that in addition to making a few changes to the cast, there’s also some MAJOR cleaning-out in the writing staff that needs to be done as well.




To start this off, here’s my episode-by-episode list of best/worst sketch, best performer, and final verdict for each show this season:


Alec Baldwin / Radiohead

BEST SEGMENT: Who’s on Top?

WORST SEGMENT: Satellite Delay


FINAL VERDICT: great episode


Melissa McCarthy / Lady Antebellum


WORST SEGMENT: The Lawrence Welk Show

BEST PERFORMER: Melissa McCarthy / Jason Sudeikis

FINAL VERDICT: good episode


Ben Stiller / Foster the People

BEST SEGMENT: Hank Williams Jr. rocks with the SNL Band


BEST PERFORMER: Jason Sudeikis

FINAL VERDICT: terrible episode


Anna Faris / Drake

BEST SEGMENT: Lord Wyndemere

WORST SEGMENT: Ferrari Calendar

BEST PERFORMER: Jason Sudeikis

FINAL VERDICT: mediocre episode


Charlie Day / Maroon 5

BEST SEGMENT: Kim’s Fairytale Divorce

WORST SEGMENT: A Message from the Ghost of Moammar Gaddafi

BEST PERFORMER: Bill Hader / Charlie Day

FINAL VERDICT: great episode


Emma Stone / Coldplay

BEST SEGMENT: Someone Like You

WORST SEGMENT: Digital Short - Wish It Would Rain


FINAL VERDICT: forgettable episode


Jason Segel / Florence + the Machine

BEST SEGMENT: Digital Short - Seducing Women Through Chess

WORST SEGMENT: Kissing Family


FINAL VERDICT: forgettable episode


Steve Buscemi / The Black Keys



BEST PERFORMER: Paul Brittain / Steve Buscemi

FINAL VERDICT: good episode


Katy Perry / Robyn

BEST SEGMENT: One Magical Night

WORST SEGMENT: On the Record with Greta Van Susteren

BEST PERFORMER: Alec Baldwin (cameo on Update) / Jason Sudeikis

FINAL VERDICT: mediocre episode


Jimmy Fallon / Michael Buble


WORST SEGMENT: Don’t Make Me Sing


FINAL VERDICT: great episode


Charles Barkley / Kelly Clarkson


WORST SEGMENT: Digital Short - Convoluted Jerry


FINAL VERDICT: mediocre episode


Daniel Radcliffe / Lana Del Rey

BEST SEGMENT: Harry Potter in 2020


BEST PERFORMER: Daniel Radcliffe

FINAL VERDICT: mediocre episode


Channing Tatum / Bon Iver

BEST SEGMENT: Newt Gingrich - Moon President



FINAL VERDICT: terrible episode


Zooey Deschanel / Karmin

BEST SEGMENT: Les Jeunes de Paris meets "The Artist"

WORST SEGMENT: Crab Blast 2012


FINAL VERDICT: good episode


Maya Rudolph / Sleigh Bells

BEST SEGMENT: New York Sports Now

WORST SEGMENT: Super Showcase


FINAL VERDICT: average episode


Lindsay Lohan / Jack White

BEST SEGMENT: The Real Housewives of Disney

WORST SEGMENT: Delinquent Girl Teen Gang


FINAL VERDICT: terrible episode


Jonah Hill / The Shins


WORST SEGMENT: Brutus the Ape


FINAL VERDICT: mediocre episode


Sofia Vergara / One Direction

BEST SEGMENT: Almost Pizza

WORST SEGMENT: The Manuel Ortiz Show


FINAL VERDICT: average episode


Josh Brolin / Gotye

BEST SEGMENT: Republicans at the Bar

WORST SEGMENT: America’s Next Top Empire State of Mind Parody Artist

BEST PERFORMER: Jay Pharoah / Andy Samberg / Bill Hader

FINAL VERDICT: forgettable episode


Eli Manning / Rihanna


WORST SEGMENT: Miss Drag World

BEST PERFORMER: Jason Sudeikis / Vanessa Bayer

FINAL VERDICT: forgettable episode


Will Ferrell / Usher

BEST SEGMENT: Digital Short - The 100th Digital Short

WORST SEGMENT: Broadway Sizzle

BEST PERFORMER: Will Ferrell / Jason Sudeikis

FINAL VERDICT: forgettable episode


Mick Jagger with Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, and Jeff Beck

BEST SEGMENT: She’s a Rainbow - Graduation Ceremony for Kristen Wiig

WORST SEGMENT: The Californians

BEST PERFORMER: Kristen Wiig / Andy Samberg / Mick Jagger

FINAL VERDICT: average or mediocre episode (I still can’t decide which; this honestly felt like two completely separate episodes mixed into one)


Best Episodes

1. Jimmy Fallon / Michael Buble

2. Alec Baldwin / Radiohead

3. Charlie Day / Maroon 5


Worst Episodes

1. Ben Stiller / Foster the People

2. Channing Tatum / Bon Iver

3. Lindsay Lohan / Jack White


Best Sketches

1. Coach Bert

2. Kim’s Fairytale Divorce

3. The Original Kings of Catchphrase Comedy Vol 2

4. Christmas Tree Ornaments

5. Les Jeunes de Paris meets "The Artist"

6. The Real Housewives of Disney

7. Beethoven’s Symphony Orchestra

8. She’s a Rainbow: Graduation Ceremony for Kristen Wiig

9. One Magical Night

10. Tim Tebow Meets Jesus


Worst Sketches

1. Broadway Sizzle

2. Delinquent Girl Teen Gang

3. Miss Drag World

4. Crab Blast 2012

5. Secret Word (all installments)

6. Ferrari Calendar

7. TCM presents: Cheech & Chong

8. The Manuel Ortiz Show (all installments)

9. Don’t Make Me Sing

10. The Californians (all installments)


Best Hosts

1. Jimmy Fallon

2. Steve Buscemi

3. Melissa McCarthy


Worst Hosts

1. Ben Stiller

2. Lindsay Lohan

3. Josh Brolin


Best Cold Openings

1. GOP Debate from the season premiere

2. FOX & Friends

3. New York Sports Now


Worst Cold Openings

1. A Message from the Ghost of Moammar Gaddafi

2. A Message from Mayor Bloomberg

3. Mitt Romney at Jim Bob’s Diner


Best Monologues

1. Jimmy Fallon

2. Charlie Day

3. Jonah Hill


Worst Monologues

1. Katy Perry

2. Melissa McCarthy

3. Channing Tatum


Best Commercials

1. Clint Eastwood ads (all three)

2. Michael Buble Christmas Duets

3. Almost Pizza


Worst Commercials

1. Go-Techs Flex

2. Lincoln Financial Group (a.k.a. the 'men having sex w/ their future selves' ads)

3. Headz Up App


Best Digital Shorts

1. The 100th Digital Short

2. Lazy Sunday 2

3. Seducing Women Through Chess


Worst Digital Shorts

1. Wish It Would Rain

2. Afros

3. Convoluted Jerry


And finally...


My suggestions/wish-list for changes that should be made for the upcoming 2012-13 season:

• Gone from the cast: Fred Armisen, Abby Elliott, Seth Meyers (ha, fat chance of that happening), Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson, Kristen Wiig.


• If Sudeikis still happens to be in the cast at the start of next season and if Mitt Romney ends up winning the election in November, just let Sudeikis leave the show shortly after the elections anyway, and pass the Romney impression onto someone else in the cast.


• Promote Taran Killam to repertory cast and definitely continue progressively grooming him as the future star of the show, eventually becoming a beloved leader of the cast.


• Stop wasting Jay Pharoah. Use him more and let him continue to grow as a performer. He’s shown huge signs of improvement a few times this season (the Maya Rudolph and Josh Brolin episodes), but too often he’s stuck making just one quick appearance per night in a non-speaking role. If they’re not going to be more consistent in giving him opportunities to shine, then there’s no real point of keeping him around and wasting his talents.


• What I said above about Jay also somewhat applies to Nasim Pedrad: either start actually using her next season, or get rid of her.


• A new opening montage and theme music.


• A new home-base stage and musical guest stage. Remember the days when SNL used to change their home-base/musical guest sets every few years? Well, we’ve had this current one since 2003 (!!) and if it isn’t changed next season, it will beat out the stage that was used from 1986-1995 as the longest-lasting home-base stage in SNL history. It’s time for something new.


• An exodus of the veterans in the writing staff who have been there a long time and are way past their prime.


• Let John Mulaney take over as head writer.


• A brand-new Weekend Update anchor, preferably a witty stand-up comedian from outside of SNL. Also change the Update format, mostly by focusing more on the jokes and having only 1-2 guest commentaries per week instead of the usual 3 (although they seem to have cut down the number of guest commentaries these last few weeks).


• Better recurring sketches/characters, ones that have more growth potential and won’t involve the writers simply just reusing the same basic script in each installment.


• An improvement in the political writing. The elections are coming up this fall, and if SNL wants to gain the same type of positive buzz and media attention they usually receive during election years, then they need to step it up with their approach to political satire. I said this before, and I’ll say it once again: Jim Downey needs to finally step down as the main writer of SNL’s political material and they should let Chris Kelly take over Downey’s duties in handling the political sketches.


• A new Obama impersonator... pleeeeeease! Hey, “Community” will be ending soon (sadly), and Donald Glover does a spot-on Obama. Maybe SNL can snatch him up after-- nah, that’s just not gonna happen.


That wraps up this season. Have a great summer, everyone, and see you in 12-13.