***** = Excellent, a possible future classic
**** = Great
*** = Average
** = Meh
* = How'd this get past dress?
Cold Opening - The Second Presidential Debate
• Aidy Bryant being cast as Candy Crowley was a given. She did fine in what was her first big role ever, but I'm still eager to see much more from her, as this was merely a straight role and not really an indicator of how funny Aidy is.
• A very good debate sketch overall. Having Obama and Romney bickering like immature adolescents was a funny parody of the tension between them at the real debate. Some of my favorite parts of this cold opening included Obama's line "Best thing about my plan is you can sit on it AND spin", both Obama and Romney answering they would do absolutely nothing about gun control, and of course Obama's epic mic drop at the end.
• Taran as an angry Tagg Romney in the crowd was very funny, but I was hoping they'd go further with that.
• Couldn't help but notice that something about Kate's wig made me look Amy Poehler-esque. In fact, I've been getting a bit of an Amy Poehler vibe from a couple of Kate's performances in general. I know everyone always compares her to Kristen Wiig and some even go as far as to call Kate "Wiig 2.0"... who knows, they may turn out to be right - but I personally see more Poehler in her than I see Wiig. I hope I'm right, because I'm sure most of us would rather have a new Poehler than a new Wiig. Plus, another similarity Kate has to Amy Poehler is that they both were already sketch comedy veterans before joining SNL.
• Bobby's voice as the Long Island citizen sounded almost EXACTLY like Joe Pesci. Anyone else think so?
• Tom Hanks!!! I had a feeling he'd cameo tonight after his infamous f-bomb on Good Morning America earlier this week. Hanks' appearance tonight continues his recent streak of cameoing in episodes where people would rather have him host over the person actually hosting. I'm beginning to think Hanks is never going to host again and that we should just accept the fact that these cameos are all we're gonna get from him nowadays.
• The streak of newer people in the cast being the only castmembers to say "Live from New York..." this season continues: Jay, Taran, Vanessa, Bobby, Nasim, Kate, and now Aidy. Very interesting. Next thing you know, Cecily and Tim will deliver a "Live from New York..." soon.
Monologue - Bruno Mars
• As someone who normally can't stand song-and-dance monologues, I surprisingly enjoyed tonight's monologue a lot. This was much more upbeat than the usual corny song-and-dance numbers the hosts do in their monologues, and Bruno brought a very infectious energy to this number.
• I also feel this was helped by using actual experienced backup dancers/singers instead of just putting castmembers in that role.
• While there wasn't much in the laughs department, I still found this monologue to be very entertaining.
• I never realized until now that Bruno actually resembles a young pre-plastic surgery Michael Jackson. His singing voice sounds a little Michael-esque, too, although I already noticed that long before tonight's episode.
• Strangely, this ended up being Kenan's only appearance all night. Between this and Fred Armisen making his only appearance in the cold opening, hopefully this is a sign of SNL phasing out the long-time veterans in the cast. This theory is also supported by the aforementioned fact that the newbies seem to be the only ones saying "Live from New York..." this season.
Commercial - Brad Pitt #1: Chanel
• Interesting how Taran has two different versions of his Brad Pitt impression: there's the more-accurate low-key version we've seen in tonight's fake ads and in the Tinyballs trailer parody from last season, and then there's the goofy, over-the-top "Bahhhh!" version we've seen in live sketches. Not many SNL castmembers can say they have a celebrity impression that they've done two completely different versions of.
• All that being said, this commercial was boring as hell. I'm familiar with the real commercial this was parodying, and I STILL didn't find this funny. Almost no laughs from me at all here, and this came off too drawn-out and awkward (even if that was the intention).
• My only chuckle came from him saying "Is it just me or do I look super homeless?" It's funny cuz it's true.
Sketch - Haters
• Holy hell, this was BAD. I hate to say it, but whenever SNL does a stereotypical "ghetto"-type sketch attempting urban humor, it falls flat more often than not. Seriously. SNL has a hard time pulling off that type of thing, and their attempts at it come off almost embarrassing (i.e. that outdated "The Finer Things" sketch with Kenan and Jay, those old Starkeesha sketches with Finesse Mitchell, etc.). Humor like this could be executed well on certain other sketch comedy shows in the past like, say, In Living Color or Mad TV - both of which were able to do well with urban comedy... but on SNL, that type of humor rarely works.
• I didn't laugh a single time during this terrible sketch, and something about it brought back bad memories of that dreadful "Miss Drag World" thing from the Eli Manning episode last season.
• I wanted to like Tim Robinson's appearance at the end, but it unfortunately ended up being just as stupid as the rest of this sketch. Disappointing. Even though Tim has gotten a few co-starring roles in some pretty funny sketches (Wooden Spoons, Realty Agents, Replacement Refs), he has yet to be given a role where he can REALLY show how funny he is. From what I've seen in his pre-SNL online videos, he has so much talent that we haven't even seen a glimmer of yet on SNL. I know he's only been on a few episodes so far and it's too early to expect much, but I can't wait until SNL starts letting Tim show his TRUE potential, because the guy is funny.
• Getting back on topic, this sketch was fucking terrible and I sure hope they don't make it recurring.
Commercial - Brad Pitt #2: Taco Bell
• So now the "clever" twist is they're having him hawk unrelated products? Yeah, real original, SNL writers... didn't they use the EXACT SAME joke in those Clint Eastwood fake ads last season?
Sketch - Pandora Internet Radio
• This sketch was a lot of fun and I had a blast watching it. While it may have just been a thinly-veiled excuse to have Bruno do his impressions of various singers, it worked great in this sketch and the whole thing was executed perfectly. And much like the monologue, this had a very infectious energy to it.
• All of Bruno's impressions were fun to watch, and I especially got a big laugh from his Michael Jackson. He was able to pull that particular impression off very well for obvious reasons, and I also loved how he held onto Jason's arm so he could do the "Smooth Criminal" lean.
• Another good joke thrown in was everyone randomly having a spare MJ glove.
• Bruno's failed Louie Armstrong attempt made me laugh a lot, too. You could tell Bruno was really embarrassed to do that voice, and I liked the other guys telling him that impression was not his best work.
• Very good ending. Overall, this sketch can possibly become a contender for one of my favorite sketches of the season.
Miscellaneous - Sad Mouse
• A very interesting and well-done piece. This wasn't laugh-out-loud funny, nor was it supposed to be. This was clearly intended as a sentimental slice-of-life piece and I really appreciate that, as SNL rarely attempts this type of thing anymore. This offered a welcome change of pace to SNL's usual format; I could easily picture this same film appearing on the show in the 70s and early 80s, back when SNL wasn't afraid to do experimental segments & semi-dramatic pieces.
• My only criticism is that the ending was too predictable. As soon as they first showed the female frog mascot, it was obvious what would happen afterwards. Still a beautiful way to close the film, though.
Weekend Update - Seth Meyers, featuring Stefon
• Best jokes: New Mouth Strip
• Seth's "Dos & Don'ts" rant just fell completely flat. Very boring, overly-tame, and nothing in it stood out at all. I can see why this segment got cut from Update last week, because this didn't get much of an audience reaction tonight either, honestly.
• Stefon was Stefon. Yes, I know I always say that whenever he's on and I don't mean it in a bad way, but it sums him up perfectly. Anyway, he had several funny comments tonight as usual, like the non-sequitur joke of the Jewish Dracula's name simply being "Sidney Applebaum". And I'm glad they actually shook things up a little with Stefon this time around by having him do some different things, such as him telling the Halloween story and him explaining the details of his daily schedule after he wakes up. Also, even though Hader always laughs in these Stefon bits, tonight's appearance may be the most I've ever seen him lose it on SNL. He looked like he was literally almost gonna die laughing after the "Sidney Applebaum" line.
Sketch - Merryville Brothers Halloween Ride
• I don't think anything will ever top the first installment, but I didn't mind seeing this back tonight. In fact, tonight's follow-up was better than the second installment with Justin Timberlake. They at least changed things up towards the end of tonight's installment, and they managed to keep this sketch fairly short.
• Interesting seeing Jay and Vanessa paired together. I also liked Jay's character trying to deny that he and Vanessa's character are dating.
• Bill never fails to kill me whenever his character pops up to do the triangle ding. It's the frozen devilish grin on his face that always cracks me up.
• Loved Tom Hanks' appearance at the end.
• Hmm, Jim Carrey appeared in a Merryville Brothers sketch before and now we have Tom Hanks in one.... does this mean the Merryville Brothers are the current-era Roxbury Guys?
Commercial - Brad Pitt #3: Dog Condoms
• Yet another one??? Still not funny. These are such a waste of Taran's talents.
Sketch - Yeti Point
• This seemed to have promise at first, especially when Bill's Doc Brown-looking old guy character entered the scene. But the rest of the sketch was underwhelming. Not really sure what the problem exactly was, but this just didn't really work and the sketch ended up being forgettable.
• I had to laugh at how the audience didn't respond AT ALL to any of the zoom-ins to Bruno's face. Those parts were clearly intended to get a decent amount of laughs, but they got nothin'. Even Bruno seemed a bit thrown-off by that, judging by how he almost cracked up after one of the zoom-ins.
• The yeti attack outside the window seemed like it was going to be fun, but something about the yeti & Bill embracing each other came off as a poor man's version of the classic Christmas Kangaroo sketch with Will Ferrell.
• This is the third segment tonight that closed with the words "THE END" being shown on the screen. Is that the theme of tonight's episode?
Commercial - Brad Pitt #4: Tattoo Removal
• Oh, enough with this, already! As if the first three commercials weren't weak enough, this fourth one managed to somehow be worse. Even the audience wasn't having it anymore; they were noticeably DEAD SILENT during this entire segment. You could practically hear crickets chirping.
Side Note: Having Stefon introduce the second musical performance was a really cool, unexpected touch. I've always wished that the show would have fun with their musical performance introductions more often. Instead of just having the hosts stand there and simply say "Ladies and Gentlemen, (insert name here)", I prefer it when SNL does creative, fun ways of introducing the musical guest like tonight's Stefon thing or the Cee Lo/"Forget You" sketch.
Commercial - Donkey Punch the Ballot!
• Wow, where has Nasim been tonight? This was her first and only appearance all night, and it was merely in a pre-taped segment that was originally going to air in LAST WEEK's show. This isn't the only time this season where Nasim got cut out of the live show - all of her appearances in the Daniel Craig episode were pre-taped, too. So that's TWO episodes this season where Nasim made no live appearances... and we're only five episodes in! Ouch. What's going on with her?
• Yeah... I'm over these Kickspit Underground Festival bits. Don't care for them anymore at all. To me, nothing beats the first installment of this, and I kinda wish they had kept it as a one-off. None of the follow-ups were able to come anywhere close to equaling the original in terms of outrageous laughs and inspired creativity, and each subsequent installment seems to be a lot less funny than the previous one.
• If they're gonna continue doing these, AT LEAST shake up the formula and do something completely new with it - like they did in the Ryan Phillippe episode where they actually did a live Kickspit Underground Festival sketch that had Jason and Nasim's characters introducing a music video starring Ass Dan. Remember that? We need more experimentation like that, and less of this formulaic stuff.
• Bruno's appearance in this wasn't anything special, and you can tell it was tacked on at the last minute. I can't help but wonder if Christina Applegate's unused appearance in this was funnier or not.
• My only real laughs in this commercial came from the band name "Todd Akin and the Legitimate Rapes" as well as the reference to Mitt Romney's infamous "binders full of women" remark.
• In the description of this commercial last week when it got cut after dress, it was mentioned that there was a part with Nasim revealing she's underage and that Jason will be getting arrested. Why wasn't that part shown tonight?
• Sad Mouse
• Pandora Internet Radio
• The Second Presidential Debate
• the Brad Pitt ads
• Yeti Point
Best Performer of the Night:
• Bill Hader / Jason Sudeikis / Tom Hanks
CASTMEMBER / HOST COUNT DOWN
ARMISEN: 1 sketch (Presidential Debate)
BAYER: 2 sketches (Merryville Brothers, Yeti Point)
HADER: 6 sketches (Presidential Debate, Haters, Pandora, Update, Merryville Brothers, Yeti Point)
KILLAM: 6 sketches (Presidential Debate, Brad Pitt #1, Brad Pitt #2, Merryville Brothers, Brad Pitt #3, Brad Pitt #4)
MEYERS: 1 sketch (Update)
MOYNIHAN: 5 sketches (Presidential Debate, Haters, Pandora, Merryville Brothers, Donkey Punch)
PEDRAD: 1 sketch (Donkey Punch)
PHAROAH: 4 sketches (Presidential Debate, Haters, Merryville Brothers, Donkey Punch)
SUDEIKIS: 5 sketches (Presidential Debate, Pandora, Sad Mouse, Yeti Point, Donkey Punch)
THOMPSON: 1 sketch (Monologue)
BRYANT: 2 sketches (Presidential Debate, Haters)
MCKINNON: 2 sketches (Presidential Debate, Donkey Punch)
ROBINSON: 2 sketches (Haters, Pandora)
STRONG: 2 sketches (Presidential Debate, Haters)
BRUNO MARS: 7 sketches (Monologue, Haters, Pandora, Sad Mouse, Merryville Brothers, Yeti Point, Donkey Punch)